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Topic: Can you ship your own cat any more?  (Read 469 times)

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Can you ship your own cat any more?
« on: February 21, 2022, 12:53:56 AM »
The other threads on this subject were a bit old, so I hope this is ok.

Is it even possible to ship your own cat USA to UK any more? United doesn't fly animals in cargo any more, American says it insists on a pet shipper/agent, British sends you to their IAG Cargo carrier site, but that only refers you to commercial pet shippers. Air Animal, not taking care of drop off in Chicago but managing the rest of it to residence in the UK was $4,000! Yes, it includes the cargo ticket for the cat, but still.

My vet can do the certificate and send it off for the APHIS endorsement. I've done all the necessary vaccinations and microchip is good to go. 

Is an agent now required everywhere? Is it required at the animal reception centre at Heathrow? Are there even any airlines left that will take an animal to the UK without a shipper?

I would appreciate any info from anyone who has dealt with this recently.


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2022, 06:17:46 AM »
The other threads on this subject were a bit old, so I hope this is ok.

Is it even possible to ship your own cat USA to UK any more? United doesn't fly animals in cargo any more, American says it insists on a pet shipper/agent, British sends you to their IAG Cargo carrier site, but that only refers you to commercial pet shippers. Air Animal, not taking care of drop off in Chicago but managing the rest of it to residence in the UK was $4,000! Yes, it includes the cargo ticket for the cat, but still.

My vet can do the certificate and send it off for the APHIS endorsement. I've done all the necessary vaccinations and microchip is good to go. 

Is an agent now required everywhere? Is it required at the animal reception centre at Heathrow? Are there even any airlines left that will take an animal to the UK without a shipper?

I would appreciate any info from anyone who has dealt with this recently.

I would get in touch with the animal reception centre at Heathrow and ask them. Their contact form is at the bottom of this page.

https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-welfare/travelling-with-animals/heathrow-animal-reception-centre

Please let us know how you get on.


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2022, 12:53:51 PM »
I would get in touch with the animal reception centre at Heathrow and ask them. Their contact form is at the bottom of this page.

https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-welfare/travelling-with-animals/heathrow-animal-reception-centre [nofollow]

Please let us know how you get on.

Thank you. I have done that - emailed yesterday and got a reply today. They say you don't have to have an agent to ship across the Atlantic, but for cats arriving from a non-EU country they do require an agent just on the UK end of things.

That's fine, as long as the airlines have not decided separately that they won't fly animals without a shipper. I have also emailed IAG, but it may take a phone call. I'll update.

I would love to know if anyone else is dealing with this at the moment, or has done over the last few months. It all seems different from pre-covid.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2022, 01:09:33 PM by Lefty »


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2022, 02:43:33 PM »
Yeah, it went from being very hard to doing it yourself, to easy-ish, to having to use an agent.

Random option to explore is flying elsewhere into Europe (Paris usually) and then finding a non-flight option to the U.K. (hiring a car is really the only option as trains don’t allow pets). I haven’t seen anyone mention that in some time so wonder if post-Brexit it’s no longer an option….

If it helps, that massive cost was by far the best money I spent in my move. Having my fur babies with me for 7 & 11 years post move - absolutely priceless!!


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2022, 03:10:54 PM »
Yeah, it went from being very hard to doing it yourself, to easy-ish, to having to use an agent.

Random option to explore is flying elsewhere into Europe (Paris usually) and then finding a non-flight option to the U.K. (hiring a car is really the only option as trains don’t allow pets). I haven’t seen anyone mention that in some time so wonder if post-Brexit it’s no longer an option….

If it helps, that massive cost was by far the best money I spent in my move. Having my fur babies with me for 7 & 11 years post move - absolutely priceless!!

I get it, and the cat is coming with us for sure. It's just that the shipping cost for our personal goods is also now sky high and that extra 4k is a hardship. I suspect that flying to Paris and driving from there wouldn't be a huge cost savings either.


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2022, 03:41:53 PM »
Oh I get it.  We are doing an extension on our house right now and seems like everyday there’s something that’s just another £x,xxx.  ::)

When it rains, it pours!  You’ll get through this. Broke, but you’ll get through.  ;)


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2022, 05:17:47 PM »
So yes, you can ship your own cat. At least in some circumstances.

I lived in Chicago, so IAG (BA's cargo arm) is based there and they were happy to take the animal directly from me without an agent on the US side.

I read all the instructions (carefully!) and managed all the paperwork and health check and certifications myself on the US end, with the help of my vet who is a USDA certified vet and understood the process. It isn't difficult, just quite detailed and you must absolutely get those details 100% right, and it's a little nervy on timelines, especially waiting for APHIS to get the certificate back to you in time for the flight. If you miss that deadline, then you have to start again, but that would be exactly the same with an agent. IAG put our cat on the same flight as us but we (IAG handles this) had to book a slot at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) about 8 weeks in advance (although you cannot book the animal's flight until 13 days out). There are limited flights they will put the animal on. For example, the one after ours was not ok the animal's flight until 13 days out). There are limited flights they will put the animal on. For example, the one after ours was not suitable since they were carrying dry ice as cargo and that would not have been safe for the pets. I delivered the cat to the cargo area at O'Hare (having scoped it out the week before so I knew where to go) and then we went to the passenger terminal. The IAG guy doing the loading kindly called me to confirm that he had personally put our cat on the plane, which was reassuring. The HARC were very responsive, and when I emailed them a while after landing they responded quickly that they had our cat, he was fine, and was in the waiting area with food and water while they did his paperwork. You do need an agent to clear customs and pay VAT on the UK side, but the cost was quite modest. I used JCSLivestock, the one mentioned by IAG. They were very responsive too. I also paid them to deliver the cat to our Air BnB, which was well worth doing since it takes them a few hours to clear customs. The cat's ticket (freight?) cost about 1,000 USD, but on the bright side that was about 3k less than paying an agent to do it on the US side. There were some modest costs for the vet check and health certificate, too, on the US side.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. It might be more difficult and worth using an agent if you can't easily get to the air cargo site, or you have multiple animals. Dogs also require things like worming. Having a vet who is USDA certified and knows the process at least somewhat is very helpful.


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Re: Can you ship your own cat any more?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2022, 07:07:36 PM »
So yes, you can ship your own cat. At least in some circumstances.

I lived in Chicago, so IAG (BA's cargo arm) is based there and they were happy to take the animal directly from me without an agent on the US side.

I read all the instructions (carefully!) and managed all the paperwork and health check and certifications myself on the US end, with the help of my vet who is a USDA certified vet and understood the process. It isn't difficult, just quite detailed and you must absolutely get those details 100% right, and it's a little nervy on timelines, especially waiting for APHIS to get the certificate back to you in time for the flight. If you miss that deadline, then you have to start again, but that would be exactly the same with an agent. IAG put our cat on the same flight as us but we (IAG handles this) had to book a slot at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) about 8 weeks in advance (although you cannot book the animal's flight until 13 days out). There are limited flights they will put the animal on. For example, the one after ours was not ok the animal's flight until 13 days out). There are limited flights they will put the animal on. For example, the one after ours was not suitable since they were carrying dry ice as cargo and that would not have been safe for the pets. I delivered the cat to the cargo area at O'Hare (having scoped it out the week before so I knew where to go) and then we went to the passenger terminal. The IAG guy doing the loading kindly called me to confirm that he had personally put our cat on the plane, which was reassuring. The HARC were very responsive, and when I emailed them a while after landing they responded quickly that they had our cat, he was fine, and was in the waiting area with food and water while they did his paperwork. You do need an agent to clear customs and pay VAT on the UK side, but the cost was quite modest. I used JCSLivestock, the one mentioned by IAG. They were very responsive too. I also paid them to deliver the cat to our Air BnB, which was well worth doing since it takes them a few hours to clear customs. The cat's ticket (freight?) cost about 1,000 USD, but on the bright side that was about 3k less than paying an agent to do it on the US side. There were some modest costs for the vet check and health certificate, too, on the US side.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. It might be more difficult and worth using an agent if you can't easily get to the air cargo site, or you have multiple animals. Dogs also require things like worming. Having a vet who is USDA certified and knows the process at least somewhat is very helpful.

That's great news! Thanks for the update.  :)


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