A huge part of our leaving Dubai checklist was making sure our cats were ready to leave too. When I started preparing everything for our unexpected move home I had no idea about the process of shipping them home. All I knew was it was possible and we could find someone to do the whole process for us. That was exactly what we needed with the limited time and short notice of the move.
I began by researching a range of different companies, searching for reviews online and reaching out to the adoption team we used to get our cats from. Everyone had a different suggestion and prices ranged by nearly £700.
In the end I opted for the company who had the best reviews online, gave the most detail during enquiry and were the most expensive. Using this logic I decided they must be one of the best companies to use.
Our cat Relocation with DKC
We chose to use an agency for our relocation despite this being the more expensive option as they did everything for us. Judging by the paperwork I receive when the cats arrived in England I’m very glad we opted for that!
After the initial information and chat, Amy who dealt with the whole process, outlined the first batch of information she would need from us. This included the cats’ weight and height as this would determine the size crate they would need to travel in and the cost of their airfare. She was then able to give us a quote for the whole process once agreed we could then make our first payment of 50%.
The fee included all of the certificates, checks etc. the cats needed prior and post the flight as well as the crates they travelled in, the flight tickets, two nights of cattery accommodation prior departure from DXB and the agency fees. The only additional cost we had was extra nights at the cattery as we needed to leave our apartment a week before departure and felt the cats would be more settled at the cattery.
Everything was completed over email and Amy was so helpful and reassuring about the whole process. Even when I emailed her in a panic the morning the cats were collected she took the time to phone me and go over everything again.
There were several forms I had to fill out for the process these were easily done digitally. I also had to provide a copy of my passport, the cats up to date vaccinations details, microchip numbers and a TOR number. This final part is a number that means you do not have to pay VAT on the import of the cats into England. It was something I had to apply for with the shipping container too but was a straight forward process although sounded complicated at first.
I was then put in touch with the team on the ground in England to arrange transport for the cats from the airport to my parents’ house. Given the current COVID-19 situation we decided it wasn’t a good idea to wait at the airport for them especially as this could take over 5 hours.
We had everything booked by mid-May and they flew at the beginning of July.
It was a while after our booking was made we received confirmation of their flight ticket for our flight. Pets can only be booked a certain number of days out from the flight and we had been told there was a small possibility that they may not be able to secure a ticket for our exact flight. In the end this all worked out fine.
On the morning the cats were booked into the cattery with DKC they were collected from our apartment and carry boxes were provided for this. We sent them with blankets that would stay with them during their stay and in their flight travel crates. On this same day they also completed their pre-departure health checks at the airport. It was this day that Amy also rang me to reassure me of the process. Sending the cats off that morning was probably the worst bit of the leaving Dubai process!
We then continued to receive regular email updates from Amy with how the cats were doing during their stay at the cattery including some pictures.
On the morning of the flight they had to arrive at the airport 4 hours before take off and then had to complete more checks before being handed over from DKC staff to Emirates staff. We received at text at this point to let us know they were all checked into the cargo terminal.
Arriving at Heathrow
During the flight the cats travelled in their crates in a temperature controlled area of the plane. They were also secured into this area to ensure they couldn’t move during turbulence. In their crates they had a water bowl and blanket but were not allowed food, nor had they been allowed food for the previous 12 hours as this could have made them unwell. Pet cargo is also the last thing loaded and the first thing unloaded from the plane.
We tried to check with the Emirates ground staff that they were on the manifest for the flight however as they were booked with an agency this was more complicated to do. I hadn’t written their flight ticket number down which was the only to identify them.
Once they arrived at Heathrow and taken to the animal cargo area they had time to be let out, use the litter tray and possible be offered food. During this time I had filled in a form which allowed them to be together. We then received a phone call once they had been checked and processed into England and were ready to be driven to our location. This took around 3 hours from the time our plane landed.
When they arrived back with us they were in the same crate and seemed a little shaken by the whole experience. Thankfully within 30 minutes of being back they had forgiven us and were ready for cuddles.
Cost of DKC Cat Relocation
We flew two cats from Dubai to Heathrow in July 2020 and the total cost was 11, 927AED // £2584. As mentioned this included:
– their flight ticket and charges
– DKC relocation fee for two cats
– UAE fees, health certificate and attestation
– Travel crates for both cats which are ours to keep after
– Two nights of cattery stay
We then paid an addition 1200AED // £260 for the additional nights stay at the cattery, this was charged at peak prices due to the dates of stay.
Thoughts on Cat Relocation with DKC
I would 100% recommend DKC for any cat relocation to/from the UAE. They were fantastic from start to finish and were so reassuring and happy to answer all of my silly questions. They are one of the pricier options on the market but from the start they provided detailed information about the whole process. This certainly gave me confidence in them and helped to reassure us.