When we decided to move to California, we figured out really fast that shipping our furniture and personal items by container would be too expensive. We would have to sell the most we could on our French Craigslist and to put all we wanted to take with us in four large suitcases. And we’ve known from the beginning that our Norwegian cats would be part of our trip.
I did some research on the required conditions to take our cats to the other side of the world and I thought it would be nice to share this here :
– According to AirFrance policy, your animal can fly with you if its weight (plus the kennel) doesn’t exceed 8 kg. However, no one checked their weight at the airport.
– Be careful ! The travel crate cannot be larger than 115 cm (H+W+L), I recommend you to take a bag or a kennel smaller than the limit, because ours, which were exactly 115 cm and airline approved, didn’t fit under our seats. Yes ! We looked very stupid when we sat on the plane, which was crowded, and we didn’t know what to do with our big, cumbersome crates on our knees. We finally switched our seats with too other passengers,
and we sat on a 2 seats row behind a 3 seats row. One kennel fit miraculously under my seat and we put the second one behind the third seat. Without this stoke of luck, we could have been forced to take another plane.
– It’s one animal per person, Lucky for us ! We are two and we own two cats.
– The health check requirements are pretty uncleared, AirFrance informed us that the vaccinations and anti-rabies would have to be done and that we would have to get them a passeport with a good health certificate written 5 days before the big day, but the California State doesn’t mention anything on that, so we just followed the airport recommendations and did everything listed.
That said, no one checked their health records, neither at Paris, nor at San Francisco airport.
– Walking through the security check was, maybe, the most delicate thing we had to do because the kennel had to pass through the x-rays, without the cat inside, it’s better. It means that you have to remove the cat from the crate and, of-course, take off its harness to pass through the security gate.
I did several nightmares where I was running after my cats in the entire airport. But finaly, everything went fine, we just held them tight and put them back in their crates as fast as possible.
– We put some puppy pads in their kennel and in our bag just in case, and in order to avoid “incidents”, we removed food the night before.
– I was afraid our cats meows would disturb the entire plane, but the ambiant noise was so loud that we could barely hear them. People were just delighted to see two cats in a plane and really friendly with us.
Taking our cats with us was the part I was the most stressed about, but finally, they were adorable from the beginning to the end (20 hours door to door). And they even waited for us to go buy a litter box to relieve themselves.