Travelling With Pets To The UK

Gaspar the traveller
Gaspar the traveller

Moving your pet to another country can be challenging and heartbreaking, but the idea of leaving your friend behind is way more terrifying.

We had to make a move to London, UK from Lisbon, Portugal. There were no doubts – our cat was going with us, no matter what. We thought it would be a financially reasonable and a relatively smooth trip. If you want to make God laugh… We learnt on our mistakes and happy to share a recipe to an easier travelling to the UK with your pet.

As we figured later on, England is the most expensive and the strictest (let’s call it that way to avoid the word problematic) country to bring your friend in. Only Australia can compete with it.

Start getting ready at least three months in advance. Make an appointment with your vet and make sure your animal is microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and treated against parasites. It’s very important you do it beforehand, because animal would have to wait around 21 days for the vaccine to settle.

Pet travelling passport
Pet travelling passport

Since January 2015 a new passport version was introduced. It should have nine digits, an additional page for vaccine serial number protection and personal details of your vet. Most likely an animal courier company would require a new passport.

Next step is finding a courier. All the airline companies, except British Airways, have got embargo on animal transportation to the UK. Truly speaking, it’s a disgusting monopoly, but rules are rules. British Airways works with a couple of trusted animal couriers who take care of all the paperwork. You’ll be surprised when you hear the price. We paid 879 euros. Don’t blame it on couriers – they go through so much trouble to receive less than 100 euros. The biggest piece of pie goes to the Animal Scheme in the UK. They will inform you about all the procedures, updates and rules. Do not forget to contact them as soon as possible, at least 1-2 months in advance.

Carrier
Carrier

Your courier company screens the necessary paperwork, gives advices and receives permission from Boarder Police to travel with your pet. It takes time. We would advice you not to buy an animal carrier by yourself. It should be very specific, and the UK side is very picky about it. Your courier will provide you with the most appropriate one for the same price you’d buy it in a store. It is very well equipped, spacious and safe for your friend to travel. Leave this trouble to professionals.

Our courier was absolutely fantastic. Here are the contacts if you are travelling from Portugal: Adriano Malveiro adriano.malveiro@intercourier.pt

Intercourier Lda.
Rua Professor Henrique de Barros, Lote 2 Armazém 7
2685-338 Prior Velho
Portugal
www.intercourier.pt
Ph: +351 219 498 190
Fax: +351 219 498 199
Cell: +351 966 222 245

Make a new passport, get your pet vaccinated, microchipped and treated against parasites; scan the passport with all the details in it and send it over to your courier company together with your ID. When everything is cleared, settle a date of travelling and make sure you take the same flight as your pet, even though he’ll go in a separate cargo department. The best way is to fly with BA – at least you’ll arrive to the UK with your pet at the same time. You should schedule an appointment with your vet two days before the flight to check if the microchip is functioning and to eliminate parasites once more.

Do not feed your pet before the flight – last food intake should be the night before (latest possible). You can grab its favourite toys, blanket and Feliway wet towels to sooth his travelling. No matter what sources you use to inform yourself, do not give any tranquillisers or sleeping pills to your pet – they may harm it. Our cat is one of the most stressed kinds, but he was able to pass through the travelling without medication. Your courier company will supply the carrier with water.   As soon as you are at the airport in London, drink a cup of coffee, relax and move towards Terminal 4 – this is where the Animal Centre is located. You’ll probably have to wait for a couple of hours before you reunite with your friend.

I have to say, this is not the most pleasant experience for neither the pets nor the owners. Stress level is huge. It is not cheap. Recuperation may take up to one week. Our boy had his nose all bleeding and scratched up, while trying to escape the cage from airplane pressure. He was hiding under the bed for a couple of days. But it is all behind: wounds are healed, trust in people is recuperated, curiosity is resurrected and appetite is back. There is nothing compared to the feeling that you did not leave your friend behind and he purrs every morning next to your ear and happily climbs the stairs of a new home.

The Science Of Choice

Do you remember this scene from the “House of Cards”: Donald Blythe, a well-grounded republican, refuses to make a pact with Frank (the biggest manipulator of all), shooting bulletproof arguments why his decision makes sense? In fact, it does. What does Frank do to get what he wants? – Uses the most powerful weapon in decision-making process – emotions! He shows “sincerest “ concerns about his wife’s health, gives a couple of sympathetic pats on the shoulder – the deal is sealed.

My husband is a Frank in the way he uses my emotions to reach what he wants. He always smashes my logic, like a rotten tomato; kills my gnostic mind and pulls out my Christian heart. A couple of years ago I decided to extend our family by purchasing a cat. He, on the other hand, wanted to adopt. Anyhow, a logical me wanted to have a Chartreux pedigree kittens. I brainwashed him with endless “101 Pets” videos in YouTube, reasoning that one day we might build a Chartreux Empire, raising fluffy cute cheetahs.

When he finally gave in, we started our search: sent loads of emails to proud owners of blue-blooded animals, zombied the brains with “aw, so sweet” pictures. Somehow we managed to trap into an animal traffic scheme. A guy with an authentic Portuguese name Miguel and incredibly bad writing skills sent us heart-melting pictures (he obviously mastered the science of mind control games). He said that the animal would be transferred from Switzerland as soon as we pay the fee for its move…through Western Union… his office was in Cameroon! I felt so disappointed and the whole purpose seemed meaningless.

That’s when my emotional stimulator stepped in: shoved the sites of shelters, dared my moral values. “Don’t you want to give home to a poor abandoned child?!” – he said. “ They also need our care and love, poor souls!” – he repeated. I lost my shields, and the emotional me made a decision: “We will adopt!” The next week we had Gaspar.

Gaspar - the product of our emotional choice
Gaspar – the product of our emotional choice

He was wrapped in yellow dirty covers and he was full of snot. Three years later we are happy to be the parents of a smart, loving and grateful street cat. We give him love, care, food and house. He gives us way more: gentle morning head bumps, endless loyalty and the essence of home.

Most of my best shots in life involved an emotional platform. My husband, places we lived in, my jobs – all those were the signals from the subconscious that told me a lot about what I really choose.

Sometimes we create a perfectly tailored argument. We are proud with its shape and possible outcome. And how many times those ideal solutions crumble before a begging homeless, a crying Mom or a toothless smile of a child?! Does it make us more vulnerable and open to manipulations? – Maybe so, but we enjoy an emotional choice way more than logical, even if we sour it with regrets. There is always a moment of a triumph, which we would never experience using a logical path. We feel like burglars breaking the rules.

Fear of dating outside the norms, refusal to hire tattooed manpower, standardisation of lives, choosing society approved professions or excluding a mongrel from pretentious competitions – those are the limits we create by false logical norms, which lead to wrong choices. The term “logical” is quite vast and antithetical. The meaning of the term has been manipulated ever since its creation. I guess the most lucid thing of all is to follow you gut and embrace emotional choices.

The whole world stops for a second. You open your logical clenched fist; suddenly everything becomes clear: there are no spectrums of good and bad, no “either… or” constructions, no judgments, no superstitions. The puzzle is solved.