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Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by dearlouise, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. dearlouise

    dearlouise New commenter

    I'm going to be working abroad in 2020 or 2021... or leaving teaching... I'd prefer the teaching abroad option as I love teaching!

    However, my dependents are the furry kind. I have 5, soon to be 4, cats. "Children from my divorce"...

    Question is, how do I humanely get old & decrepit cats abroad? I thought, if in Europe, I could take the long drive... but most jobs that are catching my eye are further east.

    Can anyone recommend any tried & tested methods?

    Also, on the decrepit front, how does one find out if there is suitable veterinary care available in new locations? Did anyone find it easy/difficult? I've never considered the availability of vets when abroad.

    I have moments when I think it's a crazy idea to even consider taking them abroad, and defer back to the leaving teaching option - but then remember, the world is smaller than we think & try to think positive! Help! (Thank you)
  2. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    If it were one or two, it would be possible I think. Four takes it onwards.

    To your advantage, they are cats. They are relatively portable creatures and can be cared for easily. Larger creatures, such as large dogs, put a real spanner in the works.

    You will have a lot to consider:

    - Transport. Getting four cats in and out of anywhere will be a chore. To a foreign country? What are the legal issues concerned? Will they need certain health checks/documentation?

    - Accommodation. Depending where you go, finding a pet friendly place for 4 cats might be tricky. If the city is dominated by flats, will that be OK? Can you find a house? Will it be big enough?

    - Moving about. A colleague of mine has multiple pets and they have had a few instances when they've had to travel home. Arranging for care has been tricky. Cats are easier than most, I'll give you that, but it's something to consider, especially as they're old. What if one of them is poorly?

    I think, with cats, you can certainly be positive! They can be left alone in a flat with a cat sitting arrangement if you need to be away, they can also be moved around more easily than other pets. However, it will add to your list of things to deal with during your move and work abroad, so you need to take that into account.

    Whatever you decide, good luck!
    dearlouise likes this.
  3. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    The difficulty and expense is bring pets back into the UK from certain countries.

    Here in Shanghai the real cost is vet bills at a decent western managed establishment. I can easily face a bill greater than for my children at a hospital.
    towncryer and dearlouise like this.
  4. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I've transported three pets with me each time I've moved - it hasn't been as bad as you'd think; though Nelly's post above is good - it covers all the issues to consider. Cost-wise, this can vary widely depending on where you're going.... going in and out of the UK was expensive (by air - but as you note much cheaper by car!); but between other countries hasn't been as pricey (for example: a flight from the UK was about £300 per animal; whereas when we flew from Germany, we paid 30 euro per animal!).
    towncryer and dearlouise like this.
  5. dearlouise

    dearlouise New commenter

    I'm not as concerned about the cost - they're part of my family & I'd do anything for them. It's more the actual logistics!

    Due to their age, I doubt I'd be coming back to the UK with them, ever. They're all 14+ years old.

    They are indoor cats & I currently live in a flat, so that's not an issue.

    How to you mention the need for accommodation with pets? And when's the best time to do it? Before applying as a feeler question, during the interview or after as an after-thought?
  6. dearlouise

    dearlouise New commenter

    Did you transport your pets in the baggage hold?
  7. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    A friend took her aged cat to South Africa without any problems.
  8. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Flying in and out of the UK you have no choice - they have to go in the hold; flying within Europe we took them in the cabin with us (hence much cheaper). If you're driving (i.e. in Europe) then the eurotunnel is much better than the overnight ferries: the so-called cattery/kennel is little more than an iron prison and it just prolonged the stress for the animals.

    In terms of accommodation: when I looked at a job in Tokyo, the job came with accommodation but the housing/flats were not pet-friendly so I didn't apply (this information was quite easy to find); in other overseas teaching posts the accommodation that comes with the contract has been pet-friendly. In one job, I chose my own accommodation (rather than the subsidised flat offered by the school) for this reason; but pets aside, my partner and I would probably have done this anyway as the school flat was okay, just a bit pokey and surrounded by the school community (not that we have anything against that - and in most posts I have lived next door to colleagues and pupils - but in this particular place we wanted to be in the city itself).
  9. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Schools might or might not allow four cats in the accommodation, if they provide it directly. If you have to find your own place, finding a place that allows four pets will be hard, and any expense will be yours. While I consider my pup to be my fur baby, oddly enough my school does not. Extra logistics and expenses are my own.
    Lots will depend on where you attempt to move.
    If you go through a major agency, you can indicate in your profile about the cats and weed out some schools that aren’t interested.
    The question of ongoing health and care once you’re there... it’s a big one. Where will you spend Christmas and summer and midterms? Who will watch the cats? What if one needs vet care while you’re away? Even in cheap locations, boarding can start at 15 or 20 quid per day per cat. More if they need medication administrated. In an expensive city?
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  10. MissTilscher

    MissTilscher New commenter

    I have moved two cats from the UK to Thailand in 2015, and then three cats from Thailand to Beijing this year. Both times the move has cost my partner and I between 2000 and 3000GBP, once you take into account vaccinations, health checks, rabies testing (having to send 3 blood samples from Thailand to the UK via DHL to have their titer test was very expensive). As gulf said, neither of my schools has in any way paid for this cost of moving, as they are not considered dependents (obviously) but also cannot be claimed as shipping.
    I agree with you, they are family and I will pay what is required, but it is worth considering that it is exceptionally expensive, especially when moving East. Therefore, I would say make sure you will be happy in the place you choose to live, otherwise you will be spending that money regularly if you choose to move on.
    The other consideration is the import requirements of the country. Thailand was pretty easy - they just had to have a rabies vaccination and a health check. China was far more complicated. The main concerns for us going to China was the above Rabies Titer testing, which was actually fine but expensive, and then the added stress that in China you can only enter the country with 1 pet per passport. Therefore, even if you use an agent, you will need 3 other people to fly out with you to bring the cats into the country. Obviously, I don't know if you are considering China, but it's just an indication of some of the things you have to find out when choosing your country/school.
    In terms of accommodation and vets, once you have chosen a location, I would recommend joining some of the expat groups on Facebook etc and asking questions in there. People will be happy to give you recommendations for vets and will be able to advise re accommodation. In my experience, they will also be able to give you pet-sitter recommendations or recommend a maid who might be happy to clean your house and look after your cats while you're away. There are also nearly always pet-specific groups on the social media of choice (Facebook in Thailand/WeChat in China) who will be happy to advise.
    Also mention your pets at interview - not taking my cats was a deal-breaker for me each time so I made sure it was a question I asked.
    I have never struggled with finding accommodation with my cats - in Thailand I found my own through an agent and was very up front about the requirements for pets. In China, my accommodation was school-provided and they knew they had to find me pet-friendly accommodation. I have also not struggled with finding an English-speaking vet, but again it all comes down to recommendation.
    Basically, it is not easy and you have to decide whether your cats will be able to manage a long journey, but it is certainly do-able.
    Feel free to PM me should you have any other questions.
  11. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    One thing you might want to do before making any plans is get them checked by a vet to ensure they are fit to travel. We had a 14 year old cat when we left the UK who initially stayed with my parents, with the intention that we would get the passport etc done and then bring him out to us at Christmas. However, it quickly became obvious that he wasn't fit to travel - he started having kidney problems, common at that age for cats - and the vet wasn't certain about the effect any sedative he needed to fly would have on him. Long and short of it was that he had two and a half very happy years being spoilt as a surrogate grandchild at the end of his life. (Funny how pets affect us - that last sentence got me quite upset!)

    It's not impossible - I know of once colleague who had accumulated pets and still moved around between locations. I'd look at Europe, especially E Europe, but you should be OK with, say, Egypt or the UAE too. Far East might be a bit too far for them.
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    The advice we received from experts (and followed) was that pets should never be sedated before flying. On three occasions we travelled intercontinentally with two large dogs. (Their travel cost as much ours). KLM was a superb pet transportist.
  13. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    Youth in Asia
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I do not see what Asian young people have to do with it.

    As well as the Far East, how about Eastern Europe? The salaries are not so great, but many schools provide accommodation and the cost of living is lower.

    As regular readers of my blog will know, Mr and Mrs Hippopotamus are getting used to being woken up in the morning by Tina, our naughty Jack Russell puppy.
  15. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @Mainwaring sedation's not ideal, but I think what they do now is rather than putting them into a deep sleep they can make them a bit dozy (which, to be fair, would probably have been quite easy for my cat!) Certainly enough that they will sleep naturally for most of the flight rather than panic.

    Some airlines will let you take small animals (cats, small dogs, etc) into the main cabin if you pay for an extra seat and keep them in a box - I know of one cat transported from Egypt to China that way. You usually have to go business class though!
  16. le2012

    le2012 New commenter

    I second that. I was sure I would take my 16 year old cat, got the job, started getting the paperwork sorted and was told Defra vet would not allow the cat to travel. Fortunately, dear friend of mine who used to look after her when I was away adopted her and she is happy and spoilt. Our younger cat came with us and is loving the local roofs.

    Don't know about other countries but in the UK they don't allow cats to be sedated prior to the flight. Our kitty even though she is a rescue terrified of everything took the 11 hour flight relatively well.

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