Author Topic: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018  (Read 1300 times)

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Offline KFdancer

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2018, 12:57:20 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 ?

All depends on the level of device you pick.

I was already in the UK and the shipper did everything.  My parents dropped the kitties off to their office (by the airport) and they handled them from there.

Do you have all the paperwork and USDA certificates done? 

Offline JackS15

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2018, 03:08:04 PM »
Wondering if anyone has managed to move their pets to the UK without using a pet relocation company?

My two cats will be moving from Colorado, US to London, UK in about 2.5 weeks.

Any tips/advice on do-it-myself cat moving would be greatly appreciated!

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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Offline margo

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2018, 05:24:49 PM »


Wondering if anyone has managed to move their pets to the UK without using a pet relocation company?

My two cats will be moving from Colorado, US to London, UK in about 2.5 weeks.

Any tips/advice on do-it-myself cat moving would be greatly appreciated!

You have to use a cargo company if flying into the UK, as the pets have to fly manifest cargo. You also need to have the annex form completed by a USDA vet and certified. Have you already booked their spot on the flight to the UK? Some airlines have specific cargo providers they work with.

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Offline JackS15

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2018, 05:44:34 PM »
I haven't booked yet- I'm still sorting my timeline on everything. And my vet has said she will only agree to see the cats for clearance exam if I use AirAnimal. Apparently they are the best. AirAnimal have said they will book the cats' flights once I sign the contract. My visa was just approved yesterday so I'm trying to get everything pulled together. Any other advice? Thanks so much!


You have to use a cargo company if flying into the UK, as the pets have to fly manifest cargo. You also need to have the annex form completed by a USDA vet and certified. Have you already booked their spot on the flight to the UK? Some airlines have specific cargo providers they work with.

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Offline margo

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2018, 06:20:45 PM »
I haven't booked yet- I'm still sorting my timeline on everything. And my vet has said she will only agree to see the cats for clearance exam if I use AirAnimal. Apparently they are the best. AirAnimal have said they will book the cats' flights once I sign the contract. My visa was just approved yesterday so I'm trying to get everything pulled together. Any other advice? Thanks so much!
Is your vet a USDA certified vet? It doesn't sound like they are if they are specifying how you need to transport the pets.


They do need to know which flight your pet is booked on with the airway bill # for the form. Which airline are you flying on? I would contact them to find out if they have a cargo provider. Doing all of this work in 2 weeks may be cutting it close. You will also need a company to receive the cats at Heathrow, but again the cargo companies often have someone they recommend. I flew into Gatwick so I'm not sure who to suggest. The annex 4 is only good for 10 days so it's a short amount of time for you to book them in flights and get the appointments in. Do you have the airline approved carriers?

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Offline larrabee

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2018, 07:01:08 PM »
Is your vet a USDA certified vet? It doesn't sound like they are if they are specifying how you need to transport the pets.


They do need to know which flight your pet is booked on with the airway bill # for the form. Which airline are you flying on? I would contact them to find out if they have a cargo provider. Doing all of this work in 2 weeks may be cutting it close. You will also need a company to receive the cats at Heathrow, but again the cargo companies often have someone they recommend. I flew into Gatwick so I'm not sure who to suggest. The annex 4 is only good for 10 days so it's a short amount of time for you to book them in flights and get the appointments in. Do you have the airline approved carriers?

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This might have changed, but when I did it, each airport had one animal reception centre which all the airlines used. The only thing that seemed to differ was whether the fee you paid for the flight included the ARC fee or not. If if didn't you would have to pay separately at the other end.

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Offline KFdancer

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2018, 07:19:57 PM »
I dont doubt for a second that you can do this yourself and save a bundle.

But for what it’s worth, I used Air Animal when I moved my cats over and they were fantastic.  Granted my move was a corporate funded move and moving my cats was a covered cost.

That being said, this is the first I’ve heard of a vet dictating who you use.  I wonder if they don’t have confidence in themselves to assist with the paperwork?

Offline Lovepaperwork

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2018, 09:07:19 AM »
I moved my two dogs from Perth, Australia to the UK with out am animal cargo company. It is totally possible, but there is a lot of paperwork. It saved us a nice chunk about $1,500. Pets flying out of Australia and into the UK must be in cargo. Get the most direct route if possible. We flew domestic to Sydney (which was $125 per dog), then picked up our dogs and filed the export papers in Sydney (stayed for two days to give dogs a break) and then flew direct to London. That way there was no risk of the dogs being left on a tarmac during a transit. You will need to get a rabies vaccination a certain time in advance, I can't remember what the timeline is. Other than that, it is just a vet clearance with in 3 days of their flight (if your vet won't do it with out a animal transport company, just look up "flight clearance vet") and during that clearance they will give the cats a dewormer. Your vet is either not certified to conduct the vet clearance or just doesn't want to deal with the paperwork. We used a vet that was specially certified to do this. 24 hours prior to the flight, you will file the export papers with the appropriate department in the states. You need to have their vaccination history, rabies certificate, and vet clearance. I am sure there are different appendix needed for the states, if you go a government website on animal export, there should all the info. Basically it is totally doable on your own, as long as you are organized. I would start out by calling the airline that you want to use and ask for their price on animal transport. They charge a cargo rate based on the crate size. At least they did in Australia, could be totally different for the states. Also our dogs are under 30 lbs each, so they were allowed in the same crate, if your cats like each other, see if you can put them in the same crate, so they have a companion for the journey.

You do not need a cargo company to collect them in England, if you will be arriving at the same time.

Side note, it took about 7 hours after we landed in London for our animals to be cleared. We were exhausted from our 24 hour flight and ended up sitting in a McDonalds nearby for 7 hours to wait for them. Where you pick up the animals is next to, but not in the airport. So be prepared for a long wait! But the reunion was oh so sweet.
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Offline Ca9604

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2018, 02:52:36 PM »
I’m in the visa waiting game. Do I wait to book Winston a ticket till I get it?
We are thinking of sending him on an earlier flight out of Newark so by the time we get through, and rent the car, he’ll be ready. He’s 17 and still acts like a kitten
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Offline KFdancer

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2018, 03:01:16 PM »
I’m in the visa waiting game. Do I wait to book Winston a ticket till I get it?
We are thinking of sending him on an earlier flight out of Newark so by the time we get through, and rent the car, he’ll be ready. He’s 17 and still acts like a kitten

I'd get your ducks in a row and decide your ideal airline.  I know for my kitties (many years ago), the kitties couldn't be booked until 2 weeks prior to departure date.

I haven't heard of anyone sending their pet on an earlier flight, but it's up to you.  If you send kitty on the same flight and tell the flight crew, they'll let you know that he's been loaded in, happy, that the heat is working, the cabin is pressurized, etc.  They'll also tell you that he's been unloaded and happy as you get off.  Just something to keep in mind. 

But yeah, you may have to wait around a bit for him to clear his veterinary checks.

Offline capecod

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2018, 05:02:30 PM »
Since I got word that a decision has been made on my visa, I decided to book our two cats in for their health certs so I could get that squared away. If we are travelling on British Airways, is there anything specific they need on the health cert? Is there a form? My vet office has asked me but I wasn't sure.
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Offline margo

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2018, 05:33:47 PM »
Since I got word that a decision has been made on my visa, I decided to book our two cats in for their health certs so I could get that squared away. If we are travelling on British Airways, is there anything specific they need on the health cert? Is there a form? My vet office has asked me but I wasn't sure.
Yes, is your vet a USDA certified vet? They should be familiar with the forms if they are. If they aren't, unfortunately they can't complete them and you'll have to find one in your area.

It's a good idea to double check with the reception center for the correct forms too, and have them review your docs before traveling.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pet-travel-certificate-for-movement-of-dogs-cats-and-ferrets-from-third-countries

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Offline larrabee

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2018, 05:34:23 PM »
Since I got word that a decision has been made on my visa, I decided to book our two cats in for their health certs so I could get that squared away. If we are travelling on British Airways, is there anything specific they need on the health cert? Is there a form? My vet office has asked me but I wasn't sure.

Call BA, ask them exactly what they need from you.  :)
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Offline Ca9604

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2018, 05:42:06 PM »
I'd get your ducks in a row and decide your ideal airline.  I know for my kitties (many years ago), the kitties couldn't be booked until 2 weeks prior to departure date.

I haven't heard of anyone sending their pet on an earlier flight, but it's up to you.  If you send kitty on the same flight and tell the flight crew, they'll let you know that he's been loaded in, happy, that the heat is working, the cabin is pressurized, etc.  They'll also tell you that he's been unloaded and happy as you get off.  Just something to keep in mind. 

But yeah, you may have to wait around a bit for him to clear his veterinary checks.

I guess it depends on what flight I can get him on. With our two girls, who are a pain when they land at Heathrow, I know they’ll want to collect him straight away but at the same time they’ll want to know that he’s okay on the flight.
Now if I knew how long it will take me to get through customs, rent the car, and then collect Winston it might work with him on our flight.
Any thoughts from anyone?
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Offline capecod

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Re: New Thread for Moving Cats from US to UK - 2018
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2018, 05:44:43 PM »
I haven't booked yet- I'm still sorting my timeline on everything. And my vet has said she will only agree to see the cats for clearance exam if I use AirAnimal. Apparently they are the best. AirAnimal have said they will book the cats' flights once I sign the contract. My visa was just approved yesterday so I'm trying to get everything pulled together. Any other advice? Thanks so much!

Hi Jack! Also moving imminently to London with two cats. Have you had any other information or vet recommendations? I have a feeling my vet is not USDA accredited because she is also asking what needs to be on the health cert.
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