Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Travelling with a cat/dog/pet from Cairo to Europe

Trailing Grouse has been having problems with her blog, but she wanted me to post this information on my blog to help other people travelling with pets. Below is her experience.

I just read your post about travelling from Cairo with a cat. I just did it to Europe and when I was looking online for information on this, it was difficult to find it in one place. I tried to leave a comment, but it was too long, so am sending you this and perhaps you could post it?

I just travelled to Paris from Cairo with a cat I bought in Egypt. I used Egyptian Mao Rescue Organisation (EMRO) - they deal with all cats, but specifically rescue and adopt Mao cats.

To go to the EU the cat needs
1) a certificate from an EU lab proving it is has rabies antibodies and
2) papers from the Ministry of Agriculture. The certificate, remains valid as long as the animal is annually vaccinated with a record (so you can do this at any time and if you need to leave Egypt suddenly, there is no problem).

Within 6 months to 30 days after vaccination, EMRO takes the cat's blood sample and sends it to a German lab. This sample needs to be taken at least 90 days before departure from Egypt to avoid quarantine in the EU.

Basically, start planning 4 months before departure. The Ministry of Agriculture papers need to be obtained within 10 days before departure. The Ministry is closed on Thursday and Friday. EMRO handled all the paperwork with the Ministry of Agriculture. They have connections there because they do this frequently for cats that are adopted by overseas cat lovers, so know how to get this done quickly.

Air France allow a cat in a soft bag/box with a combined weight of under 5kg in the cabin if pre-booked and it costs US$200 (payable upon check in - our cat was 6.5kg with bag and there wasn't a problem though). It must stay in the soft box the entire time it is in the plane. I bought a cheap soft box on Road 9 that the cat managed to rip the entire side seam just before getting on the plane, so I would recommend buying something really strong (a few people have since highly recommended Sherpa bags).
Kim's Note: I have a Sherpa bag and it is excellent, very strong and supple and ideal if you are taking your pet inside the cabin or to the vet. For longer car journeys and journeys in the luggage compartment, I prefer my hard case IATA approved one.

I bought a lead on a chest harness for my cat a year or so ago and would put the harness on him periodically in the house to get him used to it (giving treats when it was on etc). I kept the harness on him in the travel box and when we had to get him out (security), I attached the lead before bringing him out, just in case he went crazy and tried to flee.

I did not sedate the cat, although he was highly stressed (shy cat and doesn't like strangers - not good in an airport) because I heard that if some customs officials see a dopey cat/animal, they are required to retain them to confirm it is sedated and not sick. This is particularly a problem if animal is in the pressurised hold and there is a connecting flight, because the airport vets see the animal without you and need to sign off before putting it on the next flight.

Incidentally, EMRO send cats all over the world, so are quite brushed up on what paperwork is required in different countries so could be helpful for non-EU destinations.

It's rather long, sorry, but it was so hard to piece together all the information online and would just like to save other people from the stress I had at an already stressful time!


Thanks TG for providing all this information.
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