If you’re planning on taking your cat outside of the UK, whether you’re planning a holiday with your cat, or if you’re relocating to another country – you’re in luck!
Since 2000, feline friend can get their very own cat passports (officially known as a ‘pet passport’), under the Pets Travel Scheme, which is also known as ‘PETS’.
A cat passports includes the following information:
- Record of all vaccinations and treatments
- Cat’s name
- Your name
- Physical traits
- Photograph (optional)
A cat passport basically proves that your cat is healthy enough to travel.
Getting your kitty a cat passport is a straight forward process, and will cost you somewhere between £75 – £140.
The cost is divided into 3 compulsory parts:
- Pet Passport Application
In addition, there are some extra costs that you may want to consider, when planning a trip abroad with your cat:
4. Rabies Blood Test (essential if returning to the UK from an unlisted country)
5. Pet Insurance (optional)
I’ll walk you through all of the costs you will face, and how to go about spending as little as possible!
In order to qualify for a cat passport, he/she MUST have a microchip, also known as a “transponder”.
A microchip is a small chip about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted just under your cat’s skin between his/her shoulder blades. Each microchip holds a unique number which can be detected by a microchip scanner.
If your cat is part of the 10% of the population in the UK that already has a microchip, you can skip this section as the cost will be £0 for you.
However, if your cat doesn’t yet have a microchip, we recommend that this is the first step you take.
Your cat must be microchipped BEFORE the next step, getting their rabies injection. If he/she hasn’t got a microchip, then the vaccination may not be valid and your cat would have to get it again.
The cost for a microchip for cats in the UK in 2019 ranges between £0 – £20.
This cost depends on who you get it administered by.
a) Through a Veterinary Centre
Prices for a getting your cat microchipped through a private veterinary centre will range somewhere between £9 – £20.
Different practises charge different amounts, but the average is around the £14.50 mark.
As a requirement for a cat passport, he/she only requires a standard microchip.
However, some private veterinary centers offer biotherm microchips. These allow you and your vet to keep an eye on their health by measuring your cat’s body temperature.
Biotherm microchips will cost a little more than a normal microchip, at around £18,
b) Through a Charity
It is possible to get your cat microchipped free of charge, or for as little as £5!
Only around one in nine cats in the UK are microchipped, which isn’t many at all!
Therefore, in order to encourage cat owners to get their cats microchipped, some charities offer this service for free, or for a discounted price.
The RSPCA Sunderland branch is one of the areas offering this service.
Give your local charity a call to check if they have any events coming up.
Call around to your local vets to find the cheapest price, if you don’t have a local charity that will offer microchipping for free.
COST: £0 – £20
Your cat MUST be up to date on their rabies vaccinations, in order to qualify for a cat passport in the UK, in 2019. This is compulsory.
Additionally, you must have record that your cat has had their rabies vaccination within the past year.
In some cases your cat must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before your arrival. This is the case if you’re vaccinating your cat against rabies for the first time, and travelling if you are travelling to Europe or a listed non-European country.
A rabies vaccination in the UK costs more than standard cat vaccinations. They can cost you as little as £15 and as much as £60.
How much you pay depends on where you get your cat’s vaccinations.
a) Through a Veterinary Centre
The cost of a rabies vaccination through a veterinary centre will cost you between £40 – 60, but the average stands at around £51.
Different veterinary centres charge different amounts for rabies vaccinations, so if you want to save a bit of money, shop around a bit before booking them in.
It is possible to spend less on your cat’s vaccination by going through a charity. However, this is only if you meet certain criteria.
b) Through a Local Charity
It is possible to spend as little as £15 for your cat’s rabies vaccinations.
For example, The Blue Cross offers two initial rabies vaccinations for £15, and booster vaccinations for £18.
This is available to cat owners who can show that they are receiving any of the following:
- 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
The RSPCA will offer a similar price to cat owners who can prove that they receive one of the following:
- Income Support (IS)
- Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Pension Credit (NOT state pension)
- Standard Allowance Universal Credit
In addition, if you live in the north of England, you’re in luck!
The Animal Trust, who has clinics in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Shropshire and Yorkshire, offer cat’s rabies vaccinations for even cheaper.
c) ‘Free’ Cat Vaccinations Through a Health Club
Some veterinary practises offer a health club service in which you pay a monthly fee in exchange for free or discounted vet care.
The service normally includes free vaccinations, flea treatments, worm treatments, as well as free or discounted microchipping.
Pet health club memberships can range between £11.99 – £22.50+, per month.
This cost varies depending on which club you join, and which perks you choose to sign up for.
Whether you choose to join a health club, depends on how much you normally pay for these services.
Have a little think about how much you currently spend, and whether you think it is worth it.
As well as the rabies vaccination, your cat MAY also require additional vaccinations in order to travel.
Whether you need these, depends on the country that you are planning on visiting. Different countries and territories have different requirements.
For example – Turkey requires that all cats need to be vaccinated against calicivirus, panleukopenia and feline viral rhinotracheitis, before entering the country.
Usually multiple cat vaccines are combined within one or two injections, which can cost between £45 – £87.
Therefore, you may end up spending more than the average amount, depending on where you and your cat will be travelling to.
COST: £15 – £60+
#3 Cat Passport Application
The cost for the official UK Pet Passport is £60, in 2019.
This is a fixed cost. However, some vets may add surcharges.
Obtaining your cat’s passport is a straight forward process and should take around 30 minutes.
Give your local vet a call to check if they are able to complete the pet passport application forms for you.
If they’re unable, don’t worry, they should be able to give you details of a practice that does.
Alternatively, you can get in contact with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to find your nearest vet practice who can help.
You will need to bring the following to your appointment:
- Your cat
During the appointment, the veterinarian will check the health of your cat, review all of your paperwork and fill out the pet passport book.
Some veterinary clinics offer a whole pet passport package, in which they will administer the microchip, rabies vaccination and complete all the forms.
Check with your vet to see how much they charge. If you don’t have a local charity to get a free microchip and discounted rabies vaccination, or if you aren’t part of a health club, it may be work out cheaper.
#4 Rabies Blood Test (essential if returning to the UK from an unlisted country)
If you are planning on returning to the UK from an unlisted country, then your cat will need to have a rabies blood test.
This test must be taken at least 30 days AFTER the rabies vaccination.
Once your vet has taken your cat’s blood sample, they must send it to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory from either inside the EU or outside.
The blood rest results must show that the vaccination was successful – i.e. contain at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody).
You must wait 3 months from the date of the blood sample, BEFORE you travel back to the UK, unless the rabies vaccination and blood test was completed before visiting the unlisted country.
In addition, the test results can take up to 4 weeks to come back.
For this reason, it is recommended that you get your cat’s rabies well in advance.
A rabies blood test normally costs between £60 – £75 in the UK.
However, some vets can charge up to £120, so it is best that you shop around a little bit before booking it in.
So, although this is not an essential part of obtaining a pet passport, it is a cost you may need consider.
Check whether the country you are visiting is a listed or unlisted country.
COST: £60 – £120
#5 Pet Travel Insurance (OPTIONAL)
Pet travel insurance for your cat is not essential, however as veterinary care can be VERY expensive, it is recommended.
On the condition that you already have pet insurance for your cat, call your provider to check if your cat is covered for travelling overseas.
If so, you’re in luck! This will come at no cost to you.
On the other hand, if your policy does not include overseas travel, ask them if it is possible to extend your cover. Most likely, you will need to pay extra.
For those of you who do not have pet insurance, and are considering getting some for your travels, the prices range quite dramatically. It could cost you as little as £4 per month, up to a staggering £50+ per month!
The cost depends on a few factors.
a) Your chosen provider
Of course, different providers have different costs and offer different deals.
Spend some time checking out different providers to find the best deal for you.
b) Time Limited Policies VS Lifetime Policies
Time limited policies are those that are only valid for a limited amount of time, usually 12 months. Lifetime policies will automatically renew every year.
Generally, lifetime policies are more expensive and can cost 50% MORE than time limited policies.
c) The breed, size and age of your cat
Generally speaking, pet insurance is more expensive for older cats. Some cats may even refuse to insure cats that are older than 8 or 9 years old.
Additionally, the breed of your cat can alter the price you will have to pay.
Pure-bred cats and specific breeds more prone to ailments will usually cost more than a mixed-breed moggie.
For example – Siamese cats will be more expensive to insure because they’re prone to kidney and respiratory diseases. Additionally, Persian cats, are also more expensive to insure as they are susceptible to blindness.
d) Accident Only VS Accident and Illness
Accident only insurance will be significantly cheaper than pet insurance that covers accident AND illness.
If you have a cat that tends to get sick quite often, you may want to consider getting accident and illness cover. Although the monthly rate is more expensive, it may work out cheaper than pet veterinary fees abroad.
Spend some researching the average vet fees for the location that you are planning on visiting, to see if pet insurance will be worth it for you.
e) Where you and your cat live
Generally, insurance policies will cost less if you live outside of London and the south-east of England.
Living in these areas can increase the cost of your insurance by around £10 per month.
This is because veterinary services tend to cost more within these areas.
You can compare different prices by filling out a form on Money Supermarket.
COST: £4 – £50+
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.
Your feline friend’s cat passport will cost you somewhere between £75 – £140.
By knowing your options and doing some simple planning ahead, you can save yourself £65 on your cat passport! That’s a whole lot of cat treats (or human treats)!
In order to make those savings, be sure to check your local charities to see if they can offer you microchipping for free, and discounted rabies vaccinations.
It’s also important to note that although it isn’t an essential part of obtaining your cat passport, he/she will need to take a rabies blood test if you are planning on returning to the UK. This will cost you, on average, £70.
In addition, depending on where you and your cat are visiting, please note that you may require additional vaccinations. Be sure to check the requirements of the country or territory you are visiting.
Hope you have found this helpful!