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Preparations You Must Make Before Taking Your Cat Abroad

Even traveling within the country with your cat is pretty complicated. But if you add in the details you need to take care of when traveling abroad, the whole idea can seem pretty daunting. Here are some things you need to do before traveling internationally with your cat.

This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list, so check with all necessary authorities before undertaking your journey. This guide covers traveling from the United States to other countries; if you're traveling from Europe, Asia, or elsewhere, check with your country's authorities and those of your destination.

Make sure to:

  • Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service 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.

  • Buy your airline tickets and make sure you have paid for your cat's travel too. Few airlines allow pets in the cabin for international travel, so you'll probably have to let your cat travel in a temperature-controlled portion of the baggage hold.

  • All animals must have a microchip or tattoo for identification. If you have your cat chipped, make sure the chip is ISO standard (your vet will know what that means) so it can be read by scanners in your destination country.

  • Your cat must be vaccinated against rabies. This must be done after your cat is chipped or tattooed. Some countries require other vaccinations as well.

  • You'll need to have your vet do a titer (blood test) to make sure the rabies vaccine has worked. This needs to be done 4 months or more after the rabies shot.

  • Have a USDA approved vet fill out the Veterinary Certificate E9.45 and then you send it to the USDA for endorsement. Your private vet will likely qualify as a "USDA approved vet," but call the USDA to check.

  • When traveling with your cat, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork with you in order to avoid possibly having your cat quarantined.

  • If you're going to Europe and you think you're going to go back or spend time traveling there, go to an EU-approved vet and get a Pet Passport. That way you won't have to go through this same process every time you take your cat with you.

For detailed information about travel requirements for individual countries, visit PetFriendlyTravel.

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