An Irish cat

For a cat, travel requires significant paperwork.  For example, when the Alférez travelled by plane earlier this year, he had to get a certificate of vaccination and rabies bloodwork from his vet, had to get this stamped and taxed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and on arrival at his destination this all was reviewed and further documents were made, stamped, and further taxed.  All these documents and taxes were still good for returning to the U.S., but only because the Alférez returned in less than 30 days; otherwise he would have had to start from scratch.  And start from scratch he did a few weeks later back in Florida, when he had his paperwork created, stamped and taxed for his trip to Ireland.

The essential problem is that international animal travel has no concept of passport.  This results in each trip being a bilateral stack of papers between two countries.  Worse yet, the origin country stamps where is the pet going, and the destination country usually requires paperwork from the immediate prior country of origin.  Add it up: in case of an unscheduled stopover, the whole stack is rendered non-valid and the poor animal could be in bureaucratic limbo.

The Eurocrats, somewhere in their immense and imponderable officialdom, have recognised this issue, and have created the European Pet Passport for intra-EC travel.   This can be issued by any authorised private European veterinarian, and in Kinsale the Alférez got one.

When we arrived in France, and even though we showed the Alferez's European passport, the Douane (customs) people got into a bit of a bother, went onto their computer, and started quoting the several laws, edicts, regulations and extra paperwork they thought applied to the Alférez.  We let them discuss among themselves in French for a while, and then we said that le chat non est Americain: le chat est un chat Irlandaise!   There was a lot of relief in the room, a lot of smiles, his subcutaneous chip was scanned, and they made a photocopy of his Irish passport and stamped it.

The Irish Alférez was admitted into France at Brest, on 22 June 2015.