Written by Ashley Kelmore, Posted in Move to UK: Upon Arrival
The company that you’ve been working with as recommended by the airline will handle all the paperwork when your animals arrive. If you’re flying into Heathrow, the animal customs center is about a 15 minute drive from the airport. Basically, you don’t need to do anything more once you’ve dropped them off at cargo in your home city.
However, it will take animal customs four to eight hours to process you animals.
That’s right. Four to eight hours. In our case, we got our luggage and a ride to our temporary housing, showered up, and then got a call from the import company that our animals were going to be cleared for pick-up around 11:30 AM. We got a ride back out to Heathrow and picked them up.
We donated our kennels to the animal customs office (they can always use them) and transferred our buddies to the carrier they are used to. They were okay – they hadn’t really used the litter box, but we traveled with one in our suitcase (you can buy portable ones online) and set it up in our temporary flat until we could get a permanent litter box.
One of the larger pet supply shops you’ll probably want to visit until you find a local one is Pets at Home. They have a wide range of food, litter, toys, carriers, etc. Basically, think US Petco. Because the cat food our little buddies like isn’t really available in the UK I’ve had a lot of conversations with the Pets at Home staff, and they’ve always been helpful and friendly.
Remember to give your furry family members a lot of love, pets, treats, and attention. They will have gone through what is likely the most stressful experience of their little lives, and will be in a brand new place, with new scents and sounds. If you can avoid needing to take them to the vet for a couple of months, I’d suggest that. Sadly our cat Jameson got a cold, so we took him to the vet less than a week after arriving. They gave him two medications and he was fine right away, but I really wish we hadn’t had to put him in a carrier and on a bus so soon after such a traumatic event.