Travel Certificates

Taking Your Pet To A Foreign Country

For your cat(s) to fly internationally or domestically, you may need certain verification documents that your cat(s) are healthy and safe for travel. Depending on the destination, your cat(s) may need an exam within a certain timeframe, or specific vaccinations may be needed. If you are planning to fly with your cat(s) please review the following page of info and contact us so we may supply the proper certifications and paperwork needed for your feline’s travel.

APHIS is one of three Federal agencies that you will encounter as you travel with your pet. APHIS Pet Travel Information: If you are taking a pet to another country (permanently or for a visit), contact that country’s consulate or embassy for information about any requirements that you must meet. A listing of consulates can be found at: ( US Department of State website). International health certificates for the export of animals from the United States are completed by the APHIS accredited Manhattan Cat Specialists’ veterinarians who certify animal health status, conducts tests, and records test results for the individual animals being exported. Completed and signed international health certificates for the export of animals from the United States must be endorsed by a Veterinary Services area office in order to be valid. To obtain the USDA endorsement of an international health certificate or any other documents relating to traveling with your pet, the documents must be completed by an APHIS Accredited Veterinarian I.E., the veterinarians at Manhattan Cat Specialists.

The APHIS Area Office for your state can assist you with your questions relating to traveling with your pet, help you locate an Accredited Veterinarian, and inform you of the fee(s) for the USDA endorsement(s). You can locate the VS Area Office for your State at :

Each country may have other specific health requirements for entry of animals. These requirements are established by the importing country, not the United States. Other countries may also have their own certificate format for export. Since export requirements frequently change, obtain the current export requirements. We recommend that you also contact the country’s consulate or embassy to ensure that you have the most current information. Do not rely solely on information provided by brokers and exporters.

Other Federal Web sites: In addition to our web site, you should visit the web sites of the two other Federal agencies that have a role in the import/export of animals: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US Customs Service

Airline Travel With Your Cat

Cats fly every day. Although some unfortunate events occasionally occur, these can be avoided if some simple steps are taken. It is impossible to overemphasize the need to consult with the airline well in advance of your trip. This is essential if you hope to avoid last minute problems. Manhattan Cat Specialists recommends these basic tips for airline travel with your cat: 1. Determine whether the airline has requirements for “acclimation.” In the event that you are unable to secure a direct flight, the pet carrier may be left outside the plane for a period of time. To avoid liability on their part, many airlines require a letter from your veterinarian stating that the pet is acclimated to a minimum or maximum temperature (must be given in precise degree, e.g., 20°F/ -7 C) for a defined period of time. 2. Consult with the airline regarding baggage liability. In some cases, this can include your pet. If you are sending a pet, you may need to consider additional liability insurance. 3. Have your cat examined by your veterinarian in advance of the trip, especially if it has been more than a few months since the last checkup. This is especially important for senior cats. Travel by plane can pose a risk for cats with a pre-existing medical problem, such as heart or kidney disease. Also, some short-faced breeds of cats (Persians, Exotic Shorthairs) do not travel well in certain situations. 4. Be sure that you have written proof of current vaccinations and a health certificate. These cannot be obtained “after the fact.” You must be able to present them on demand. Foreign countries may require a special health certificate that may not be available from your veterinarian. These are usually obtained from the consulate’s office and may take several days to arrive, so plan in advance. Dr. Plotnick is accredited to sign international health certificates, and Manhattan Cat Specialists has the standard international health certificate accepted in most countries. 5. You should also inquire about possible requirements to quarantine your cat should you be traveling to a foreign country. 6. Take direct flights if possible, and try to avoid connections and layovers. Sometimes, this is easier to achieve if the trip is planned during the week. The well-being of your cat could be a source of concern if the baggage connection between flights should be missed and your cat is left on the tarmac in extreme weather. If you’re traveling in hot weather or to a very warm climate, consider a night flight. 7. Some airlines will allow one pet in coach and one in first class, with some provisions. To find out whether there are limitations on the number of animals present in the cabin, you should advise the airline if you plan to travel with your cat in the cabin. Check on the cage dimensions and requirements so that there won’t be a problem stowing the carrier beneath the seat. (Some airlines require that the pet be able to stand in the carrier. A collapsible fabric carrier is suitable for this situation.). Let the person sitting next to you know that you have a cat with you. They may be allergic and want to switch seats with someone else. 8. Consider in advance all medications that you might need for your cat. Some medications, such as insulin, need to be refrigerated. You may need to bring a small cooler, or a plastic zip-loc bag with an ice-pack. Also, give thought to any special diets your cat may need and whether they can be obtained at your destination. 9. If there is any chance that your cat will be out of the carrier, give thought to an appropriate collar or harness and keep a leash with you. If possible, the collar should have a small pet identification tag. Consider having your cat microchipped, as a form of permanent identification.

What Should I Do At The Time Of The Flight?

1.  Do not tranquilize your cat unless you have discussed this with your veterinarian. Cats do not tolerate some medicines well, and giving over-the-counter or prescription pharmaceuticals can be dangerous. In fact, oversedation is the most frequent cause of animal death during airline transport. A new product, Feliway, can be sprayed on a towel in the carrier, to provide a calming effect during transport. Ask the staff at Manhattan Cat Specialists for more details. 2. Make sure that the carrier has permanent identification, including your name, phone number, flight schedule, destination, and phone number at the point of destination. Write the words “LIVE ANIMAL” in letters at least 1” high on the top of the crate and on at least one additional side. 3.  Feed your cat before you leave home. Water should be available at all times, including inside the carrier. If you have a senior cat with marginal kidney function, it is important that it not be deprived of water. Discuss this with your veterinarian. Try to secure a direct flight with no layovers. Your cat should have fresh water after arrival. 4.  Do not lock the door on the carrier. Make sure it’s securely closed, but not locked, so airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency.

What Should I Look For In A Flight Cage?

1.  The cage should provide sufficient room for the cat to stand up and turn around easily, but not so large that the cat can be tossed about inside during turbulence. Remember that airlines have special requirements for onboard carriers.
2.  The walls of the carrier should be waterproof, and strong enough to prevent the sides from being crushed. Also, the flooring of the cage should not allow urine to leak through the bottom. An absorptive underpad (designed for bedridden people with bladder control problems) can be placed in the bottom. See your pharmacist for these. Many pet stores also sell these.
3.  The cage should have sufficient openings for good ventilation.
4.  The cage must have sturdy handles for baggage personnel to use.
5.  The cage should have a water tray, which is accessible from the outside so that water can be added, if needed.Pet stores, breeders, and kennels usually sell cages that meet these requirements. Some airlines also sell cages that they prefer to use.  Check with the airline to see if they have other requirements. Try to familiarize your cat with the travel cage before you leave for your trip. Let your cat play inside with the door both open and closed. This will help eliminate some of your cat’s stress during the trip.

What Plans Should I Make At The Destination Site?

1.  Be sure that your hotel will allow cats.  There are many internet sites and travel guide books with this type of information.

2.  Provide a litter pan and food and water bowls for the hotel room.

3.  Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel door so that housekeeping will not inadvertently let the cat escape.  Plan to have your room cleaned only when you are present.

4.  It is probably best to leave the cat in the carrier or inside the bathroom whenever you plan to leave the room.

5.  Should your cat get lost, contact the local animal control officer.  Consider having your cat microchipped, in case it does get lost.  Manhattan Cat Specialists offers this service.  Ask our staff for details.

Advance Planning is the key to a safe trip with your pet!