Teaching ESL Abroad, Difficulty level: Cats
February 23, 2018 1:22 PM   Subscribe

I am thinking about teaching English abroad, but I have two cats, and no-one who can really keep them for me for too long. I need to work out if I can take them along.

Puck (short hair) and Remy

Rehoming them is NOT AN OPTION. Please do not suggest that.

Have any of you brought pets along? Was it especially difficult? Did the company you were working with help you out? Should I not even be considering it?

A cursory glance around the Internet tells me it's possible to move to a country as an expat with pets, with certain vaccinations and a few other requirements (I checked Korea, Japan, and Viet Nam just as a sample, though they aren't the only countries I would consider).

I really, really want to do this. I need work, I've taught ESL before domestically, I have done some long term travel, and for as long as I can remember I've wanted to live abroad. The only thing holding me back is my boys.

Again: Rehoming is NOT AN OPTION.
posted by Archipelago to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
People do this. But the cats will have to be in quarantine for the country you're going to. It will be expensive to travel with them. They might not like it. But it is doable.
posted by k8t at 3:19 PM on February 23, 2018

This is totally do-able - I moved from Sydney to California and back with our two cats! We looked into Japan too, but our cats are big cats and even at a healthy weight for them exceeded the “weight limit”, so I’m not sure what would have happened there. Also, it can be tricky to find pet friendly rentals in some places (Japan), though obviously possible.

Get all their medical stuff sorted and contact a pet transport company - that’s really it. We dropped them off at the pet transport place the night before and they handled everything and we picked them up on the other end.

Going from a non rabies country (AUS) to a rabies country (US) there was no quarantine; we did have quarantine in the reverse but timed their blood tests so it was minimal (one month; if you’re slack it can be up to six). Quarantine was kind of expensive.

MeMail me if you have more questions!

Oh, and DON’T uses sedative - animals have weird reactions to it at altitude and it’s not safe!
posted by jrobin276 at 3:29 PM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

the cats will have to be in quarantine for the country you're going to

This depends on the country and how you do it.

For Japan, for example, quarantine is only 12 hours as long as you have a rabies cert from at least 6 months _prior_ to your move. (The full checklist for there is here)
posted by thefoxgod at 3:53 PM on February 23, 2018

You also want to check out what the quarantine is for cats coming back into the States. Sometimes leaving isn't too costly or time intensive, but depending where you will be coming from, it could get ugly. When and where we were at overseas, due to a contagious disease outbreak, the quarantine was a very expensive 6 months coming back into the States with cats. Because we were living on an Air Force Base, they were tested, and their quarantine was considered time spent in house, then testing was repeated immediately before we left.

Several years ago, some US endurance riders competing on an international level shipped their horses overseas without problems. Again due to an outbreak, they were unable to ship their horses back home, so there were folks who ended up losing perfectly healthy horses that had 'questionable' test results. (The 'questionable' was from a test that is known to have a lot of false positives.) Those folks that eventually did get their horses back paid tons of money. Those that had gone on a slender budget to fulfill a line on their bucket list lost their buddies.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:21 PM on February 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got a dog while living in Korea and brought him with me to Japan.

The process is HARSH and EXPENSIVE but doable. Japan is probably one of the strictest countries. You will absolutely need to start this process around 8 months before you plan to leave, and you NEED to have a veterinarian who knows what they're doing. I would have been sunk without one. If your vet doesn't know how it works, they might know someone who does.

For me, it went like this:

1. Exam and rabies shot, documentation.
2. Wait 30 days
3. Second rabies shot, documentation
4. Wait 30 days
5. Local vet takes blood, checks vaccination levels, finds them good.
6. Local vet sends a blood sample to the domestic ministry of agriculture, along with some documentation and requests for documentation. (This is where you start to really need someone who knows what they're doing)
7. Ministry tests the blood, finds it good, provides documentation to that effect
8. Vet sends a blood sample to the TARGET COUNTRY (Japan) ministry of whatever they call it, so that they can also test it.
9. Local ministry finds the blood good, provides documentation to that effect.
10. 180 day in-country quarantine (can stay at home during this time) DURING THAT TIME: Buy your plan tickets and call your airline to let them know about your travel plans with an animal, make sure they've reserved a spot for them, etc.
11. Animal is taken to the vet for another examination within 24 hours of flying, and declared fit.
12. Animal is taken to outgoing customs at the airport, paperwork is examined and found acceptable
13. Fly (my dog got to be in cabin, which made this a bit less stressful)
14. Land, go through immigration, and then go to a special customs office for animals
15. Paperwork is once again examined and found acceptable, animal is also examined and found acceptable (and adorable - my dog is very friendly, luckily, and charmed the heck out of everyone at every step of this process)
16. Go through regular customs (complete with the OK from the animal office)
17. Enter the country.

This wound up costing me around $800 USD in total.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 1:04 AM on February 25, 2018

To add: The company you intend to work for will absolutely not help you at all, and if you tell them, it may disqualify you at the interview stage if they provide housing, because they won't want to deal with that. It's really tough to find housing that allows animals in Korea and Japan, so much so that there are a lot of people who just quietly hope their landlords don't find out. (My place allows them, but I pay a premium for that.)
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 1:08 AM on February 25, 2018

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