Travelling with your Cat: The Law

Today’s blog was written by our tame vet student Jo Woodnutt. Jo is one of our fosterers and is currently fostering ‘Sophie’- she’s very attached and we expect her to ‘fail’ sometime soon!

Welcome to the ‘Travelling with your Cat’ blog series. This first is about the law when travelling with your cat, and explains what your cat needs to do to be allowed to travel outside of the UK.

Photo by Amelia Hunt

Photo by Amelia Hunt

First, you must look up the entry requirements for the country you are visiting. Some will not allow any pets, others may allow pets under the P.E.T.S scheme. Others will have their own quarantine procedures. You don’t want to do a Johnny Depp and find the Australian Government on your back (read story here)!

Then there are specific rules to follow if you want your cat to come back to the UK with you. If you are going to an EU country or one listed in these guidelines, you must

  • Get a Pet Passport from a vet
  • Have a rabies vaccination (for your cat, not you!)
  • Have a microchip (plus read here for a lot of other reasons you should have one)
  • Use an ‘approved route‘ to travel back into the UK.

The Pet Passport

The ‘Pet Passport’ is a document that shows that your pet has had the necessary vaccinations and requirements for travel. Not all vets can provide one- they have to register as an ‘Official Veterinarian’ with APHA- but lots do, so check your usual vet practice and see whether they can help you. If not, your nearest APHA office should have the necessary details.

The passport becomes valid 21 days after the rabies vaccination and will remain valid for life provided subsequent vaccinations are kept up-to-date.

The Microchip

If you don’t already have a microchip, the vet will need to implant one. This is to ensure that each animal can be identified and tied to its passport- and therefore you can prove it has met all the necessary requirements to enter or re-enter the UK.

If your pet already has a microchip, the vet needs to read it and record the number on the pet passport and vaccination card. If there is a failure with the microchip, the vet can implant another but must fill out the necessary section in the passport.

The Rabies Vaccination

  • Your pet MUST receive a rabies vaccination before the passport is signed, even if they’ve had one in the past but no passport was produced.
  • Pets must be 12 weeks old or older at the time of the vaccination
  • Your pet must be microchipped BEFORE it has its vaccine, or it may have to be re-vaccinated!

An Approved Route

Sorry sailors, no private boats here- these routes have been approved by APHA to ensure they are safe and the appropriate customs officials are there too. A list of the routes is available from APHA. Please note that these routes are not obliged to carry your pet and this will be done at their discretion. Some will not allow more than one animal on at once, and others may restrict how many pets can travel with a passenger. Some routes may also require a ‘fitness to travel’ certificate from your vet, or a vet in the country that you have been visiting.

If you are not accompanying your pet (i.e if they are on a different flight), you must arrive within 5 days of your pet.

 

Travelling with your pet can be very rewarding if done in the right way. For more information please see this website which sets out all the rules and provides information about taking your pet outside of the EU, which carries its own set of problems.

Please head back in a fortnight to read the next in our series: Anxiety whilst Travelling

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