We currently live aboard with two cats and a dog. We plan to cruise outside the US, but we're worried about quarantines. Can you offer advice on how to avoid such hassles?
Kathy Barron responds:
This is such a personal issue. For every cruiser that loves having their pets on board, you'll find others that are glad they don't.
Most island countries that have eradicated rabies restrict pets unless they have been quarantined and there is no way around this. If you bring a pet into a country illegally, the pet will be seized and put down. If you are planning a circumnavigation, find out ahead of time which countries require quarantines and what the specific requirements are. Some countries allow pets in the country without quarantine if you sign an affidavit stating the pet will stay aboard the boat. Once again, fines and the destruction of the animal are the consequences of violating these regulations. We have many cruising friends that have traveled the globe with their pets and have not been put off by the requirements.
My personal opinion is that some pets are better off with a new family in cases where learning a new lifestyle is stressful to the pet. Pets are wonderful companions, but you must also consider the dangers to them such as falling overboard while on an offshore passagecould you retrieve the animal before it drowned? There are many pros and cons; you have to do what is right for yourself and your pets. We have a cat and there are many times I've wished we didn't, but when we're at anchor, I'm so glad we have him with us.