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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be bringing my cat to France with me. I?ll have all of his required health documents with me. He will be riding in-cabin with me, in his airline-approved carrier, placed under the seat in front of me. I will have a window seat in the ?Comfort Plus? section of a Delta plane.

We will be flying into Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris and then staying at the pet-friendly Novotel that is basically attached to the airport. The next morning, we will take the TGV to Avignon. I have my train ticket, but I think I have to wait to pay the pet fee until I am actually at the station.

Does anyone have any advice/words of wisdom for me for the trip? He is a nervous kitty when it comes to traveling, so the vet recommended Buprenex for him to ease his anxiety. She said that it is safe for cats who are flying. Has anybody had any experience with this med? We are going to test it out this week, in preparation for the flight in late November. I so wish i didn?t have to put him through the trauma of traveling, but I do know that most cats do ok...
 

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I can't comment on the medication as my vet recommended no meds in order to avoid injury if my cat fell awkwardly in his cage while woozy. My cat travelled on two flights and was a little traumatised, but he was fine after a couple of weeks in his new French home. Good luck!
 

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I was also advised not to give the cats any sort of tranquilizer for the flight. Cats react funny to those sorts of medications and at high altitudes, they can have different effects altogether.

If you think you kitty will have anxiety problems, have some Valerian (a plant product used to calm cats) or even Dr. Bach's Rescue for animals. My one cat loves the Valerian drops - you can either give them directly to the cat from the dropper, or put them on the cat's bedding. I guess it's just the smell that soothes them without tranquilizing them. (It's actually a stimulant something like catnip - but it makes them feel less anxious, and that's what you're after.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I was also advised not to give the cats any sort of tranquilizer for the flight. Cats react funny to those sorts of medications and at high altitudes, they can have different effects altogether.

If you think you kitty will have anxiety problems, have some Valerian (a plant product used to calm cats) or even Dr. Bach's Rescue for animals. My one cat loves the Valerian drops - you can either give them directly to the cat from the dropper, or put them on the cat's bedding. I guess it's just the smell that soothes them without tranquilizing them. (It's actually a stimulant something like catnip - but it makes them feel less anxious, and that's what you're after.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I feel your anxiety as this experience is fresh in our minds. In many ways, we worried and planned more for our two cats, than we did for ourselves. The cats basically had their own duffel bag for the trip. We traveled, first from our home in Colorado, by van, to Chicago (three days travel, with five days R&R in Chicago), so we could catch a direct flight from the US to France, five days in central Paris at a pet-friendly hotel, and then took the TGV from Paris to Montpellier. We traveled with two cats, one of whom is 19 years old. Both traveled in-cabin with us on United, which does not have a weight restriction - important since our younger cat is . . . fat.

Both cats arrived safely and not physically worse for the wear, though neither of them was converted to the joy of international travel.

We were advised to NOT drug the cats. However, we were referred to Rescue Remedy, "adult" strength, available in natural foods grocers, e.g. Whole Foods, for a fraction of the price you'd pay for the same item for animals in a pet store. A couple of drops squirted onto her gums just before departure to the airport. Our older cat fared pretty well with this treatment. We forgot the treatment for the relatively modest 3 hour train ride to Montpellier, and she was more agitated on the train than the 8 hours of flying.

The cats are enjoying life in the south of France. Phoebe, our 19-year old, is curled up next to me, purring as I write this. This can work.

By the way, taking the cats on the train was only an additional 7 euros apiece. At CDG, nobody even asked to see or cared to look at our pet passports, documentation of examination and verification by our US veterinarians. Let me know if there is something else I can add to help you in your travels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much for all of the helpful info. I do have one question. How did the kitties do with the TSA check in Chicago? Did you get to take them to a separate room, or was that unnecessary? I think my cat will need to be taken into a separate room when we go through TSA in Atlanta, as he is an escape artist. Any helpful hints on getting through TSA? That will be the only time he?ll have to be out of his carrier, correct?

And one more question: Did your kitties have water or ice cubes during the trip? I was thinking of bringing a little eye dropper or something like that so that I could give him a little water. I?d have to open up the carrier a tiny bit, though, to get the dropper through.

I just got done doing a trial run (well, drive) with the Buprenex. It helped a little on the half hour drive to our destination, but the meds had worn off quite a bit on the way back home (about 2 hours later). He yowled the whole time and peed in his carrier, poor little guy. As soon as he got home and out of his carrier, though, he was happy as a bug, as if nothing had happened. So I?m glad he bounced back to his old self right away. He didn?t seen traumatized. He?s just so miserable during the journey.

I think I will try the Rescue Remedy on the next drive and then the valerian root. I?m afraid that with the Buprenex plus decreased oxygen/high altitude in the plane, that he could have trouble breathing. I would be so worried the whole flight....I appreciate everyone?s suggestions. So nice to hear about all of your experiences.
 

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I think I will try the Rescue Remedy on the next drive and then the valerian root. I?m afraid that with the Buprenex plus decreased oxygen/high altitude in the plane, that he could have trouble breathing. I would be so worried the whole flight....I appreciate everyone?s suggestions. So nice to hear about all of your experiences.
I think that's an excellent plan. I'd be very wary of any sort of tranquilizer. I know my Siamese cat (long gone now) used to get really cranky when she was coming out of any sort of anesthetic because she felt herself "out of control" - hissing and growling when her legs wouldn't do what she wanted them to. (Admittedly, she was a bit of a control freak.)

Rescue is much more calming. Valerian root is strange - it's used here to calm cats, especially in spray form, but it's allegedly a mild stimulant, similar to catnip. I guess it just makes cats feel good or something. You could also look into the spray form of that Feliway stuff that is hormonal and supposed to make cats feel safe (assuming you can get a small spray bottle onto the plane these days).

As far as water goes, the pet transport company I used (long ago) said that they treat the flight like the fasting period before surgery. Don't give the cat food or water before the flight (they'll just barf it up if they get upset). When you get where you're going, let the cat out in a controlled area before offering any food or water. But when a cat goes in for surgery of any sort, they often aren't fed for a good 24 hours or more. It should be all right.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Does anyone have any advice/words of wisdom for me for the trip? He is a nervous kitty when it comes to traveling, so the vet recommended Buprenex for him to ease his anxiety. She said that it is safe for cats who are flying. Has anybody had any experience with this med? We are going to test it out this week, in preparation for the flight in late November. I so wish i didn?t have to put him through the trauma of traveling, but I do know that most cats do ok...
Two tips from the realm of the bizarre: First, at the departing airport (SFO), US Homeland Security insisted on taking us back to the search room to examine our cat. The guy was not wearing gloves and when he stuck his hand in the carrying case to grab her, she bit him, so there was a brouhaha. So insist that they wear gloves and allow a little extra time for the cat inspection fiasco. Second, don't let your cat out of the carrying case in the airplane's toilettes. A small animal might be able to slip under the plastic soffits into the airframe and, in any case, is difficult to extract.
 

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Does anyone have any advice/words of wisdom for me for the trip? He is a nervous kitty when it comes to traveling, so the vet recommended Buprenex for him to ease his anxiety. She said that it is safe for cats who are flying. Has anybody had any experience with this med?
We brought our dog with us in September. In a carrier, under the seat, dosed on doggie valium. She slept the entire trip and customs/immigration didn't even bother to look at her or her papers upon arrival at CDG, which was almost annoying considering the amount of effort we went through to get them...
YMMV.
 

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We brought two cats to France from California last year. I agree that any drugs are not good, and we used regular Rescue Remedy. We had a peepee pad in each carrier, but neither of them were interested in eating, drinking, or peeing.

For the X-ray/security part... We had a harness on them, not just a collar. Our carrier has a hook on it to attach to that. When we got to X-ray, I opened the carrier, attached a leash, then detached the carrier hook. Sent the carrier through the X-ray, with my bags, shoes, etc. I had to hold her and wait to go through the regular X-ray machine (not the all encompassing one). They also swabbed my hands (as I was holding her- ha!). Then I had to wait (!) for the people in front of me to get their stuff from the conveyor as security was taking a while with their bags.

Then, I put her back in the carrier and attached the hook, and detached the leash. Then went to the gate & waited for my flight.
Had a window seat and after take off took her carrier out from under the seat and put it next to me in the empty middle seat. reached my hand in to pet her a bit but she mostly slept the whole time.

At the french end, no one needed any paperwork or even acknowledged that I had an animal.

I DID bring benadryl & other human meds to give to anyone who may be sitting near me and laergic to cats! but, no one seemed to notice she was even there except the guy on the aisle seat.

The next month my husband did the same thing with our other cat. He was a bit louder but basically same procedure all the way.
Good luck!
 

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Just another note... when you get here and are settled, get the paperwork from a vet to get the cat chip number into the european system, as that doesn't happen automatically.
Also, rabies shots in france are only good for one year, as opposed to the US ones that are good for three years, so keep that in mind too.
 

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Also, rabies shots in france are only good for one year, as opposed to the US ones that are good for three years, so keep that in mind too.
Things are changing in France ref rabies vaccination in cats. This page explains how, depending on the vaccine chosen, how the jab can last 3 years if the correct procedure is followed.

https://www.anivetvoyage.com/conseils-sante/vaccin/96-vaccin-rage.html

Basically Ist jab this year, 2nd jab at end of year 1 - then no jabs for 3 years.

Sue
 

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I have travelled 4 times with my cat to Buenos Aires. At the airports be sure that you have a collar. This way when you take them out when you go through the scanner you can control with your finger under the collar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just an update to say we made it! Surprisingly, it was the car ride to the airport that was the worst part. Kitty was inconsolable, meowing for an hour straight. Once we got inside the airport, though, he said not a peep. I think he was too scared to meow. He had peed in his carrier in the car, so during the TSA check (I requested a private screening room to make sure he didn’t escape into the airport) I was able to take out the soiled carrier pad (DryFur brand) and put in a new, clean one. I was so glad I had the chance to do that. The TSA staff were rushing me, so that wasn’t pleasant, but we made it through. Instead of trying to escape from my arms during the TSA check, my cat just clung to me for dear life, poor little guy.

We flew to Atlanta airport where I thought we’d have to be TSA screened again, but it turns out we didn’t have to go through any screening! We just walked to our gate. Boy, was that a relief! We had about a 3 hour layover in ATL, but it went by very quickly. Again, no meowing. He was in pretty much of a catatonic state, tbh. We flew non-stop to Paris (Charles De Gaulle airport) and he meowed for only the last half hour of the flight. People couldn’t hear him, though, due to the sound of the plane engine. We were sitting next to a nice man who liked cats and was very sympathetic to our situation.

Once at CDG airport, we simply followed the herd through customs. As some of the writers above mentioned, no one asked us for vet papers or USDA documents. We took a little train to the Novotel where he enjoyed his long-awaited meal, did some stretching, used his brand new travel litterbox, explored the hotel room, and then got many hours of sleep.

Next morning, we went to the TGV station where I bought him a train ticket (7 euros—I didn’t tell him that the ticket had him listed as “Chien”). We took the 3-hour train ride to Avignon. The ticket-taker referred to him “Le Tigre” and he got some positive attention from the passengers. He meowed for only the last half hour of the trip. When the meowing started, we just moved to the cell phone area by the bathrooms.

When we arrived to our new home in Fontvieille, he slinked around the house, exploring, then ate some Purina Gourmet cat food (he loves it!). It took him a couple days to adjust, and now he seems to be feeling quite at home. :eek:)

Just FYI: We went through 3 DryFur Cat carrier liners during the trip. It was just enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
P.S. 1) I did give my cat some Buprenex to sedate him an hour before the car ride, but I don’t think it was very effective. Also, while in the car, he was able to wiggle out of his Thundershirt because I didn’t close it tightly enough. He ended up peeing a lot on his Thundershirt, so I decided to throw it away instead of subjecting passengers to the smell of cat pee. I didn’t have him wear a collar or harness because he absolutely hates them. I was lucky that I was able to get a private screening.
 

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Poor Kitty is definitely jet lagged. Give him a few days to recover. But it sounds like he has done well.

The sedatives never seem to work well with cats. I know my Siamese was something of a control freak and if she was sedated, she realized that she was not fully in control so she got very aggressive - or maybe just crabby.

Give a shout if you need a good online source of cat food or other cat products.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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For cat food and supplies, try this place: Nourriture animaux et Accessoires animaux - Animalerie en ligne zooplus

If your French isn't up to it yet, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at their UK site. It's all the same stuff and I think it's all shipped from Germany anyhow. Someone here on the forum actually suggested this a while ago and in following up on it, I became a fan.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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+1 I'm a big fan of Zooplus and so is our 19 year old cat :)
It's possible you were the person who suggested it. Now that we're up to three cats, it's so much more practical to do my monthly order of cat food online and just let them deliver it to me at home than to schlep all that stuff home from the grocery store. Besides, where else are you going to find exotic flavors of cat food - like reindeer, elk and "salmon and mussels" - in tetrapak style boxes?

They also stock Cat Dancers, which are probably the best cat toy ever made.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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