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Old 05-22-2009, 03:04 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2
Default Sailing To Central And South America With Cat?

I will be leaving from Florida in July or August for a sailing trip that will take us around the Caribbean, Central and possibly South America. I've been planning on taking my cat along with me, which i've read can actually be a good thing, and CAN be done, however, the more I read, the more confused I get.

I've been finding things that say "the animal will be destroyed..." and that scares me. I would hate to do something wrong and loose my little Chloe'. I really don't want to leave her behind.

I understand that she will need her shots, but how do I know exactly what shots she will need? And i've read about certificated and animal passports. Where and how do I get that in the United States? And any information on prices of this stuff is useful as well.

The idea of our trip is to NOT plan it out. Will that even be possible? I've read that some of this stuff may have to be done 3 months in advance, but I was looking at some random little island's page and I dont know that the information even pertained to me. Will I need to know exactly when and where i will be in the trip before I leave? I read that i'll have to send documents before I get there, but if the trip is a year long, and i'll be arrriving in say, Peru, for example, in one year, ... can I even do that? I assume I have to fish through each country individually and send paperwork to each. But I have no idea what these agencies are called or where to find them online.

So many questions... if anyone can offer any help, it's appreciated. It looks like I have to start getting this done IMMEDIATELY.

Thanks SO much.

Chloe' thanks you too.

JLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2009, 10:58 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16


I just returned from that area and my advice is don't take an animal with you. They give you real problems about checking in with an animal of any kind. Some countries will put the animal in quaranteen for 60 to 90 days which is longer than you want to stay anywhere in that area.

Good Luck


sailorman14 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2009, 02:44 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067


Jlynn's post "I will be leaving from Florida in July or August for a sailing trip that will take us around the Caribbean, Central and possibly South America." covers an enormous area with many different countries.

What area have you just returned from ? How about a list of the ones that caused problems for cruisers ?
MMNETSEA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-23-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 129

Most of the problems with animals onboard centers around dogs. Very few people take the time to train the dog to do its "business" onboard the boat. So they take the dog on shore and that's where the problems occur. Cats on the other hand almost always stay on board the boat and use a litter box. In 7 years cruising all the island countries from the D.R. to Trinidad I have not had any problems with my cats. I list them on the check-in/out forms and add the remark that they never leave the boat.

Most of the countries are concerned with dogs and animals that will be going onshore and possibly transferring animal diseases to the resident animals. You should carry an assortment of papers showing the origin and medical history of your pet - that is commonly called the "pet's passport." There is an international animal vaccination form that is available from most vets and list all the shots and information on the animal. Nobody has ever asked to see the one for my cats. I also had RFID chips implanted in my cats.

The Bahamas wants you to fax or mail them a form and money for an animal importation permit. The form is available on line and is somewhat confusing. Most assuredly all they really want is the US$10 per animal for the permit. They mention a 48 hr restriction on the animal seeing a vet - but in reality that only applies to animals that are going to be "landed" - i.e., go onshore or be resident in the country. Transient animals that never leave boat or set "paw" on the land are ignored except the Bahamas still wants its US$10. The Dominican Republic also wants Us$10 per animal and want to look at the vaccination records even though they cannot read English.

I suspect that Central America is exactly the same as the Caribbean as many cruisers I know have on board pets and cruise those areas. One very significant advantage to having a dog on board is its ability to ward off / frighten potential boarders from stealing from you. Cats are not as good at that especially if the boarder has some tuna with him.

But all in all, the joys and companionship of a pet on board outweighs the minor bureaucratic problems.
osirissailing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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Posts: 2,098

I do not recall any Caribbean island that restricts dogs or cats, but you should have, as mentioned, all veterinarian records for your animal, with documentation of it having received all it shots. *Central and South America also do not, to my knowledge, prohibit pets on board. *You can usually check each country's web site to learn more about their quarantine restrictions. *Another information source is noonsite. *

Cats may be more self-sufficient regarding staying on the boat, but they are better able to sneak off the boat when/if you are tied up at a marina. *For this reason you will probably not be allowed to tie up in a marina in most of the South Pacific islands or in Australia and New Zealand if there is a cat on board. *Although South Pacific islands will not be as diligent about checking your boat to be sure your animal is still on board, this will be done regularly in Australia and New Zealand at a significant cost to the boat.

Having a cat on board can be a benefit by discouraging vermin from coming aboard, which they can do. *

One final comment. *The tropics is full of lots of parasites that do not survive in the temperate regions. *Be vigilant about the possibility of your animal contracting worms and in Trinidad and Venezuela be wary of rabies-infected bats.
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

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Old 05-26-2009, 03:52 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 129

Both St Lucia and SVG (St Vincent & Grenadines) forbid dogs from entering the country (that is, setting paw on their land). Both of these countries have serious stray dog problems - too many - and I wouldn't want to take my dog, if I had one, on land in these countries. There are probably others also.

I have heard that the Pacific islands/countries are also very restrictive on animals.

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america, south america

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