26 September 2006

Jet-Set Kittens

This week my primary project is to figure out the best way to get Max and Tilly from Kansas City to Switzerland.

For those of you who have not been formally introduced, Max and Tilly are our 9 month old kittens. Max is the orange tabby and Tilly is the brown tabby/calico mix. They are litter mates and constantly in each other's company.

Max and Tilly will be moving with us to Zurich, thus becoming jet setters. Although I suspect that if they had the choice, they would be perfectly happy to skip the trip and stay right where they are, thank you very much.

But it is not their choice, is it?

So here is the break-down of what I learned...

Switzerland has a pretty easy import process from countries that have controlled urban rabies (i.e. US and most of the Western world). We just need to bring a health certificate and proof of vaccinations. Pet permits are only required when coming from countries in Africa or Asia, where rabies is not yet controlled. Although we will get an official permit for them. Switzerland doesn't require it, but the American airlines won't let us on the plane without one.

Northwest, Swiss Air and United allow cats & dogs weighing under 15 pounds in the cabin, but not right next to each other. (Although the representative from Swiss Air said they relax this if the flight isn't full and you want to move your seats after take-off.)

Continental and American do not allow them in the cabin on international flights. They must go cargo. Unacceptable option!

One interesting note -- it is against the law to "alter" a pet in Switzerland. Meaning no tail or ear docking, declawing, etc. (Spaying and Neutering are allowed.) Therefore, you cannot bring an altered animal into the country unless the animal is with their owner and the altering took place at least 3 months before arrival. That is to prevent people from either importing altered animals for sale or taking Swiss animals out of the country to alter and then returning them.

Max and Tilly are indoor-only cats and we had them declawed, but it has been more than 3 months. So we can bring them.

I'm kinda looking forward to seeing what a Doberman looks like in its unaltered state...


Heather said...

"I'm kinda looking forward to seeing what a Doberman looks like in its unaltered state..."

There are two in our old neighborhood. They look like skinny labs - big floppy ears, long skinny tails.


The Big Finn said...

We shipped our dog and cat from Chicago to Zurich in 2000. They were in the cargo hold. Our dog was totally fine, but our cat was a little freaked out for a couple of months afterward.
You might want to check about the health certificate. I seem to recall that our dog and cat both needed rabies shots more than ten days, but less than 30 days, prior to being shipped to CH. I can't remember the exact number of days, but it was something very specific like that. Check with your vet.
Also, they needed to be re-vaccinated with 30 days of arriving in Switzerland.
Perhaps the rules have changed since 2000.

carly said...

hey woman!
one of my college roommates is living in germany and went through the process of bringing her dog. I don't know how similar germany and switzerland are, but let me know if you want her contact info!--carly

Expat Traveler said...

your little guys are so adorable! WE've got a 6 month old male who is a riot here. His name is spunk. I guess the TBF has some great info on animals.