Kath is moving to Helsinki and her six gorgeous cats will be joining her.

Kath has asked Animalcouriers to transport them for her. Because Kath can’t travel with them herself, and because it’s a group of more than five animals belonging to one owner travelling from one EU country to another, we’ve had to apply for a special ‘Intra-trade Certificate for Non-commercial Movement of more than 5 pets’.

Kath also has to have permission from Finland to import more than five pets. So we have made an application for another certificate on her behalf.

In addition, Defra will note the departure of Kath’s cats from the UK in a web-based system called TRACES that’s used to record the movement of animals around designated EU countries and a handful of other non-EU countries. As we cross borders with Kath’s ‘super six’ and show our paperwork, the border officials will record our passing through.

So why do we and Kath need this special paperwork? Because of the worrying amount of unowned dogs, cats, puppies and kittens being moved around Europe for commercial reasons. Many of the younger animals, puppies especially, are taken from their mothers well before they’re ready to travel, and are shipped for resale to the pet shop industry. So the EU has recognised this problem and put in place various safeguards to deter this kind of activity.

It goes without saying that Kath loves her super six to bits and wouldn’t be parted from them for anything. She clearly knows her cats very well, judging from the way she worked out who should share with whom during their cattery stay on the run-up to their departure:

As long as we put Mabel and Maddie in with Toby, and Moon and Coco in with Henry please. Moon LOVES Henry, so he’ll be a source of comfort for him, and Henry is very tolerant and will be able to deal with the precocious Coco, so they’re all a good match. Toby can be a bit of grump, and Mabel and Maddie will listen to his ‘go away’ signals, whereas Coco wouldn’t!

There will be more on Kath’s super six as they get closer to starting their trip to Helsinki.

Maddie and Coco

Moon and Henry

Mabel and Maddie

Toby