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Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Old Aug 3rd 2015, 4:55 pm
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Default Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Hello Brit Expats!

I'm just sitting here in Calgary listening to Absolute Radio with a cuppa, wedding and emigration thoughts racing around my head and decided I'd come to you for some advice!

I was hoping for some information from those of you with some experience in this particular field!
I'm moving back to the UK from Calgary in September. Originally I was only supposed to be staying for about 9 months so a friend had agreed to look after my cat whilst I was gone. It would have been less stress on her, less money etc.
However, my plans have now changed and I am going back to Blighty on a more permanent basis and I'm now wanting to bring my cat with me.

Just wondering if anyone knows about the quarantine policies coming from Canada to UK? From what I understand from reading the British government website, if she has all of the appropriate shots, papers, blood work etc, she won't be quarantined? But I know that Canada isn't rabies free so it may cause problems?

I've emailed Boomerang Pet Carrier for a quote but after digging around on here it seems many of you have used British Airways to fly pets across the pond? What are your experiences/opinions on the form of transport?

Cheers!
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Old Aug 3rd 2015, 5:23 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

I used Air Transat (aka Canadian Affair) from Edmo to Gatwick. I've never heard of anyone using BA, but lots of people use Air Canada.

The advantage of Air Transat is that Gatwick has a faster processing time at the animal reception centre than Heathrow. But, when we did it last year, Air Transat would not deal direct. You have to go through PetsAway who are based in the UK. Even so, it was cheaper than using Air Canada.

I've never heard of Boomerang either, so can't comment on them.

The main problem we had was getting our vet to complete the paperwork correctly. We inadvertently chose the most dyslexic vet in Edmo, but I was told that vets in Calgary are more clued up, due to the British army base, which means there are more pets travelling to the UK.

There is no quarantine. You just have to get the cat microchipped, then the rabies jab done with the right paperwork. Simples? Not for our vet.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

I used Air Canada to move from Toronto to London.

Word of warning...it is not cheap - more expensive than my airfare. Suggest you call a couple of airlines and get a quote
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Originally Posted by Kooksty View Post

Just wondering if anyone knows about the quarantine policies coming from Canada to UK? From what I understand from reading the British government website, if she has all of the appropriate shots, papers, blood work etc, she won't be quarantined? But I know that Canada isn't rabies free so it may cause problems?
No quarantine necessary, or a titer test (if that's what you mean by 'blood work'). If you check the DEFRA site again, you'll see that Canada is a 'non EU listed country', which is good news as it means that the process is relatively simple. Gist is: microchip, rabies shot, pre-flight checkup, and everything properly documented on the right paperwork. Just some points:

- if your cat isn't already microchipped, then that'll need to be done. She'll need to have rabies shots again afterwards, even if the old ones are in date. Basically, nothing pre-microchip counts for official purposes. The rabies shot must be done AT LEAST 21 days before travel, just to give you an idea of timescale. Final health-checks must be done within a few days of flying, too, so there will be a slightly last-minute feel at the end.

- agents are expensive, but they can help if you need assistance with the paperwork or with the logistics of getting your pet to the airport. Also, as Editha said, some airlines insist you use one. But, otherwise, the paperwork is finicky but can be done yourself, with the help of a decent vet.

- don't expect vets to know the exact requirements, since they've changed within the past few years and there are still old preconceptions about quarantine etc. It's no problem if you research requirements yourself and tell the vet what to do. Lots of us have done this. Just, as Editha said, get someone who's careful with paperwork, as every detail will be scrutinised.

Originally Posted by Kooksty View Post
I've emailed Boomerang Pet Carrier for a quote but after digging around on here it seems many of you have used British Airways to fly pets across the pond? What are your experiences/opinions on the form of transport?
- call airlines for quotes, and prepare for it to be very expensive. If they say it'll just be a few hundred dollars, check they're quoting the UK rate, where pets must be shipped as manifest cargo. It's a lot cheaper to fly pets into the rest of the EU, where they still travel in the cargo hold, but can be added onto your booking as excess baggage or a flat pet-rate. The UK price is only an estimate until you actually get to the departure airport, where they'll weigh your pet and container etc. (But they seem pretty good at giving accurate estimates.) Check whether the UK airport customs fees are included, since some airlines include them and others don't, and this makes several hundred pounds' difference.

We flew BA and they were fine. Virgin are also supposed to be very good. But prices and availability really vary depending where you're flying from. Not all carriers accept pets. It can get very complicated so do make sure you're speaking to someone at the airline who knows their stuff, as regular ticket agents have been known to give some very inaccurate info by accident.

Last edited by MoshiMoshi; Aug 4th 2015 at 1:15 pm.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

If you do use an agent, don't let them make the container for you. It will almost certainly be cheaper if you get them to give you the dimensions needed and then buy one from PetSmart.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 4:34 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

No need to use an agent to help you with the paperwork. You can get that help on this forum. The paperwork looks incomprehensible but it is doable. Your vet fills it in (well you help), you then need to take it to a government vet to get the form signed off.

I took the container, with cat, out to the airport beforehand to see if it was acceptable...glad I did because it was deemed to be too small.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Hi Editha,

Sorry to hear about the incompetence of your vet but I'm glad your furry friend arrived safe and sound in the end!

I have always flown with Air Transat, except this time I found a deal with BA so will be flying with them. I've been told that late 2014 the regulations for importing a pet outside of an EU or listed country were changed so that now she has to fly within 5 days of myself or someone nominated by me. This causes problems when you look at the British Gvmt website and their time line requirements for shots/blood tests.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 10:38 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Originally Posted by Wombat7 View Post
I used Air Canada to move from Toronto to London.

Word of warning...it is not cheap - more expensive than my airfare. Suggest you call a couple of airlines and get a quote
Hi Wombat,

I know, it's so pricey. I'm still waiting for people to get back to me with quotes but I am expecting around $1500 after all the vet bills and fees to fly her.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Hi Moshi,

Originally Posted by MoshiMoshi View Post
No quarantine necessary, or a titer test (if that's what you mean by 'blood work'). If you check the DEFRA site again, you'll see that Canada is a 'non EU listed country', which is good news as it means that the process is relatively simple. Gist is: microchip, rabies shot, pre-flight checkup, and everything properly documented on the right paperwork.
What's the DEFRA site? I've been using the British Government website as reference for requirements and it states that she'll need the rabies shot and then a blood test 30 days after the shot. THEN she won't be able to travel until 3 calendar months after the blood test.

She's already microchipped so that's one thing off of the to-do list.

- don't expect vets to know the exact requirements, since they've changed within the past few years and there are still old preconceptions about quarantine etc. It's no problem if you research requirements yourself and tell the vet what to do. Lots of us have done this. Just, as Editha said, get someone who's careful with paperwork, as every detail will be scrutinised.
When I went to the vet a few months ago for a basic assessment they didn't have a clue what I would need so I took them the requirements I found on the B.G. website.


- call airlines for quotes, and prepare for it to be very expensive. If they say it'll just be a few hundred dollars, check they're quoting the UK rate, where pets must be shipped as manifest cargo. It's a lot cheaper to fly pets into the rest of the EU, where they still travel in the cargo hold, but can be added onto your booking as excess baggage or a flat pet-rate. The UK price is only an estimate until you actually get to the departure airport, where they'll weigh your pet and container etc. (But they seem pretty good at giving accurate estimates.) Check whether the UK airport customs fees are included, since some airlines include them and others don't, and this makes several hundred pounds' difference.

We flew BA and they were fine. Virgin are also supposed to be very good. But prices and availability really vary depending where you're flying from. Not all carriers accept pets. It can get very complicated so do make sure you're speaking to someone at the airline who knows their stuff, as regular ticket agents have been known to give some very inaccurate info by accident.
I will definitely check that they know what they're doing! Thank you! If the info on the BG website is correct though, it doesn't look like she'll be able to fly out with me initially anyway... I fly out September 15th, much too soon for the required 3 calendar months. I was also told my a pet travel agent that she needs to fly within 5 days of myself or another person nominated by me otherwise she flies as a commercial export which ends up taking more time, costing more money and she has to visit the vet within 24 hours of flying instead of 10 days.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Originally Posted by Wombat7 View Post
No need to use an agent to help you with the paperwork. You can get that help on this forum. The paperwork looks incomprehensible but it is doable. Your vet fills it in (well you help), you then need to take it to a government vet to get the form signed off.

I took the container, with cat, out to the airport beforehand to see if it was acceptable...glad I did because it was deemed to be too small.
I'm not sure I'd use an agent, I jut figured I would start there. That's a good idea to take it all to the airport beforehand!
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 10:50 pm
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Here's the site: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad

"
Enter the UK from an unlisted country
An ‘unlisted’ country is any country not included in the list of EU and non-EU countries.

When you enter or return to the UK from an unlisted country, your pet needs to meet the entry requirements. These include:

a microchip
a rabies vaccination
a blood test - the vet must take the blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination (the date of vaccination counts as day 0 not day 1)
a third country official veterinary certificate
a tapeworm treatment (for dogs only)
You must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before travelling. The vet must give you a copy of the test results. These must show that the vaccination was successful.

You don’t have to wait 3 months if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to an unlisted country.

You must also use an approved transport company and route.
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Old Aug 5th 2015, 4:50 am
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Originally Posted by Kooksty View Post
That's the site I mean.

You need to follow the instructions for 'Enter the UK from the EU or a non-EU listed country'. Most 1st-world countries, including Canada, come under this category.

The bit you've copied above is for 'Enter the UK from an unlisted country'. Unlisted countries are very high-risk for rabies, hence the more detailed process and blood tests etc.

EU and non-EU listed countries here (and any country not mentioned is considered unlisted):

https://www.gov.uk/pet-travel-inform...nd-territories

Last edited by MoshiMoshi; Aug 5th 2015 at 4:56 am.
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Old Aug 5th 2015, 5:00 am
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Originally Posted by MoshiMoshi View Post
That's the site I mean.

You need to follow the instructions for 'Enter the UK from the EU or a non-EU listed country'. Most 1st-world countries, including Canada, come under this category.

The bit you've copied above is for 'Enter the UK from an unlisted country'. Unlisted countries are very high-risk for rabies, hence the more detailed process and blood tests etc.

EU and non-EU listed countries here (and any country not mentioned is considered unlisted):

https://www.gov.uk/pet-travel-inform...nd-territories

Oh my gosh, I am dumb! Thank you so much! I was definitely reading it wrong this entire time.... >.<

That makes things a lot easier!
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Old Aug 5th 2015, 5:04 am
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

Originally Posted by Kooksty View Post
Hi Moshi,

What's the DEFRA site? I've been using the British Government website as reference for requirements and it states that she'll need the rabies shot and then a blood test 30 days after the shot. THEN she won't be able to travel until 3 calendar months after the blood test.

I will definitely check that they know what they're doing! Thank you! If the info on the BG website is correct though, it doesn't look like she'll be able to fly out with me initially anyway... I fly out September 15th, much too soon for the required 3 calendar months. I was also told my a pet travel agent that she needs to fly within 5 days of myself or another person nominated by me otherwise she flies as a commercial export which ends up taking more time, costing more money and she has to visit the vet within 24 hours of flying instead of 10 days.
Since the three-month wait doesn't apply to you, you just need 21+ days between the rabies shot and travel. If you're travelling on September 15th, that's doable!

I've heard the same thing about your pet needing to fly within 5 days of you. It's a relatively new regulation so, yes, do check whether it's going to make things more difficult.

The DEFRA site is the gov.uk one you linked. DEFRA: Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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Old Aug 5th 2015, 8:47 am
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Default Re: Transporting my cat from Canada to UK

My advice would be to fly on a Thu or Fri, as you need the government offices to ideally be open in case of any issues with paperwork. We just bought a cat and a dog back seven weeks ago, flew with Air Transat into Gatwick from Toronto. Dog and cat are absolutely fine.

Was a little stressful though sorting paperwork as vet did not complete it entirely properly which resulted in more trips to CFIA (and they were closed for two of the five days) as we flew on a Tue, got the bloodwork done on Fri, but had to revisit CFIA on Mon.

Was epensive, around $1500 but worth it for us!
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