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Flying my cat from England to Budapest

Hi guys ,

My husband, cat and I are starting a new adventure in Budapest.

I’m not too sure whether to fly with the cat or take the car and drive down, which means he would have to fly without us.

Has anybody got any recommendations in terms of excellent pet transport services ?

Many thanks to all.
Aurore Jenkins.

Welcome to the Forum :)

Where would you be flying from?

Thank you :)

We are looking at flying from Newcastle upon Tyne. At this point, I don’t know whether we should travel down by car and have the cat flown over there or if we’ll be flying with him. I would only get a pet carrier company if they were recommended. Thank you for your help.

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

I'm not sure you can fly your pet from Newcastle; the UK Government has strict regulations regarding this and the details are published on the UK Gov website; this link will take you there.

My advice would be to speak to the airline and see if they can offer you a service from a different airport.

Hope this helps.

Cynic
Expat Team

Thank you so much for your good advice. I have been checking a few options, as it doesn't look as though Newcastle is on the list. I will also ring a few airlines. We will get there!

Aurore Jenkins :

Hi guys ,

My husband, cat and I are starting a new adventure in Budapest.

I’m not too sure whether to fly with the cat or take the car and drive down, which means he would have to fly without us.

We had the same choice and decided in the end to bring the cat in the car with us. From Cambridgeshire we could comfortably get to Budapest in two days (overnight stop in a motel in Germany). You might need three. We felt the cat would be less distressed than being put him on a plane, though we did look into it (from London airports). I'd certainly recommend you consider bringing your cat with you instead of flying. Of course the cat has to stay in the car on the ferry, but  on the whole it was far less hassle (and a lot cheaper) than sorting out the air travel.

The vet in England gave some kind of sedative which he had to take for about a week before. Since he is pretty sedate at the best of times he didn't seem to mind. The cat stayed in our motel room where he could stretch his legs a bit (of course we got a large box for him,. actually a dog box so he had a bit of room).

You probably already know this but make sure the vet has your cat properly inoculated for rabies etc and chipped with a "pet passport". The vets here do recognise the passports and chips so it is more for that (i.e. medical record) than getting across the border.

You can get most of the big brands of cat food here and there are lots of pet shops. Hungarian for cat is "macska" (say like "match car") or familiar "cica" (tsee-tsar). There is a good online store where the catfood (macskaeledel) is cheaper and delivered by courier to you (free of charge if you buy a fair amount, like a month's suopply) - zooplus.

Fressnapf is the main pet chainstore but you will find loads of independent petstores everywhere, and of course Tesco's, Auchan etc.

SimonTrew :

We had the same choice and decided in the end to bring the cat in the car with us.

I was wondering why this was not one of the options listed by the OP.  :/

You gave a good "how to" do it.  :top:

klsallee :
SimonTrew :

We had the same choice and decided in the end to bring the cat in the car with us.

I was wondering why this was not one of the options listed by the OP.  :/

You gave a good "how to" do it.  :top:

Re-reading the OP, perhaps they were thinking not to bring the car at all? Importing the car is perhaps more complicated than importing the cat, and I didn't want to get off-topic.

SimonTrew :
klsallee :
SimonTrew :

We had the same choice and decided in the end to bring the cat in the car with us.

I was wondering why this was not one of the options listed by the OP.  :/

You gave a good "how to" do it.  :top:

Re-reading the OP, perhaps they were not thinking to bring the car at all? Importing the car is perhaps more complicated than importing the cat, and I didn't want to get off-topic. We just had an old second-hand Ford Mondeo, good workhorse, which we disposed of here in Hungary some time later rather than re-register it, change headlamps, get summer an winter tyres, etc.

I've known so many people to do that, buy a cheap 2nd car, get insurance for a month bring their stuff, clothes (and maybe pets).... especially if they don't have furniture to bring over if renting fully furnished.  Then when here get rid of the car for scrap etc... it does tend to be a cheaper option.

Thank you so much for your invaluable advice.
Funnily enough, our cat is called Cicio, which doesn’t sound too far from Cica!

I managed to contact KLM and Brussels airlines. They accept pets that are less than 8kgs in the cabin ( incl travel bags). I need to book over the phone and request some extra room for £55 more. He’s also allowed to fly from Newcastle upon Tyne ( provided there’s room on the flight). He weighs 6,35 kgs and is a very mellow Persian. He’s on Royal Canin Persian biscuits, so it’s teally useful to know there’s an online company as well as big pet shops. I’ve never been to Budapest!
My vet won’t give him anything to sedate despite my asking. He says it’s now illegal in the U.K. 
He has all his vaccines and his chip and went in for his passport this am :)
I contemplated je idea of travelling but vet says no and I think it would be better if my boy could be in the cabin with me :). I just hope he doesn’t start singing on the plane !!!

You will be happy with KLM, as that's the airline I can only use to fly into Cardiff. They also have a very good 24/7 customer service system. They can be contacted on Facebook and Twitter which they respond to you in a few minutes. It's also worth joining their frequent flying program. You can use it check in etc..... makes life very easy.

Thank you. You’re very right. For one thing, they were able to explain better than the other ones and did not insist I gave them a booking reference to help! I will look into frequent flyer as well. It’s trally weird the way it works though. Strictly speaking you have to book over the phone and then request a place for your cat, which is confirmed ( or not) within 48hours. I’m assuming they would offer a different flight, should the request be denied. I shall keep you posted !

Not just KLM, but I have heard of other airlines asking the same to book over the phone. At least you are speaking to a human and getting confirmation?

Aurore Jenkins :

He’s on Royal Canin

You'll have no trouble getting that here

That's fantastic :). We're really looking forward to it.
As it happens so, flying is proven a little trickier than anticipated initially.
May I ask if you, your husband and your cat had to obtain a health certificate as well as the cat's European passport? And were there any other documents required? He is microchipped and has his normal English health booklet he's had since he was about 1.
Many thanks for your help!
Kind regards.

All the information you need can be found HERE.

Link to Movement of Pets (Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) - Introduction

FAQ
http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveani … nda_en.htm

Legislation
https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement_en

What are the formalities and paperwork required to bring your pet in Hungary?
http://europa.eu/travel/pets/index_en.htm

Thank you very much for the links.
The first and last links only mention pet passport; the second and third couldn't be found from my computer. It's just that klm are now asking for a health certificate to state he's fit to travel. It's really confusing. I've read a lot of EU directives but there seems to be some disparity between the law and airlines.
Hence now contemplating the idea of ferry  & car.

Just a word of warning about EU "legislation"; in as much as it's not legislation until the host country formally adopts it.  Of course many do, some "forget" bits and many will implement it in a different way to what it may say in the English (or German, French) texts (which are often later amended to reflect this), but by then it's too late.

Anyway, on top of this, there are also multinational bodies (for example the International Civil Aviation Organization) which is a UN body and "should" be working in tandem with the EU and the International Air Transport Association (IATA - airline trade association); the latter are the people who actually own the aircraft and may decide that despite what the EU and ICAO may say, they just ain't going to do it.  Mainly because the home nation where the Company is based, or a country which the aircraft may overfly prohibits it; you will be amazed at how difficult it is to move "things" around the world.

Hope this helps.

Cynic
Expat Team

Aurore Jenkins :

Thank you very much for the links.
The first and last links only mention pet passport; the second and third couldn't be found from my computer. It's just that klm are now asking for a health certificate to state he's fit to travel. It's really confusing. I've read a lot of EU directives but there seems to be some disparity between the law and airlines.
Hence now contemplating the idea of ferry  & car.

You can get a Fit to travel document from your vet; the British Veterinary Association have issued a template document that your vet can download from their website; this link will take you there; you can't download it unless you're a member of the BVA, almost all vets are.

Hope this helps.

Cynic
Expat Team

Thank you. I've just checked it.

I forgot to mention my cat is moving with us and is therefore classed as non commercial.

Kind regards.

The missus has just reminded me that we did not get a sedative prescribed by the vet, we used an over-the-counter (i.e. non-prescription) product called Kalm-Aid which seemed to work quite well for our cat. We would have trouble taking him by air anyway as he weighs around 6.5kg and with his box etc would be over the cabin baggage allowance...

Aurore Jenkins :

Thank you very much for the links.
The first and last links only mention pet passport; the second and third couldn't be found from my computer. It's just that klm are now asking for a health certificate to state he's fit to travel. (...)
Hence now contemplating the idea of ferry  & car.

re: 'health certificate'. You will need to get a sign-off from the vet that he is fit for travel.  Just book an appointment a couple of days before you travel, the vet will add it to the 'pet passport' and stamp & sign off that the cat is wormed, has rabies and cat flu jabs, etc. You will need to do this whether you go by ferry or air (or tunnel), although in our case nobody actually checked it either side of the border (Dover or Calais).

It's section IX of the 'pet passport', 'Clinical Examination', declaration 'The animal is in good health and can withstand carriage to its destination'. You don't get a separate certificate.

My experience with traveling with a pet -- my dog -- from the US, is that airlines have only a few berths for animals. Travelling from the US to Frankfurt (then onto Bp) on Lufthansa, that flight had only 3 spaces for pets in entirety. I was able to get one by reserving early.  Lufthansa was excellent with the dog -- during the layover, they let her out to walk around. I also saw that they changed the linings inside the crate.  (Oh, and the crate had to be a specific type -- let me know if anyone needs info on pet carrier requirements).

Picking her up at Ferihegy was a unique experience. I couldn't see any designated spot at the luggage area, so I went to the lost baggage claim area and asked and the lady there said the dog would come out on the normal luggage belt. I rushed over to the entrance flaps of that baggage belt and not 2 minutes later, a man pops his head through asking if someone is waiting for a dog. He simply handed me her crate.

All through this, I was worried about vet papers, entry permissions, vaccinations, quarantines, etc. When I dropped my dog off at the airport in the US, no one asked me for her papers. When I picked her up at Ferihegy, I walked out the "Nothing to Declare" area (the Customs are was blocked off, so not an option anyway), and went straight out to my ride.  No hassle whatsoever.  The next week, I went to a Hungarian veterinarian who boosted her vaccinations. In the US, there is a 3-year rabies vaccination that can be used. In Western Europe, there is a 2-year rabies vaccination schedule. In Hungary, it is a yearly vaccination schedule. It was explained to me that this was due to the inferior vaccination rates in countries bordering Hungary to the East and South.  So my dog gets a yearly combo vaccination now.  Her vaccinations are kept in her "Pet Passport" (2 types, Hungary domestic, and Europe International). Her vaccination numbers are kept in the book, her health notations, everything.  The vaccination production numbers are on stickers that are in the passport.

I would also like to mention that it's been my experience that Budapest is very pet-friendly. My dog is widely accepted in many cafes and stores (She's 9 kilos, so not a toy, but not a big dog either).  She loves the many dog parks, and runs free when we find time to go to Varosliget or Margit Sziget.

Vicces1 :

it's been my experience that Budapest is very pet-friendly. My dog is widely accepted in many cafes and stores (She's 9 kilos, so not a toy, but not a big dog either).  She loves the many dog parks, and runs free when we find time to go to Varosliget or Margit Sziget.

Good point. A dog can also travel on Budapest public transport (with a ticket: a monthly pass currently costs 5.250 Ft, according to the BKK here, in English). The dog will also need a photocard which costs 250 Ft and is valid for ten years- When travelling, the dog will need to be muzzled, although many people don't seem to bother.

Cats (and other animals) count as luggage and need to be carried in a box (free of charge) not exceeding the permitted dimensions: info from the BKK here, in English.

Absolutely correct. Although my dog has a muzzle, not once has she been required to wear it.  Again, noted that she is adorable (my bias understood) and not one of the larger, potentially dangerous breeds such as a pit bull.
I will take a train for some travel this weekend. I'll buy her a dog's ticket which is something like 300 Fts.
She's been on buses, the metro, and tram cars. Never a problem.  Another kudos to Bp!

Vicces1 :

Although my dog has a muzzle, not once has she been required to wear it.  Again, noted that she is adorable (my bias understood

People's dogs are always nice to their owners. They are not always as nice to strangers. I find it perfectly reasonable to require all dogs to be muzzled.

We might be drifting a bit far off topic...

SimCityAT :

]
I've known so many people ... buy a cheap 2nd car, get insurance for a month bring their stuff, clothes (and maybe pets).... especially if they don't have furniture to bring over if renting fully furnished.  Then when here get rid of the car for scrap etc... it does tend to be a cheaper option.

We swapped it with a farmer for use on his private land, as it would probably not be worth the cost of re-registering etc. We still have the trailer, which in the UK is towed on the plate of the towing vehicle, but in Hungary must be separately registered. Haven't done that yet, as we've nothing to tow it with.

We sold the other, higher-valued car in the UK before moving.

Vicces1 :

Her vaccinations are kept in her "Pet Passport" (2 types, Hungary domestic, and Europe International). Her vaccination numbers are kept in the book, her health notations, everything.  The vaccination production numbers are on stickers that are in the passport.

Our cat just has the British 'pet passport', not two separate documents. I imagine that would be the same for the OP too - I wasn't aware that there was a "Hungary domestic" book. Or perhaps it differs for dogs, I dunno.

The EU has one passport; that's the one you have and the only one you need. As I was flying in from the US, there were 2 options.

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