Author Topic: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018  (Read 1299 times)

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Offline ieatdinoeggs

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New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« on: January 12, 2018, 08:35:20 PM »
I noticed the previous info was a little older but I've still taken some of the info and put it to good use.  I figured I'd start a new thread for more updated information, and I'll start with my situation.

We have 3 cats that we're moving to the UK(Belfast).  I found reference to the channel hop strategy through CDG airport in France.  For anyone else reading this, that seems to be basically where you fly with your cats in-cabin, 1 per passenger, on Delta/AirFrance to CDG for about 200 quid per cat, as opposed to flying to UK with them as manifested freight which I heard on this forum is more expensive.  I found info on animalcouriers.com and have reached out to them.  Got a response from them and it seems their services really only entail getting your cats from CDG to your destination in the UK, or at least into the UK at Surrey.

I asked for a reference for a relocation company to help us get the cats from the U.S. to CDG so all paperwork and timelines are followed.  This involves a certified rabies vac, specific format of microchips, and certification from a USDA vet something like 10 days before departure.  Don't quote me on all of this, I'm still learning this myself.

We like the channel hop idea, as long as our cats are in-cabin, because to us it just feels safer and more secure for them.  They're our little fur-babies, and are a huge part of our little family.  While rare, we've heard horror stories of cats dying or injured due to negligence form aircraft personnel unloading the cargo.  Someone also mentioned its cheaper, and if that's true, that's also a bonus but not our main reason.

Another alternative of course is going on sea travel via the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, but that fills up early and you need to book in advance.  While a 7 day cruise sounds fun and all, we both have open-ocean phobias and its hard to get past our probably unjustified images of the Titanic, huge terrifying waves in the middle of a storm, or just anything happening and dying at sea is probably one of the worst ways to go.

Does anyone have any pet-relocation services to recommend for getting your pets from US to CDG airport in France?  Does anyone have any other details or corrections they'd like to add, or maybe useful perspectives on pet relocation?

Also, what's this about indoor cats being cruel in the UK?  Does anyone actually come and check up on this?  Our cats have always been indoor because we've either lived in apartments or gang-infested, toxic EPA super fund site, neighborhoods.  Are we gonna run into issues on this in the UK?

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 10:14:45 AM »
I used Air Animal when shipping my cats over many years ago and they were great.

They told me that cargo is much better for animals, as animals travel in a seperate hold that is heated, dark, and really lulls them to sleep.  They said the cabin is so noisy and they are down at everyone's feet with the lights coming on and off and that it really makes them much more anxious.  Could have been a load of hooey, but it definitely made me feel better about my babies travelling as cargo.  My cats were also on a direct flight which was my preferred.

Having indoor cats is 100% fine.  Yes, some people you meet may think it's "cruel" but 99% of people I know agree that they think it's much better.  No one complains about my cats pooping in their garden and I don't have to worry about cars getting them.  No brainer to me.  But yes, many rescue organisations won't allow you to adopt if you plan to have indoor cats.  My vet has always been very supportive of mine being indoor cats and they also seem to agree that it's not bad for cats.  No one is going to come knocking on your door.  :)

Offline Blossom

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2018, 10:30:50 AM »
Our 7 cats travelled in the hold via KLM.  I chose KLM because they have a big hub for animals in Amsterdam which I have only ever heard good things about. 

I sent our cats in two batches.  I had previously been in contact with a local company who could put a mesh type barrier along the top of the walls around the back garden so the cats couldn't escape but would have an outside area to enjoy.  I met with them the day after I arrived so they could start work.

The cats flew to Manchester.

I got the paperwork done for their travel myself. 
Then I got a company to book their travel on KLM etc. 
I then contacted a company at Manchester Airport to receive them and do the import paperwork etc.
Then I contacted a courier to collect them from the airport and bring them to me.

When the cats are in the air conditioned area of the hold, they settle down in the dark.

The company that was receiving them in Manchester Airport kept me informed when they arrived and left Amsterdam and when they arrived in Manchester - assuring me they were fine.  The courier told me when he was on his way and when they would be arriving.

Our cats travelled from the Middle East so I can't give you any suggestions on transportation companies from the US.

As for your cats being only indoor - the vets I know here in the UK will tell you that it is far safer to keep them indoors, or have a safe enclosed area outdoor, than to let them roam.  No one will check.

My cats arrived safe and well - and were very happy.  I expected them to be traumatised but they were quite relaxed and just happy to have arrived.

Offline margo

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2018, 02:59:13 PM »
I have a VERY skittish cat. We came direct to the UK via Toronto.

1. Vets - USDA vet needs to complete annex 4 form within 10 days of their travel date, after completion it needs to be certified by APHIS. You may be able to get this done in person depending on where you are, where I lived it had to be done via prepaid overnight express mail. Make sure each cats rabies certificate includes their microchip # and the serial # from the vaccine batch, and is at least 21 days before their travel date.

2 cargo vs plane. I was really worried about my cat flying cargo and she was absolutely fine. She cuddled the animal reception agent and was happy to see us when we got in the cab home.

I used Sea Air cargo and they helped me arrange everything, and it was less expensive than a full relocation service. Between vet fees, certification, flight, and reception I think we paid about £1500, possibly a little less. Don't forget to arrange food and litter when you're in the UK.

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Offline larrabee

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2018, 04:38:58 PM »
I’m another vote for the hold being better for the cats.  :)

For all the reasons already mentioned plus, the size of the carrier would need to be TINY for the cat to be able to fit at your feet. Before I got the large flight carriers, we had a little one for trips to the vet and I felt guilty putting the cat in it even for the 20 min drive there!

I think the tide is turning on the indoor/outdoor debate in the UK, I still see outdoor cats around but I have yet to meet one person that doesn’t think I’m doing the smart thing by keeping mine in.

We have adopted two more since arriving and I was honest with the shelter. They wouldn’t have let me have something that was used to being outside which makes sense but we wanted real babies anyway and they were just fine with that.  :)
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Offline BertineC

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2018, 07:06:25 PM »
Yeah - putting them in the hold could possibly be more humane than stuffing them under the seat in front of you. I made sure to ask the flight attendant that the cats were loaded (they went on last before we left) and the hold heat was on. She (we flew SAS - search my name and you can read the saga!) came by several times to reassure me about the cats so while I worried I figured they were probably conked out down there.

Think about it - would you want to be squished in a tiny carrier for hours under a seat where you can't move, with a lot of noise and feet around? Or have a nice big carrier you can stand up in, a pad in case you have an accident, and its dark and humming you to sleep?

We stuck our cats in the big crate together with a tshirt that smelled like me and they came out looking a bit confused but just fine in the end.

I was of the understanding that Animal Couriers DID do overseas shipments as they have testimonials of helping to fly pets here there and everywhere to the middle east, aus, etc.  ? We used them for Stockholm-area to London last June on their car service, so let us know if you have any questions.

Our two boneheads are indoor only (despite a few years of outdoor roaming privileges in Sweden) but we have an enclosed outdoor area for them. Given the amount of cats in our neighborhood (including a VERY loud all black tom who sounds like a dying duck every morning and puts my boy on edge) and cars in the cul de sac, we are more than happy to keep them enclosed. We do have to check to make sure the boy doesn't go over the wall as he likes to do, but if he does he usually just cries and comes back in ten minutes once he's checked out the other side.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 07:11:12 PM by BertineC »

Offline Sirius

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 10:17:47 PM »
But yes, many rescue organisations won't allow you to adopt if you plan to have indoor cats. 

I've never heard of that before. Which ones? As I have said before on here, when I helped at a cat rescue, we wished that all our rescues could go to homes where they were not put outside to wander.

In the UK, too many cats are disposable- put the cat outside -stick a picture up on a lamp post when it goes missing - get another cat - put it outside etc
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 10:19:07 PM by Sirius »

Offline Nan D.

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2018, 10:40:23 PM »
In the UK, too many cats are disposable- put the cat outside -stick a picture up on a lamp post when it goes missing - get another cat - put it outside etc


EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!  :-[

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2018, 08:46:55 AM »
I'm in the process of looking at  flights for my 2 cats .. one is just a big male who is skiddish of loud noises and another is a special needs rescue .. who has to be handled carefully.. he's young but has bad hips , was also born with a sideways tail and bo legged.. so he just can't be thrown about .. I'm just wondering as silly as it sounds do they handle special needs for animals ? Who is also strictly indoors ... I'm so nervous to ship my cats so far ! I feel it's so unfair for them .. 😩

Any advice on airlines would be much appreciated!!!
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
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Offline larrabee

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2018, 08:57:13 AM »
I'm in the process of looking at  flights for my 2 cats .. one is just a big male who is skiddish of loud noises and another is a special needs rescue .. who has to be handled carefully.. he's young but has bad hips , was also born with a sideways tail and bo legged.. so he just can't be thrown about .. I'm just wondering as silly as it sounds do they handle special needs for animals ? Who is also strictly indoors ... I'm so nervous to ship my cats so far ! I feel it's so unfair for them .. 😩

Any advice on airlines would be much appreciated!!!

Although they travel as manifest cargo, they definitely are not chucked around with the rest of the baggage. Please don’t worry about that.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2018, 08:57:42 AM »
I'm in the process of looking at  flights for my 2 cats .. one is just a big male who is skiddish of loud noises and another is a special needs rescue .. who has to be handled carefully.. he's young but has bad hips , was also born with a sideways tail and bo legged.. so he just can't be thrown about .. I'm just wondering as silly as it sounds do they handle special needs for animals ? Who is also strictly indoors ... I'm so nervous to ship my cats so far ! I feel it's so unfair for them .. 😩

Any advice on airlines would be much appreciated!!!

They will be fine!  Promise!  We are all nervous wrecks when shipping our animals.

Have you looked into a shipping company or are you doing it yourself?

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2018, 09:01:15 AM »
Although they travel as manifest cargo, they definitely are not chucked around with the rest of the baggage. Please don’t worry about that.

They did a show on BBC on Heathrow and one of the episodes followed the Animal Reception Centre.  I SO wish I had seen that episode before I flew my cats.  The animals are treated like kings and queens.  They are the first ones off the plane.  ARC is there on the tarmac to meet them and take them to the centre.

They followed racing horses, a tiger, and a gharial (member of the gator family).  It was FASCINATING.  Really funny watching them feed the tiger and check on the well being of the gharial.  It's crazy to think of these amazing animals being under your feet while on a commercial flight.

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2018, 12:41:11 PM »
They will be fine!  Promise!  We are all nervous wrecks when shipping our animals.

Have you looked into a shipping company or are you doing it yourself?


Not sure !! a shipping company comes and picks them up ? Or if I did it I just bring them to the airport with me ? I'm wondering to could I always have a family member drop them off at the airport as well ?
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
Bometrics booked for Dec 22nd 2017
Package sent off to Sheffield Dec 23rd 2017(priority)
Package recieved In Sheffield Dec 27th 😬🤞🏻
Decision email sent Jan 17th 2018 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼
VISA APPROVED Jan 22nd
Cambridge here I come !!!

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2018, 12:45:30 PM »
They did a show on BBC on Heathrow and one of the episodes followed the Animal Reception Centre.  I SO wish I had seen that episode before I flew my cats.  The animals are treated like kings and queens.  They are the first ones off the plane.  ARC is there on the tarmac to meet them and take them to the centre.

They followed racing horses, a tiger, and a gharial (member of the gator family).  It was FASCINATING.  Really funny watching them feed the tiger and check on the well being of the gharial.  It's crazy to think of these amazing animals being under your feet while on a commercial flight.


I found the show you were talking about .. looked it up on amazon prime and it's actually on my Netflix !!!! I'm gonna watch a few esp !!! It looks good and kinda reassuring
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
Bometrics booked for Dec 22nd 2017
Package sent off to Sheffield Dec 23rd 2017(priority)
Package recieved In Sheffield Dec 27th 😬🤞🏻
Decision email sent Jan 17th 2018 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼
VISA APPROVED Jan 22nd
Cambridge here I come !!!

Offline larrabee

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2018, 12:51:02 PM »

Not sure !! a shipping company comes and picks them up ? Or if I did it I just bring them to the airport with me ? I'm wondering to could I always have a family member drop them off at the airport as well ?

I did it myself.  I made a trip to the cargo people in advance so I could have them check out the crates I had bought and clarify their particular airline paperwork and answer all my other thousands of questions.

Then on the day it was just a question of starting out a couple of hours earlier than if I hadn't had to check the cats in.

I'd check with your airline if you want someone else to drop them off, it should be possible but you'll need to know the procedure.
 
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.