Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny
Originally published Jun 9, 2010, but now updated!
Based in Austin, Texas, PetRelocation.com handles the door-to-door relocations of pets worldwide. They offer full-service, door-to-door arrangements to safely move your pet down the road or around the world. With over 1800 pets moved this year worldwide, they are happy to help any pet owner we can with their pet’s travel arrangements!
Rachel Farris, their Chief of Staff, was kind enough to do an interview with me. I thought the awareness and knowledge of this company might help many of you cat owners out there. Especially those interested in a kitty that isn’t in your state or in your country! Petrelocation.com can help!
How many cats do you transport every year?
That’s a great question that I’m not really sure we have an answer to! We transport around 1000 pets a year, and I’d guess around half of those are cats!
What is the major form of transportation? Car? Airplane?
We handle door-to-door pet travel services, so typically our moves start and end with a car ride to and from the airport. We also use airplanes for flying pets across the US or around the world.
Do you transport more dogs than cats?
I’d guess it’s about 50% dogs and 50% cats, but I really don’t have an exact figure.
Have you ever transported a Ragdoll cat?
We have! We helped one woman with her Ragdoll named Francis who was moving from San Francisco to the UK. We don’t have a picture of Francis, either, unfortunately.
What is one of the hardest countries to send a cat to?
Any country that is rabies-free (like the UK, Australia and Japan) can be very difficult to move pets to in terms of the import requirements. Pets must undergo a series of vaccinations followed by blood tests to prove they are free of rabies. There are also sometimes quarantine requirements upon arrival depending on the country. Small, remote countries can also be hard to transport pets to just because there are not a lot of flight options that are safe for pets.
What are some of the dangers to cats when they travel? Are there warning signs to look out for?
Most cats do not like their travel crates, which is usually because they are only put in their crates when it’s time to go to the vet! Also, their crates are usually too small. A pet should travel in a crate that they can comfortably stand up in with at least 2-4” of clearance over the tops of their heads. Most cats we move travel in a carrier that is 27” x 20” x 19”. Getting a pet used to their travel crate well in advance can make all the difference in a stressed out cat or a happy cat!
What is one of the most pet friendly destinations in the world?
Wow, that’s a tough one! Most cities and countries have some great pet spots. We have had many clients tell us that they really liked the Singapore quarantine facilities for cats, as they have large, air conditioned rooms outfitted with scratching posts and windows to the outside. Each cat gets its own room!
Do you transport pets very often for rescue or for breeders?
Our motto is “Any pet, anywhere, anytime!” If we can safely and legally do it, we will arrange shipments for breeders, rescues and other types of pet owners all over the world!
How much does it cost to transport a cat? Does it depend on the destination?
Our services for a small pet start at $1200 for domestic moves and $3500 for international moves. From there, it depends on how many pets we’re moving and where they’re being moved to and from.
What is a quarantine? Do they vary by country? Can you tell us a little more about them? Are there countries with quarantines that has exceptions to their quarantine when it comes to kittens?
Quarantine” is a very vague term for an amount of time a pet needs to be segregated from other pets. Some countries don’t have quarantines and some do. Of the countries that do have quarantines, the facilities can range from outdoor kennel spaces to luxurious, climate-controlled boarding facilities. Sometimes you can do the quarantine at your home before you depart from your origin country, and sometimes kittens under three months of age are exempt. It really just depends on what your situation is and where you’re moving to and from. We have a listing of International Pet Travel Requirements on our website that pet owners are welcome to use when planning their travel, or if they’re looking to import/export a new kitten!
Are cats ever tranquilized before their pet travel?
You should never tranquilize your pet before you travel. Not only is it dangerous, but many airlines will not allow pets to fly if they see they are sedated. The best way to help your pet be calm during transport is by getting him used to his travel crate well before the day of your trip.
What would you recommend as far as a carrier for cat travel?
We like the Varikennel SkyKennel pet travel crates for domestic and international cat travel when pets are traveling as cargo or accompanied luggage underneath the plane. It’s a hard-shelled plastic crate that meets both US and international requirements because it has ventilation on all four sides.
For travel within the cabin or in cars, we’ve really been pleased with the SleepyPod travel carriers (which have several variations that are safe for vehicles as well as in-cabin air transportation).
Update December 30, 2014 – I got a few questions from Floppycats’ readers that I wanted to share with this post:
“Our Ragdoll is a beautiful 3 year old named Bello. We may need to move from Florida to Brazil and I’m so worried about the trip for him. He doesn’t like to be in his carrier and meows incessantly for the 10 min to the vet. I’m going to ask the vet about sedation. Do you have any experience with this?”
It’s certainly normal to feel apprehensive about a pet move, but we find that the more a pet owner can learn about the process beforehand, the less stressful the experience becomes.
First of all, though you should definitely talk to your vet about any concerns you have, you should not sedate your cat. Sedation can be dangerous because it interferes with a pet’s coping systems and may disrupt regular breathing. Also, most airlines won’t accept pets that have been sedated.
Instead, focusing on crate-training in the weeks before the move to help your cat come to view the kennel as a safe place rather than a box that just takes him to the vet. Putting the crate in a common area of the house and then placing toys and treats in it will help him to see it as a positive thing, and on travel day he shouldn’t feel so anxious. Here are a few more cat crate-training tips.
Feel free to contact PetRelocation if you have more questions and think you’d like some assistance with your move. You can also take a look at these basic pet travel tips for more information about choosing a pet-friendly airline and preparing your cat for international travel.
“Will need to know what shots Tay will need to travel on an airplane next year. He hasn’t had any shots other than the kitty vaccines. Should he be chipped? Vet says yes, in case of loss. After reading about chipping not so sure it’s a good idea. What sedative will work, do we experiment? He is a screamer in a cage, can’t do that on an airplane. We will be flying from Ohio to California, very long trip. We will be there 2 months, so we can’t leave him with a sitter. So yes, I worry in advance.”
Thanks for your question! Pet travel can certainly be stressful, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it can also be a safe and smooth process.
Flying domestically with a cat requires that you meet the requirements of the airline – usually this means obtaining a health certificate from your vet stating your cat is healthy and fit to fly. A rabies vaccine may not expressly be required, but we do recommend staying up to date. We also recommend microchips for traveling pets; if you have any concerns about microchips, we recommend discussing them with your vet.
For safety reasons, sedation is not recommended, and most airlines probably won’t allow a pet on board who appears to have been sedated. A better technique is to work on crate-training in the weeks before you travel. Help your cat to view the crate as a safe and positive place to be by leaving it out in the living room (or other common area) and placing treats, toys, and even food inside of it. You can also put an old T-shirt or blanket that smells like you inside of the crate on travel day, which will help your cat to feel more at home there.
Feel free to read more about common pet travel questions on the PetRelocation blog, contact the airline you’re using to find out about specific cat travel requirements, and always go to your vet with any health-related questions you have. Hope this helps, and hope you have a great trip!