I am French, currently living in France and I will relocate permanently to the UK by the end of the month. I will bring my cat with me but I have a concern about the pet travel scheme. My cat was tattooed in 2008 (the tattoo is clearly legible), he does not have a microchip, he is vaccinated against rabies and has his pet passport.

According to the UK Government's website (https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/microchip), pets need to have a microchip except if they were tattooed before 2011, which is the case for my cat. However, I wanted to be absolutely sure that this information was still valid so I called the Pet Travel Scheme helpline and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. The first one told me that I need to microchip my cat even though he was tattooed before 2011 and the second one told me that I don't need to microchip him. Consequently, I am lost and I don't want to experience any trouble when I enter the UK with my cat.

Has anyone experienced a similar situation and/or does anyone have feedback to give me on this specific subject?

  • 4
    I would 1. believe the gov.uk website. 2. pay €15 or whatever it costs to have the cat microchipped anyway. Apr 4, 2017 at 16:07
  • 3
    In travel terms, I have no idea, but in practicality, get him microchipped! The cost to get a pet microchipped is nothing compared to the emotional cost you would inevitably have if a pet ever got lost.
    – Dog Lover
    Apr 5, 2017 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


As you note, you've already satisfied the UK requirements for bringing your cat with you to England. Relocating with pet is stressful, for both you and your cat.

While the microchip and the tattoo accomplish the same, providing a permanent id, you may want to consider adding the chip, for a number of reasons:

  • it would be less intrusive for your cat during the UK entry process, having the chip read by a scanner, rather than having to be handled by stranger(s).
  • it would be a more immediate way of identifying your pet, should the worst happen: shelters and recovery organizations routinely scan for chips; it may take longer to see that your pet has a tattoo, and, again, requires handling.
  • it would give you the opportunity to put your new UK address into the pet recovery database (either way, remember to update your contact information, whether for chip or tattoo).

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