Traveling with pets has become increasingly popular, as more people seek to include their furry friends in their adventures. As of 2021, and since Brexit, the UK no longer issues official cat passports. However, we can use this term to describe the documents required to travel to/from the UK with a cat. The requirements for traveling with a cat will vary depending on where you are traveling to and from. If you are planning to travel with your cat in or out of the UK, it’s important to understand the costs associated with obtaining a pet passport.
In this article, we will discuss the requirements and how much a UK cat passport will cost
What is a cat passport?
Between 2000-2020, cats could get their very own cat passport (officially called a ‘Pet Passport’), under the Pets Travel Scheme, which is also known as ‘PETS’. However, since Brexit, the UK government have scrapped pet passports. However, we can just use the term ‘cat passport’ to refer to all of the documents required to for pet travel.
Having a ‘cat passport’ allows pet owners to bring their cats abroad with them, without them having to endure a lengthy quarantine period. Most of the time. Yes, this means you can even take your cat on the airplane with you. Some airlines even allow cats to sit in the cabin with their owners!
How much does a UK Cat Passport cost?
A UK Cat passport can cost as little as £130 or as much as £330, or more. The cost varies depending on the veterinarian practice you visit and where you are traveling to and from. The cost of a UK Cat Passport is broken down into the following:
- Microchip: Before obtaining a cat passport, your cat must be microchipped. This small electronic chip, implanted under the pet’s skin, contains a unique identification number. The cost of microchipping can vary but generally ranges from £10 to £30.
- Rabies Vaccination: All cats entering or leaving the UK must be vaccinated against rabies. The cost of a rabies vaccination varies depending on the veterinary clinic and location, typically ranging from £40 to £50.
- Health Certificate: A health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian is another essential requirement for a cat passport. The cost of a health certificate can vary significantly based on the veterinarian and location. On average, a health certificate will cost between £50 and £150.
- Additional Vaccinations: Depending on your travel destination, your cat may require additional vaccinations. The cost of these vaccinations varies but can range from £10 to £50 each.
- Parasite Control: Some countries require proof of parasite control, such as flea treatments. The cost of parasite control products will depend on the size of your pet, the brand, and the duration of protection. On average, this component of a pet passport will cost between £20 and £50.
Please note that these estimates are approximate and can vary based on factors such as location, veterinary clinic fees, and the specific requirements of your destination country. It is essential to consult with your veterinarian and research the specific regulations of your destination country to determine the exact costs you will incur.
Additional costs to consider.
In addition to the cost of a UK Cat Passport mentioned above, it’s important to remember that there may be other expenses associated with pet travel. These can include the following:
Airline Fees: airline fees for traveling with cats can vary depending on the airline, route, and the size of your pet. While it’s challenging to provide specific figures due to the wide range of variables, let’s explore some general information regarding airline fees associated with pet travel:
Cabin Pet Fee: If your cat meets the size and weight requirements specified by the airline, you may be able to bring them into the cabin with you. The cabin pet fee typically ranges from £30 to £125 per flight, depending on the airline.
Checked Pet Fee: If your cat is too large to travel in the cabin or if you prefer them to travel in the cargo hold, you will need to pay a checked pet fee. This fee can range from £100 to £500 or more, depending on the airline and the destination.
International Pet Travel: Traveling internationally with a pet may incur additional fees. Some airlines charge an international pet fee that can range from £200 to £1,000, depending on the destination and specific requirements.
Pet Carrier: Airlines often have specific regulations regarding the type and size of cat carriers allowed in the cabin or cargo hold. If your carrier does not meet the airline’s requirements, you may need to purchase an approved carrier, which can cost anywhere from £20 to £200 or more.
Import Permit: Import permits are usually required when importing a pet to another country. They are typically issued by the destination country’s government agency responsible for animal importation or agriculture. The cost of import permits for cats can vary depending on the country you are importing your pet into and the specific requirements of that country. For example, the cost for an Australian import permit costs £265, where an import permit for New Zealand costs £110. On the other hand, the cost for an import permit is just £5 for The Philippines.
Rabies Titer Test / Rabies Blood Test: When traveling to certain countries, your cat will require a rabies titer test. The cost ranges between £80 to £150, depending on the veterinary clinic. This doesn’t include the cost of the office visit.
How can I cut the cost of my UK cat passport?
A UK Cat Passport can cost a lot, but there are a few strategies you can consider to help cut costs. Here are some tips to help you reduce the expenses associated with obtaining a UK cat passport:
Research and Compare Veterinarian Fees: Veterinary fees can vary, so it’s advisable to research and compare the costs charged by different veterinary clinics in your area. Request quotes for services such as microchipping, vaccinations, and health certificates from multiple clinics to find the most affordable options.
Check with local charities: Some charities in the UK will offer free cat microchipping and cheaper rabies vaccinations. This is the case if you meet certain eligibility criteria to get them administered through a local charity. There are more details on this to follow.
Look for Promotions or Discounts: Some veterinary clinics may offer promotions or discounts for specific services or for new customers. Keep an eye out for any special offers that could help reduce the cost of obtaining a pet passport.
Seek Affordable Vaccination Options: While it’s essential to ensure your cat is up-to-date on all required vaccinations, you can explore cost-effective options. Consider community clinics, animal shelters, or low-cost vaccination clinics that may offer vaccinations at lower prices compared to traditional veterinary clinics.
Plan Ahead: Rushing the pet passport process can lead to higher costs. Start planning well in advance to avoid expedited service fees or last-minute expenses. Early planning gives you time to compare prices, find the best deals, and ensure your pet meets all the necessary requirements without additional rush fees.
Travel Off-peak: If your travel plans are flexible, consider traveling during off-peak seasons. Some airlines may offer lower pet travel fees during less busy times, which could help reduce your overall expenses.
Remember, while it’s important to find ways to cut costs, never compromise on your pet’s health and safety. Ensure that all necessary vaccinations, microchipping, and health certificates are obtained to comply with the requirements of your destination country.
Where can I microchip my cat for free in the UK?
In order to encourage cat owners to get their cats microchipped, many charities offer free cat microchipping. Many charities offer free microchipping for cats, but service this is often only available in certain branches.
Additionally, not all charities offer free microchipping to everyone. Where some charities offer cat microchipping for free for all owners, some will only provide for any cat owners that receive any of the following benefits:
- Pension credit (not the standard state retirement pension)
- Housing benefit
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Council tax benefit (not 25 per cent single person discount)
- Income based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income based employment and support allowance
- Universal credit
- Child Tax Credit
Many charities also organise regular pop-up events where they offer free microchipping for cats in the UK. These are held all over the UK. Check your local charity’s websites to see when their next pop-up event is.
How do I get a UK cat passport?
To obtain a cat passport in the UK, you need to follow a series of steps. Here is a general overview of the process:
- Microchipping: Ensure that your cat is microchipped. Microchipping involves the insertion of a small chip under your cat’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip contains a unique identification number that is associated with your contact details.
- Rabies Vaccination: Schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to have your cat vaccinated against rabies. This vaccination is a mandatory requirement for the pet passport. Your cat must be at least 12 weeks old before receiving the vaccine. The vaccination should be administered by a licensed veterinarian, who will record the details in your cat’s vaccination record.
- Waiting Period: After the rabies vaccination, there is a waiting period before your cat can travel. In the UK, this waiting period is 21 days from the date of the vaccination. During this time, you should not travel with your cat outside the country.
- Visit an Authorized Veterinarian: Once the waiting period is over, you need to visit an authorized veterinarian who is qualified to issue an animal health certificate. The veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your cat’s health and complete the necessary paperwork.
How long does it take to get a cat passport?
Obtaining a cat passport, officially called a ‘Pet Passport’, is a simple process that should take you somewhere between 1 and 7 days. However we recommend that you allow yourself at least 1 month to 6 months to prepare – the timings depending on where you are travelling to.
It’s vital to note that there are specific requirements on timing that vary depending on your destination country. A number of countries have different rules when it comes to the timings of rabies vaccinations and other additional vaccinations or treatments. Some countries may even require your cat to have a rabies titer test, to ensure there’s enough of the rabies antibody in your cat’s system. A rabies titer test will add at least an extra 3 months to your preparation. I say ‘at least’ because if your cat was to fail the test, he must have another round of rabies vaccinations before taking the test again.
So, as you now know, a UK ‘Cat Passport’ can cost as little as £130 or as much as £330. This is dependant on where you and your cat are travelling to and which veterinary clinic or charity you visit. From microchipping and vaccinations to the application and issuance fees, obtaining a cat passport in the UK can amount to several hundred pounds. Additionally, the ongoing costs of keeping the passport up to date should be taken into account.
However, for many pet owners, the benefits of having a pet passport far outweigh the financial investment, as it allows them to create lasting memories with their furry friends in various destinations, near and far.