Travelling with your cat

Travelling with my cat: top tips when taking your pet on your travels reading-time-icon 3 min read

As a cat owner your pet is part of your family. And while you might not think about taking your feline friend on holiday abroad, a change of job or a dream of relocation to warmer climes could lead to an overseas move – and it’s only natural you’ll want to take your cat with you.

We take a look at what you need to know if you’re planning to travel with your cat. Following the guidelines in this article can prevent your pet from being put into quarantine for up to four months, and even being refused entry to the UK.

Does my cat need a passport?

If you’re planning to take your cat on a trip to another country she’ll need a passport before you travel.

Cat passports are provided by the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) and include a record of all treatments and vaccinations your pet has had.

PETS has been in operation since February 2000 and enables your pet to re-enter the UK from the EU without them having to be quarantined. To issue a Pet Passport, a vet has to hold Official Veterinarian (OV) status. Not all vets have this qualification, so you’ll need to check with your vet before you take your cat for an appointment to issue the passport.

The rules in this article are not expected to change as a result of plans for the UK to leave the European Union.

What does a pet passport include?

Your cat’s passport will include:

  • details of ownership
  • a description of your pet, including microchip number
  • details of rabies vaccination
  • details of rabies blood test, if necessary
  • details of tapeworm treatment, if necessary
  • certification of fitness to travel

The rules in this article are not expected to change as a result of plans for the UK to leave the European Union.”

Other things to remember before travelling abroad with your pet

  • your cat must have a microchip implanted for identification purposes
  • your cat should be at least 15 weeks old at time of travelling
  • your cat should be fit and healthy before travelling
  • your cat should be vaccinated against rabies 
  • allow plenty of time for breaks and stops when travelling by car
  • take the phone number of your vet with you in case you have any questions while you’re away

It should be noted that the above guidelines are not applicable to all countries and you are strongly advised to check the official requirements of the country you intend to take your cat to/from before travelling.

Air travel with your cat

Chances are if you’re leaving the country with your cat you’ll need to check out the flight arrangements for travelling with animals.

Not every airline is equipped for pet-friendly travel, so you’ll need to do your research before booking your flight. Skyscanner and Cheapflights have comprehensive lists of the airlines that allow pets:

Car travel with your cat

Driving with your cat can be a lot more straightforward. Remember:

  • withhold food for four to five hours before the journey to reduce the chance of sickness
  • your cat should be safely stowed in a secure carrier on the back seat of your car
  • to minimise stress, have someone sit in the passenger seat next to her, and speak in a soothing voice if she becomes distressed at any time
  • put a blanket or comfort cloth inside the carrier for the smell of home
  • anti anxiety medication is also available over the counter or on prescription from your vet
  • hormone sprays such as Feliway can help to keep your cat settled during the journey
  • never, ever leave your cat unattended in your car – even for a short time

Expert advice on travelling with cats

For more information and help on travelling with your cat, contact your local vet.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.

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