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Our 12 cats unfazed by moving nightmare

We decided to retire early and moved to France three years ago. As well as the usual stresses of a once-and-for-all move, we brought 12 Ragdoll cats, some of whom were ‘retired’ show cats.

Because of the numbers involved, we needed a licence from Defra. Our vet had to complete various forms – which included the vehicle type and registration number of the courier company we were using. In addition, passports and rabies injections were required.

We settled on a firm called Animal Couriers Ltd who, because of the numbers involved, assured us the whole vehicle would be solely occupied by our ‘family’. We cannot praise this company enough.

It was agreed the courier would collect the cats the day before our UK sale completed, we would fly over the day after completion to complete the French house purchase and once our furniture had arrived, the cats would arrive at the end of what was supposed to be a four-day journey to their new home.

Despite our best laid plans, things went awry! The original van was stolen, meaning the company had to use a second at the last minute. The furniture arrival was delayed. The courier company was superb – although they had a return pick-up booked in Spain, they stopped en-route with friends at Narbonne and arrived at our new home with us on the Sunday morning, all at no additional cost.

Time fades the memory a little but our recollection is the courier company charged about £3,000 – in our opinion, well worth it.

Brian ASHWORTH, Pyrénées-Orientales

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