UK: Number of Pet Passports Have Soared to a Record High
Almost 75,000 pet passports were issued last year. This is a 50% increase on 2010. The figures come from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. In 2015, for the first 6 months, 55,000 have been issued.
More than half of pet owners take their animals on holiday with them because they are part of the family according to a survey by an insurer. One third said that they travelled with their pets because they did not want their companion animal to miss out on the experience of travelling. Around 20% of pet owners travelled with their companion animals because it was cheaper than paying for a kennel or boarding cattery.
Most people who use the pet passport do so to take their dog with them but one third take a cat.
Some people holidayed with their goldfish; 3% did this and 1% took a turtle with them. France, Spain and Germany are the most popular destinations for people holidaying with their pets. Some travel further afield to countries such as the United States and Australia.
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We don’t know whether cats and dogs suffer from jetlag but it is almost certain that they do, in my opinion. Although cats are probably more flexible than humans because of their renowned sleeping habits.
In order to acquire a pet passport, pets must be micro-chipped and given a rabies vaccination. Dogs must also be given a tapeworm treatment on their return to the UK.
Most airlines (except easyJet and Ryanair) accommodate animals for a fee. Thomas Cook allows pets weighing less than 6 kg to travel in the cabin for a fee of €15 (£10.50) while those weighing more go in the hold for a fee of €50.
A spokesperson for the insurance company conducting the survey said:
“It is important to acknowledge the possible dangers were taking animals out of the country. When planning to take a dog or cat on holiday, ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date, getting appropriate pet insurance and a pet passport should be top of the to-do list.”
What does this trend tell us? It may be because people are becoming more and more connected to their companion animal treating pets as family members and therefore find it very difficult to leave them behind. An alternative reason might be that people are more aware of the pet passport scheme and make good use of it. In addition there are more cats and dogs in the UK which must be a factor. I see it as a good development.
DEFRA’s regulations clearly state no pets are allowed to travel in the cabin on any flights departing or arriving in the U.K. (The only exception being assistance dogs.) The Thomas Cook cabin policy can only apply to routes outside the U.K.
Whilst I think my cats found air-travel a lot less stressful than car travel, I wouldn’t take them with me on short holidays. Uprooting them from familiar surroundings for the sake of a couple of weeks, isn’t worth the upheaval for them. (Unless of course you have a super confident cat who takes everything in their stride.)
I’m not surprised to learn that most of the pets taken on holidays abroad are dogs. (They tend to cope much better with change than cats.) Given that Spain, France and Germany are the most popular destintions and the cost of pet air-travel in cargo, I imagine they’re travelling via Eurotunnel or the ferry before driving on to their destination.
I just wish the pet Customs checks at those ports were as strict as the airport Customs for pets entering the U.K. European ‘designer’ puppy mills get dodgy vets to provide passports for animals which don’t fully meet the requirements of the travel scheme. The ferry and Eurotunnel ports probably see many more pets than U.K. airports. So I can’t imagine them imposing the 2 hour processing hold that Sophie underwent when she arrived at Heathrow.
I seriously doubt if pets need the “travel experience”. It shows how much people are humanizing domestic animals.
I think about the ear pain I’ve experienced on flights, and would imagine that dogs and cats might feel the same thing.
Consider the stress of traveling as a reality, in addition to the pleasures. I don’t think people take this into consideration.
I had a friend who used to take her cat on camping trips. On one of these trips, the cat got chased up a tree by a large predator, who also injured the cat by grabbing her rear area. The cat had to be taken to a vet in the area, and fortunately healed up.
I’m glad that I don’t travel, since the hardest part for me, is trusting anyone to take care of my cat, and that includes professional boarding.
A fish or a turtle would be another story.
I am the same as you really. I have difficulty letting someone look after my cat. When people travel with their cats they do it for themselves and not the cat. It is a consequence of the different lifestyles of humans and cats. I said I liked the fact that pet passports were on the increase but on reflection I am not so sure. Is travelling with your cat better than putting her in a boarding cattery? I’d say it probably is. Boarding catteries are not entirely safe places.