One of the many bonuses of life in the Foreign Service is that they pay to ship your household effects and one vehicle from post to post for you. And they also allow you to bring your pets…but they don’t pay for the pets. That’s more of a lifestyle choice than something they consider a need.

Before home leave, training and moving to London, we took out an extra credit card, and I’m really glad that we did as there were quite a few incidental costs involved in moving our cat and our car around the world that we get to pay for on our own. Here’s an idea, in case you’re contemplating the same thing.

For the car on arrival in the UK:

  • $50 Ministry of Transportation safety certificate (required for registration).
  • $1,100 Charges for what they’ve done to your vehicle to make it comply with UK safety regulations, ie. drill hole in bumper for rear fog light. Change all yellow lights to white. Replace one set of tires and wipers.
  • $50/week The price of storing your car at the mechanics until your registration comes through and you’re legal to park on the side of the road because you have no parking at your apartment.

What we’ve paid for the cat in the last four months:

  • $125 Cat on flight from Belize to Florida for home leave.
  • $125 Cat on flight from Florida to DC for training.
  • $300 Non-refundable flat deposit at corporate housing at Oakwood in DC, no matter how long you’re staying…could be a week, could be 6 months.
  • $200 Miscellaneous vet visits in Belize and the US for health certificates and the USDA export stamp.
  • $650 Cat in cargo on flight from DC to London (no in-cabin or baggage options are available for the UK).
  • $550 Customs charge in London for processing your pet.
  • $150 Delivery charge for your pet from airport customs to your front door. Or you can wait 3-4 hours at the airport while they process her.

The feeling of throwing your cat out of the bedroom door and shutting it so you can finally go back to sleep at 3am without her eating your hair…