From: Bellingham, WA, USA
Pets: Pursia (Cat, American Shorthair, 16 yrs, 9 lbs); Kimba (Cat, American Shorthair, 3 yrs, 12 lbs); Zuri, (Cat, American Shorthair, 3 yrs, 13 lbs)
We plan to move to the South of France (near Montpellier) this fall with our three cats. We'll probably fly out of Seattle or possibly San Francisco. Would it be better to fly direct to Paris, then drive to South, rather than taking two separate flights?
Pursia is getting old and a bit frail. We are worried that the trip will be to hard on her. Also, just juggling 2-3 cats plus all our other luggage will be a challenge as well as the fact that there are no direct flights from the US West coast to the South of France.
Thanks for your questions! First, please take a look at the pet import requirements for France if you've yet to do so. It may also be helpful to look over these basic pet travel tips, and, just in case your cats are not big fans of their travel crates, these cat crate-training tips.
We encourage you to research the airline rules regarding cat travel so that you're clear about what your options are—for international flights it's often necessary that your cats fly in the cargo area (this makes your own trip easier, also). When our clients have very long flights, we often schedule a layover that allows time for pets to take a break and exit their crates, which allows for a less strenuous trip overall.
Truthfully there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to the scenarios you're proposing—both can work out just fine when the right steps are taken to prepare (these steps include crate-training and choosing a pet-friendly airline). Please read over the links we've provided above, talk to your vet about any concerns you may have, and gain some further insight into the pet travel process by reading over some of our recent client pet travel stories.
If you think you'd like some help arranging this move, please fill out our online consultation form. We've helped many pets travel long distances safely and would be happy to help you, too.
Good luck with whatever you decide!