Please Help... Moving to France soon

Hello, we are a family of 4 adults and a cat. Soon we are moving from Wirral, UK to the south Charente - near Aubeterre.

Can anyone give us some advice on getting a CMR for moving our house contents.?
Having looked at quotes and online reviews re: Removal companies, we may decide to move ourselves, so will need to do the CMR paperwork ourselves. I’m finding it difficult to find the info…

Also, our cat will be travelling with us in a car.
Has anyone reading this done a move with a cat, in a cat basket, in a car, on a Ferry ? What info/advice can you share ? We have her passport and are informed on all the vet related things…its the journey that we like to know about.

Thank you to anyone who has time to pass on some wisdom…!

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You don’t need CMR paperwork if you do the move yourself. It’s only applicable to professional hauliers.

I don’t expect your cat will enjoy being left in the car alone, Puss would probably prefer you to use the shortest ferry crossing even if it means more driving. But depends on how nervous (s)he is. Your vet may advise a sedative, although that didn’t work with my very nervous puss - she refused to go to sleep and panicked as much as ever, in fact the only difference was that her eyes were glazed over and she was uncoordinated which I think made her panic even more, felt very sorry for her and wished I hadn’t used the sedative. But she soon forgot the trauma and forgave me.

Good luck with the move.

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Thank you Anna.
The CMR is now off my list…phew! that’s a relief.

Does that mean the cat has to stay in the car, or can she be taken, in the basket of course, onto the passenger decks ?

You’ll have to look at the T&C of whichever ferry company you use, for your particular route. BF has pet friendly cabins on some of its routes where you have your pet in the cabin with you. You’re not usually allowed to take a pet into the general passenger areas. If you have to leave the pet in the car there are usually arrangements for you to visit them during the crossing. But you need to find out when/before you book your ferry.

We moved to France in 2002 with our cat. Decided we didn’t want to leave him alone in the car on the ferry so decided to use the tunnel. No problem at all. When we stopped at the rest stops we put a harness and lead on him so he could pee. He spent most of the journey on my lap looking out of the window!


Yes the tunnel is probably the best idea for cats, although personally I hate it.

Anna… the first time we used the Tunnel… I was sure water would be seeping in…and we would all be doomed. :scream: I reckon I held my breath all the way (ok, slight exaggeration) :wink:

For us a ferry crossing was always considered to be the start of the holiday (in whichever direction)… huge breakfast etc… wonderful fun… but for those occasions when time is of the essence (eg the day Mother-in-Law “left home” and we had to dash to UK to find her) … well, on occasions like that… the Tunnel wins hands down. :laughing:

would certainly recommend it for transporting a pet…


In 2006 we moved ourselves from Stockport to here (near Pau) - me in the rented 7.5 ton truck and my wife in the little Honda with the cat. We had converted the back of the car into a big cage for the cat, using a large cage used for transporting big dogs. She was not too upset! But the ferry route we chose was Hull-Zeebrugge. The cat had to spend the night in kennels. Again, she didn’t seem too upset.

We underestimated two things … 1) how much “stuff” we had (7.5.tons was not big enough) and 2) how long it would take to pack the truck. We ended up missing the ferry by one hour (!) and so they put us on the next one out, which went to Rotterdam! (Better than a night in Hull!) So that added an extra country to the trip :slight_smile: We used an Ibis hotel in Tours for an overnight stop and sneaked the cat in through the window. :smiley: Have fun!!


Harness good idea. We drove down from Dover about 10 hours and she was fine

Has to stay in the vehicle.

Yes, thank you everyone, I looked on the terms and conditions of Brittany Ferries and it didn’t explain anything, so I emailed them and they said she has to stay in the car. When we are boarded, an appointment can be made at the Info Desk to visit her during the trip.

About the harness- that’s not gonna happen, she dislikes being picked up and held - we put a flea collar on her once and she went wild !!
Having said that, she is a very gentle cat, so long as its all on her terms…she was a rescue cat who had been attacked probably by a dog or a fox. She had been living in a cardboard box in a field nursing one week old kittens ( in January ) - found and taken to the RSPCA.

When I read this, Stella, the thing I am dying to know about …Mother-in-Law left home !!!


We were on a 2-week touring holiday …first time ever without Mother-in-Law …who was supposed to be staying with brother-in-law (her favourite son :wink: ) and his wife…

Well, it turned out that she hated it there from day 1 and decided she would not stay with them but would be alright on her own back at our place… (Sadly, she was not able to look after herself… that was our labour of love…) … she took off without a word to anyone… and it could have ended very badly.

Friends phoned to tell us she had turned up at our place and that they were moving in to keep an eye on her until we could get back …so we just leapt into the car and drove non-stop…

We were just so glad that she had made it safely home… (and I was secretly chuffed that her favourite-son was not so wonderful after all :grin: ).


I’m not sure how long “soon” is, but if you have enough time before the move, it might be worth luring your cat into her travelling case with a favourite treat and taking her on short, frequent car journeys. I did this with mine and he was much calmer on the actual move (Kent to the Alps via the ferry). Hope this helps!


Hello Gill

Three years ago we moved house in the opposite direction - from near Riberac in Dordogne back to England, plus cat! We drove from near Riberac up to Caen where we took Brittany Ferries to Portsmouth (daytime crossing) and then drove another hour to get here. I asked the French vet how we should manage the journey, and he gave us a pill to give to puss just before we left. We put him in his basket on the back seat of the car. He was quite dopey but very calm - no panic. On the drive up to Caen (5 hours as far as I remember), we stopped several times to offer him water and food and a chance to use the loo. When we got to the ferry, we gave the person at the check-in his passport and they checked the microchip number on the passport and handed me a scanner to hold against the back of his neck to check that the microchip number was correct. It was and we went to the queue for the boat. When we got onto the boat, we had to leave him in the car in his basket with the car windows down a bit for ventilation. During the crossing (can’t remember - five or six hours?) I was allowed down to the car deck twice, where I got into the car and let him out of the basket. He wasn’t very interested in anything other than getting back into the basket and continuing to doze. When we arrived in Portsmouth he was a bit perkier, and we drove home without further incident. The next day he was fine and had his appetite back.

I don’t think puss was unduly worried by the whole thing, just a bit subdued by the pill.

We found a man with van to do the removals using, and he (and his wife) were great - efficient and careful and delivered our stuff when they said they would… If I can find the name of the man with van I will send it to you.

Good luck with your move!


So here we are in 2019, and I just got an offer on my house in the Wirral, and I’m wondering how your move went. Did you use a removal firm? How did it go with the cat? I have three to move to Brittany…

Hello Vivien
We moved back last December. It didn’t work for us.

The cat was very upset during the journey there, and journey back, but she survived! I recommend a Feliway plug in for your house when you get there. It helped our Rosie to calm down.

Where on the Wirral are you?

We are renting in Spital now unfortunately. Our house in the Charente has been up for sale for about a year and we can’t afford to buy till it sells.

To be honest, we’ll be lucky to get what we paid for it.

Do you want to meet up for a chat?

Kindest regards


Yes we used the best movers I’ve ever encountered…

Hi Gill

I replied to you on June 4th, but am not sure my message reached you. Maybe SFN banned it because I included my email address.

Still hoping to hear from you


Hi Vivien

This Survive France forum has clearly not banned your post - I can see it quite clearly, email address and all…:upside_down_face::wink:

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