Shipping Cats by Air

cat relocating by air

The process for shipping cats by air is safer and easier than you might think, especially when you allow plenty of time for planning.

Getting Started: How to Ship a Cat Safely

Here’s a quick overview of the the basic steps involved with safely shipping a cat by air:

  • Start planning well in advance of your move to learn about country import rules, rabies vaccine requirements and anything else that will come into play.

  • Choose an airline-approved travel crate for your cat and start crate-training right away. If your cat isn’t used to spending time in a crate and only associates it with going to the vet, do them a favor by helping them get used to it in the weeks before you move -- this will make things much easier for everyone.

  • Book your cat’s flight on a pet friendly airline. Some carriers are more pet friendly than others, so take the time to do some research and make an educated choice.

  • Ask for help when you need it from  your vet, your fellow pet travelers, and from professional pet shippers.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Cat by Air?

Every pet move is different, which makes it difficult to immediately offer a precise price estimate.

That being said, you can prepare for a few standard items to be part of the overall cost.

Here are a few components of a typical cat move:

  • The travel crate
  • The airfare
  • Transportation to and from the airport
  • Pre-move vet visits
  • International health documents and import permits
  • Government endorsements
  • Customs fees
  • Quarantine fees

Keep in mind that the costs of each of the above items will vary from one move to the next depending on a variety of factors. For example:

Origin and Destination

Generally the closer you are to a large airport on either side, the less expensive the trip will be. If you’re starting and ending in smaller towns that require a bit of driving on either end or if the trip requires multiple flights, the overall costs will be higher.

Import permits

Moving internationally? Your new home country might require obtaining formal permission from the government in the form of an import permit, which translates to an added cost. 

Government Endorsements for Health Certificates

It’s often necessary to obtain official health paperwork from your vet’s office, and in many cases these documents must be certified by the relevant government body, for example the USDA.

Airport Check-In

It can often take a few hours to complete the check-in process, which requires the specialized assistance of your agent to make sure all paperwork is in order (and of course to take good care of your cat during this time).

Customs Clearance

Upon landing it may not be over yet -- in many cases entry procedures must be negotiated by a customs agent and there may be tariffs, customs fees or taxes to pay at this time.

Ready to find out more about how much it will cost to ship your cat? Learn more about how our services work or contact us to get started with a cat travel consultation.

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