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Traveling Long Distance With Cats: How We Set Up For The Trip #3 – Microchips & Documents

The Nomad Cats > Cat Travel Documents > Traveling Long Distance With Cats: How We Set Up For The Trip #3 – Microchips & Documents

At this point, the only thing left to do for us was get all the necessary travel documents and microchip both cats.

Because we’re based in Italy and currently only plan to travel through European countries, we needed the following:

• Cat documents (Vaccination records / health card)
• Pet European passport
• Microchip

If you’re planning to visit countries like the UK or non-European countries, you might need different documents and abide by different requirements. Check the official websites of your country and those of the foreign country you intend to visit to make sure you’ve got the right paperwork.

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I would presume that this works the same in all EU countries – this is generally an ID card (that looks like a booklet) that the vet hands to you when you get your cat(s) vaccinated.

Here, you’ll document all vet appointments, and also specify your cat’s essential details such as name, gender, race, color, features, date of birth, microchip number, and your own details.

This ID / health car is essential if you want to take your trip abroad, because this is where you get to report all vaccinations and other important health details.

Cost: Free


If you’ve already microchipped your pet, you’re sorted.

If you haven’t, you’ll have to call in the vet and book an appointment. It will literally take 3 seconds and the cat won’t feel any pain. If your cat is a stray / rescue, make sure your vet actually checks your cat isn’t already chipped! It should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t – read on and find out why…

Cost: Approximately 60 € each

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I don’t know how this works in other European countries, but to get a pet passport in Italy you have to pack up your cats and visit your closest Local Health Unit.

The vet will check your cats, read their microchip and issue their passport.

Cost: 20 € each

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The day I had to microchip Milù and Simba, I was s###ng my pants a bit.

I was afraid it would be painful, and read somewhere online that microchipping your cats can cause cancer.

Turns out, all my fears about tumours were unfounded.

And, within 3 seconds, both my cats were microchipped** and neither seemed to have suffered any pain.

**Obviously, something absurd had to happen. It wouldn’t be my life if it didn’t.

Picture this:

A friend recommends this new vet to me. I drive an extra 25 minutes to get there.

The vet asks some questions, chit-chats a bit, then takes Milù and injects her her anti rabies shot, checks her for potentially pre-existing microchips, then chips her and puts her back into her carrier.

Then, it’s Simba’s turn.

(Important) side note: Up until this point, I was 100% convinced Simba was a female. Because TWO VETS told me so.

Anyway – the vet takes Simba, injects anti rabies shot, and then microchips him.

Yep. you guessed it. He skips one step. One small, little detail. He forgets to check Simba for previous chips.

Suddenly, he goes quiet. His face first becomes pale, then red, then starts sweating. He frantically touches Simba’s microchip spot on his neck.

“Is everything all right?”, I ask, slightly concerned.

“Yes…”, he utters.

An excruciatingly long 2 minutes later, he says: “…This cat was already chipped”.


Dude, you had ONE JOB.

He vanishes in the next room (without closing the door, with 2 loose cats!) and resurfaces 10 minutes later with a piece of paper and the contact details of the previous owner.

“WTF?”, I think to myself. Is possible that not one single vet has thought of checking for microchips prior to this day?!

At this point, a different vet enters the room and starts apologising for the mistake. Amidst the chaos, he also asks about my cats’ gender, and I answer: “They’re both females.”

Next thing I know, vet #2 takes Simba up in the air, turns his upside down, moves all the fur around, and yells, “IT’S A BOY!”


So, within ONE VET APPOINTMENT, I get 1 cat microchipped twice, find out it’s a boy, and am faced with having to call his actual owner – after having him with me for over one year.

What is she wants him back!?

When I call her up, she explains she took him from the shelter one year before. He hid hid under kitchen forniture for 2 weeks, then ran off. She never saw him again and “hadn’t developed a strong bond anyway”, so I could keep him.


One hell of an intense morning!

I walk out of the vet happy but confused, because my cat now has 2 chips, and one is in someone else’s name.

Because of all this mess, I still had to fill in a form that testified the new ownership of Simba, change his name from Barrù (seriously? no wonder he ran away) to his current one, register him at the municipality and put the first chip in my name, too.

NOW, we were ready to get passports.


Getting passports for the cats was another mission in itself.

Stick both of them in the back fo the car, drive 1 hour up to the closest big city, get into the office and… wait.

Yes, because the vet apparently issued the wrong documents, with the wrong dates ands data, so we had to exchange several emails and phone calls to get it all right. The whole procedure took 3 hours instead of 1.

When that was done, however, I finally had my shiny new European pet passports and was ready to hit the road at last.

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Truth be told, I’m writing this post from an olive tree fields in the middle of nowhere in Spain, the van parked up right next to me and my cats bathing in the hot summer sun, as happy as ever.

I can’t wait to tell you how the actual trip worked out, and how the cat have taken van life so far.

Stay tuned! And follow us on www.instagram.com/thenomadcats for live updates on our wild cat travel adventures.

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