Bibi and Odin are reunited in Switzerland, and Ruben, Hugo, Red and Jim arrive in France

After reuniting cats Fleur and Mittens with their owners, Mike and Debbie, in Normandy, we drove into Switzerland to deliver Bibi and Odin to Alan and his family. It was hard to say who was more excited at the reunion — humans or dogs!

Then it was back into France to drop handsome trio Ruben, Hugo and Red at Le Jardin des Chats, a super cattery in the Montpellier area, where they’ll have a short stay until their owner Susan catches up with them. And we left Gentleman Jim with mutual friends, for collection by his owner Faith.

The next day, with Mr Pickles, Douglas, Twiglet and Murphy still on board, we motored on to Italy, staying the night in Florence before heading to the port to catch the overnight ferry to Greece.

Bibi and Odin were so excited at being back with Alan and his wife that they quite forgot all their good manners for a few moments!

Bibi and Odin were so excited at being back with Alan and his wife that they quite forgot all their good manners for a few moments!

But it really didn't take long for all that training to kick back in

But it really didn’t take long for all that training to kick back in

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Proof that in Switzerland Easter eggs actually grow on trees

Easter bunnies collect the eggs and deliver them to all the boys and girls (and grown-ups!) who've been good so far this year

Easter bunnies collect the eggs and deliver them to all the boys and girls (and grown-ups!) who’ve been good so far this year

Mr Pickles (top) and Douglas are just about the nosiest pair of cats who've ever travelled with us!

Mr Pickles (top) and Douglas are just about the nosiest pair of cats who’ve ever travelled with us!

Meet our passengers from the UK: Odin, Bibi, Murphy, Twiglet, Mr Pickles, Douglas, Jim, Hugo, Ruben, Red, Fleur and Mittens

Animalcouriers set off from the UK with a fine group of feline and canine passengers on board.

Odin and Bibi are travelling with us to Switzerland, to join Alan and his family. Although they’ll primarily be the family’s pets, they’ve also been trained by Len from K9 Protector to protect and look after all the family members. Len says he’s really enjoyed training these two — we must say, they are a very soft and friendly pair of dogs.

Family of four Mr Pickles, Douglas, Murphy and Twiglet are relocating with Sharon to Greece. Their journey started in Devon, and their new home is in the hills just south of Stoupa, with wonderful sea views to enjoy.

Tuxedo cat Jim joined us for one of his regular trips from London to the south of France. Now 15 years old, he sadly recently lost his twin brother Jules, and is travelling alone for the first time. We’re pleased to say he’s very relaxed and taking everything in his stride.

Three more familiar faces are also on board: Hugo, Ruben and Red. This trio of cats travelled with us from the Languedoc to York last year. But their owner, Susan, missed the warmth of the south of France, so the family are now on their way back, and will be managing a campsite at Saint Mandrier sur Mer.

Mum and daughter Fleur and Mittens are on their way to Normandy, to be reunited with Mike and Debbie. The two cats homeboarded with us while Mike and Debbie went on ahead to get everything ready for their arrival.

Trainer Len admitted to an especially soft spot for Bibi and said he'll really miss her

Trainer Len admitted to an especially soft spot for Bibi and said he’ll really miss her

Handsome Odin is a little younger than Bibi. Len says that he very much followed Bibi's lead during training.

Handsome Odin is a little younger than Bibi. Len says that he very much followed Bibi’s lead during training.

Twiglet (L) and Murphy (R) soon get settled in

Twiglet (L) and Murphy (R) soon get settled in

Mr Pickles has a head for heights — here he is sitting on top of the box in the compartment he's sharing with Douglas

Mr Pickles has a head for heights — here he is sitting on top of the box in the compartment he’s sharing with Douglas

Dear Douglas has no tail and not many teeth — so obviously his favourite activities are jumping around and eating!

Dear Douglas has no tail and not many teeth — so obviously his favourite activities are jumping around and eating!

Douglas gets a tickle…

Douglas gets a tickle…

…and Mr Pickles wants in on the action, too!

…and Mr Pickles wants in on the action, too!

Gentleman Jim (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr Pickles) in pensive mood

Gentleman Jim (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr Pickles) in pensive mood

Creamy ginger brothers Ruben (L) and Hugo (R)

Creamy ginger brothers Ruben (L) and Hugo (R)

Tired of posing, Ruben and Hugo gently nod off

Tired of posing, Ruben and Hugo gently nod off

Fluffy Red is a more nervous character than either of his brothers, but is starting to relax

Fluffy Red is a more nervous character than either of his brothers, but is starting to relax

Fleur, perhaps showing how she got her name?

Fleur, perhaps showing how she got her name?

Mittens on arrival at their new home in Normandy, taking a close look at the front door

Mittens on arrival at their new home in Normandy, taking a close look at the front door

Now it's Fleur's turn to examine the front door. You can see both cats thinking: we came in this door, so logically… Both did a lot of scurrying and sniffing — a cat's flight instinct drives it to try and run away, perhaps back to where it came from? But as is the case with many of our cat passengers, within an hour or so, they were well settled in thanks to familiar smells and the sound of their owners' voices. Debbie and Mike will keep them in for about three weeks to give them a chance to adapt properly to their new environment.

Now it’s Fleur’s turn to examine the front door. You can see both cats thinking: we came in this door, so logically… Both did a lot of scurrying and sniffing — a cat’s flight instinct drives it to try and run away, perhaps back to where it came from? But as is the case with many of our cat passengers, within an hour or so, they were well settled in thanks to familiar smells and the sound of their owners’ voices. Debbie and Mike will keep them in for about three weeks to give them a chance to adapt properly to their new environment.

Why do cats love boxes? It may well be because small spaces make them feel more secure

Occasionally clients comment that cats who travel with Animalcouriers don’t seem to have very much room in their compartments. But cats are big fans of small spaces, as they help them feel more secure, especially in unfamiliar or stressful situations.

Think back to when you adopted your cat — to help your cat settle in you were probably advised to confine him or her to one room in your home initially, then gradually introduce everywhere else. Does your cat jump into an empty box whenever you leave one lying around? Or try to fit into seemingly impossible tiny spaces for a snooze?

Scientific research shows that enclosed spaces, like boxes, help cats feel secure and cope better when they’re stressed. Boxes also offer cats a safe place to sleep without being disturbed and may also help them to keep warm.

So when a cat is being transported, giving them a relatively small space and somewhere to hide, such as their own carry box or a tunnel bed, is actually very good for their welfare.

This article tells you more about the research.

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Portuguese reunions for Faith, Borat, Ruas and Yuna; and Fluffy, Alfie and Mia Bluebell join our trip

The first stop for Animalcouriers on reaching Portugal was to collect Fluffy the cat, who’s leaving Porto to join her owner Bruna in London. Fluffy has been in the tender care of her owner’s mama since Bruna left. Having already said goodbye to her youngest child and only daughter, mama was naturally very sad to be saying goodbye to Fluffy, too.

Then it was on to Aveiro to meet Sara at the Policlinica Veterinaria da Aveiro. Sara’s been looking after Alfie, who came to the clinic as a stray puppy. Luisa in England has been following his progress and decided to adopt him. Alfie’s been waiting a while to travel, as the clinic had to go through the lengthy process of organising a TRACES certificate for Alfie, Now, with everything in order, this handsome fellow is on his way to a very excited Luisa.

We then motored on to Entroncamento to collect pretty little Mia Bluebell. She’s off to join her owner Vera, who’s moved to London for work. Vera’s mum and grandmama were on hand to give Mia Bluebell a proper send-off.

At Lisbon airport we found a very excited Jorge, who was delighted to be reunited with his lovely dog Faith. And finally, mini Dachshund Borat, along with cats Ruas and Yuna, were reunited with Ines and Lina.

Bruna's brother Vitor was on hand to oversee Fluffy's departure

Bruna’s brother Vitor was on hand to oversee Fluffy’s departure

Fluffy was somewhat fed up at being roused from her afternoon nap!

Fluffy was somewhat fed up at being roused from her afternoon nap!

Very sad mama waving goodbye to Fluffy, who's so beautiful we can see why she'll be missed

Very sad mama waving goodbye to Fluffy, who’s so beautiful we can see why she’ll be missed

Alfie with Sara, who's been looking after him

Alfie with Sara, who’s been looking after him

Mia Bluebell with Vera's mum and grandma

Mia Bluebell with Vera’s mum and grandma

A very lively reunion for Jorge and Faith

A very lively reunion for Jorge and Faith

Smiles all round for Borat and Lina. Sorry Borat, you won't win the longest tongue competition with that effort!

Smiles all round for Borat and Lina. Sorry Borat, you won’t win the longest tongue competition with that effort!

Ruas and Yuna with Ines and Lina

Ruas and Yuna with Ines and Lina

Jake, Bob, Minnie and Polly swap snowy Doncaster for sunny Australia

When Debra and family decided to head home to Australia, they were definitely not leaving their two dogs and two cats behind in the UK. These much loved pets are somewhat senior travellers — the cats, Polly and Minnie, are 15 and 14 years old respectively; and Bob the dog is also 14. Jake the terrier is quite the baby of the bunch at just seven years old.

Animalcouriers arranged their flights and the pets spent 10 days in quarantine at Eastern Creek, Sydney. From there they flew via Adelaide to Port Lincoln in South Australia, where the family has relocated.

Debra sent some photos of the pets at home and told us:

“All four animals arrived safe and well. They are all settling in to their new home. I cried when I saw them! Thank you so much for all your great planning and organising. You did a wonderful job and I will definitely recommend you. It is amazing to think they travelled from the other side of the world.”

Jake already has his paws under the table

Jake already has his paws under the table

Which dot shall I pounce on?

Which dot shall I pounce on?

Bob and feline chum getting the lay of the land

Bob and feline chum getting the lay of the land

Debra battled through snow as she went back and forth to the vet in the UK to sort out the final paperwork and parasite treatments. Two weeks later it was wall-to-wall sunshine for everyone, with a wonderful sea view across Spencer Gulf

Debra battled through snow as she went back and forth to the vet in the UK to sort out the final paperwork and parasite treatments. Two weeks later it was wall-to-wall sunshine for everyone, with a wonderful sea view across Spencer Gulf

Lovely Lolli reaches her new home in the UK with Sam

Sam adopted Lolli, a young puppy living at a shelter in the northern Spanish town of Tossa de Mar. Sam heard about Lolli from Kate, whose daughter Debbie lives in Tossa de Mar. Kate and Debbie work hard to help dogs from the shelter get adopted. They focus their efforts on one dog at a time, with Kate raising money near her home in the UK to pay for the dog’s passport, vaccinations and health check.

Animalcouriers were due to collect Lolli on a recent road trip that took in Spain, but it didn’t work out as some of her paperwork wasn’t ready. Sam was worried about Lolli missing out on some of the important socialisation that puppies need when they’re growing up, so pulled out all the stops to speed her journey. She even sent her son to accompany Lolli so that the shelter wouldn’t face the hurdle of getting a TRACES certificate.

Animalcouriers organised a flight for Lolli from Barcelona to the UK. Our colleagues at Traveldog collected Lolli from the shelter and homeboarded for a few nights, before driving her to the airport for her flight to the UK.

Pilar from Traveldog told us:

“Lolli is so nice! At the beginning very nervous and scared, now she is calm and very comfortable in her bedroom for these nights, already sleeping! Warm, fresh water, fresh air, nice meal and soft carpet. She really looks like she has always been here.”

Lolli arrived safely in the UK and was soon settled in at Sam’s home. Sam sent some photos and wrote to say:

“Thank you to all of you that have helped Lolli come home. It means a lot.”

Lolli homeboarding with Traveldog in Barcelona

Lolli homeboarding with Traveldog in Barcelona

Lolli snoozing after a yummy supper

Lolli snoozing after a yummy supper

Lolli soon settles in at Sam's

Lolli soon settles in at Sam’s

Such a smart and comfy bed!

Lolli looks like she knows where home is

Lolli looks like she knows where home is

Limpet joins us in Nice; Snoopy, Billy and Charlie get on board in Toulouse

As Animalcouriers headed through Italy from Ancona towards Genoa, we found ourselves passing lots of heavy snow deposits. Concerned at the amount of snow around, we decided to keep going until we’d got past it all to avoid any holdups. So it was into the wee small hours when we reached the southern French city of Nice, and found our hotel next to the airport. The hotel kindly ‘impounded’ our van in their secure staff car park while we and our passengers got some well deserved rest.

We woke to a cool but beautiful morning and, once walks and breakfasts were done, we went to meet Graham in Nice. His fantastically named cat Limpet has joined us for his journey to Elgin in Scotland, where Graham’s brother is looking forward to welcoming him.

From Nice we continued west to the Narbonne area where we spent the night with friends. This morning saw us in Toulouse where we collected handsome Dalmation Snoopy and his feline companions Billy and Charlie. These three firm friends are relocating to Bristol, where their owners’ work with Airbus has taken them.

Snowy scenes in Italy persuaded us to keep motoring

Snowy scenes in Italy persuaded us to keep motoring

View over Nice airport yesterday morning

View over Nice airport yesterday morning

Graham brings us Limpet

Graham brings us Limpet

Limpet having a good look around

Limpet having a good look around

Poppi and Philomena are taking travelling in their stride

Poppi and Philomena are taking travelling in their stride

Narla is such an affectionate, fubsy cat — a female ginger which is quite a rarity

Narla is such an affectionate, fubsy cat — a female ginger which is quite a rarity

We stopped at the Eco'park in Mougins where we spent a very pleasant time walking the dogs. Robbie seemed particularly taken with the congenial surroundings.

We stopped at the Eco’park in Mougins where we spent a very pleasant time walking the dogs. Robbie seemed particularly taken with the congenial surroundings.

Silva is a soft, bouncy and cuddly girl

Silva is a soft, bouncy and cuddly girl

Daisy loves to feel the grass between her toes

Daisy loves to feel the grass between her toes

Pretty Minou is a very dainty girl

Pretty Minou is a very dainty girl

Now that Louis has had a chance to get used to us, he's keen to show us how much he likes playing

Now that Louis has had a chance to get used to us, he’s keen to show us how much he likes playing

Peabody, know by his family as 'Boy', is another very playful character. In his case, it's mainly footie with his water bowl. We can hear banging and thumping as he scores heroic goals!

Peabody, know by his family as ‘Boy’, is another very playful character. In his case, it’s mainly footie with his water bowl. We can hear banging and thumping as he scores heroic goals!

Lady having the sort of bad hair day that Cockers sometimes do

Lady having the sort of bad hair day that Cockers sometimes do

Lady was a little nervous out walking on the first day, but now it's all 'come on, Fidel, I'll show you the way!'

Lady was a little nervous out walking on the first day, but now it’s all ‘come on, Fidel, I’ll show you the way!’

And Fidel is happy to oblige

And Fidel is happy to oblige

Billie checking us out on our arrival in Toulouse

Billie checking us out on our arrival in Toulouse

Snoopy with Nic, who handed him and the cats to us on behalf of Alison

Snoopy with Nic, who handed him and the cats to us on behalf of Alison

Snoopy shows us his best camera pose

Snoopy shows us his best camera pose

Charlie is a very chilled-out girl who settled in like a pro

Charlie is a very chilled-out girl who settled in like a pro

Daisy, Bella, Porscha, Le Roi, Mr Jinks, Tallulah and Ellie Mae swap Ireland for France

This family of three dogs and four Maine Coon cats, nicknamed the ‘fabulous furries’ by courier S, arrived at their new French home in Brittany yesterday.

Their journey started in Mooncoin, in Ireland, where Animalcouriers collected them 10 days ago. They stopped over at Burntwood Kennels in Surrey, before undertaking the second leg of their trip to France.

Their owners took the 24-hour ferry from Dublin to France in very rough seas, poor things. Meanwhile, their pets took the shorter (and calmer) crossing from Dover to Calais and travelled on to Brittany by road.

Daisy, a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, snored her way through the journey, completely at ease on her big adventure

Daisy, a beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, snored her way through the journey, completely at ease on her big adventure

In maternal mode, lovely Newfoundland Bella made sure the rest of the family were all settled and happy before allowing herself to completely relax

In maternal mode, lovely Newfoundland Bella made sure the rest of the family were all settled and happy before allowing herself to completely relax

Le Roi and Mr Jinks giving courier S a rather dark brown look!

Le Roi and Mr Jinks giving courier S a rather dark brown look!

All four cats are breathtakingly beautiful

All four cats are breathtakingly beautiful

Even the customs officers at the border were struck by their exceptional looks

Even the customs officers at the border were struck by their exceptional looks

Reunion in France for two big girls and their dad

Reunion in France for two big girls and their dad

The Newfoundland is a magnificent breed — here's Porscha who, like Bella, weighs in at over 80 kilos. Porscha is both a live wire and gentle and obedient as a lamb — and clearly delighted to be reunited with her dad

The Newfoundland is a magnificent breed — here’s Porscha who, like Bella, weighs in at over 80 kilos. Porscha is both a live wire and gentle and obedient as a lamb — and clearly delighted to be reunited with her dad

Lucy and Lulu relocate to France; Jack and Ruby are on their way to Portugal

Animalcouriers have set off on their latest trip from the UK to southern Europe. Our first stop was to deliver delightful feline duo Lucy and Lulu to their family in the Gers region of France. Captivated by the beauty of this area, Vanessa, her husband and their daughter have come here from Surrey and have rented a house for 12 months, before deciding on a definitive move. And now that Lucy and Lulu have arrived, the family is complete.

We stayed last night at Hotel du Prince at Marmande in the Gers, where resident fluffy dog Indy looks after the guests. While courier J walked our Collie passengers, Jack and Ruby, courier M indulged in a game of fetch with Indy.

Jack and Ruby are mother and son, and are travelling with us to join their owner, Brenda, in Faro, Portugal. They’re a very laid-back pair who’ve taken to the road like ducks to water.

Gorgeous Lulu

Gorgeous Lulu

Beautiful Lucy

Beautiful Lucy

Jack (L) and his mum Ruby. They weren't quite sure what to make of Indy prancing about!

Jack (L) and his mum Ruby. They weren’t quite sure what to make of Indy prancing about!

Indy resting after an energetic game of fetch

Indy resting after an energetic game of fetch

The very enjoyable Hotel du Prince

The very enjoyable Hotel du Prince

Felipe and Louis reach Spain; where Rita, Bob, Winnie, Gypsy and Mellie join our trip

Lovely puppy Felipe travelled with Animalcouriers to the Madrid area to share Christmas with Sergio, Barbara and all the family. We quite understand why they didn’t want to be apart from him — he’s gorgeous!

Louis, another young pup travelled with us to rejoin Morris, who’s relocated from Scotland to the Nerja area. Louis is a big fellow, still learning about his weight and strength as he pulled courier M along on his walks.

In Conil we called in to collect Staffie Rita and her pal Bob, a 14-year-old Labrador cross. After popping leads on them we spent a bit of time chatting with their owner and checking the dogs’ passports. Next thing we knew, the two dogs were back, big smiles on their faces and the leads in pieces all over the floor!

In Marbella we stopped off to collect Sally’s cats, Gypsy and Mellie, who are both 16 years old. After many happy years here, Sally and her cats are off to live in Fulham, in London. Although the girls have never travelled or left Marbella before, they’re taking the journey in their stride and love watching all the comings and goings as we walk the dogs.

Lovely young Felipe, heading to Madrid

Lovely young Felipe, heading to Madrid

Pedro, Sergio's dad met us to take delivery of Felipe. Even though they'd never met before, we could see it was the start of a beautiful friendship!

Pedro, Sergio’s dad met us to take delivery of Felipe. Even though they’d never met before, we could see it was the start of a beautiful friendship!

Handsome (and hairy) young Louis

Handsome (and hairy) young Louis

Reunion in Nerja for Louis with Morris, who'd missed Louis and was interested to hear how he'd travelled

Reunion in Nerja for Louis with Morris, who’d missed Louis and was interested to hear how he’d travelled

Louis tries out for 'longest tongue' as he sits in Morris's car, ready for the last leg of his journey

Louis tries out for ‘longest tongue’ as he sits in Morris’s car, ready for the last leg of his journey

Rita and Bob made short work of their leads

Rita and Bob made short work of their leads

Wearing new leads, here are Rita (L) and Bob (R) with Miguel. He originally adopted the dogs in Northern Ireland and is now on his way back there, to Ballycastle.

Wearing new leads, here are Rita (L) and Bob (R) with Miguel. He originally adopted the dogs in Northern Ireland and is now on his way back there, to Ballycastle.

Sally bids Gypsy and Mellie goodbye

Sally bids Gypsy and Mellie goodbye

Here's Gypsy. Both she and her companion…

Here’s Gypsy. Both she and her companion…

…Mellie are in fine and sprightly fettle for their age

…Mellie are in fine and sprightly fettle for their age

Spain produces only a very limited number of cheeses — around seven at the last count. Many come from Extramadura, which is where we happened upon this cheese vending machine at a roadside bar. Looks like a comprehensive selection!

Spain produces only a very limited number of cheeses — around seven at the last count. Many come from Extramadura, which is where we happened upon this cheese vending machine at a roadside bar. Looks like a comprehensive selection!

We caught up with Margaret and John and their Chocolate Lab Oscar who travelled with us as a pup from his breeder in France

We caught up with Margaret and John and their Chocolate Lab Oscar who travelled with us as a pup from his breeder in France

Fluffy young bundle of ChowChow, Winnie

Fluffy young bundle of ChowChow, Winnie

Winnie needed to have his internal parasite treatment (a pet passport requirement) so we had the pleasure of walking through Nerja with him to the vet's. Everyone we met was captivated by his good looks.

Winnie needed to have his internal parasite treatment (a pet passport requirement) so we had the pleasure of walking through Nerja with him to the vet’s. Everyone we met was captivated by his good looks.

Oscar joined us to show us the way — he's very popular with local restaurateurs who offered him bowls of fresh water along the way

Oscar joined us to show us the way — he’s very popular with local restaurateurs who offered him bowls of fresh water along the way