Those of you guys who have been reading my blog for a while knows I have travelled with my cat Larmlarm for over 10,000 km. With my cat sitting clients, a lot of them being foreigners working in Dublin, I have met close to 100 families who have done international travel with their cat(s) as well. As a result, I am very passionated about cat international travel to the point that I have dedicated a special feature on this blog on international cat travel collecting stories and have started working with animal transport agents in Dublin airport to provide a pick up and drop off service for cats who aren’t on the same flight as their human.
So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the new animal facility – The ARK at JFK airport in New York!
The ARK consists of 3 phrases of development – Phrase 1 is now open. It consists of the ARK Pet Oasis, Equine & Livestock Export Centre and Aviary In-Transit Quarantine. The opening of Phase 2 is expected to take place in Q2 2017, which will include a full-service ARK Import-Export Center (“IEC”) featuring Equine Quarantine/Import, Grooms’ Lounge and The ARK Aviary. The ARK at JFK will become fully operational in summer 2017, with Phase 3 services, operated by sub-tenants, which will include a full veterinary clinic, a veterinary blood laboratory, and pet boarding and grooming facility.
What concern us pet parents most particularly will be The ARK Pet Oasis. Let’s have a look at what Pet Oasis offers…
ARK Pet Oasis is the first facility of its kind in North America. A central resource available to all airlines, pet shippers and pet parents 24/7, it services the needs and promotes the welfare of all pets traveling as live animal cargo.
We ensure that all in-transit companion animals receive rest and care upon arrival, departure and in-between domestic and international flights.
Special design features include:
– Airside location for direct access to aircraft
– Proprietary ARK-branded vans for safe transport of pets to and from aircraft
– Ample parking for drop-off or pick-up of your animals
– Veterinary triage area for acute medical care
– 100% air exchange
– Isolation kennels and quarantine rooms for infectious animals
– Thorough cleaning and disinfection protocols to prevent transmission of illness
– Sound panels to absorb excess noise
– Dedicated outdoor relief area for dogs
– 47 dog kennels
– 12 cat kennels
– Delivery of vaccines, micro-chipping and preparation of health documents by USDA certified veterinarian (appointment only)
– Airline crate compliance check and education on crate best practices
– Crate sales
– Airline check-in and review of travel and health documentation
– Coordination with airlines for accurate flight departure times
– Just-in-time delivery to the aircraft in official ARK vehicles. No more waiting in hot or cold cargo facilities!
– Animal relief, feeding and watering
– to ensure your animal departs on the correct flight
– As a U.S. Customs bonded warehouse, our staff can relieve and care for all inbound international animals immediately post-flight, even if they are awaiting to clear U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements.
– U.S. Customs clearing option, to assure your pet clears Customs “wheels up,” or before they land at JFK
– Animal relief, crate cleaning and basic grooming, feeding and watering
– Veterinary care, if deemed necessary, by ARK affiliated veterinary staff
– Pet photo and report emailed to you to communicate your pet’s well-being (extra charge)
– Any required isolation or self-quarantine (depending on country of origin)
– Animal relief, crate evaluation and cleaning, and basic grooming for pets during layovers
– Provide U.S. Customs clearance as the first port of entry into the United States (optional)
– Coordination of arriving and departing flights
– All other services above, as needed
From my experience working with so many cats who have done international travel, I know some of their human’s main concern when it comes to checking in their cat in cargo. I reached out to the ARK Pet Oasis and I have a lovely email interview with Elizabeth A. Schuette, Managing Director of The ARK at JFK. She will answer some of the most frequently asked questions from cat parents.
A: Thank you very much for agreeing to chat with us about the ARK Pet Oasis.
E: You are welcome!
A: I think most cat parents will want to know what actually happens to their cat during the transit. Can you tell us more about the Pet Oasis?
E: Sure! The ARK Pet Oasis – which is now open and part of Phase 1 – is a central resource available to all airlines, pet shippers and pet parents, servicing the needs and promoting the welfare of companion animals traveling as live cargo. Think of it as a resting area for small animals like cats that will be well taken care of and pampered, pre or post-flight or while in transit. ARK Pet Oasis will accommodate for short or longer term boarding in order to bridge the gap between travel times of companion animals and their parents. We offer a wide range of services at The ARK Pet Oasis, including micro-chipping pets pre-travel, just-in-time pick-up and delivery directly to/from the aircraft in customized vehicles, reception of animals, veterinarian services, U.S. Customs clearing and much more. The boarding facility opening in Phase 3 will serve as accommodation for pets that are not going to be traveling with their parents.
A: Can you tell us what happen once the cat arrives to your facility? (Incoming and outgoing) Are they being left in the carrier while waiting? I think that’s one of the cat parent’s main concern.
E: No, cats are not left in the carriers or in their crates on the tarmac while waiting for the next flight. See the photo of The Pet Oasis, which will give you a sense of the facility and kennel area. Cats will be accommodated in a designated cat kennel with a litter box, blanket, a perch, food, and water. Cats can be groomed, cleaned and also assessed should they need any medical attention. Their crates are also cleaned and any special instructions from the owner are attended to upon request. At The ARK at JFK, our employees are experienced animal handlers and are capable of removing the animals from their crates or carriers safely and efficiently. Further, The ARK at JFK is becoming a TSA-certified Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF).
A: Do you have vet, nurse, behaviourist or pet sitter on site if the animal needs to be held in the facility in waiting for transit?
E: Yes, we have a veterinarian and licensed veterinary technician on call for any emergency care at the Pet Oasis.
A: The Pet Oasis seems to be an amazing facility for pet travel!
E: Yes! Our goal is to create a more efficient and safe process by reducing the need for additional travel and offering trained animal care staff immediately pre- and post-flight. The ARK provides a healthy and comfortable environment, and sets new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services. We also understand that cats need special care so their kennels are separated from where the dogs stay. We also have special sound panels to absorb excess noise, ARK branded and climate controlled vehicles to pickup and drop off your cat from the airplane or cargo warehouse. Instead of waiting to clear Customs on an international flight in a warehouse, cats can relax comfortably at The ARK.
A: Thank you so much for your time! I can see a lot of happy pet parents using this beautiful facility!
Of course, you come to this blog to look at cat photos, right? Here are some happy cat travellers using the ARK!
Go over to the ARK’s blog to read the heart warming story of Gus the cat from Kuwait!
ARK Pet Oasis
Cargo Building, 78A N. Boundary Road, John F. Kennedy Int. Airport, New York 11430
Airline or Pet Travel Emergency: 212-973-8275
Thanks again to Elizabeth A. Schuette, Managing Director of The ARK at JFK, for chatting with us today!