How To Travel With Cat From Norway To California

My cat has traveled with me before to USA, and other countries as well; he’s a real globetrotter-cat! 🙂

Here’s some general information about what you need to do before you can travel with your cat to California, and how my own experience has been with traveling with pets from Scandinavia.

I strongly suggest that you contact Jordbruksverket in Sweden, or Mattilsynet in Norway for exact requirements as they may change over time.

It’s very very important that you have all papers in order before you travel with pets, and also note that the rules might differ depending on different countries and states.

For example, to take your cat with you to Hawaii is a very expensive and long process that requires quarantine, and I don’t know about you, but that is not something I would want my own pets to go through. Just a thought.

Be sure to get accurate information before you travel anywhere.

You can also contact a veterinarian of course, but they will probably ask you to contact Mattilsynet or Jordbruksverket if they are not used to handling pet travels. 

So, how did I do this?

Well; I’ve got passports to my cats (Bless Your Soul My Beloved Medusa: when I decided to move to Spain many years ago.

The process of getting a passport takes a few months, and you need to think of this as a process that will take about six months in total, depending on if the blood-test regarding Rabies vaccination comes back positive. If not, then you have to start all over.

  • Your cat needs to have their yearly vaccinations/health control at the same time every year. (in addition to the Rabies vaccination)
  • Your cat needs to get their Rabies shot each year as well (not one single day over the date, this is very important! If your cat has not got their Rabies vaccination within a year every year and exceeds only one day, you will have to start the whole process all over again)
  • The first time your cat is vaccinated against Rabies, you will need to do a blood-test a few months later to see if it has been taken up by the body, and if it has you will get an attest that confirms this. This document is very very important to carry with you at all times when traveling. It’s something you need to get only once, and as long as you take your cat to the vet every year at the same time, it will be valid. 
  • Your cat needs a microchip ID implanted in their neck.

It’s very important that your cat gets the Rabies vaccination in time every year!

Ten days before any travel they need to have their health check (clinical examination) and as long as your cat is healthy you will be able to transport your cat. When you get the documentation of your cat being 100% healthy from the vet you will also need to get your cat a Echinococcus treatment before traveling.

When you arrive to the States you will need to get your cat another Echinococcus treatment, so be sure you go to a vet there within ten days of arriving; very important!

And when leaving California, you will do the clinical examination again, as well as the Echinococcus treatment.

The cats health papers can’t be older than ten days every time you travel.

  • You have to get a valid carrier for your cat.

It has to be large enough for the cat to be able to stand and lie down comfortably, so if you have two cats you should have one carrier each for them, or a huge one where they can both fit. If you are unsure, contact the airport and ask them about their requirements, but always keep in mind that your cat should feel comfortable when traveling. (Duh!:-)

I strongly advice you to write your address and phone number on the carrier as well as I have done, and I have also locks on it so that it can’t be opened without key.

The key is hanging on the carrier-door so that the airport veterinarian can open it easily.

But usually you will be with the vet when he/she examines both the carrier and your cat, and can open and lock the carrier yourself.

But leave the key hanging on the door, because otherwise if they want to have another look for some reason during the travel, they have the right to break the lock, so you might as well have the key available for them.

You will have to have water available for the cat, but not necessarily food.

Sometimes food is not allowed, because if your cat get stressed and chokes or something. Look up that to be absolutely sure. (different airlines my have different rules)

Sedatives for cats is NOT recommended, and not all flights allow that either.

Cats are not like dogs when it comes to sedatives.

Cats are more aware of something happening with them and cats can react with even more stress if given sedatives because they don’t like loosing control. They’re like “uh oh, something weird is happening with me..!”

Dogs are different, they are more happy go lucky with whatever comes. A bit goofy maybe lol! 😀 No, just kidding, I adore dogs <3 But they do react differently.

My cat is used to travel, and he has been cool with it always, so there has not been any issues with that. Remember that as long as they feel you being cool about it, they will trust your vibe.

If you’re cat is kind of stressed from the beginning, there are some options for natural remedies that you can use that is not medical. Ask your vet.

So, how does the actual travel work?

  • Check with your airline company that they allow pets and check for availability (they usually only allow five individual pets per flight) before you buy any tickets. Call them and ask how to do this to be sure.
  • You will have to arrive the airport and have enough time to check your cats in as special baggage/luggage and have your cat examined by the airport veterinary.(they must know you’re coming, so call them and tell them when you are departing etc)

They have always been kind and understanding – I guess they are used to dealing with worried “pet moms and dads” lol:-) I’m a mother hen myself when it comes to my cat, and naturally we want everything to go smoothly.

You will have to leave your cat with the special luggage people and then they will take them to a special room for animals when it’s time to take off.

The room has perfect temperature and light etc in order to make the animals feel comfortable.

A note: If you are traveling from Norway in the middle of the winter and it’s freezing cold, check with your airline company that they allow pet travels to a warmer country.

Sometimes they don’t if there’s a heatwave in CA for example, they don’t want to risk the pet from getting a chock because of the temperature difference. If you are unsure, just call them and ask.

You can take your cat with you to where you sit in the cabin, but I do not recommend that at all.

Your cat will only suffer if you take her/him with you because the space is waaay to small. (There are other carrier requirements for cabin travel, check with airline company)

This option would only work if you are traveling with a small tiny kitten.

Honestly, don’t even think about having the cat with you in the cabin.

But of course, you should not take my word for it; just do your homework beforehand and ask for specific requirements.

It’s much more peaceful for both them and you if they can be in a big enough carrier in their own room in the aircraft.

When arriving in California, they will either have to be picked up at the special luggage place, or they will come out on where the other luggage comes out, or a person will come out with your cat to you.

It has been different every time for me, so what I have done is that I have always asked many people the same question so that everyone knows that I’m traveling with pets and they are always been very helpful. 

And also be sure to ask the flight attendants about how and where you can pick up your cats when arriving to the USA.

It’s the most wonderful things to see them again – a very happy moment! 🙂

You just pick them up and then within ten days of arrival you’ll need to go to a vet and get the Echinococcus treatment once again.

Happy Traveling! 😀

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