• Sara Osborne

Travelling to France with our beloved pets.

I often see posts concerned about moving pets to France. Concerns that the pets will suffer on such a long journey or that the bureaucracy will be too complicated to acquire a pet passport. When actually it's usually the humans who are the most stressed over something that isn't that much of an issue (at the moment anyways), particularly as our cats took it in their stride.

We thought it was a massively complicated process and it turned out not to be.

I can only comment regarding cats, we have four and they all came with us to France, but I cannot imagine it is very different for dogs, but please add your comments and let us know.

Our cats were already micro-chipped so that was one box already ticked. Yes you need to get your pet micro-chipped if you've not already done so. I believe dogs legally have to be nowadays so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Then a trip to the vets for a rabies injection. The cats had no adverse reaction to the shot, they were a little subdued due to the whole adventure but soon reverted back to normal. Or as normal as cats can be!

Then a trip to the pub for tea (not compulsory)....it said pet friendly so we thought we'd stop on the way home!!

Munchkin & Milly at the pub!

Return trip with the cats to the vets three weeks after the vaccine for a final once over and to collect the pet passports.

The pet passport contains a description of your pet, colour, age, breed etc. but no passport picture, however, if you are that way inclined (which we are not) you can take your own picture and add it to the passport.

Yes you can add your pets favourite picture!

It also contains details of the rabies shot and when it was administered. I believe the shot lasts a year and should be renewed annually.

There was no requirement for blood tests or anything else.

Jasper & Munchkin were vaccinated on 21 November 2018, returned to vets on 12th December 2018 for final checkup and set off on 6th January 2019 to France with John.

We did it in two trips as I wasn't moving over until the end of February so Milly and Bruce travelled with me then.

We thought they would be distressed during the journey but they soon settled down and slept most of the way. We did spray their bedding with Felway, which is supposed to be a natural calmer. Whether it made any difference I'm not sure but if you are concerned or you have a nervy pet then it's worth a go. For very nervous pets, speak to your vet and they will advise.

The cats travelled on the front seat in pet carriers from Derbyshire to Newhaven ferry. John had a large crate in the back of his van, with beds, cat litter tray, food and drink, so at Newhaven he transferred them over to this, so that they had more room during the ferry trip.

You do have to book them onto the ferry as a pet passenger and there is a cost. At check in John was given a tag to hang from the rear view mirror so that it was easily visible to all ferry staff that the vehicle contained pet passengers.

We had to leave them for the four hour ferry journey, which was another human stressful time, but when we returned to the car, they were still sleeping. I think if you have dogs you might be able to ask crew to return to your vehicle to check up on them, let them stretch their legs, give them a drink. Again dog owners who use ferry's please confirm?

From Dieppe, we travelled about 7 hours to home, with regular stops, again the cats sleeping most of the way.

When we arrived at our house in France, the first things we unpacked were the cats. They nervously explored the house but soon settled down and I can categorically confirm they are completely settled and loving their new home. Much like their mum and dad!!

Jasper sunbathing!

And if you are worried about vet care in France....don't be. Our Milly has got herself into a number of scrapes since coming here, the worse getting a grass seed hooked into her eye and needing eye surgery but the level of care has been exemplary.

Sara Osborne



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