The Travelling Cat: Chicago to Dublin, 2011

by | Sep 17, 2014 | The Travelling Cat Project | 0 comments

Every year, hundreds of cats are being left behind when people relocate to another country. The Travelling Cat Project is a collective effort to demystify international cat travel.

Hopefully, by sharing our stories, it will encourage people to relocate with their cat(s).

We believe if you manage to move your personal belongings to a new country, you SHOULD BE able to move your cat(s) with you.

For a full of list of information and stories, please click here.


Today, we will hear the story of Akira & Archie + Fiona who travelled from Chicago to Dublin on 2011. The interesting part of the story is, it has a 5-hour road trip to meet Aer Lingus flight.

Let’s have a look at their story…

back to back Turf Dachshund


Chicago to Dublin


July 2011


“A U.S. expat living in Dublin”

2 Cat+ Dog

Akira & Archie + Fiona


1. Did you use an agent? 

Yes. We used Pet Express (


2. What kind of work did you have to do with vet before your cat was cleared for travelling?

Moving from the U.S. we had to ensure that our cats were tested for and vaccinated against rabies, and also ,microchipped.   The actual order of those three things was very important. We had to get them microchipped, thn tested, then vaccinated, so the chips would be directly tied to the rabies chain of documentation.


3. Was there other paperwork you had to do?

We also had to fill out paperwork for the U.S. Department of Argiculture so they would process andapprove the rabies titre test.


4. How did you travel to your destination? Which carrier did you use?

In order to guarantee a direct flight we actually drove the cats (and our dog) four extra hours in a van to get to Chicago. In Chicago we met our Pet Express contact and handed over the pets who were then placed on an Aer Lingus flight direct to Dublin.

5. How did you book your cat with your carrier? Any specific requirements?

Pet Express handed all arrangements. They are the exclusive agent for Aer Lingus in the U.S. If you are going to fly your pet on Aer Lingus from the U.S., you must use Pet Express without exception

Cat Box

6. How did you prepare your cat box?

Our crates were a standard size dictated by the airline and a regulatory agency. They needed a few extra air holes that I drilled with a standard home drill. We also bought extra water dishes to clip on the front door. These we filled and froze in advance so the water would not spill and they could drink it as the water thawed during the trip. We also had small cardboard disposables given to us by our vet. They fit in the travel crate at the back.

Travel day

7. What were the logistics on travel day?

We drove five hours to Chicago, and had a stash of cheap disposable towels ready to put in the crates if the cats/dog got nervous or carsick and soiled their crates. They all did, and we didn’t bother cleaning the soiled towels. We would simply put clean ones in and threw the cheap old/soiled ones away.

8. Was it easy? Was it difficult?

We’d planned ahead, so it wasn’t too hard. But I think the cats/dog were pretty stressed. So we took time and kept them air conditioned and gave them lots to drink, but no food.

The Journey

9. How is your cat behave during the journey?

They seemed fine. When we arrived at Lissen Hall, the Irish import facility, they were all cleared and waiting for us calmly in their kennels.


10. Any further inspection or procedure on arrival before you could take your cat home with you?

A brief inspection at Lissen Hall, but that’s all. No quarantine.

After travel

11. How did your cat react to the journey?

They seemed to adjust quickly and fit right in.

12. How much did it cost in total? Can you provide a break down if you don’t mind?

We got a total price for two cats and one small dog (so can’t provide a breakdown). Including airfare it was approximately $2,200 USD. I couldn’t find my notes with the exact figure, but that’s within $100USD.

13. Any other information you think other cat people should know if they want to do the same journey?

DO NOT sedate your pets. We got that advice from everyone. Even if you think they’ll be stressed, it’s far worse if they can’t stand up or get to their water because they are too heavily drugged.

Also, do everything possible to fly direct, or at least limit the number of transfers. The real danger is not in-flight problems, it’s trouble on the ground (being left in a too hot or too cold room or luggage cart, etc.)

Thank you very much “A U.S. expat living in Dublin” for sharing your story with us today. He also writes a very interesting blog called “An American in Dublin” talking about his experience as a modern immigrant in Dublin, I follow his blog myself, please go over and say hi!

Have you made similar journey? Have you travelled with your cat(s) internationally? We need to hear from you.  Your stories might give helpful insight to other cat people who are making the same journey. Altogether, we can make effort to make sure less cat(s) left behind. Knowledge is power. 
You don’t have to worry about the writing. We will send you a questionnaire like the one above, you just need to answer them. Please be in touch! 

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I started this blog on 2014.
After working as a cat care professional for several years, I realised that I am in a unique position meeting a lot of interesting cats and their incredible humans.
This blog is their stories.
I also share some tricks of the trade and educational information.
I hope you enjoy. - Where Expats Blog