Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 9416 times:
I appreciated a previous article about traveling with a cat..I never thought I would be doing this but I will share my experience about traveling to Japan with 2 cats..Let me preface it by saying I am so glad I could bring them with me.
I recently retired from American Airlines and moved to Japan for missionary work. I have 2 cats: KC who is 18 years old and Simone who is 13 years old..I didn't know if it would be possible to take them and I heard other reports about it was too traumatic.. Well I sure did not want to dump them in an animal shelter..Thanks to the prayers of my Sunday school class at church they are here and doing great..
Under Japanese quarantine laws the cats had to have health certificates issued by the USDA and I had to notify Animal Quarantine Services in Japan 40 days prior to my arrival..The cats would need to be quarantined in a special facility at Tokyo Narita Airport for 14 days upon arrival into Tokyo
(The new quarantine rules go into effect June 2005..pets must have a microchip implanted, have 2 rabies vaccinations and a rabies antibody titer drawn 180 days prior to arrival in Japan). If all this has been done there is no quarantine period required..Otherwise they can face up to 180 days in quarantine. Japan has been rabies free for 48 years).
If you are thinking about traveling with a pet, the best person is to check with is your veterinarian..That's the first place I should have gone, and he assured me they would be fine..He did not even recommend I tranquilize the cats because it can have an even worse affect when it wears off..He also said they may not enjoy the travel but they would be fine.
Even though I lived in Irving, Texas the USDA requires pets be given water every 12 hours, so it was necessary to connect through Los Angeles.
My sisters came with me and the plan was to take the cats in the cabin for the domestic flight and then in cargo to Tokyo. The last 2 days up to my departure had been one thing after the other (the morning I was going to depart I lost my keys and spent 30 minutes looking for them). The cats did fine on the LAX flight..I think they were more stressed from the ride to DFW. They meowed some but otherwise they did great. Because we got to LAX too late, I decided to stay in a hotel overnight and I sent my sisters back to DFW. (If you ever are traveling with a pet, the Sheraton Four Points Lax is a great place...they do allow pets and it is very reasonable)..I went to get some pet supplies (like litter and a litter box and food), and we had a nice relaxing evening at the hotel..The cats were still doing great.
The next morning I checked in at LAX, purchased hard sided carriers for the cats and said goodbye..The cats had to fly in cargo for this international flights. Just for your information, when you travel with a pet in cargo, the pilots are notified of live animals in cargo. On this flight, which was a 777, all cargo compartments are pressurized..2 of them are heated..and the cat carriers are secured in cargo.
The LAX-NRT flight was very smooth, with little turbulence. Most airports have jetbridges but because they were in use at NRT we had to be bussed to the terminal. I'm glad we did, because as I was on the bus, I could see the 2 cat carriers being unloaded. It was an 11 hour flight.
Don't ask me why, but sometimes I've breezed through customs at NRT (and other airports)..this time I had to wait for an hour. I could hear the cats meowing as I was headed to the baggage claim area. They were stressed but otherwise fine..I petted and reassured them we are here.
I went to Animal Quarantine and was met there. A veterinarian examined the cats (they were fine), and they were moved to quarantine.
I was able to visit them in quarantine and the personnel there assured me that most animals do fine coming through there. Both cats were kept in the same room together and that helped.
Finally I was able to bring them home. KC, who is a Siamese cat meowed a lot the first night and I remember getting out of bed at 4:00AM just to hold her and reassure her.
Today they are doing great and you would never think I brought them all the way to Japan (thank you for your prayers, Irving Bible Church), but I did..and I'm so glad they are here.
To those of you who might think this is cruel treatment, the cats were not traumatized during the process..They were treated very well (I don't even want to think of the trauma of having to drop them off at an animal shelter..for me and for them)..It is possible for pets to travel long distances..but the best person to check with first is your veterinarian..
I would not want to repeat this experience, but I'm so thankful I could bring the cats to Japan with me
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 8985 times:
Thank you Airlinerfreak..Even though it is not an experience I would like to do again to me it is so much better than having to dump the cats at a shelter..I wonder how traumatic that would have been for them (and for me)
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (7 years 7 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8414 times:
Just to let everyone know KC and Simone are still doing great after we've been in Japan for a little over a year. If you saw them you would think we just moved across the street. They are such special cats and I'm so glad I could bring them to Japan with me.
ThaiboynMexico From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7829 times:
Thanks Michael for sharing your adventure. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who migrates with my pets. As sterile as Japan is as a country, you were lucky to have been able to bring your pets and that they didn't extend quarantine period for whatever reason.
We're moving to Europe in August. The EU imposed new standards similar to Japan: microship and rabies antibody titers. They only require that the test be done 90 days prior to arrival though (as opposed to 180 days for Japan). But we really got lucky. The EU just upgraded Mexico and Argentina and declared them rabies-free. So my Mexican dogs who will be flying back to Europe from Argentina don't have to have their blood drawn. One less hassle...what luck.
By the way, what was the airline you travelled on? Does AA serve LAX-NRT?
I am retired from AA and now living in Japan as a missionary. I live in Soka which is a suburb of Tokyo. AA does have daily nonstop service LAX-NRT. You will fly on my favorite airplane the 777.
I'm glad you are able to travel with your dogs and I hope you have a good trip to Europe.
With their ages, they would not have had much of a chance of being adopted, so it is very, very good that you brought them with you. I am so glad to hear that all went well. KC looks very much like my cat Jefferson! What beautiful cats.
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7071 times:
I am very sorry to have to update this report with the news that KC died this morning at 10:00. She was 19 years old so she lived a full life. She had stopped eating last week and was getting weaker so I took her to the vet. He gave her some fluids and vitamins to try to help her get her strength back but she did not. He told me she was going to die. I am very thankful that I was able to have a little more time with her at home, and I had prayed specifically that she could die peacefully at home. God answered and I was by her side when she died this morning. She was so precious and I am so thankful for having her in my life.
Now she is gone and it hurts so very bad without her. I'm glad she and Simone could come to Japan with me, and I'm so thankful Simone and I will be here for each other. At least both cats made the trip to Japan and did not suffer any affects from the trip and I am so thankful they came here with me, except I am going to miss KC so very much
triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 4588 times:
It's been a long time since I updated this report. To summarize, in March 2005, I retired from American Airlines and moved to Japan to serve as a missionary. My 4 years in Japan were the happiest 4 years in my life. An answer to prayer was that I was able to bring my 2 cats, KC and Simone with me. They made it through the long flight (me in first class, the cats in aft bulk cargo) LAX-NRT and the 14 day quarantine, and once I brought them home, it was like we only moved across town. KC died a year later. She was 19. I only had 1 cat, Simone, and I kept it that way because it was better for her and me to just have one cat.
In May 2009 I moved to Thailand. I was unable to bring Simone with me, and we found a friend of a church member who wanted an older cat. She and Simone were very happy together, and I'm glad we found a good home; although it was very difficult to give her up.
I am very sorry to write, that Simone died last Saturday night. She was 20 years old. She was buried in the church garden next to KC.
As I look back, cats are wonderful company (or dogs for you dog lovers); they give you unconditional love, and if you live alone, you're never alone when you come. Indeed I always looked forward to going home to my cats. I'm very thankful that I could bring KC and Simone to Japan.
ReadyJetGo From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 18 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3131 times:
I am sorry to hear of Simone's passing. It sounds like both cats lived long, healthy, and interesting lives! That's about the best you could ever hope for them! And you're right, they are great companions...with strong unique personalities, especially Siamese.
triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 711 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (1 year 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2786 times:
Quoting ReadyJetGo (Reply 19): I am sorry to hear of Simone's passing. It sounds like both cats lived long, healthy, and interesting lives! That's about the best you could ever hope for them! And you're right, they are great companions...with strong unique personalities, especially Siamese.
Thank you so much for your kind words. KC and Simone both had long, happy lives. Simone was a Russian Blue, but make no mistake about it...she was queen at home. I just lived there and paid the rent!