I wish to take my pet cat with me to the United Kingdom, to stay with relatives (they are fine with the cat, and understand that she travels with me a lot).

I am concerned, however, whether or not I am allowed to do this, and what I have to be careful of crossing the border.

What paperwork will my cat need, and will she be quarantined?

I'm traveling from another country in the EU (Italy).

  • 5
    Where are you coming from?
    – Aleks G
    Apr 20, 2015 at 20:01
  • @AleksG I'm surprised it makes a difference. I actually live in the UK, and this was a hypothetical question. For the sake or argument, elsewhere in the EU? Italy?
    – Tim
    Apr 20, 2015 at 20:21
  • 2
    It does matter. Check @MichaelHampton 's answer for details.
    – Aleks G
    Apr 20, 2015 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


The UK has requirements for bringing pets into the country which, while stringent, are fairly easy to meet. As long as you have all your pet's documentation in order, it will not be quarantined or refused entry.

The following is a brief summary:

If your pet already has an EU pet passport, then you need do nothing but keep rabies booster shots up to date. This information will be recorded in the EU pet passport, and your pet can travel with that as its documentation.

If your pet does not have an EU pet passport:

The general requirements vary depending on whether the pet comes from the EU (or a small list of non-EU countries) or from an unlisted country.

In common, though, all pets must be microchipped, have a rabies vaccination administered after the microchip, and have documentation of same available when they enter. When this is done, EU veterinarians can record this information in a new EU pet passport. Pets from outside the EU should be accompanied by whatever documentation the veterinarian is able to provide.

Dogs must also be treated against tapeworm.

The requirements vary a bit depending on the origin of the pet. Pets coming from the EU or listed non-EU countries have a 21-day waiting period after vaccination before they can enter the UK. Pets coming from unlisted non-EU countries must also have a blood test to confirm the rabies vaccination was successful, and a three month waiting period after the blood test before they can enter the UK.

Most pets will have their documentation checked on arrival in the UK, but those traveling Eurotunnel will be checked at boarding (except service animals, which are checked on arrival in the UK). When you arrive at the UK, if you arrived from outside the EU you and your pet must go through the red customs channel.

  • You would know if your pet had an EU pet passport. It would presumably be in your hands, or with your other important documents. If you and your pet are in the EU right now, visit your veterinarian to get one. Apr 20, 2015 at 20:50
  • 1
    @Tim No, you need a human passport. But you'll have to carry the EU pet passport on behalf of your pet, because presumably your pet won't be able to do so on its own. Apr 20, 2015 at 20:56
  • If everything was done in the right sequence, all the other bits of documentation will cover it, but the EU pet passport makes your pet's entry a little simpler, since it's a standardised format. Apr 20, 2015 at 20:57

I think it very much depends on what country you're travelling from to the UK. If you're in the EU and some other low risk countries (i.e. those where the risk of rabies is considered small), then normally all that is required is a microchip, up to date vaccinations and documentation and I think you're OK.

You said hypothetically Italy which is an EU country. You would need to go to your vet first, arrange to have the microchip inserted), followed by vaccination for your cat and a 21 day wait. Then travelling, you just need to check with the airline and inform them that you're travelling with the cat at booking. The documentation you carry with you is the cat's Passport (that's what people usually call it). No need for quarantine etc.

I lived in France for a long time and we couldn't bring our cats to Ireland (similar laws to the UK for obvious reasons), without quarantine which would be a nightmare for the animal and the owners (as well as being very costly). All of that changed in recent years which is great. The UK government has an excellent page on it

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