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There was no doubt that my cat, Uttam, would travel with us. The question was — how? It was a learning experience for us, and I’m sharing this with other readers.
Many Indians have pets, but not many know what are the things a pet-parent needs to prepare for before travelling with their fur-babies, especially for a flight travel.
Friends know me as a crazy cat lady. I’m a proud momma to Uttam, my impish furball. This article is for all those pet parents who want to take their babies with them during relocation. It’s not a comprehensive to-do list, but a recollection of my experiences when I left Chennai for Jamshedpur to join my husband.
Uttam, was 45 days old when we adopted him from Blue Cross, Velachery, Chennai. Soon, my husband got transferred to Jamshedpur while I stayed behind to sort out things with my organization. The day arrived when I had to bid goodbye to the capital of Tamil Nadu.
There was no doubt in our minds that Uttam would travel with us. The question was — how? It was a learning experience for us, and I’m sharing this with other readers. Also, since I travelled by flight, I’m concentrating on that.
Uttam, being an indie cat, faced no hassles. Most airlines do not accept exotic breeds. If you own a Persian or Shitzu, you might have to look at alternative means of transportation. Call your airlines to be absolutely certain about their guidelines.
At present, only Air India allows pets. If it’s overseas travel, it’s prudent to check with the airlines for pet regulations. Check multiple times, so that no complications arises on the day of the travel.
Buy a pet carrier and make sure your cat gets used to it. Start this practice at least a month before the actual travel. Doing so at the last moment can be traumatic for your pet, hence familiarize them to their carrier as early as possible.
A couple of days before the travel, take your cat to the vet to obtain a health certificate. The details should contain details of the pet — like name, type, breed, the colour of the coat, distinctive markings etc.
Please ensure that the certificate has the letterhead and stamp of the clinic. In my case, the doctor had forgotten to stamp the letter. Fortunately, the airlines allowed it. And get your pet vaccinated against rabies.
Stop feeding your pet a day before they travel. This step is for its well-being, as the cat might throw up during the tumultuous journey. It’s heartbreaking, but you’ve to be firm. Please go to the airport at least three hours before departure. There are a lot of formalities that need to be taken care of before your pet travels with you.
Airlines allow the pet in the cabin if its weight along with the carrier doesn’t exceed five kilograms. Otherwise, the pet travels in the cargo. My Uttam weighed seven kilos.
If your pet travels in the cabin, prepare yourself for any eventuality. Most passengers get irritated by a bawling infant. I’m sure you know what they’ll do to a meowing kitten.
You have to sign an undertaking stating the pet is your responsibility. After getting approval from the pilot, the airlines will charge an amount for your pet. It was 3000 Rs for us.
There’s one final hassle before the travel begins. The pet carrier needs to be scanned by the airport. Since the X-Rays are harmful to the cat, you must take it out of the cage, for that prepare a harness or cat-collar. After the scan, your pet is ready for the flight. The airport officials will take care of your baby now.
It ended well for me. It’s been six months, and Uttam has adapted well to the new city.
Relocating with a pet in tow is full of hassles. But it’s worth it. Please don’t abandon your baby, and look for alternate means of transport if it’s not working out. There’s no excuse for leaving behind a pet.
Image source: Svannah In Harness, published with permission from Ranjana Sharma, edited on CanvaPro
I am an IT professional, lost in the monotonous world of Excel. So, I seek refuge in Word, pun intended.
I write for various literary platforms and have quite a few anthologies to my credit.
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