Most of my followers, lately, knowing I am currently preparing to move back to Europe from Mexico after almost five years and an half, asked me on Instagram how I am managing to bring with me the famous (they have more fans than me), Kawa and Gizmo, my two cats, and also my two emotional support animals (ESA) for my epilepsy and my autistic spectrum.
I am not going to state that is a walk on petals of roses but it is not even so dramatic.
Just mind to start with the procedures at least one month prior to your departure.
So, as stated here above, this is what I had to do to be able to bring my cats with me from Mexico to Belgium, this is the normal procedure, regardless if they are ESA pets or “normal” pets.
First of all, check the requirements for your pet.
It depends a lot from what kind of animal it is, and the weight. If it is more than 8 kilos, your pet won’t be able to travel in the cabin with you.
Veterinary and microchips.
Then once you have the list of what the Country where you are directed to asks for, go with your veterinary.
UK is another case, you might want to ask to my best friend Nya on her youtube here https://www.youtube.com/user/LadyNya how she managed to bring her two cats from Dubai to London few months ago.
By the way, to go to Europe you will need:
- A pet passport (which is different from the common carnet they give you)
- The ISO international microchip with 15 digits inserted.
- Must be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases. The rabies vaccination cannot be performed until puppies or kittens are 12 weeks old, and there is a mandatory 21-day waiting period after the first vaccination, you must wait until your pet is 15 weeks old before bringing them into the country. (The 21-day waiting period only applies to first vaccinations, not boosters). Very important: Your pet must have a rabies vaccination after the chip is placed and at least 21 days before your flight departs. This is the case even if your pet already has a valid rabies vaccination.
- Your veterinary will have to write a certified document where he or she states that the pet is perfectly healthy and able to travel with you.
Done? Ok. Now this was the easiest part, here it comes the wild one: finding a bag to transport your pets with you in case you decided to flight with them.
I tried by searching online with really poor results, ending up that unfortunately the most I was checking, were either wrong sizes or not comfortable for Kawa and Gizmo.
Every airline has specific sizes as it has to fit under the seat in front of you, check it on the website of the airline you are going to fly with and then good luck in finding one. I found one in a pet shop in the center of Mexico City.
Mind to buy training pads to put them inside the bag during the trip in case of “bathroom emergencies”, my advice is to stop giving them food and water two hours prior to fly, and bring dry food with you in case the flight is going to be long. You do not really wanna end up cleaning your cat or dog and the bag in the tiny bathroom of the plane.
You will also need to put your pet on a leash. Dogs are easy on this but cats is like summoning the Devil itself. On my behalf, I am already sorry for the scratches you are going to deal with on this part. I feel you. But it is a matter of safety for you and for your cat: you don’t wanna end up running after him or her in the airport.
So, when it comes to the metal detector and x rays, you will have to take out your pet from the bag, hold him/her in your arms, pass the metal detector, put back your pawsy baby in the bag and you will be good to go.
With mine, was a decent experience as Kawa being an adult therapy pet, is basically a plushie. She let me do her anything. Or almost anything.
Gizmo is a five months old gremlin thing, so with her the approach was just like when you scare a goat. I put her harness on, and Gizmo went on one side, then she tried to eat it as she does with almost everything that crosses her path, to end up with me literally buying her good will by giving her a can of her favorite food as a prize for keeping the harness on.
This is REALLY IMPORTANT: let your pets get used to the bag you are going to use to transport them, as much as try to make them link the leash and the harness lead to receiving prizes such as food and cuddles. My cats are currently using the bags as beds.
So, as you see, you will need more or less a month to get ready to fly with your furry babies, but it is worth it every single dime.
NOTE FOR ESA PET: most flight companies due to the abuse of this category (people were trying to bring mini horses, iguanas and every kind of pet as Emotional Support Animals), even though you show up with your medical certificate, are going to charge you in any case.
My flights for Kawa and Gizmo costed me 200USD each, with Turkish Airlines but they have been super nice to us, what changes is that I am authorized to take them out from the bag during the flights with the only condition that their leashes have to be hooked to my safety belt.