Bringing a cat to U.K. from abroad

In most cases I am pro-adoption, but I had to make an exception for my first foray into cat lady heaven. For a long time now, I always wanted an abyssinian.

Before getting my hands on a furry baby, I spent a lot of time researching breeders here in the U.K. although none of them seemed to be the right fit. I moved onto looking in a different country, my motherland—Lithuania.

It took a full year of research and comparing breeders and their litters until I decided to get a kitten from Rulana. They breed both abyssinians and bengal cats. At first I spent a long time chatting to the breeder Svetlana, a lovely lady who enjoys what she does and wants to make sure all of her kittens go to a good home. Initially she wanted every new prospective owner to meet their kittens and bond, but for me that was not possible when living abroad. I made sure to get updates of my kitten regularly to see how she progressed and, happily, she grew to be a beautiful.

And so came the day when money got involved. The kitten cost 550 euros and I had already sent a deposit of 100 euros to secure my kitten. When she reached 4 months old, I was able to legally pick her up, so I flew to Kaunas, Lithuania and made a request to Svetlana asking her if she could bring the kitten to the airport otherwise I would miss the bus heading to my hometown. She was understanding and brought the abysinnian with her who was now ready to make the long journey across borders with all of her vaccinations up to date.

That’s when I saw Foxy for the first time, snuggled up in Svetlana’s jacket to keep warm. I said my first hello with tears (of joy) in my eyes.

I had to sign the official paperwork and Svetlana introduced me to Foxy’s pedigree documents with print outs of 2 generations worth of her family’s health records signed by the vets. I also had to sign a legal contract agreeing that Foxy is not for breeding and that I will have to spay her before a certain date, while providing an invoice addressed to Foxy from the vets after she gets fixed. Otherwise I risk getting fined! All was good though, as I wanted to spay her anyway.

Travelling back to the U.K.

Oh boy, that was one painful journey. Have in mind that if you want to travel with a pet from Lithuania to England, there’s absolutely no direct flights to U.K. that will allow pets. I had to reserve a seat in a van that delivers big parcels. Prior to the journey, I de-wormed Foxy, then got another de-worming portion for her a month later at the vets who also changed the info in her micro-chip. This cost me 50 euros. The van journey itself costed 90 euros for myself and 80 euros for the kitten, which brought the full price of the cat to 770 euros. Sadly all of these expenses happened when the GBP was at its lowest after Brexit.

In total, the mammoth journey took 36 hours from Klaipeda city to London. They picked us up at 3am and we travelled through smaller towns for the drivers to pick up parcels. I think it was a good 10 hours before we left Lithuania for Poland, continuing on west while stopping every 3 hours for toilet breaks. There were 7 other people in the van besides me and Foxy was underneath my legs in her crate. I refused to put her in the back as she was only little and still very scared of what was going on. Now imagine my legs being cramped for 36 hours with barely any sleep. Although Foxy managed the whole journey well, sleeping through most of it actually with the ocasional leg stretch outside the carrier on her leash.

Stink bomb alert

The reason why I decided against “just shipping” Foxy to myself was down to the fact that one of my acquaintances brought her cat to U.K. that way previously. I was shocked at how emaciated and traumatised the poor balinese cat looked as she was not eating or drinking for the first 3 days after the journey and lost 2/3 of her fur from stress. She was even covered in faeces from not having anywhere to do her business at all.

You may ask how did Foxy do her business throughout the journey? Well, luckily, I prepared a small litter tray with a liner that had super absorbent crystals. I also had poo bags at hand. So every once in a while, or when she started to squirm about, I took her out and put her on the prepared litter tray—and like magic she knew exactly what I was urging her to do. The smell was there only until I scooped up her poop with the bag and double tied it within another 2  bags. When she was done I would just tie the liner that contained the litter and our journey continued as normal.

She was eating and going to the toilet normally throughout the whole journey, which are always good signs telling me she was well.

Happy feet

When we arrived in London, I was super relieved that it was finally over. Although I also knew that it was worth the pain because Foxy is now an important member of our little family and I can’t imagine my life without her little charm.

The breeder has done a wonderful job with her—fully litter, scratcher, bath and nail clipper trained. She was also socialised with dogs and she had no problems with my parent’s Yorkshire Terrier while I stayed there for one week before going back to U.K. Foxy is a little bundle of joy that wakes us up in the morning kneading our bellies and purring like a tractor. At 9 months old she has already learned how to sit, stand, spin and high five for treats as well.

If I could go back in time, I would repeat the journey all over again for Foxy.

You can read more about what you need to do to bring your pet to UK on the GOV.UK website.