In addition to packing up our entire lives and moving across the ocean, we decided that we should further complicate matters and bring our two cats along. (Ok, in reality the thought of leaving both cats here was terrible and I simply couldn't do that.)
Moving two cats in the United States would be annoying, but possible. Simply transfer the cats from one house to another. Moving pets into Europe, particularly the UK is a complicated process as we quickly discovered. Additionally, we did not wish to have either cat quarantined so following the instructions is key.
First, the cats had to be microchipped and then administered another rabies vaccination. The UK explained it simply as any process done before the microchipping is not recognized, since the microchip creates an unique identify for the cat.
Next is the paperwork. Of course, like any sort of paperwork there are differences in opinions and everyone told me something just slightly different. (One vet told us we had to complete the paperwork and bring it to them, and then the next time told us they would complete the paperwork.) Basically, the vet completes the paperwork ten days before we leave. We also have to complete a document stating we're not going to sell the cats while we're overseas. All their records and microchip number info are signed off by the vet and then are attached to the documents and we will cross our fingers that we will have no issues getting into Europe.
To further complicate matters, the UK does not allow animals to fly in the cabin unless they are registered assistance dogs. Both cats would have to fly in the cargo hold unless we could figure out an alternate route. I'm a nervous person and the thought of both cats sitting in their kennels on a hot tarmac before take-off sounded miserable. I looked into taking the Queen Mary 2 over because, seven days on board a cruise boat with the cats in their respective kennels sounded amazing, but sadly the kennels were completely booked. I began checking with other countries on their rules for flying pets in... Ireland and Iceland both have the same rules that state pets must fly as cargo, but France might just come through for us.
Of course, I couldn't be 100% sure about flying with the cats until I called the airline. I looked up various airlines that flew pets and decided to begin calling. Several hours later I learned something important - that just because an airline flies pets, oftentimes the airline hires out other airlines under their company name and those smaller airlines will not fly pets. Sigh. Some specific planes won't fly pets at all, even though the company says they do, and some planes fly with only a set number of pets on board and they may be completely booked up. I would recommend calling the airline before selecting your tickets just to be 100% positive that your animals can fly with you, just to be on the safe side. (My favorite call was to a French airline. Since I couldn't find the American number, I just called the French one. The kind gentleman answered in French and quickly switched to English once he realized I couldn't speak French. There was some difficulty in understanding each other but I was grateful for his kindness with the language barrier.)
Then there was the issue about bringing the cat into the UK. We can bring them through on the Chunnel (for £17 per pet) and drive up to Glasgow. Or we could take a ferry and then drive from the port to Glasgow. We're still uncertain about which route we'll use but both routes are doable with the cats. Thus far our plan is to fly into Paris and drive up to Glasgow via the Chunnel. Luckily for us (and the cats), this plan isn't set in stone. Naturally, we'd all like to get to our hotel in Glasgow as soon as possible and with as few incidents as possible. ;)
I'm sure that whatever route we take with the cats will be a complete adventure and I know we'll all be grateful to be settled down in Glasgow as soon as we possibly can.