Today’s guest post comes from Mike James and Vale Vets:
It can be difficult to find a sitter for your cat when it comes to going on holiday, particularly if you have a cat with specific dietary or health needs, or a rescue animal who doesn’t do well around strangers. In many cases, people might think that these are sacrifices you have to make when choosing to have pets, but there are some places that will take animals on holiday, and if you want to have a good time while also knowing that Nemoy the Maine Coon is napping safely in the holiday home, it is important that you look into preparing them for the upcoming trip.
Much like humans, cats will need to start preparing for a holiday many months in advance, meaning vaccinations, health tests, making sure that they will be able to cope well in the new climate, and organising their special pet passport. As of January 1st, 2012, the UK has brought its pet travel procedures into line with the European Union, meaning that all pets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine, provided they meet the rules of the scheme. These rules can change and differ depending on the territory the pet is coming from, so doing your research is essential.
What should you do when preparing to take your cat on holiday with you?
Organisation Ahead of Time
To start off with, you will need to get a rabies vaccination and then a Blood Test for your cat, in order to make sure that everything is in order. This must be done as soon as possible as your cat will not be permitted re-entry into the UK if it has had a blood test within the last six months. You must wait at least one month following a rabies vaccination to conduct a blood test.
If you haven’t already done so, you will also need to have your cat microchipped so that s/he can be safely returned in the event of an emergency. If there are any other essential vaccinations needed, now is a good time to look into those. You want to make sure that there are no hold-ups when you eventually decide to travel, as a sick pet while on holiday is not something you want to have to be worrying about.
Overseas Pet Insurance
Along a similar vein to your own travel insurance against theft, accident and injury, it is important to invest in a good overseas pet insurance. Many pet insurance policies will not cover overseas insurance, so it will be something that you have to phone up and apply for specifically. The company will want to know the breed of cat, where you are travelling to, how long you plan on staying and whether or not your cat has any lasting medical conditions which may be affected by the journey. They may also ask additional questions, so to be on the safe side, you will want to have a copy of your cat’s medical history and all the relevant documents with you when you get in touch with the insurance specialist.
Cat or Pet Passport
Yes, cats need a passport too! If you are travelling throughout the EU, you will need an EU pet passport, however for non-EU listed countries and territories, you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate – excluding Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland as they also issue pet passports.
Potential Travelling Charges
Some countries require your cat to travel through pre-approved routes; otherwise, you may be using the airline to transport your cat. Check with your airline to see whether or not you will face any extra charges. Some airlines allow cats to travel as hand luggage, which is for no extra fee, so if you’re concerned about potential costs, you may want to ask a representative of the company you will be flying with.
As with any long trip, it is important that you tend to your cat’s needs as soon as you are in a safe place. Unless they are previously accustomed to spending long hours on flights, this will be an unfamiliar and on occasions frightening new experience for them. Give your cat some time to get used to his or her new surroundings and try to bring some items of familiarity with you so that they are less stressed. Try not to handle them too much as cats sometimes prefer to be left alone when getting used to an unfamiliar environment.
Check to make sure your cat is eating and acclimatising well before going out and having a good time yourself. Remember, while you are on holiday, you still have a responsibility to your cat as their primary caregiver! If they are sensitive to sunlight or other potential weather conditions, make sure to check before you travel, so that you can make the necessary preparations.
Remember that cats have a need to explore their local surroundings, but this can be dangerous in a foreign country. If you want to let your cat out during the day, you will need to get them used to wearing a harness and leash. Having indoor cats can make holidaying with them a little easier, but the harness makes holidaying with roaming cats possible as well. This is also where the microchip provides extra security, if your cat ever manages to get out without your supervision.
It is important that everyone has a good, fun time while on holiday, and that includes your cat. By doing your research and starting your preparations well in advance, you should be fully prepared for anything this new holiday has to throw at you. Best of luck for your long-term first family outing with your cat!
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with London based veterinary practice Vale Vets, who were consulted over this post.
Thanks for reading his tips and hope to see you here again soon.
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