What to know before bringing your cat to the UK

Hey there! I’ve thought about writing this post because I believe that somebody might be interested in this. The 5th of March my boyfriend, my cat Minnie and I left Lake Como to come to Scotland. We drove across Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. We then took the P&O night ferry from Rotterdam to Hull. First of all, let me tell you that the journey has been quite stressful, but it doesn’t have to be like that for everybody. Since we didn’t come here for a short holiday but we are staying at least for some months (it depends on Brexit, work and how we’ll settle here) my boyfriend’s car was absolutely filled with luggage. We managed to secure the cat carrier between our seats, but behind, fastened with some belts. The position was quite handy because I could easily check on her while my boyfriend was driving, I could give her food, water or take her in my arms. Also, it was safe and the carrier wasn’t moving at all thanks to the belts (my bf thought about this). The vet made a prescription for us, we gave her a tranquilizer at 8am when leaving home but unfortunately it didn’t make her sleep and, as she hates the car, she was meowing the whole time. After 10 or 12 hours of journey we arrived in Rotterdam, where we spent a night in a b&b because it was too late to catch the ferry (which travels at night, it leaves at 9pm and arrives in Hull at 8am). We decided to catch the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull instead of the one from Calais to Dover because Hull is in the north of England, for those of you who may not know, so that we didn’t have to drive again for eight hours from Dover to Scotland. Also, we could sleep and rest on the ferry while covering miles. The night in Rotterdam has been a blessing for us, because we washed Minnie (who, poor baby, had dirtied herself during the journey) and she has been able to walk and stretch her legs during the night and the following day (we requested a late check out at 3pm). We found an animal-frienldy hotel near the Europoort so that she could stay free in the room with us.

What do you need to bring a cat to the UK? I had read it all on the P&O ferries website, on the Gov.uk page and on various blogs.

  • He needs to be microchipped
  • He needs a European passport
  • He needs an anti-rabies vaccine (given at least 21 days before the journey)

They say on their websites that dogs also need the tapeworm vaccine, but not cats. When we arrived at the Europoort at 5pm on the 6th of March we had to check-in Minnie at the main reception and that’s when I got such a fright (and anger) because after showing the lady at the counter the European passport and telling her that she had been vaccinated and microchipped, that is to say every single requirement that you read on the Gov.uk “Take your pet abroad” page and on the P&O ferries “Taking your pet with us” page, she asked if Minnie had had a certain vaccination. I later understood that she was talking about Drontal for cats (a wormer which the vet thankfully had given her one day before we left Italy). She said “I don’t think she can travel” but then she checked on the passport, or on her health book, can’t remember, and she said “Oh, ok Drontal cats” and counted wiith her fingers how many hours had passed since the vet had given that to Minnie.

Now, let me tell you that I sent various angry emails to P&O ferries and to the UK government websites because on their site they expressively say that all a cat needs to enter the UK is what I told you before and NOTHING else. After 12 hours of driving and one night in Rotterdam we managed to board the ship only because my holy vet didn’t want us to run any risks and so he decided to give Minnie the Drontal cat wormer.

So, I hope this article has been useful for you or for anyone you know who wants to bring their cat from Italy or other European countries to the UK (at least for now, as after Brexit I guess something will change).

Have a good evening,









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