When I told my family that I was taking my cat, Tessa, with me to Belgium the next time I moved – I’m fairly certain they didn’t believe me. My dad just shook his head and said “you’d do anything for that cat wouldn’t you, you crazy girl?” My mother said that “the beast would be happiest with me if I can make it work (plus that way she wouldn’t have to take care of her anymore while I traveled.)”
Moving abroad without her the first time (2013) was so awful, I knew I had to do whatever it took to move her with me this time – and to my surprise it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought. I’ll be completely honest – the whole thing (vet appoinments, air-line approved products and her cargo spot on the flight) cost me about 400 dollars (Canadian) – but it is/was/always will be worth it!
If you take anything away from this post, let it be this: JUST THINK ABOUT IT. It’s possible, it’s easier than you think and your pet/you will be able to stick together.
Here are some reasons why you should think about taking your pet abroad with you…
IT WILL MAKE YOUR HOME ABROAD FEEL MORE LIKE HOME
Moving to a new place for a long period of time is a huge change in your lifestyle and sometimes all you need is one stable thing in your ever-changing life to make you feel at home and balanced. For me, that thing was my cat Tessa. I moved to Belgium once without her and for 10 months I felt isolated, alone and foreign. I loved living with my boyfriend, we lived in (what I consider to be) one of the greatest cities in Belgium and still, every night I felt like something was missing. So, in 2014 when I moved to Belgium again, I knew I had to bring her with me. The minute we landed and I saw her waiting in the airport cargo line for me to collect her I knew that our new life was starting. This, I consider, was the beginning of my life in Belgium (even though I had previously spent almost a full year here without her).
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR PETS LIFE
I’ve often wondered what your pet thinks when you go away on vacation. I think it’s safe to say that animals know a lot more than we think they do – this is proven by those dogs who get all frantic when the moving boxes start piling up or those cats who bury themselves inside our suitcase as your packing. Your pet knows a big life change is coming and it’s probably very unsettling for them because that’s about all they can know. They most likely don’t understand time, they wouldn’t know if you’re leaving for a few days or a few years. You are the most stable and important thing in your pets life and if you own a pet – it’s your responsibility to give that pet the best life they can have. And most of the time, that includes moving and starting a new life with you (unless it’s not in the pets best interest for whatever reason).
When I moved Tessa here to Belgium I was SO nervous, because she had some health issues and is old (although I am not sure how old). A year later, she is the healthiest and happiest she has ever been in the 8 years I’ve had her. She plays outside (which she never did before because I moved around too much), she lost a healthy amount of weight and she is happy to be around my boyfriend and I all the time. Her life improved because I made the choice to bring her with me instead of leaving her with someone else.
IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK
I was SHOCKED at how easy it was to travel with pets and move my cat to another country. Depending on what kind of pet you have, it can be really easy to do.
Here’s my post on how I moved my cat to another country – from the products I used to the paperwork I filed…HOW TO MOVE YOUR PET TO ANOTHER COUNTRY.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE DOING IT
I see people all the time who travel with pets for long weekends or 6 month caravan trips. Your pet is an important part of your life, and most of the time there is no real reason why they couldn’t join you on the road. A lot of people think it’s unfair to have an animal living in a caravan or flying in a plane every couple months – but that all depends on what personality your pet has. I’ve seen a lot of pets who absolutely adore traveling with their owners.
IT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS TO ADVENTURE OUT WITH THEIR PETS
The amount of people I get who tell me that they’ve started travel with pets because of this blog is astounding! Not only did I do it, but I’ve convinced other people that it’s possible to do it too.