FLYING WITH A CAT?!?!
I will be moving down in AUG and have found this message board my life line......I want to thank everyone for their help and have found myself stuck with this question......does anyone have any ideas on how I should go about flying down to stt with a cat?
Really don't know where to start and would love some suggestions!
I will be flying down with my cat in sept. Depending on how "big" your cat is (mine is excessive) he/she can probably fly with you in an FAA approved travel bag (can be found at your local petco or Pet Quarters). Call the airlines ahead of time (usu they have a # on their website for traveling with a pet to call) as some have limits as to how many carry on pets they will allow on a flight so call in advance!! According to USAIRS website- it is a 1st come 1st serve basis. I believe the cost to carry them on with you is about $100 (well worth it to me since I can travel with her as opposed to putting her as checked baggage).
Also, get in touch with your local vet and tell them you need to get a health cert. (the cost in my state is $50) I have called the dept of agriculture and there are no other requirements for carrying an animal to the USVI. You will need to have your flight info at the time of the vet visit so don't make the visit before you have your ticket purchased- they will need about 10 days advanced notice. Your cat will need a rabies vaccination at that time and as far as I can tell- nothing else. Just a suggestion- you may want to get a years worth of heartworm pills- as I hear that this is more of a reality for cats down there than where I live (and we have our fair share of mosquitos). I plan on getting this just bc I don't have a vet I know down there yet and I would like to scratch a vets visit off my very long list of "things to do whe arriving on the island list"...
I love my cat and am not going to try and sedate her- although- I have talked to my vet about prescribing something for me- it can be very stressful.....:)
Let me know if I can be of any help...
Relating my experiences with flying here with a dog and a cat 20 years ago isn't going to be too relevant but they DID both go in the "hold" and were just fine. However, I would also stock up on Frontline (the monthly flea med) which is very expensive here. And make sure your cat is up to date on feline leukemia shots. FeLeuk and feline HIV are big problems here. The latter you don't have to worry about too much if your cat is neutered (which I sincerely hope it is!) I will say though that we have excellent veterinarian services down here.
Friend brought cat to STX in February. Had to remove cat (brat) from carrier for customs inspection. Cat scratched her severly. Cat travelled in plane and was looking poorly. Friend removed cat to inspect cat from carrier on the plane. Cat scratched her severly and escaped on the large plane. On Puerto Rico connection, plane was delayed by four hours much to cat's discomfiture. American Airlines would not provide place or room where cat could be removed from soiled carrier. I would suggest you sedate your cat.
I just flew down here with three of my kitties (on April 29th). The airline did charge me $100 for each cat. And as people already mentioned, you do need to get a health certificate from your veternarian before your flight. Just a little warning though: when I booked my airline tickets, they would not reserve a spot for my kitties on the plane, nor would they charge me the $300 fee at that time. The airline said that they couldn't give the okay until the actual day of departure. THey said that if the weather outside is too extreme (hot or cold), that they wouldn't be able to place an animal in the cargo hold. In my case, with three cats, I couldn't carry them on with me. Also, the veternarian did give me some pills to calm the cats, and it seemed to help.
Best of luck!!!!!!!
Island Ed, that was SO not funny. Aspirin is lethal to cats.
I would advise anyone bringing any animals here to sedate them upon the advice of their local veterinarian.
Most of the airlines coming here have regulations insofar as transporting animals are concerned and most will not transport them during the summer months because of heat in the hold where most animals are held for the duration.
One small cat or dog which can fit into one of the "flattened" type containers is often OK to travel with the owner up front.
Sometimes I read the posters on this forum who've had major problems transporting animals because they simply didn't do enough research.
OK, herewith my version of Animal Transportation for Virgin Islands Newcomer's Pets 101.
1. Valid Health Certificate from your pet's veterinarian which will attest to the fact that your pet is up to date on all shots. This includes rabies, leukemia, HIV and all else. Not ALL of this is required but I would recommend it and your local vet should be able to fill you in on all the basic requirements. And please ensure that unless you have a high-pedigreed animal you're bringing here who simply HAS to be preserved, that your pet is neutered. We have enough problems here with un-neutered animals to last us more than a lifetime.
2. Check with the airline to firmly establish their policies about shipping animals to the Virgin Islands. The major airlines do have a blackout policy period about shipping animals during the summer because they've been sued...
3. And, absolutely consult with your veterinarian about sedation. Your pet will have an easier ride with infinitely less stress if it's sedated. Hey, you get a novocaine shot when you go to the dentist for a filling. Why? Because it's a traumatic experience which may or may not give you pain. You go into surgery and you're scared to death and they give you a little hit of a sedative and then that shunt needle in your vein which you've been dreading doesn't feel too bad after all. You finally wake up and all is cool.
So why would you do anything less for your beloved pet and ensure that his or her transition into a totaly alien environment is anything less than positive?
4. Bring something along with your pet that's familiar. Many cats and dogs have a favorite toy. I wouldn't recommend putting that toy into the carrier. Put it into an airtight baggie and, once you've started to introduce your buddie to his or her new environment, get that toy out of the bag so they can snorf on it and feel at home.
ATVINP 101 is now recessed!
This is great STT Resident-
May I also add one more suggestion- If travelling with a cat- pack a small cat litter pan in your carry on with a small bag of cat litter and some cat food. More than likely your cat won't touch the food for a while- but it may need to relieve itself once you get to your place. I am doing this bc I figured it would be faster relief for my cat. Also, as overwhelmed as I will probably feel getting there- the last thing i need to be thinking about is finding the grocery store just to buy cat litter. I can do that later!
Sorry STT Resident, BAD joke and my apologies to any who were offended. I am a cat lover myself and have only had cats as pets during my life. We left a well behaved Lilac Point Siamese with family in KC when we moved here. It never when in the house or would even use a litter box, it would only go outside. If only we could have trained it to flush so I wouldn't have to let it out, it would have been the perfect cat. Again, my apologies.
To quote an earlier post, "DO NOT SEDATE your pets! That can cause respiratory dysfunction during a flight. I also don't believe that the carrier will not take a drugged animal."
My experience has been that vets have agreed with the information quoted above. I have flown with my pets & have not sedated them. You would surely want to verify with your vet.
My 3 cats were not sedated per se, but received anti-anxiety pills on our relocation flights.
Kind of like prozac versus demerol.
Ask your vet regarding the difference.
Whatever you opt for, Roko's account of the freaked out kitty is not uncommon. I know someone whose cat got away from them during the TSA walk-through. They had to corner it in the terminal, and, on top of that, sustained major scratches that required medical attention.
Unless your cats are seasoned travellers, it is strongly suggested that they receive something to take the edge off.
Just thought I'd post this as a reminder to everyone flying with a pet- and a big THANK YOU (once again) to this site. Make sure and schedule the rabies vaccination no less than 30 days/no more than 1 year before travel- the Health Certificate (depending on airline- mine is USAIR) needs to be done within 10 days of travel. I almost forgot the 30 day time factor for the rabies vacc- and when making my vet apt- for the 10 day health cert. apt I had a nagging feeling that something was not right (I thought I would do it all at once to spare my cat). While on the phone with my vet- I pulled up this site and checked the "moving with pets" site and was reminded that the two really need to be done at different times. Thank God for this site- I couldn't imagine what I would do if I hadn't done the rabies vacc until 10 days prior (my cat happens to be due for a rabies shot).
Thanks again and I hope this might remind others!
The health certificate needs to be from your veterinarian and needs to state that the animal; has not been exposed to any communicable diseases, is not sick and is up to date on rabies shots. This certificate should be prepared within 10 days of travel. An up-to-date rabies shot is necessary. The rabies shot should be no less then 30 days prior to arrival but no longer then one year. Have these documents readily available when you are traveling.
So if your vet says your dog is up to date then they need to write that on the certificate, as well as make sure you are covered on the other stipulations.
A lot of folks say that they were never asked to see the health certificate... but if you don't have it or its not as it should be then you are taking a chance.
So get in touch with your vet and see what he/she says needs to be done. Also get in touch with your airline to find out their requirements.
My vet and I are confused on this issue. Apparently, so are the airline carriers. USAir said they would accept a regular Arkansas state health certificate on the mutt I just sent with my husband as baggage - however, when I send my larger dogs after the weather cools, they have to overnight in Charlotte (to the tune of an additional $175 EACH to overnight at a boarding facility)...they will be "cargo", and the whole load has to clear customs, including the dogs - it is considered an international flight at that point, but only in reference to cargo. Does that mean we need an international air travel health certificate (something not readily available in Russellville, Arkansas!)? Does anyone know about this? USAir can't give me an answer, and it is apparently a special form ordered through the US Dept. of Agriculture or the state department of agri, something weird, wiht a gazillion copies filled out and sent to every gov't agency under the sun.
Islander, you are correct - when we sent the mutt as baggage, they didn't look at him, weigh him, check his paperwork - nothing - but we had it all covered with the appropriate paperwork - it's a few dollars well-spent not to get turned away at the gate.
For those shipping large dogs from any city other than a major hub -you are in for the ride of your life...if you are shipping a dog over 100 lbs., please check your connecting flights and make sure they can accomodate a dog crate. Some of the regional planes don't have room. It has been one interesting experience after the other. Seaborne CAN fly dogs from STT or San Juan to STX if needed, but you have to wait until there is room - which is never, I think....
Keep calling the airline back until you get someone sensible - I even had one person tell me the airline was not "in the shipping business". I am sure that would come as a surprise to their corporate headquarters...
I feel your pain. I shipped my 60 lb. dog from Florida. We drove to Florida and took one of the few airline flights that allow dogs in cargo during the summer months, but ONLY if the temperature is like under 85. We booked a ridiculously early flight so that we would minimize running into heat problems. When we got to San Juan we almost had a problem because there was no room on board Cape Air for the crate. Fortunately, I had a good stock of tears and we were able to put her in teh back of the plane. While I am not suggesting you just wing it once you get to San Juan, I definitely feel that people were more willing to accomodate us because we were already physically there. If I was just calling, I am quite sure I would have just been told, "NO!" Something to consider.
We just flew from Denver to Washginton to STT three weeks ago on United. They do not have a pet embargo because their baggage holds are climate controlled. We brought along our 90 pound retriever in her x-large crate which was an additional $200. No one ever weighed her (which is good because they had somehow gotten the impression she weighed about 50 pounds, don't ask!!!) and we were never asked for any paper work, which we had with us. All things considered it went quite smoothly. On this board we had read about the "pet embargos" and were pleasantly surprised to so that United does not have this policy.
You have my private email addy - please send me a name and phone # - also a cost if you have any idea. I am ready to leave, and the Arkansas weather will not cooperate.
Little Rock is obviously not a happening place - many of the airlines don't fly large planes in and out, and those that do have been a headache to deal with. I may be stuck until the weather changes, but your option may be a good one...wonder if he wants to fly a person with said doggies?
My vet in the States suggested, as Onika mentioned, a mild sedative for my cat when we flew here. I didn't wind up using it, but it was nice to know it was there.
Another option might be Feliway. It's available online and at Petco, Petsmart, etc. We used it at the shelter back in California, and it worked wonders. It basically simulates the "all is well" smell and calms cats. There's a doggie version as well- I forget what it's called.
Just a thought.
Best of luck flying down here!