How I moved with my cat to Berlin

Forget about it, I will not do this whole procedure again. Cat was obviously in no mood for another long journey. She already moved from Norderney (an island in the North Sea) to Cologne, Germany to London, England (an island in Europe) and to Melbourne in Australia (an island in the middle of nowhere). 

A friendly black and white cat sitting on a white and blue flowery cushion
This is Cat. Living the high-life in Berlin

Cat knows a lot about riding on a ferry, travelling in a car up and jumping on board of a plane. And she can tell the one or other story about life in a quarantine station in both England and Australia. I knew telling her about another relocation would not be easy. But when she heard that we are going to move to Berlin, she was hooked.  Instantly.

Not for the street art, not for the music scene and not for the museums, these are all things she isn’t too keen on but she has got a weak spot for dancing snowflakes (and watching them from a window seat). Cosy.  

People who leave their pet behind shouldn't have one

There's really nothing for which there is not a rule in our bureaucratic world. All these many years ago, it was a long and complicated process to move Cat to Australia. The trip to Germany was, compared to importing her into Australia, less strenuous than a walk on the beach. But no matter how complicated and expensive things seemed, it never held me back from taking her with me on my adventures around the world. Cat is a member of the family as good as I am one.

The other day at the cattery here in Berlin I got so upset when I read the notes on their message board. I give you three examples.

„Looking for a home for my seven-month-old and super cute cat. Boyfriend and I broke up, and he now moves to Switzerland and can’t take her with him„. I mean you hear a lot of stuff about the Swiss but I had absolutely no idea that cats are illegal in Switzerland.

„Due to relocation, we have to give away our six-year-old cat. The new landlord doesn’t allow us to have one„ Why rent the apartment if one of your family members isn’t allowed in?

„I am pregnant and need to find a home for our three-year-old super cute cat. I have no idea how our baby is going to cope with all the hair, so we decided it is best to find a new home for him. He is very friendly towards humans and other pets„ This is like giving away an old family member for a new one, right?

European Union animal health requirements for pets

Pet owners who would like to bring their pet to Germany need to follow the European Union animal health requirements for pets (dogs, cats, and ferrets). It does make sense since these rules are in place to prevent the spread of rabies, and also to protect pets from harmful treatment. 

In short, that means every pet you would like to bring into the European Union from a non-EU country needs to do certain things prior to arrival.

What I did before I started the relocation process to Berlin I asked an accredited vet (please note, you have to find a vet that is accredited by the government of your country) to confirm all gathered information. That way I made sure everything I needed to do was done.

Heimtierausweis. Europa - Europe
We all need a passport to travel - pets too

Cat's journey to Berlin in Germany

When Cat gets picked up for her little adventure, I am sure that everything will work out just perfectly. The driver who picks Cat up is a real animal lover and immediately starts to talk to her. Cat isn’t a big chatterbox, but she loves to listen to stories. This time Cat travels via Kuala Lumpur, not even I have visited that place. I am not exaggerating to say she surely is a true travel-cat. As I later found out up until departure all goes well, and during the flight, Cat was served enough water. What she didn’t like is that there was not that much to eat on the flights.

Cat managed the flight in cargo from Melbourne to Frankfurt with ease. And the drive from the airport to her new home was soon a thing of the past too. Oh yes, some might wonder about tranquillizers and sedatives. Cat didn’t get any. It is an unusual situation for a pet already, so I wouldn’t have wanted to stress her little body even more with that dose of chemicals.

Importing your cat to Germany is a straightforward process with five easy to follow steps. Please keep in mind, that your country of origin might have their set rules for exporting a pet, better check that well in advance. 

Friendly black and white cat, lying on the left side in a grey open suitcase
This is the original Travel-Cat. Cat is always ready for take-off 

This is everything I had to do prior to departure

Pet needs to be marked with a microchip (in the old days it was that tattoo they had on their ears).

Pet needs to be vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccination, not less than 21 days, and more than a year prior to entry. Bring a certificate with the results of a blood test that proofs the pet is vaccinated. The Rabies antibody test needs to be done 30 days after the vaccination.

Put the official vet certificate with the microchip number and the rabies vaccination documents and the results of the blood test in the pet passport

Book the export of the pet.
Consignment note (remember you transport livestock).
Organise the EU-health certificate 2011/874/EU, stamped by an accredited vet.
The documents have to be sent to the export company in advance.

Arrange for the import of the pet and (if needed) further transportation of the pet. You will need: A letter to the customs office of the destination airport in Germany that explains why you want to import your pet. A one-liner should do the trick. Hello, I am moving to Germany on xxx and I am going to bring my pet with me. A copy of the identity card of the pet owner (that would be your passport). The address of the export company (if the flight is longer than 10 hours, the pet can’t travel with you).

Costs involved when I moved with my cat to Berlin

Export from Australia and flight: AUD 1.657 plus the transport box that fulfils the requirements of the International Airport Transport Association (IATA).
Import Germany: EUR 356,96 plus transfer to new home.

Which permits do you need to export your pet?

The insight I gave mirror my experience, but depending on where you live and would like to relocate from, I recommend you visit these websites for more information and to find out which permits you need to export your pet from your country.

USA. United States Department of Agriculture, USDA.

Canada. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CFIA

Can I rent an apartment in Germany if I have a cat or a dog?

A pre-formulated (in the lease) ban on cats and dogs is illegal in Germany. Following the decision of the federal court, a landlord can only prohibit pets based on an individual case. Talk to your landlord or estate agent, you might be welcomed with a pet.

Are you planning to bring your cat or dog with you on your expat adventure? Just do it. It is easy if you know how to move with a cat to Germany.

From Berlin with love