Travel Plans and Preparations with a Cat

It’s almost mid-February and time is FLYING. 

As many of you know, I’m going to be moving from Ukraine to Texas with my family within the next six to eight weeks and my purrents have a very long to-do list to take care of. 

In this article, I’m going to cover some of those items that pertain to ME to fill you in on my journey and maybe provide some more information to anyone who is thinking about moving internationally in the future. 

Our Checklist for Moving Internationally With a Cat

1. Purchase an airline approved pet carrier – DONE

One of the first things my meowm did was order me an airline approved pet carrier from Amazon. We were originally going to buy a SleepyPod Air, but after reading a few concerning reviews that reported issues with air ventilation, we decided to go with another top-rated carrier. To be fair, I have not used the SleepyPod and have not had the chance to test it out first-hand. We have heard great things about it, but we didn’t want to take the risk given the length of our trip (17 hours in the air). 

After looking at tons of products and reading dozens of reviews, we purchased this carrier from Smiling Paws Pets about a month ago. We like it because it has plenty of mesh for ventilation and it expands on all four sides to give me more space while waiting in airports and even in flight. We will be doing a full review of the carrier at the end of the trip! 

Me in my carrier 😾

2. Purchase a pet harness – DONE

I had never worn a harness before in my life. In fact, I had ever only worn a dress and a few hats for 2.5 seconds. The truth is I hated the vest in the beginning. Actually, I still hate it, but now I can walk a little bit better in it.

My meowm puts the vest on me for a little while every day to help me get used to wearing it. She also put the leash on me and tried to walk me around the house, but it was no use. I wouldn’t budge. Overall, the vest that we purchased is very cute and sturdy, and it comes with a leash. You can get it from Amazon here

Getting used to my harness

3. Purchase a portable litter box – DONE

My purrents are so worried that I wont have a place to go to the bathroom while on the trip, but my meowm found a portable, foldable litter box on Amazon. This will be good to keep in our bag along with small pouches of fresh litter so that I can use the bathroom during the journey. Our plan is set it up in a pet relief area and hope that I actually use the bathroom. It will also come in handy if we decide to stop at a hotel midway or if we experience long delays. You can get the portable litter box here

Folded up portable litter box
Expanded foldable litter box

4. Get my pet passport – Not Done

Yes, I need a passport to travel internationally, just like the hoomans. It’s going to have my picture and all of my biographic information, too. I’m going to need to obtain this before I can move onto the other medical steps below. Here is what the passport might look like. Oh, and it’s likely going to cost my purrents hundreds of dollars. 

5. Get chipped and vaccinated – Not Done

I need a rabies vaccine and a few others as well as a microchip before I will be permitted to leave Ukraine. I am NOT looking forward to this part. In fact, I wouldn’t mind not going to Texas if I could skip it altogether.

6. Obtain my health certificate – Not Done

In order to board the airplanes and leave the country, I’m going to need a health certificate that verifies my good health from a state veterinarian. This will need to be obtained at least thirty days after the rabies vaccination. We will also need to get another health certificate within ten days of travel.

P.S. My purrents will also need to provide negative coronavirus tests to board the flights.

7. Book flights – Not Done

We can’t book our flights until we get items 4 and 5 done, and we can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to fly until we book the flights and arrange accommodations. Of course, I will be flying in the cabin with my purrents, but some airlines have limitations on how many animals can be in a single flight, which species can fly together, and whether animals can fly if someone on board is allergic. 

This makes everything a bit more complicated, so it’s important that we make arrangements well in advance.

8. Apply for apartment in home destination – DONE!

We are in a tricky time my furriends. My purrents will need to rent an apartment in advance and make sure the apartment is ready to move into when we arrive at our destination in Texas. Both my meowms’ parents have their own cats and more importantly, the COVID situation requires that my purrents self-isolate for two weeks after arrival before they see anybody.

My meowm recently put in an application at a lovely apartment complex, so we hope that they can sort it out and get the application approved before we travel. 

On a positive note, I am very much looking forward to having more space! Our current apartment is so cluttered with the landlord’s broken furniture, and there is hardly any room for my purrents’ stuff. My purrents also promised to buy me a big cat tree and lots of awesome toys in the new place! 

9. Buy puppy pads and calming treats – Not Done

Some of the best advice that furriends have given me is to buy calming treats to help me relax during the flight. My meowm was recommended this brand, and we still need to order them online and test them out before the trip. Puppy pads are also a must since I will not be wearing a diaper. We may also purchase some portable pet bowls for food and water. 

All of this needs to be done within the next six to eight weeks, and there is actually a lot more to do. If you’re interested in what my hoomans have to do for themselves, here’s a short list: 

1. Sort through things and ship items to destination: Before the move, we need to sort through our things and decide what to give away, what to throw away, what to take during the trip, and what to ship before the trip. We’re leaving much of our stuff behind with my grandmeowther, but since we don’t have a car, this feels like a monumental task. 

2. Set up the apartment in Texas: My grandmeowther and grandpaw in Texas are going to help my meowm set up the apartment in Texas with a few basic things before they arrive including a litter box, some cat food, and basic toiletries. They may also be there to receive a mattress delivery so that my purrents have somewhere to sleep, or they might leave an air mattress.  

3. Buy new luggage: Currently, we only have a few small carry-on suitcases which probably won’t be big enough for a lot of the things we want to bring with us. Since we will be checking luggage as well, we need bigger bags so we can travel with the personal belongings that we don’t want to ship. 

4. Move into an AirBnB: We need to wrap things up with our landlord and move out because we don’t want to deal with handing over the key the day of travel. (He’s a little crazy and fanatical about examining the house to make sure we didn’t break anything. Actually, he’s been known to break things and then accuse us of breaking them just to demand a few dollars from us. Yeah…)

It is a lot to plan, but we are taking it one day at a time. Let me know if you have any questions about traveling internationally with a pet 😸

If you have traveled internationally with a cat, feel free to leave advice for us in the comments!! 

You can also subscribe to my blog for more content like this and be sure to check out my Instagram @cathy_permakitten before you go!

2 thoughts

  1. This is such detailed and important information!!!! Thank you for sharing it!!! We can’t wait for you to be on this side of the ocean with us!! 😻🖤


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