Feline Good Ensuring Good Health When Taking your Cat on a Family Holiday

Hi everyone,

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. 

Upon Arrival
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!


Author Bio
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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23 thoughts on “Feline Good Ensuring Good Health When Taking your Cat on a Family Holiday

  1. franhunne4u says:

    Do not take your cat on a trip. That should be a first priority. Cats are very territorial, they should stay at the place they live.

    If you REALLY cannot find someone who comes over and meets your pets needs, you can try a pet hotel somewhere near you – if you choose the same every year, your cat might even get used to the persons there.

    Don’t expose your cat to a holiday home where it has to stay inside for your whole holiday while YOU will spend most of the time outside (otherwise you would not travel there, would you?). That way many moggies have gone missing! One door open, one window forgotten – the cat going out – not knowing its surroundings – getting lost … Don’t. Just don’t.

    • Marc-André says:

      If avoidable you are right on this but in some cases it’s unfortunately not avoidable. A friend of mine has a cat that goes into complete mental break down if he doesn’t come back home in the evenings… He has given up general holidays for her but when he goes back to Germany to see his family there he has to take her with him. Luckily as she is indoor only there isn’t the extra stress of not being allowed out.

      Or another friend of mine moved countries for two years due to work and of course didn’t want to go without her cat so tips like these have been great advice to her.

      Overall you are right though that it should be avoided! Our guest poster just wanted to provide tips for those that can’t avoid it. 🙂

      • franhunne4u says:

        If you move for a job you are not “on a trip”, for two years the hassle is well worth and unavoidable. But for two weeks? The article was talking about holiday homes …
        It is entirely different, when you go to your family abroad – the cat will build up trust by returning there frequently.
        But I had family in Bavaria and they had a cat. When they visited they took the cat with them – and it was always a very sad story for the cat! We had a cat, too, and the two did not get along well 🙁 The cat of my relatives came to enemy territory. Not fun.

        • Marc-André says:

          Ugh! Yeah I’d never suggest taking a cat into another cat’s territory… That 99% of the time doesn’t end well 🙁

          And yes I personally would only ever do it for very long term moves or if in the case of my friend your cat “can’t live without you” which surprisingly does seem to happen a lot with both cats and dogs. My neighbour had to abandon her trip to the countryside last week because her dog went mental without her at the dog sitter… And it was one she had used before without problems. :s

          • franhunne4u says:

            My tom hides when I am not there one night – and is not seen by the cat sitter again. In HIS usual surroundings. It must be really, really stressful for him – and so I gave up going on holiday. I just stay away from home over night if I absolutely have to – for my job, not for pleasure. So no visits to family over night. My tom is very lucky that I am 47 and not in danger to fall in love again.
            “What do you get when you fall in love?
            You only get a life of pain and sorrow
            So for at least until tomorrow
            I’ll never fall in love again”
            Till Brönner 😉

    • Aza Cody says:

      Some cats, especially those who started traveling when kittens, and whose people wisely contain them when in the vehicle, are very good companions. The use of herbal calms like Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy is always helpful. I agree overseas trips and airflight is extreme. It is preferable for cats to be left at home in the care of a loving, responsible Nanny. However, many cats bind with their family. Their territorial limit is their Mom’s arms. In that case, they are happiest when with their person. My Indigo would say – we don’t care to be parted. 🙂

  2. coffeewitholiver says:

    This is also good information for people who RV full-time with their cats. I follow blogs of several prominent full-timers who travel with their pets and it’s another thing to plan for.

  3. pettravel says:

    Nice article but a few outdated comments. “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.” The wait time after the titer test is done is now 90 days after legislation became effective in December of 2014. The microchip should come before the rabies vaccination. Also, we know of no airline that will waive the excess baggage fee for a pet carrier.

  4. helentastic67 says:

    My holidays usually only require a car trip for up to 3.5 hours to the country. Jamima doesn’t enjoy the process to go into her Cat-Condo(it’s quite spacious) but once in the car & covered by cosy blanket she sleeps contentedly all the way home. Once at my mum’s she goes into hiding for the evening, but quickly finds wherever my belongings are. It’s now a familiar holiday location for her also. No other animals inside or out. Just more places to explore & places to hide. My mum is a mad-patch worker so Jamima will find fabric over night & drag it out to play & leave them strewn about discarded in the hallway. No sign of the cat, but food eaten, kitty litter used & fabric……

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