Traveling Overseas with a Pet


As you may know, my husband and I moved overseas from San Diego, California to Naples, Italy for my husband’s job. Our cat, Norbert, is a huge part of our little family, so it wasn’t even a question of whether or not we would bring him with us. After talking with the vet and doing tons of research on what shots we needed and such, we made the 20+ hour trip to Italy. So I thought I’d share what I learned throughout this process, and make sure to start early!

Of course, flying into every country is a little different, but traveling into the EU is pretty similar country to country. We were lucky enough that we have a cat, so we were able to keep him under out set for the duration of our flights. Norbert is a fairly quiet cat and keeps to himself most of the time (unless he wants to be fed). He also is very antisocial and hides anytime people would come over to our apartment. So we knew that Norbert would be pretty calm and quiet most of the trip. I had also made a three road day trip from Tennessee to San Diego with Norbert when we moved out to California where he slept most of the time while we were in the car. However, because we were flying this time we made the decision to get some calming medicine from the vet for the duration of our travel time. Norbert is a pretty nervous cat, so I also purchased these lavender calming collars that are good for 30 days at a time to have on him. I have used these on Norbert a few time in the past, especially when we had house guests at our San Diego apartment. I don’t think that I could say enough great things about these collars, if you have a pet that is nervous at all, you need them!


One of the other saving graces for traveling with a cat was the carrier that we purchased. I spent wayyyy to much time looking at pet carriers and didn’t know where to start or what to get. I had purchased a small cat carrier off Amazon, turns out it was way to small for Norbert. I should also mention that Norbert is a 13 lb cat. So he’s pretty big for your average cat. After returning the first carrier I made a trip to a San Diego local pet store at the lady that owns to store recommended Sherpa. The Sherpa carrier is a little more expensive than your average carrier, but it’s worth every penny. The thing that I love about this carrier is that it’s a soft case, so even if the foot space on a smaller plane is less than what you are normally used to, the case will bend to accommodate the slight difference.

I also want to mention that if you are crating you pet, make sure to crate them a few times before you start your travels, so your pet is familiar and comfortable with the carrier your pet will be spending many hours in. Make sure to check with the airline beforehand so make sure the airline doesn’t have any unexpected regulation for carriers. Before we left San Diego, I set up our carrier in the living room and left it open. I would put Norbert in if a few times, and at first he hated it. Eventually he started getting in the carrier on his own and before we left he slept in his carrier most day during this nap times.


If you are traveling/moving to the EU the steps that you need to take are making sure that your pet has a 15 digit microchip. Your pet needs a rabies shot 30 days prior to traveling. If you are getting your pet microchipped and and rabies on the same pet visit make sure that you get the microchip first. The EU only recognizes rabies vaccines that are good for a year, so keep that in mind. Within 10 days of leaving the United States, you need to obtain an international pet certificate so that you pet can travel into the country your traveling to. Not all vets issue international certificates, so make sure you check with your vet a few months in advance.

Norbert has always been an apartment cat, I hadn’t been keeping up on his yearly shots. When I first got him, he had been fixed and got a few shots. However, before we left the states I made sure to get Norbert his feline distemper shot and booster.


Check out USDA for more information, this was the most helpful website I’ve found.





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