health and welfare of your pet abroad

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Health and welfare of your pet abroad

If you take your cat abroad, it may be exposed to diseases which we do not have in the UK, for example diseases transmitted by the bite of certain ticks, and parasites such as heartworm and tapeworm. It may not have a natural immunity to such diseases and could become infected. Some of these diseases can affect humans.

We recommend you consult your vet about your cat’s health and fitness to travel before you take it abroad. Depending on where you are going, your vet should be able to advise you on preventative treatments, or any other precautions you need to take and how to look for signs of ill health in your pet.

If your cat shows signs of illness after returning from abroad, notify your vet so that they can consider the possibility of a disease or infection contracted by your pet whilst it was abroad.

Looking after your cat during the trip

We recommend that if you are travelling on one of the longer ferry routes you arrive at the port early so your vehicle can be positioned in the best place in the hold for the welfare of your cat. Travelling overnight is also recommended if possible as your pet will be used to sleeping then. It is also better to feed your cat earlier in the day rather than just prior to travelling. Please download the PDF below kindly given by Defra.

Travelling in hot weather

Animals should never be left in vehicles in direct strong sunshine and/or high temperatures as it is difficult to ensure sufficient ventilation to keep them cool. Unless animals are fully acclimatised, overheating, distress and suffering is likely when the temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius for more than a few minutes. The temperature in a car in full sun on a hot day can rise to double that outside of the vehicle in a short time, leading rapidly to distress for any animal in the vehicle.

Other documents you might need to enter the UK

Cats from Australia

Cats from Australia are prohibited from entering the UK unless they are accompanied by a certificate from the Australian Veterinary Authorities confirming that they have not been on a holding where Hendra virus has been confirmed during the 60 days prior to export.

Cats from the Malaysian Peninsular

A cat from Malaysia (Peninsular) is prohibited from entering the UK unless it is accompanied by a certificate issued by the Malaysian government veterinary health services which confirms:

  • it has had no contact with pigs during at least the 60 days prior to export
  • it has not been resident on holdings where during the previous 60 days any case of Nipah disease has been confirmed
  • it has had a negative blood test result carried out in a laboratory approved for testing for Nipah virus antibody on a sample of blood taken within 10 days of export.


We hope you have enjoyed reading the tips on this health and welfare of your pet abroad page. Many thanks to Defra for the above information.









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About the Author


Anita Kelsey graduated from Middlesex University with a first class Honours degree (work based) in Feline Behaviour and Psychology. She runs a vet referral cat behaviour consultancy in Notting hill, London. Anita also trained in cat grooming at master level and is known for her valuable work with extremely aggressive cats. She is a regular contributor to Your Cat magazine, Cats Protection magazine and The Canine and Feline Behaviour Association of which she is a fully member. Anita is fully recognised, by pet insurance companies and veterinary practices, as an accredited qualified cat behaviour practitioner. Home visit consultations are offered in London and anywhere else in the UK.