Transporting anxious cats from the middle of the US - Page 2 – Pets, Animals and Wildlife – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Transporting anxious cats from the middle of the US

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 erj
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(@erj)
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Joined: 6 months ago

Has anyone figured out how to do this without them or their human having a mental meltdown? I think I should fly with them to the east coast and then transfer them to a professional pet shipper. Logistically they have to be somewhere comfortable but safe from escape between flights. I don't get warm and fuzzies when I imagine trying to do this in a hotel. And yet, how would a shipper do better with fearful cats who need to be in their carriers in the morning? The shippers who were on the EP podcast said do not drug your pets but humans take sleeping pills for plane rides so I must be missing something. Is it that we are bigger and they are more vulnerable or is that no one is monitoring the cargo area?

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(@vandfdavid)
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Joined: 2 years ago

My husband and I moved from the Chicago area with 5 cats and 1 very large dog. We used a pet transport service Starwood Pet Relocation. I was extremely OCD, and my contact was extremely patient.  They provide a relocation person to load the pets on the plane in Chicago, another in Frankfurt to unload them and walk them through customs and return them to the onward flight. A third person was in Lisbon to offload them and walk them through Portuguese customs. 

Two kitties travelled in the passenger cabin, and three travelled with the dog in travel appropriate travel containers. We flew from Chicago to Frankfurt, where the pets were carried from the plane to the excellent airport pet veterinary hospital to be let out of their kennels and into pet kennels for feeding watering, exams and leg stretching. We were sent pictures of them both before they were boarded in Chicago and while they were at the pet hospital. The regulations require that there be a stopover for us since the timing of our onward flight to Lisbon precluded a quicker transfer. That was Ok since it gave all of us the chance to decompress overnight. The next morning, we got on the plane to Lisbon and the baggage handlers and the relocation folks let us know that all critters were safe and sound. The longest phase was them having to wait in their kennels in Lisbon customs for 6 hours. They arrived with us at our destination residence and were thrilled to be out of their kennels; litter boxes and dinner were ready, and they slept soundly.

The paperwork has to be completed by the US vet at the last minute, so that can be a nail biter.  

We asked the TSA folks to let us go to a private room to scan the kitties that travelled with us on the passenger cabin.  I didn't want to drug the animals.  Please let me know if you have other questions. Vicki

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 erj
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(@erj)
Joined: 6 months ago

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Posts: 10

@vandfdavid Thank you. This helps a ton! I wouldn't call it OCD; we are worried because they are living beings, sensitive and family members. If anything happened it isn't the same a losing a suitcase. Having that mind when trying to make it work can be very stressful. It sounds like you had optimal assistance. I will check them out!

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Posts: 10
 erj
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(@erj)
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Joined: 6 months ago

If only we were all on the same time schedule and could charter a flight together...

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(@capabilitieso)
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Joined: 2 months ago

It might help if the cats were registered as service animals essential for a person’s health. It is not easy to achieve this status because even emotional support animals cannot get it. But you can still try registering your cats as emotional support animals because some airlines have a special airline ESA policy. It is not about all of them, but some still do, and you need to do some close reading on the topic before you proceed with registering. ESA is not equalized to service animals, so getting special status for them might be problematic. Still, there are some organizations like The ESA Registration Of America that help to do that.

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Posts: 10
 erj
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(@erj)
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Joined: 6 months ago

I just found out that Lufthansa will only let me take 2 pets. I have 3. Can anyone offer the name of an airline who allowed 3 and did a good job? Thanks.

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(@dally)
Joined: 2 months ago

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Posts: 64

@erj Two cats in cabin or two cats in total regardless?  What is your itinerary? dates not required.  Just airports.

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(@sunil)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 70

@erj We originally planned to fly with TAP and from our research it seemed >2 pets in cabin would be fine with them. I can't say that I have firsthand experience of that though, since we ultimately flew United due to a change in our travel dates and specific needs for connecting flights. United wasn't 100% smooth sailing but it was more or less problem-free for 4 humans and 4 cats from Texas to Lisbon.  Hope that helps!

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(@dolce)
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Joined: 5 months ago

I am traveling with my little dog next week and just went to the vet to get the paperwork completed.  I was told to notify Portugal of our arrival.  Who do we notify in Portugal?  It's not very clear exactly what needs to be done besides get the certificate from the USDA.  Can someone please let me know the other requirements besides getting the USDA certificate?  I did see an office at the Lisbon airport but do we just walk in there when we arrive?  Do I need to notify them before?  etc....

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(@sunil)
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 70

@dolce Here is the guidance you’re looking for: https://www.dgav.pt/vaiviajar/conteudo/animais-de-companhia/transito-internacional/

We followed the instructions there and had no issues. Best of luck!

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(@dolce)
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Posts: 33

@sunil 

Thank you very much!

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