If its price then what you're saying seems the cheapest option.
If you need a bit of piece of mind then a company like Luggage Mule or Send My Bag may be the way to go. At least that way it can be tracked and if anything happens, someone is responsible. This comes at a price but nowhere near the price quoted by delivery companies. For 20kg you may be looking at 700元 perhaps.
Yes, you can't get from North to South Korea, but unless you're going to live in Korea then there's no use bringing your cat there as a quick fix to flying it to Britain as the stipulations would still be the same.
If you wanted to take your cat out via HK then this can be done by companies who will do what's needed in transit ie. The cat flies to HK, then gets everything done there, then flies out a day or two later. Unfortunately I don't hear good things from people whove done it this way.
If you're going from China to Hong Kong to live then you'll have to put your cat in quarantine for 3 months when you enter HK.
It is true that animals going to Korea don't need to pass quarantine, if you take them over the border from Dandong on the train. Only two companies fly to Korea and none will take animals as freight or hand luggage. That was what I was told this summer when I enquired.
That doesn't help you getting a cat to the UK though.
First you'll have to go to a reputable vet and make sure all your vaccinations are up to date and logged in a health book. There is one vet on YiErYi Road and another on WenLin Street that have vaccinations from Russia/Holland/Belarus that meet the requirements set by the European Union.
This is important as later on in the process you must conduct an antibody test, and these vaccinations will come in useful.
Next you must buy a microchip. Although cats don't have microchips in Britain, its a requirement to leave China to check the medical records.
If you're leaving through China you will need an ISO standard microchip but if you're leaving via HK you will need another kind of chip. Either way these chips are quite hard to find and you may need to order one in from abroad.
Next you will need to take your cat to get the microchip fitted. Most vets will do this for 50RMB. Once this is fitted you should record the number in the heath book (15 numbers) and have the vet record the date fitted along with their stamp or signature.
After the microchip you must get a rabies vaccine. Again, Chinese vaccines aren't recognised in Europe so you'll have to find a Russian one from somewhere. Most vets offer Chinese or Russian versions. Again, the vet must log this in the health book along with the date the vaccination was given.
Its very important the microchip and rabies are logged correctly in the log book as the rabies vaccine must only be given after the microchip has been fitted.
30 days after the rabies has been given you must submit a blood test to a clinic in Jilin province. Vets will take the sample in Kunming but you will have to send it independently to Jilin for testing. Apparenly, when sending this only SP delivery company can carry blood samples.
The blood test measures antibodies and makes sure your cat doesn't have rabies or other contagious deseases that have been vaccinated against.
If your cat passes this you are to keep the report. So long as you keep your cat up to date with its rabies vaccination the report will remain valid.
Next you'll need to book your ticket to the UK. Only some companies will fly with pets so you may be limited in who you fly with.
Once you have your tickets, you must visit a government department in Kunming who will fill out your pets departure papers, you'll need to bring your pet, any documents you've made, and your health booklet.
After this you can pick up your documentation and go to the airport.
Once you reach Britain quarantine isn't needed but you'll be told you have to pay to get your pet back. I have seen 100 to 300 pound being reported online with others saying they paid nothing. I haven't got as far as researching this step fully so I can't offer more information on what this is exactly.
Let me know if this helps as a starter. If it seems a bit too much you can get help from agencies that will do the legwork for you, but generally it is MUCH cheaper in doing it yourself.
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