Cats moving to France by Air or Car?

Planning our move, 10 weeks from now we will get the keys for our new abode. Now to the logistics. We have 2 older cats (all pet pass port requirements fulfilled) and need some advice on getting them from Scotland to Angouleme.

a) flight via Amsterdam Edinburgh/Bordeaux approx. 6 hrs
b) 3 day drive with overnight near Manchester and overnight ferry Portsmouth to Caen.

not so much a question of money, more worried that the oldies will not survive a flight.

Last cat had ‘airmiles’ (NYC to London to Toronto to London to Scotland) but was not keen on ever getting back in his travel box ever after.

Depending on your car you can make it comfortable for them with a massive crate, I transported mine in a crate made for huge dogs, customised (by me) for the journey.

I would go for car. They will be with you, have time out of their crates (which need to be reasonably spacious) and have less noise to cope with.

If you talk to anyone in the aviation industry about it you’ll never send a pet by air.

I wouldn’t like to have any of these feline friends on an aircraft with me :blush: Well, maybe some of them and if they croon like this it might not be too bad:roll_eyes::roll_eyes:

I think it’s going to be easier to preserve their immediate environment in a car: in an aircraft, there will be all sorts of strange noises, smells and feelings (like air pressure changes) and while you’ll be with them, your presence and scent is likely to be overwhelmed by everything else.

So I’d do the car journey.

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Thank you all, will now check routes, hotels, ferry.
It will be long drive, but the boys need to be secure and
feeling safe…

To me it’s worth the extra cost to take the train. Cats can stay with you, it’s quick and relatively quiet and far less frightening than the motion of a ferry.

Our lucky boy has a big dog crate with an attached covered litter tray … he has more room than we do in the car. We use the ferry but it would be kinder to use the tunnel for your older cats - less stressful with you there.

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Mmm… I was just thinking about the cats being left in the car in the hold, while passengers go upstairs.

Tunnel is certainly swifter and, as you say, the family can all stay together. :relaxed::relaxed:

So despite extra costs - I think it might be “car &Tunnel” which gets top vote.


working on it… have two big travel cages but perhaps better to ‘construct’ a boot/backseat area for both cats & their litter tray.
Ferry (as per website) has pet friendly cabin for overnight journey - will explore
if that also means cats.
Tunnel is a long detour, mileage would be much less if we can take the ferry to Caen

Thanks for all your input

Whichever method of travel you choose, providing you can spend time with your “family” - it will be fine for you and fine for them. It’s good to plan well in advance like this.

Good luck.

We took our 4 cats (oldest 15…youngest 2) on a 2-day drive when we relocated from Abruzzo in Italy to Deux Sevres this March. (After a 3 day drive when we originally moved from UK to Italy). Provided one of us always sat in the back to provide reassurance/company, there were never any problems - and they enjoyed the overnight stops in pet-friendly hotels !
Vets in both UK and Italy strongly advised against any tranquillisers to keep things calm.
Would only consider air travel as the last resort. Too many horror stories and too many things can go wrong. Much better for you - and cats - to have them with you throughout.
Make sure all their paperwork is completely up to date. Good luck !

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Thank you David. We have decided to drive. But - its 2 cars, 2 cats. It will take 2 days to get from Scotland to the coast, overnight ferry & another 5-6 hours to get to our new home.
I can hear the chorus already…

Take your time - relax - and “enjoy” the trip. Keep in mind that your new home is waiting for you all.

At least you will be in control of the situation (and whatever arises) throughout the journey - no matter how long. That will surely be a plus.

Exciting (if tiring) times ahead, I see. :wink::relaxed::relaxed:

Won’t let cats on Eurostar though - or they wouldn’t 4 years ago. The Car Tunnel is fine but not Eurostar.

I meant with the car…eurostar won’t take any pets apart from service dogs.

We brought our cats from Maidstone to Nimes (I know- not as far as your journey) by car. They had their extra large box, and we let them out to crawl around teh car when we were underway. (They slept most of the time). We had cat harnesses for them so that we could stop and let them out “on a lead” from time to time. They were happy enough when we arrived, and lived many years afterwards.


Go for it - have a safe and successful journey !

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Roger, my idea was to do the same, though first I need to train my cat to tolerate the harness :grin:

Did your cats pee or poo while on the lead? I’m guessing not, but was curious. (My cat will quite happily use his litter tray while I’m in the room, though he usually goes outside, but I can’t imagine he’d be happy about doing it in a strange environment. If your cats did perform while on the lead, have you any tips?