My friend John is moving from Chicago to Berlin for work in mid-June and taking his cats with him (You can read all about his upcoming plans on his blog at www.doppnee.com). He also has experience being an expat in Paris, where we first met. From his insightful site I have learned about the delightful pet passport which lets pets travel to parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada with you.
Now, this is not some cute little version of a human passport with the pet’s picture and name scrawled inside with a pawprint for a signature, so the pet can get all the same stamps at immigration. It is essentially some form of paperwork signed by the vet certifying that Scruffy has been vaccinated against rabies, along with Scruffy’s microchip or tattoo number. This document allows the pet to enter certain member countries of PETS (Pet Travel Scheme) without a six-month quarantine period as required by many other countries. Checking Scruffy for ticks and tapeworm (yeeach) when traveling in and out of Europe may also be required. The Pet passport was initally a British thing before it expanded into the European Union, and subsequently all the English-speaking nations of the world.
If you’re only going on a short holiday and insist on taking Scruffy with you to experience pet hotels of the world, definitely check with the country and with the U.S. about bringing animals back from that country and what’s required. You may want to leave your pet home instead if he/ she is required to sit in quarantine for six months after, and that’s not much of a fun vacation for either of you.
Aside: Another interesting tidbit I learned about the British is that the Pet Passport was created by the U.K.’s Official Monster Raving Loony political Party. It was founded in 1964, a great subject for comedy shows like Monty Python, and actually elected candidates to local town councils and even higher. While each of its members had renamed themselves something like “R.U. Seerius”, they actually came up with real ideas and passed them into British law.