Pet shipping advice/stories ?

I’m thinking of relocating and will have to have my two cats shipped out to me once I’m settled. I’ve found a few ‘pet shipping’ services online. Anyone have any firsthand experience with doing this? Is it worth the extra money to pay these people or do they do little more than drop the crate off at the airport?

I’d read some places have agreements with the airlines that let them follow & safely load the animals themselves, even for the connecting flights, making sure they don’t sit on the blazing tarmac or in the freezing cold etc. Or is all this always handled by the airline? Should I just call them (the airline) instead?

Thanks in advance.

My wife and I had all three of our cats shipped to us. We had to, of course, since they were coming from the States to Germany, and you’re not allowed to have animals as checked luggage on most international flights. The cats were perfectly fine, and seemed very well taken care of. The lady we dealt with the whole time was very friendly, and she made sure we had all the paperwork necessary, and that the cats were good to go for the flight.

They came in on a cargo plan, were driven to the customs kennel (which was very nice), where we verified the vet documentation and picked them up. They also made sure that they were fed and watered between flights, or just before.

Since I wasn’t with them, I can’t know for sure everything that happened, but they arrived in perfect health, and seemed cheery, given the 10 hour flight.

We used a company called “Animals Away” in NY. Whatever company you use, make sure they’re certified by IPATA (Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association). You can get a list of companies that are approved by them at


We shipped our dog from South Carolina to Australia in September. We used a kennel service in LA because she had to be treated for external parasites (one of the Australian requirements), inspected by a USDA vet, and sealed in her container. The kennel service did a fantastic job. They made all our dog’s plane reservations, kept in touch with us while she was in LA, and were competent in making sure all the quarantine requirements were completed.

If you’re shipping domestically, I’m not sure a kennel service would be that necessary. We used the service only because we were not in LA when our dog got there and because there are so many hard-to-organize requirements to get a dog into Australia. I would call the airlines and find out what you need to do, what their requirements are, and what they recommend. Incidentally, the owner of the kennel service said that Delta was particularly good about taking care of pets.

(Our dog arrived safely in Sydney in September and spent a month in quarantine. She’s now snoozing happily on our couch.)