How to travel with a cat, part two: medical

VACCINES
Your cat will need an animal passport which differs from the vaccination booklet. Rabies vaccination is required for travelling across any border, even in the EU. EU rabies vaccines are only required every three years. But most countries outside the EU, demand a yearly vaccination. Often they require a rabies blood test to prove there are enough antidotes against rabies in your cats system. The result takes over a week and tests are expensive. You will get an official certificate, don’t lose it! Depending on the country you’ll need a health certificate which has to be stamped by the right authority. In the Netherlands this is the NVWA in Utrecht. You will have to travel to Utrecht with the cats passport and all the papers to get them stamped. You don’t have to bring the cat. And no, you can not take care of this online and yes it costs more money. I did find the NVWA very helpful. Although usually not required for entering another country, make sure your cat is vaccinated against respiratory infection (niesziekte) and the feline panleukopenia virus (kattenziekte). The latter is the most deadly cat virus in the world. Please vaccinate your cat against these two diseases even if you’re not travelling!! Realize that most vaccines need to be kept cool for the vaccine to still work. A lot of the poorer countries have power blackouts, which means no cooling. The bigger vet hospitals usually have this covered, but ask them, to make sure (the same goes for human vaccines) Some countries demand a specific parasite treatment as well. And then, when you finally have all the papers in order, spent a lot of money, gone through all the effort, no one at any border will want to see them…. At least that has been our experience for the past 4 years in 16 different countries. But you just can’t risk it. It will probably be different if you’re flying with your cat. Only a few countries demand a quarantine period, such as Iceland and Australia. Here are two websites with good information about travelling with a pet: pettravel and LIGC.

VETS AND MEDICATION
Talk to your vet about your plans. He or she can advise you on what medication to bring. Of course you’ll need to now how and when to use them. I also advice to take a cats first aid class: https://kattenacademie.nl/events/ehbo-voor-katten/
Vets and medication outside the EU are not always up go the same standard as they are in the Netherlands. In the whole of Albania, for example, only the vet hospital in Tirana is capable of doing something as simple as checking faeces for parasites such as giardiasis. The vets in other cities don’t have any equipment such as a microscope…..A very common and simple test in the Netherlands, usually done by the assistant. You may not be able to get certain types of medication. If you’re cat requires a certain type of medication, stock up before you leave and ask your vet to allow someone else to pick up the cats medication and have it shipped. There are usually also much less vets, meaning you’ll sometimes have to travel for hours or even days to reach one. Take a first aid kit for your cat. This site has a good listing of vets around the world: https://www.veterinby.com. Look up where the nearest vet is every time you’re in a new area. You don’t want to lose valuable time doing this when you’re cat is seriously injured or ill and you’re panicking. Don’t just expect every big town of city to have a vet! I advise to at least bring the following medication, supplements or first aid materials:

  • NSAID such as novacam or metacam
  • Eye cream with chloramphenicol (Cavasan)
  • General antibiotic tablets
  • Finidiar tablets
  • Propolis tincture
  • Some probiotics
  • Norit (activated carbon) tablets
  • Rehydration powder (royal canin)
  • Convalescence powder (royal canin)
  • Syringes to force feed
  • Digital rectal thermometer
  • Flea comb and tick remover
  • Bach rescue remedy or something else calming
  • Bandages
  • Anti parasite treatment against worms, flees and ticks
  • Panacure (against giardiasis), you can also buy a DIY giardiasis snaptest
  • A gel cooling vest and a cooling mat
  • Gel heat pads

To the final part

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