Monday, April 7, 2014

Here Kitty Kitty - Part 1 (18-Mar-2014)

There were two issues regarding our move that were more stressful for me than others. One was what would happen to my business, and the other was what would happen to my cat Xoom?

Xoom has been with our family for over 13 years and the thought of leaving him behind was horrible. We looked into what it would take to bring him with us and made the decision that he would come along.

First I found a pet relocation company and chose All they do is move pets from one place to another all over the world.

I decided to use a company for the following reasons:

1.) I had so much going on with the move that I didn't want to have to spend too much time on moving Xoom.
2.) There is a lot of paperwork and it must be done exactly right. If not your pet can be turned away at any point in the process. Most of the paperwork has to do with customs upon entering France.
3.) You can't take a pet with you under your seat on an international flight like you can on a domestic flight. Your pet must ride in the cargo hold.

I started working with PetRelocation as early as I was able in our move process - at least 5-6 weeks before the actual move date. Sooner is probably better. My responsibilities included the following:

1.) Have a vet exam before we even make our final decision to make sure my cat was healthy enough to travel. He is in the very early stages of kidney failure and if the vet didn't think he should make the journey then there was no point in progressing further. Xoom checked out fine so we committed ourselves to the move. (Cost around $50)

2.) Xoom needed a microchip implant and a rabies vaccination at least 10 days before he traveled. The rabies vaccination was required after the chip implant, even if he had recently had one. (Cost about $60)

3.) I had to purchase the proper kennel - MUCH larger than anticipated, and it had to be one approved for travel on the airline we would be using. (Cost around $70). In addition we had to purchase absorbent liners for the kennel and water dishes (which were included)

4.) I provided a bunch of information for This is the part that would have been very difficult on my own. Information included a letter stating, in French, showing we did have a valid reason to move to France (proof of Paul's job), information on Xoom's breed, coloring, weight etc.

Eight days before Xoom would travel and the day before my husband and I left, I took Xoom in for a final vet check. This is required. The relocation company provided us with very detailed instructions on how the vet should fill out the papers to ensure Xoom would have all the proper paperwork for his journey. This was a HUGE help. Before I left the vets office they faxed all of the paperwork to the relocation agent who went through everything, identified a couple of mistakes we had made, and then approved the paperwork.

When I left the vet I had a prepaid addressed envelope to send the entire package of documents to the USDA for approval. They then forwarded everything to the address of the place that would actually ship Xoom - in Chicago.

I must say my vet and his staff at Animal Kingdom were AWESOME - they worked with me and the PetRelocation company through the entire process.

Xoom was ready to go! All of the paperwork was approved and all should be fine. I'll have more on the actual move in my next post.

One Note:

Using a pet relocation service for a move from the U.S. to France is VERY expensive. I don't think it is fair to PetRelocation for me to post the cost - but it would be outside the realm of possibility for many families. It was difficult for me to stomach the cost but I made the decision that it was something I needed to do. One good thing is that pet relocation expenses are often tax deductible if the service is due to a change in job.

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