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International Travel with Your Cat

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Traveling with your pet can be complicated. However, if you are considering taking your cat with you on an international vacation, be prepared for even more complications.

Each country has its own rules and guidelines for admitting pets. Most of these regulations are based on health issues, with rabies being one of the most important. The countries that are considered rabies-free tend to be the strictest on allowing pets.

If you are interested in taking your pet abroad, make plans well in advance. Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (www.aphis.usda.gov) for current guidelines on bringing your pet into a specific country. You may also want to contact the Ministry of Agriculture in the destination country. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and forms before entering the country. Arriving without all the necessary items will result in your pet not being allowed into the country. As you can imagine, this would ruin your vacation.

Below are listed the current guidelines for 10 common vacation destinations. The purpose of this list is to provide some guidance and is not meant to replace contact with the Ministry of Agriculture and USDA. The more information you can get, the better prepared you will be and the better your chances of your pet being allowed into the country. In addition to these guidelines, there are also airline requirements to consider. For information on airline requirements, please click on Airline Travel with Your Cat.

Australia

Australia is a rabies free country and one of the strictest regarding allowing pets into their country.

  • Cats over 6 weeks pregnant, nursing young or under 6 months of age are not allowed.

    Requirements:
  • Every pet must have an import permit.
  • Your pet must have a veterinary certificate signed by a USDA/APHIS veterinarian.
  • The pet must have a microchip. The chip must have been implanted either at the time of rabies vaccination or before.
  • Before entering Australia, the pet must have continuously resided in the same country for at least 6 months.
  • Rabies vaccination is required not less than 90 days and not more than 12 months prior to travel.
  • A blood test to determine rabies immunity is required to be completed not less than 60 days and not more than 12 months before travel.
  • Cats must be vaccinated against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia at least 14 days and not more than 12 months prior to travel.
  • Within 14 days of travel, the pet must be treated with a dewormer effective against nematodes and cestodes.
  • Cats need to be treated for ticks and fleas within 96 hours of travel.
  • Within 48 hours prior to travel, the pet must be examined by a veterinarian and determined to be free of signs of infectious or contagious diseases and external parasites.

    Quarantine:
  • Every animal must be quarantined and the required quarantine days depend on when the rabies test was performed but no cat is quarantined less than 30 days or over 90 days.
  • The following breeds aren't eligible for importation to Australia including the bengal cat or wolf crosses.
  • For more information go to: http://www.austemb.org/visiting.html

    United Kingdom

    Dogs and cats that meet the requirements of the UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) can travel to the UK from the mainland USA without having to undergo six months quarantine. From October 1, 2004 ferrets will also be able to travel if they meet the same requirements.

    Requirements:
  • Valid health certificate.
  • Must have proof of rabies vaccination.
  • Pets must have a microchip.
  • Pets must be have a blood test to determine rabies immunity not less than 6 months before transport to England.
  • Pets must be treated for ticks and tapeworms 24 to 48 hours before leaving the US.

    Quarantine:

  • Pets entering Great Britain from the continental United States, Canada or Hawaii, may enter Great Britain without quarantine if they enroll in the UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). All other pets which do not met the UK Pet Travel Scheme rules will be confined to a 6 month quarantine.
  • For more information go to: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine/pets/Procedures/owners.htm

    Japan

    Requirements:
  • A microchip must have been implanted on the pet for identification
  • Before entering Japan, the pet must have continuously resided in the same country for at least 180 days
  • Valid health certificate within 30 days.
  • Must have proof of rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to arrival.
  • A blood test to determine rabies immunity
  • Both certificates have to be endorsed by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's (USDA) APHIS office
  • Notify the Animal Quarantine Office located at the airport of your pet's scheduled arrival into Japan at least 40 days prior to arrival. For information on Animal Quarantine offices in Japan go to: http://www.cgj.org/en/e/02b.html

    Quarantine:
  • Cats entering Japan are quarantined for 12 hours to 180 days based on when they were vaccinated against rabies and country of importation.

  • For more information go to: http://www.maff-aqs.go.jp/english/ryoko/ba.htm

    Mexico

    Requirements:
  • Valid health certificate.
  • Must have proof of rabies vaccination.
  • Cats must be vaccinated against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia.

    Quarantine:
  • Pets entering Mexico are not quarantined.


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