In my last post, I talked about finding out Larmlarm is a very difficult cat. But he helped me get through depression and gave me enough strength and courage to move to Paris to start a new life.
When we moved to Paris, we had nothing. All I had was two suitcases, a one-way ticket,1000 Euro a friend loaned me; and most importantly – LarmLarm. I built the life that I have today with my bare hands and I doubt I could have done it without him.
(If you are interested in knowing more about my journey – I have started a sideline blog to talk about everything that’s not related to my job –Outside The Purrfect Job.)
Not only he did help me through the difficult times of my life by being supportive, his horrendous personality also led me to get into the whole ‘cat thing’. (Oh well, cats get you in all sorts of unexpected ways, don’t they?)
When Larmlarm was little, I was told, ‘don’t worry, he is difficult now because he is a kitten, just hang on and wait. Once he gets older, say, when he is 2, he will be much calmer.’
So I waited.
Then nothing changed.
In fact, he might have gotten worse because now he knows better how to manipulate humans and wrap them around his paws.
I remember it was 2005, we had lived in Paris for 3 years and Larmlarm was just a bit over 3 years old then. He was WAYYYYY past the he-will-get-older-and-get-better threshold. And the funny thing is, even though he is difficult, most people who met him LOVED him, because he has a very beautiful innocent-looking face and he is so friendly to people, sometimes almost dog-like. (In fact, I suspect that’s how he got us to adopt him in the first place! Damn it!) As long as you don’t upset him, he gives you so much love you can’t resist.
I am a reader and a strong believer in ‘there is always a book in this world to solve your problem’. So I went and bought two books in the hopes of understanding LarmLarm better.
I read them in one day.
The whole ‘cat psychology’ opened my eyes to the mysterious world of the cat’s mind. I got sucked in…
I do remember thinking to myself something along the lines of ‘if only I can work with cats, like these people…’ That night, I put the book away, turned the light off to go to bed, woke up the next day, took the metro and went to my job. Just like every other day.
My life didn’t dramatically change immediately, but the idea stuck in the back of my head. ‘If only I can work with cats…’
Fast forward to 2007. I started to get bored with my job in Paris and in fact, I started to get bored with Paris altogether. And guess what happens when I get bored. I feel depressed.
Fortunately, I have a very strange way to handle depression. Instead of staying in bed feeling sorry for myself all day, I usually do what I do best, make a plan to change things. By then, I not only had Larmlarm in my life, I have also met Cat Man. (I will probably tell you the story of how cats have brought Cat Man and I together, and how Larmlarm didn’t like Cat Man at first, etc, in future posts.)
Soon enough, I got a job offer to work in Dublin, so together with Cat Man and Larmlarm, I moved to Dublin (please click here if you want to know the practical information of moving your cat using the ferry).
Fast forward to Christmas 2008, my mom suddenly appeared in Paris with her husband to visit my sister. We wanted to go see them over the New Year, but what about Larmlarm? Back in Paris, we usually asked Cat Man’s godmother (who is also a great cat lover) to come and take care of him. In Dubin, however, we didn’t know enough people yet to ask for help, so I started to look for a paid option. In 2008, there were only two major pet sitting companies in Dublin and only one of them was specialized in cats. I called and asked for a cat sitter. Turned out no one was available. I wouldn’t blame them, it’s the holiday season after all! Everyone would have planned for their getaway long ago. If they didn’t have their mom suddenly show up that is…
I thought to myself, ‘it looks like people have loads of business. Geez, I could be a cat sitter!’
As usual, I didn’t think about it…much after that.
Except I didn’t totally forget about it either…
(to be continued…How I became a cat sitter? Last part – Maow Care is born! is here)
In the last post, I told you we finally took Larmlarm home and were initially very excited about having our own cat. I would like to tell you everything worked out fine and we lived happily ever after. But no. It turns out LARMLARM IS EVIL!
Don’t get me wrong, LarmLarm is the love of my life, but he is also the most terrible person you will ever meet in your entire life!!!
Oh no no, I am not speaking as 23-year-old me, I am speaking as the ‘now-me’ after seeing hundreds of cats, he is still the most difficult cat I have encountered!
You are probably putting your hands on your hips going, ‘I am not so sure! My Muffin is pretty bad, you haven’t met my Muffin yet, you don’t know….’
Oh well, maybe I don’t know how difficult your cat is, but my Larmlarm bit some of my wedding guests and drew blood!!!
(I bet you went silent just now, good!)
Now, I will tell you another fact. Larmlarm is ‘blacklisted’ from his vet in Hong Kong, Paris, and ALSO in his current vets in Dublin. Oh yes, I said VETS because he needs to have two vets. Because one vet does house calls when he only needs to be looked at, and one vet does the heavy-duty stuff, like surgery or something. The reason being, he is so aggressive with vets that he usually trashes the whole consultation room! So we try to avoid bringing him to the clinic except if it’s really really necessary. One of his vets considered him to be ‘crazy’ (his word) and the other considered him to be ‘a bit odd’ (her words).
Since that first night we took him home, we realised he might be a difficult cat. But we didn’t know much about cats back then, so we thought all cats are difficult and he is only normal.
We were told we should put him in a cage, since he was a kitten and he would be used to being in a cage in the shelter. So we purchased a similar cage for him, as you can see in the pictures in this post and the last post. We settled him down in the cage with a litter tray, bowls and towels and went to bed.
These photos record the very first moment when we arrived home from the shelter and opened the cat carrier to introduce Larmlarm to his new home. Apologies for the poor quality of the photo but we had a first gen digital camera, what do you expect?
Soon after we went to bed and tried to sleep, he started screaming. This annoying screaming behaviour, unfortunately, never went away up to this day. He loves people, he loves to be with people at all times. Sometimes, his behaviour can be quite dog-like, so he DOES NOT WANT TO SLEEP ALONE! He just can’t sleep alone, the end. Ever since the first night, every night he sleeps with me. I have no choice or he will scream the whole place down! Oh, I know you are putting your hands on your hips again going, ‘Excuse me? I thought you are a cat behaviourist, you should have known better than to let him get away with that the very first time!’
Trust me, we did try. But he screamed until 4am! He was so loud I was worried the neighbours were going to call the cops! I had to give in. And remember the Adoption Assistant said (refer to my last post here) how he has a tiny voice? Ah-ha, no he doesn’t have a tiny voice, he has the loudest cat voice in the world (oh yes, that’s after hundreds of cats I have seen from my work.) Soon, we realized Larmlarm was pretending to be innocent and gentle at the shelter and his true evil self came to life just barely 30 minutes after we took him home!!! Oh my goodness, he conned us!!!
Since then, I have learned another thing about him. Larmlarm is a very very determined person. Once he sets his mind on something, he will make damn sure to achieve it – opening doors, waking people up, dropping my iPhone, pulling all the laundry down from the drying rack, etc. I am sure he can climb Mount Everest if he wants to (though I know he won’t want to, he is too lazy and too cowardly of a person!) He does go through phases though. When he was going through the I-must-open-the-wardrobe-at-2am-and-pull-everything-out’ phase, it was terrible. Or that other time, when he went through the I-have-to-scream-at-the–front-door-until-the-neighbours-call-the-cops phase, it was not only annoying but could have possibly got us arrested for Disturbance Of Peace!
However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having Larmlarm helped with my depression a great deal. He helped me in so many ways I find it difficult to put them into words. His determined personality taught me to never give up! Once you set your mind on something, such as waking the human up at 4am, you just have to do it. Since I have no intention of waking people up at 4am, I set my mind to getting better. Have I told you, regardless of his difficult personality, Larmlarm is an excellent nurse? If he knows you are not well (and he always knows!) he will sit next to you or on your chest and just stare at you, almost as if asking ‘Are you ok?’ Sometimes he would proceed to give me headrubs, hoping to help me feel better. And guess what? I did feel better afterwards!
Soon after I got Larmlarm, I started to have enough energy to straighten out my life. I realised it is utterly stupid to stay in a job I hated just because of the expectations from people around me. Plus, I have always wanted to travel, so I decided not only to quit my job but to quit my country as well! Oh yes, I decided to move to France.
I already spoke some French at that stage. So France was a natural choice for me.
You might start to be freaked out and ask ‘but what about Larmlarm?’ Obviously, without a second’s hesitation, Larmlarm had to come with me. Larmlarm is part of my life. Not only is he my nurse, he is also my saviour. In fact, he is many many things to me! He is my mentor to put me back in my place when I am arrogant; he is my constant reminder life is beautiful when I lose hope; he was my alarm clock pulling me out of bed when I was so depressed and wanted to stay in bed forever. Most importantly, he teaches me to love and to be loved unconditionally. I am sure that without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Before I go, I would like to share some more of Larmlarm’s baby pictures with you, enjoy!
(to be continued…How I became a cat sitter? Part 4 – Can one be a cat shrink? is here)
N.B. If you want to know the story of our journey from Hong Kong to Paris, please click here, where I share the practical information and also our experience.
Last week, I told you guys the story of how I was a cat hater as a teenager and later on became a cat lover in university.
The idea of having a cat never left my mind. But it wasn’t until a year and a half after I became a cat lover that I finally adopted my first cat – Larmlarm.
The year I graduated, my parents got divorced, my father remarried, his new wife moved into the house, my sister and I had to move out, I missed having my friends in the dorm around me all the time, etc. On top of that, I wasn’t happy with my boyfriend and my job (there is actually a ridiculous story about how I got a job I didn’t like but couldn’t quit, and you can read about that or any other non-cat-related stuff here). I started to have depression. I went to see a psychiatrist and took tablets but nothing changed. Considering the drastic changes happening in my life at that point, it might not have been the best time to adopt a cat. But hey, most of the good stuff in the world happens by accident, right? Plus, as I soon found out, cats are the best nurses in the world!
So my sister did some research online to find out where the closest shelter was and what we had to prepare to become a ‘cat parent’. I was too ill to do anything, so my sister did all of that.
Fortunately, there was a shelter not far from where we lived, so I could manage to go there regardless of my illness. And strangely enough, the visit to the shelter gave me a boost of energy that I didn’t have for a long time! ‘It’s so exciting to see all these cats! I get to finally have MY OWN CAT!!!!’
We went to the shelter and started looking at all the cats. We wanted a grey kitten. Of course we didn’t know a grey cat is very difficult to come by. So we started browsing and browsing, saying hi to all the cats. All of them seem to be either sleeping, eating or hiding at the back of the cage because they were too scared. Then among all these cats, was this exceptionally brave kitten who stood right at the front of the cage and started talking at my sister. ‘Oh hello you!’ – we started smiling. My sister stretched her finger out to let the kitten smell it. He backed off a little bit, not sure what to do next, thought about it for a second, then approached the finger. But he didn’t smell it, he started rubbing his head on her finger!
‘Haaaaa! Look look look! He trusts me!’
I thought about it for a second, ‘oh well….maybe he is the one then.’
‘Oh no no no, not so fast! I read on the internet that we are supposed to come back a few times to make sure he is not ill or mean or anything’.
So we spoke to the Adoption Assistant and told her we were interested in the kitten but we would come back the weekend after to check on him again.
We were so excited about the kitten, my sister started shopping for all the necessities – food bowls, litter trays, scratching post, toys, etc. I was still too ill to do anything.
The weekend after, we went back to officially sign the adoption paper. He had grown up so much and we loved him very much already!
Look at him! Don’t you think he is a cutie?
He looked so innocent. Except he wasn’t.
In fact, if you look at the last photo carefully, you will see he is plotting something…
Once we got the adoption papers signed, the Adoption Assistant took us to Larmlarm to officially take him home. When we opened the cage to let him out to the cat carrier he let out a tiny tiny ‘miaow…’ The Adoption Assistant commented, ‘oh his voice is tiny! How I wish my cats had such a tiny voice, it would make my life so much easier. You guys are so lucky to have such a quiet cat!’ At this very moment, the Cleaning Lady came over and saw that we were taking Larmlarm home. She asked, ‘Is he going?’ We all smiled (including the Adoption Assistant) and nodded. The Cleaning Lady turned around and let out a ‘YES!!!’ between her teeth. We all looked at each other and raised our eyebrows wondering ‘What the hell is wrong with this woman?’
Later on that night, we figured out why the Cleaning Lady did that.
And we learned it the hard way….
(to be continued….How I became a cat sitter Part 3 – OMG! My cat is evil! is here)
If you have read my story here, you will know my cat Larmlarm has moved with me from Hong Kong to Paris 11 years ago when he was only 6 months old. I organised the logistics myself and got approval to take him with me in the cabin on the plane. Later, we moved with him to Dublin by ferry. In total, he has travelled 10627.48km with me. Whenever I tell people about this, they usually find it very amusing, or feel very curious about how we did it. So here is a quick guide based on my experience, and stories from my customers who did international cat travel, I hope you will find it useful.
1. Plan early
I really can’t emphasize that enough. Depending on your destination, different cat travelling laws apply. Some countries might require you to go to your vet to get your cat passport at least 6 months in advance. So it’s never too early to start. Don’t wait until you get that job offer. I am not joking. Or you will risk having to leave your cats behind when you start your job in the new country. That will involve a different bunch of painful logistic arrangements – to find a foster family for your cats while they are waiting to join you in the new country. That will create a lot of stress for you and your cats who are being left with your friends or family. If you are reading this, the chance is you are thinking about moving to another country, so start today!
2. Do-it-yourself vs hiring an agent
You can either arrange all the logistics yourselves or hire a transportation agent who will do everything for you. I have never used an agent, so what I am going to do is – I will share my own Do-it-yourself experience with you. But a lot of my customers have used an agent to move their cats internationally, please go through the stories below to read about their experiences with using an agent. If you go down the DIY route like myself, you should start to…
3. Find out about the cat travelling law of your destination
Depending on the country, different government departments could be responsible for the enforcement of cat travelling policy. Usually, it’s the Department of Agriculture of the destination country, but it’s not always the case. When I first moved to Paris, it was the Ministère de l’agriculture, de l’agro-alimentaire et de la forêt . Later on, when we moved with my cat to Ireland, it was the Department of Agriculture. But recently, when my mom helped her friend to ask me how to commute with a dog between Macau and China, I found out it’s the Department of Food and Animal Inspection and Control (link: http://www.iacm.gov.mo/sis/default_e.htm) . So yes, it’s very confusing and it’s going to take you some time to do your research. If reading this paragraph gives you a headache, maybe you should hire an agent, because this is actually the easiest part.
4. Find out the law of your departing country
You might think the departing country can’t care less about what you are taking OUT of the country, but think twice. In my case when I left Hong Kong with Larmlarm in 2003, the Hong Kong Government had specific rules regarding exporting animals. So make sure to check you are covered on both sides.
5. Choose an airline (or ferry)
After finding out about the law bit, now you have to deal with the logistic bit. The government of your destination saying you can bring your cat in the country doesn’t mean you will be able to find a carrier to do so. No, I am not joking. A lot of airlines do not handle animals, period. No ‘what if’, no ‘but’. They just don’t do it. For example, I know Aer Lingus don’t handle cat travel within Europe, even though you can most definitely bring cats to Ireland. They wouldn’t let me bring my cat from Paris to Dublin, for example. We took the ferry instead. As a result, most of my customers came into this country with their cats via United Kingdom or Germany. Also, ‘cat travelling’ has two meanings. You have to check if that means you can bring your cat with you in the cabin or does that particular airline only allows cat being checked in as cargo. When I moved from Hong Kong to Paris with Larmlarm, he was only 6 months old. I was so worried about him being in the cargo by himself for such a long journey. So I decided to go the ‘cabin route’. If you decide to go the ‘cabin route’, be prepared: you will need even more time to research for an airline that does that. Most airlines don’t. As a result, you may end up having to take a transit just so that you can choose a certain airline. In my case, I finally found Korean Air allows small cats being taken on board in the cabin and we took a transit in Seoul. Different airlines might have different requirement regarding their ‘cat passenger’. Make sure to check with them and follow their requirement to the T. This is not the time to take your chances. If you don’t fulfill their requirements, they might not let your cat travel and you will be stuck or your cat will be left in a quarantine facility to await further arrangements. Make sure to double check the measurement. From my experience, most Customer Service staff in airlines and ferry companies don’t handle animal travel very often, so they might not know where to look for this information and could provide you with outdated information. With Korean Air, they have a specific measurement regarding the cat carrier box in cabin. So that takes us to…
6. Buy a good cat carrier box
Make sure to buy a good quality cat carrier box to ensure your cat’s comfort during the journey. Make sure it fits into the measurement requirement of your airline. There are cat carrier boxes out there which are specifically design for air travel, make sure to get one of those. They are usually more solid and can handle being ‘bounced-around’ a lot better. No matter how careful you are, the airport is full of people who don’t watch where they are going. They might be looking at the Departure / Arrival screen while walking or trying to run to their departure gate because it’s the last call. The last thing you want is the seam of your carrier box falling apart when moving around in such an environment. In my case, I double checked and double checked the required measurement for a cat carrier with Korean Air. I called their customer service 4 times to make sure the measurement was correct. We still ended up having problems with that. Due to an internal misunderstanding, the information their Customer Service department initially provided was different from the ground operation. I put in a complaint since I purchased this particular box based on the information I got from their Customer Service. They finally let me ‘slide off’ and use the box with the wrong measurement. You might want to get the confirmation of the measurement of the carrier box in an email as written proof, as my experience tells me airline companies and ferry companies tend to be unclear about this and might go back on what they told you earlier.
You might also want to buy a harness or have a soft cat bag handy. I heard some horror stories from some customers who have travelled out of Dublin airport. They said when they went though the security check, Dublin airport staff wanted to put the box through the x-ray belt. But since the cat obviously can’t go through the x-ray, they asked them to take the cat out of the cat box. Imagine holding a freaked out cat in the security line in front of hundreds of impatient people!!! We don’t know if other airports will do the same thing, but as far as we know of, there is at least Dublin airport who would have such a request. And no, they won’t let you use one of their rooms, someone have tried asking that question already.
7. Book and pay for extra luggage or freight
Depending on your airline’s policy, you will be required to pay a fee to bring the cat in the cabin. With Korean Air, Larmlarm was considered to be excess hand luggage. I paid about 200 Euro. I can’t honestly remember the precise amount because it’s 10 years ago, but it’s about that amount, it’s not something crazy.
If your cat travels as cargo, you will probably need to deal with some paperwork for freight and pay for that accordingly.
8. Vet visit
As soon as you are thinking about moving with your cat, talk to your vet immediately. Not all cats are fit for travelling. Cats with health issues or older age might not be the ideal candidates for travelling. If your cat tends to have ‘accidents’ on the short car journey between your house to the vet, he/she is not going to do well on a plane for 12 hours. You will need to discuss the options with your vet. Your vet might prescribe your cat with calming tablets.(You might want to consider taking some calming remedy yourself at this stage of preparation!) They should have a general idea what’s needed regarding vaccination and health certification. However, there is no way your vet knows the cat traveling policy of every single country on this planet. Make sure to bring along the print out of what’s required from the government authority of your destination, so that your vet is informed. Make sure to get documentation for all the vaccination or health checks done as required. Make sure to check the date is correct! I know it sounds like a small detail but the difference of one day can mean your cat will be left in quarantine. Your vets are only human and they could make a typo and put the wrong day or the wrong month. You want that to be corrected immediately and not when you are already in the airport. In my case, Larmlarm needed to make sure his regular vaccines were up to date. Since he was only a kitten, he had just had his shots, so he was ok. But he needed a rabies vaccine for his destination country – France. So we got that done at our local vet.
9. Second Vet Visit
Depending on the requirements of your destination, you might need to go back to your vet after a certain period of time for a second check. It could consist of a blood test to check if the vaccine is working, or a booster of the first shot you had at the last vet visit. That’s why planning ahead is so important in case you need more than one vet visit and you might need some time before the vaccine is activated in the bloodstream of your cat.
10. Government vet approval
In my case with Larmlarm in 2003, the Hong Kong Government required his health certificate being co-signed by the vet of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. I hope now you understand why you need to plan ahead, as you can see, the whole process can involve a lot of ‘appointment making’. For example, this government co-signing service had very limited appointment slots available.
11. Prepare the cat box
Your cat will be spending a long time in this box, make sure to make it as comfortable as possible. Soft towels, your smelly t-shirt that they like, and a water bottle are in order. Don’t forget to spray some trusty Feliway spray. Make sure to lock the door securely, you might want to tie it with something just to be sure there is no accident. We have already established that there are lots of people bumping around in the airport.
12. Before the travel day
If you are moving internationally, the chance is you have packed up your life in the old country. Your house is sold or the keys of the rental have been returned to the landlord. You might have to stay in a hotel for a few days waiting for your big move day. Extra thought is needed on where you can stay if you are travelling with your cat. I was lucky enough to get to stay at my mom’s, so that was all good. But if you have to stay in a hotel for a few days, you need to do extra research on finding a cat-friendly hotel. If your cat travels separately, you might need to check him/her into a cattery while waiting for his/her flight. I do occasionally get requests to be the ‘cat handler’ to bring the cat to Dublin airport to check in when the humans are already at the destination. (Of course, you can get in touch with me here if that’s what you need!)
13. Actual travel day
You might need to go to the airport way ahead of your flight, as you will need more time for customer clearance than other non-pet-carrying human being. Also, in case of a problem with the paperwork (typo, bad handwriting, etc), it will still leave you enough time to contact your vet if you need to. If you have to check your cat in at the cargo hub, you will also need to arrive at the airport early to drop the cat off before you deal with your own check-in.
14. On the plane
Two tips from my own experience. First, try to be as discreet as possible. There is always one person who hates cats on the plane. I can guarantee you that. A passenger on my plane to Paris complained to the cabin manager saying she wanted my cat moved to the kitchen. I told the woman to move herself into the kitchen. My cat has his plane ticket. End of. Ask the flight attendant for an extra blanket and cover the cat carrier immediately. Number one, you avoid further stares from said cat-hating-passenger. Number two, darkness will encourage your cat to sleep immediately. That’s one good thing about cats – they can sleep loads. A 12-hour flight, for an animal that needs 16 hours sleep a day, shouldn’t be a problem.
15. In the case of transit, book a hotel
As I said earlier, I needed to take a transit with Larmlarm in Seoul. I had to wait 8 hours for my second flight, so I checked us into the pay-by-hour hotel. I took a shower, Larmlarm drank some water and fell asleep in bed next to me. If I were to do it again, I would remember to bring a mini litter tray though. I am pretty sure he would be happy to go to the toilet. So you might want to do that. I also want to give a special mention to the wonderful Frankfurt Animal Lounge. If your cat happens to take a transit in Frankfurt, as lot of cats travelling out of Ireland do, you might want to know they are in a world-class luxury facility.
I have never used the facility myself, but it looks pretty good! I am hoping to do an interview with the lounge in the future. When I do, I will come back here to add more information.
(photo credit: http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/frankfurt_airport/en/business_location/cargo_hub/animal_lounge.html)
On arriving to your destination, you might need to go through custom clearance or health check by a government designed vet. But for most Pet Passport Scheme participated countries, you can just take your cat straight home with you.
From my own experience, on arriving to Paris, the Custom Officer didn’t even want to look inside the cat box.
17. Settle in new home (upset stomach – boiled chicken)
After such a long trip, it’s only normal that your cat feels a bit tired. Just like humans, the stress could have upset their stomach. I know you will be tempted to pile on their favourite treats to praise them for being a good cat during the journey. Refrain from doing that. I don’t know about you but I can’t be eating a heavy dinner after a 12-hour-flight. I generally feel pretty crappy and want to pull my hair out. Your cat might also want to be left alone so they can take their time to explore their new territory. Set up beds, water bowl, food bowl, litter tray the moment you arrive to your new home. Keep the first meal light and simple, so as not to overload their stomach. Cold boiled chicken is handy if you want to give them a treat without upsetting their stomach. If your cat feels too overwhelmed by the new space, keep them in only part of the house. Set up all their stuff in one of the rooms and spend time with them. They will fall asleep soon enough.
Here are a few extra tips I have learned from my experience:
- Make sure to double check and triple check any information the airlines and the ferry company give you. Most staff in these companies have never handled an animal traveller, so they don’t tend to know where to look for the information. Don’t just trust what one staff member told you. Take the information he/she told you. Wait a few days, call again to make sure the second person says the same thing.
- If you are travelling in cabin, make sure to be discreet. There is always one cat hater on board. If you don’t want to get into argument with people, stay low. I got into an argument with a passengers on the flight from Hong Kong to Paris.
- Prepare ahead if there is a transit. If you need to wait for a long time at the transit, ideally, you should book a transit hotel room, so the cat can rest a bit and so as yourself! I wish I had a water bowl and litter tray with me, I didn’t have either.
- Ask for an extra blanket from the flight attendant. You can then cover the carrier, so that cat will sleep during the flight.
International Cat Care has a very good article on Travelling with your cat. You might want to have a look.
All in all, bringing your cat with you is not as difficult or as impossible as people imagine. It’s not even as expensive as people think! I paid about 400 to 500 Euro for my trip from Hong Kong to Paris, that’s including special cat carrier, vet bills, airline fees, etc. Having a cat is a life commitment. So if you love your cat, there is no excuse, and telling me you can’t bring your cat with you and HAVE TO surrender them to a shelter? It’s a whole bunch of bulls.
Have you travelled with your cat(s) internationally? Do you mind sharing your stories so to help other cat lovers?
I am starting a project to collect as many stories as possible on international cat travel. If you have travelled with your cat(s) internationally, we need to talk! Please get in touch here!