Getting cat through the Channel
September 4, 2009 5:32 AM   Subscribe

What are the chances my cat will be intercepted in the car crossing the Channel?

October 1st I will move to London for a year for studies. I would very much like to bring my cat. (He's very dependent on me since he was abandoned when he was only 2 weeks old.)
I've checked DEFRA's PETS regulations and my cat meats all the requirements except one: a blood test that was taken 6 months ago. He's always had all vaccinations, so I'm quiet sure he's not carrying rabiƫs. Is there a way to get around this? For instance, will the car and luggage be checked for the 35 min. under the Channel?
posted by Zinda68 to Pets & Animals (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, not as a rule, but it can happen. Typically customs will want to be able to see all people travelling, so they'll casually look at the vehicle, but they won't usually dive through the boot. But.. they can and do - I've had them do this twice in about five overall journeys, so it's not a small risk either.

Bear in mind I haven't done this trip for a few years though, it might be more strict on the searches now for obvious reasons.
posted by wackybrit at 7:56 AM on September 4, 2009

In the late 90's I gave my two cats mild kitty sedatives (bach's rescue remedy), wrapped them up as presents, in boxes, put them in the trunk, and drove on board the train. This approach makes it really obvious you're flouting the law, however. Probably better to put them in the trunk and play dumb if you get checked. My car wasn't checked while on the train, nor was it upon entry, though a few around me were. I also did a dry run so I knew what to expect.

I will say that I was another time detained upon entry for an unrelated, and in my opinion, milder, issue, and that was not pleasant. Make sure someone expects your arrival somewhere to improve your peace of mind.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:57 AM on September 4, 2009

Consider, also, that if you do try something like cocoagirl did, and you're caught, you ain't seeing that cat again. (Not that I disagree with the tactic personally, but you will get the RSPCA called on your ass if caught pulling a stunt like that.) At least if you "accidentally" leave him in a proper cat basket in the boot of your car you can probably talk your way out of the worst trouble if it came up (but still end up with him going into quarantine and the associated bills).
posted by wackybrit at 12:11 PM on September 4, 2009

I am not postive but I do believe if you are caught the cat will be sent back, if you do not agree to take it back it will be euthanized as it will not be permitted in the country. The cost of boarding and transportation will be yours. I can promise you that you are much more dependent on the cat than the cat is on you. As one who has consistently followed the rules in transporting animals across borders I hope you choose to reconsider. The bottom line is what is best for the cat and other pets in your destination country. There are reasons for the 6 month wait--you are no doubt right that all vaccinations have been done and that they have taken and there are appropriate titer levels. But probably being right is not knowing you are correct.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:46 PM on September 4, 2009

What rmhsinc said but more, on chances of being searched:
Other AskMe threads (mostly US-Canada border related) have come down anecdotally but consistently on the fact that you are more likely to be searched if you have a car full of stuff, like, if you are packed for a year's living.
posted by whatzit at 5:35 PM on September 4, 2009

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