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Moving cats


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When we finally move down to France next spring, one of our final journeys will involve bringing our 3 cats. I'd worked out how we were going to do this but as the time gets nearer the thought of driving down with the menagerie and a disabled husband becomes ever more formidable. Before finalising plans I thought of looking at getting them brought down by professionals. I wonder if anyone can recommend any companies they've used and give me an indication of price? We're in the south east of England, going to just north of Bergerac and would be quite flexible on dates. Any help would be appreciated.
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Kathy .................

I know that many have emigrated with their cats in their own vehicle, but for us it was a clear decision.  The 2 of them were getting a bit elderly (16) and what with the packing up of furniture and all the distress that that involved, we decided to have them moved professionally.

We used Par Air, who are based in Essex (we were in the Thames Valley).  Cats picked up the day before packing started and taken to their 'kennels' in Essex.  Flown down one week later after we'd been in residence for two days: we had to pick them up from the freight area at Montpellier airport.  Everything fine, apart from the fact that they moaned like hell when we collected them!

Obviously, all their documentation & jabs needed to be properly in place and they were examined by the carrier's vet as 'fit to travel' the day before the flight.

Cost was c.£900 incl VAT, so not cheap, but it was all done very professionally.

Just one thing - Ryanair won't carry livestock, so it would have to be BA and for you that would probably be in to Bordeaux.

parair@btconnect.com     01206 330332

p.s. Both of them still well and truly 'alive and kicking'.


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About 3 years ago, we moved to Poland with 5 cats and we flew them there. We used a compant called AirSupply in Middlesex, who flew them with BA.

The total cost was £760, including the supply of the approved transport crates, which we got to keep (forsale if you want them!!), an overnight stay at their cattery due to early flight and delivery to cargo dock. Everything went great until the Poles got involved, but that is another story....

Worth shopping around.

Incidentally, when we left Poland, we moved to Southern Spain, and decided to drive all 5 of them there. We hired a motorhome to do this and it took us three days - the cats were great and could roam around, use the litter etc. Alittle stir crazy when we arrived, but I think a nicer experience than the plane.

Incidentally, some people recommend giving cats sedative tablets before travelling - apart from not liking them from an earlier move (thought cats eyes were going to pop out of its head after half the recommended dose), I believe that they are extremely dangerous for animals when flying, as they drop the blood pressure, which I believe is not a good idea when flying. I think that is right, but its not a good idea to give them.

Paul Oakley at AirSupply is excellent - give them a try!


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To keep costs down you can double up the cats in the carrier, as long as they are big enough, as the airline charges a handling fee per cat carrier not per cat. Also our cats seemed calmer not being alone. We also avoided sedatives.  Ours flew BA Gatwick to Bordeaux so feel free to PM me if you need to know anything.

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Don't ever give cats sedatives for flying .. it can kill them.

Friends moved their cats down through a transport company, all went well and they were also picked up at Montpellier but NO ONE is claiming responsibility over the 3 missing passports!!!  The cats were destined to spend the rest of their lives here and without the passports it'd be expensive to get them back again!


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I moved two chatty Burmese from Essex to the Lot a few years ago. We all went Club Class on Eurotunnel (well, they are pedigree cats!) as I thought that might help avoid any delays, and it went without a hitch. From Essex to the Tunnel there was a lot of "are we there yet?" but they settled after that and were fine. They definitely preferred being with me, and we lived in an empty house for a week until the furniture arrived. That day I shut them in a kitchen as I thought it might frighten them. They were pleased to come out when the men went, and find all their favourite things back. From then on it was home.

For the actual drive, I borrowed two dog boxes, so plenty of room to move about. I put a small litter tray in each, but neither were used until we arrived, even though it took around 12 hours! My vet advised against sedatives, and in fact the cats slept most of the way anyway.

I wish you good luck for the move, I would think again about keeping them with you for the journey, they will appreciate your company and reassurance.


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We moved ours ourselves, we put a big dog cage in the back of the car, with lots of blankets and a small litter tray which was an old heavy cooking tray so it did'nt get kicked around, some dry food and water, and they were fine, I'd rather do that than risk them being taken with strangers, boxed up and frightened.
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We found moving the cats was considerably easier than moving the dogs. We bought two 4-month old kittens over last November. We got them a big carrier with doors that could be slid open from either end. There was space for a good sized dirt tray and a cardboard box with polartec bedding. The box had high-ish (6 inches) sides to prevent litter being thrown into the bed. We cut the box to exactly fit into the space not occupied by the litter tray. This stopped anything moving about. Except the cats. [;-)]

No sedatives were used.

We didn't give them much breakfast before we left as we wanted to reduce any likelihood of car sickness. They weren't car sick.

We used Eurotunnel.

Total journey time was 10 hours. But I think we could have happily done a lot more.

We covered most of the cage with dark fabric so the sleeping end was dark and cave-like.

We added a bit of previously used litter to the tray to ensure they got that particular message.

We had small amounts of food and water in those containers which hook securely onto wire.

Cats slept most of the time, drank and ate very little, there were a couple of pees, no poops and very little of the "are we nearly there yet" type of vocalising.

They (and we!) were totally unstressed by the whole event.

We had fresh litter, water, kitchen towel and fresh bedding (in case of soiling) with us and apart from the water, needed none of it.

If you are planning an overnight stop and need to get the cats into the hotel (a lot of hotels take cats) then there's a bit more organisation needed hauling the cats to your bedroom and back again, but I have to say with a non-stop trip (apart from for our comfort stops) transporting the cats was amazingly easy.

Equally I can understand that this is one more thing for you to be thinking about at a time when there's lots to be thought about! But unless you already know that your cats are bad travellers - and in which case, you'll probably be worrying about them anyway - don't dismiss the thought of them travelling with you. You could always kennel them during the packing period and pick them up from kennels on the day you travel. This has the benefit of preventing them disappearing just before you want to leave. [:D]

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Thanks for all the replies; I'll certainly shop around if we think of having the cats moved professionally.

The problem about taking them with us is the length of the journey, or rather the time it takes us to do it.We live on the Isle of Wight and have to take a ferry before driving about 160 miles to the Tunnel and then another 500 miles on from there. I'm the only driver and having only been driving for about 5 years (not learning until nearly 50!) I'm not a great one for speeds and motorways. I also find that I can only do a couple of hours at a stretch without a decent break. My husband's medical condition means that we can't make an early start in the morning or let him get too tired. Long story short, it always takes us 2 to 3 overnights to make the journey down. It's the thought of carting 3 cats in and out of the B&B/Etap (as well as all the overnight stuff for the 5 of us) on top of all the driving that seems rather daunting to me. A later journey with large German Shepherd in tow (not literally!) seems far more manageable as he'll enjoy the stops and the comparatively short days in the car.

Sorry to bore people but I wanted to explain my reasoning. I'm sure we'll manage ( in fact the prices given for a professional move seem to ensure that); the excitement of the final move down will keep me going and I only plan to do the journey once.

Thanks again, Kathy[:D]

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[quote user="KathyC"]I'm the only driver and having only been driving for about 5 years (not learning until nearly 50!) I'm not a great one for speeds and motorways. I also find that I can only do a couple of hours at a stretch without a decent break. ... Long story short, it always takes us 2 to 3 overnights to make the journey down. [/quote]

I think you should ship the cats by air, Kathy. Definitely the best decision. [:D]

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Couldn't you take a ferry from Portsmouth or Poole? Although it does sound as though you'll have enough to wrry about with the cats as well.

We're taking our cat in January and have been advised to use a pheramone spray - that mimics a mother cat / comfort - we tested it on Bilbo and he went into the blanket kneading / purring mode  so we're hoping that the move will be smooth sailing for him.

All the best with your move

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