Cats That TravelPet Passports & Documents

Importing Cats to Canada [2020 Requirements, Processes & Cost]

Importing cats to Canada is pretty straight forward. Canada is known for being a great place to visit, live and work. In fact, Canada is ranked as the second-best country in the world for overall quality of life, cultural influence, sustainability, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, and economic influence. Whether you are planning on visiting Canada or have decided to relocate there, you don’t have to leave your cat behind! 

Requirements for importing a cat to Canada can be any of the following, depending on your cat’s age and where you are traveling from:

  1. Rabies vaccination
  2. Health certificate
  3. Microchip / tattoo identification

In this article, we will discuss in detail the specific requirements for importing a cat to Canada.

For information on taking other pet species, such as ferrets, rabbits, rodents and birds, check How to Get a Canadian Pet Passport [2020 GUIDE]. For detailed information on dogs check Taking Dogs to Canada [PET PASSPORT 2020 GUIDE].

What is a Canadian Pet Passport?

Canada does not have an official ‘Pet Passport’, however it is a term used to describe the documents that are required to take a cat to Canada. Customs officials will need to see these documents in order to clear your pet in customs. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your cat is fit and healthy to travel. To get your cat a Canadian Pet Passport, you will just require a valid rabies vaccination certificate and potentially a health certificate. With a Canadian Pet Passport, in most circumstances, your cat will not have to face a lengthly quarantine period. 


What are the requirements for importing cats to Canada?

Depending on your cat’s age and where you are traveling from, the requirements to import a cat to Canada (Canadian Pet Passport) can be any of the following:

  1. Rabies vaccination
  2. Health certificate
  3. Microchip / tattoo identification

Cats do not require import permits or additional vaccines to enter Canada.

RABIES VACCINATION

Cats require rabies vaccinations when traveling to most countries, including Canada.

TRAVELING TO CANADA FROM A RABIES-FREE COUNTRY

Canada considers the following countries as being rabies-free:

Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Finland, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (Netherlands Antilles), Saint Pierre et Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland), and Uruguay.

All cats over 8 months old will need proof of a current rabies vaccination. Canada recognises both 1-year rabies vaccinations, and 3-year vaccinations.

EU Pet Passports are accepted. On the other hand, Canada will accept a health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian as long as it is in English or French.

To enter Canada, your cat’s rabies certificate must show the following:

  1. Your cat’s identity;
  2. Governmental authority stating that rabies has not existed in the originating country for 6 months immediately preceding the shipment of your cat; and
  3. That your cat has been in that country since birth or for the 6 month period.

A licensed veterinarian in your home country can issue your cat’s rabies certificate as long as it is endorsed by a governmental authority responsible for the import and export of cats. For example, in the US, your rabies certificate must be endorsed by the USDA.

Cats imported into Canada will have a documentary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure the animal’s rabies vaccination is current and the animal description matches.


TRAVELING TO CANADA FROM ALL OTHER COUNTRIES

As well as a valid rabies vaccination certificate, in either English or French, your cat may also require a health certificate. Some airlines may request a veterinary certificate of health. Please see next section for information on health certificates.


HEALTH CERTIFICATE

If you do not have a EU Pet Passport for your cat, or if you are importing a cat to Canada from a country considered rabies free, you will need a health certificate. If traveling from a country that Canada does not consider to be rabies free, you may not require one.

Canada considers the following countries as being rabies-free:

Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Finland, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (Netherlands Antilles), Saint Pierre et Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland), and Uruguay.

Your cat’s health certificate must be completed by a licensed veterinarian, and must be in English or French. It should identify your cat, the dates of vaccinations, the manufacturer and the expiration date of the rabies vaccine.

Cats imported into Canada will have a documentary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA will also visually inspect the animal to ensure that there are no visible signs of illness.

If your country is listed below, you will require a health certificate. The health certificate must:

  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal has been in the exporting country since birth or for at least six (6) months immediately preceding shipment to Canada; and
  • be accompanied by documentation from a competent government authority, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the animal’s shipment to Canada.

MICROCHIPPING / TATTOO IDENTIFICATION

Pet cats do not require microchips to travel to Canada. However, when traveling with cats we always recommend that you have them microchipped.

A microchip is an electronic chip around the size of a rice grain, that is implanted in between your cat’s shoulder blades. Each microchip has an individual number attached to it that is detectable by a chip reader. 

You can get your cat microchipped at your local veterinarian center. Be sure to get a copy of your cat’s microchip or tattoo identification details.

We recommend that all cats are microchipped as the likelihood of being reunited if your cat was lost, is significantly increased with a microchip. Usually, the first thing officials will do is check a lost cat for a microchip.


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

How much does it cost to take cats to Canada?

VET FEES

Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different prices for veterinary treatments and vaccinations. If you want to save some money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics.

If your cat already has a recent rabies vaccination (i.e. within the past year), you will pay less to import your cat to Canada.

On average, a rabies vaccination in the US costs around $20.

DOCUMENT INSPECTION

Cats imported into Canada will have a documentary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure the animal’s rabies vaccination is current and the animal description matches. The CBSA will also visually inspect the animal to ensure that there are no visible signs of illness.

The fees for this inspection are:

  • $30.00 + tax for the first cat in the shipment; and
  • $5.00 + tax for each additional cat in the shipment.

If the shipment does not meet Canada’s import requirement for rabies certification, the animal will be ordered to undergo vaccination against rabies at the owner’s expense within two weeks of its arrival, and the following fees apply:

  • $55.00 + tax for the first cat in the shipment; and
  • $30.00 + tax for each additional cat.

All fees must be paid at the time of inspection.

Please note that domestic cats originating from the United States are subject to an import inspection but are exempt from inspection fees.

AIRLINE FEES

Of course, the cost varies depending on where you are flying from, which airline you use and the size/breed of your cat. Airlines calculate your pet’s air freight based on weight/size of the crate, so the bigger your cat, the more expensive the international ticket will be.


How long can I take my cat to Canada for?

You can take your cat for Canada for as long as your cat’s rabies vaccinations are valid. Most vet’s offer a 1 year rabies vaccination, and a 3-year vaccination. Luckily, Canada accepts the 3-year vaccination, convenient if you are planning on relocating to Canada or spending a while there.


Tips for taking cats to Canada

HEALTH CHECK

Before traveling, it is always a good idea to check the health of your cat to make sure it is fit to travel. A health certificate is not required to take a cat to Canada, however some airlines may require one. Additionally, it’s good for your own peace of mind to ensure your cat is healthy enough to travel.

PET CARRIERS

Cat carriers must be large enough for your cat to comfortably stand, lie down and turn around in its natural position. The cat carrier must be secure so your cat cannot escape or be injured. Additionally, the carrier must provide adequate ventilation.

Different airlines have different regulations when it comes to travel carriers. Check the specific requirements for your airline.

AIR TRAVEL

Most airlines have different requirements for traveling with cats. We recommend that you contact your chosen airline well in advance to let them know you will be bringing your cat. Often they have limits on the number of cats they allow on their aircrafts, and may have restrictions on taking pets on different aircrafts and flight paths. They will let you know if you need to do anything before arriving at the airport, whether it’s purchasing a special pet carrier or obtaining a health certificate from a veterinarian.

CAR TRAVEL

Contain your pet – cats that could distract the driver should be contained. Cats should not be allowed to roam freely in the back of pick-up trucks or be exposed in any way to flying debris.

Watch the weather – animals should never be kept in parked vehicles for long periods of time, especially in hot or cold weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise or fall to levels that could cause your cat to suffer or in bad cases, die. If you have no option but to leave your cat in a vehicle for a short period of time in hot weather, ensure it has fresh water. Additionally, leave windows open a little on either side of the vehicle to create a cross-breeze for ventilation.

Provide food, water and rest – ensure your cat has enough food and water. Furthermore, make regular stops to check up on your cat to ensure he or she is well.


What airlines allow flying a cat to Canada?

Most airlines allow flying a cat to Canada. However, depending on the airline you fly with, pet policies differ.

When flying with a cat, it’s important to check airline pet policies before booking any travel. Different airline’s have different rules for flying with cat, including which cat breeds are allowed, the size and weight of cat that are permitted, and the number of cat they allow. Fees also vary between airlines.

Most airlines will allow cats to fly in the cargo section of their planes, in a climate controlled, comfortable pet zone. Although some pet owners think this will be stressful for their cats, it can actually be a lot calmer than flying in a noisy cabin.

Some airlines will allow cats to fly in the cabin with their owners, but generally only small cats that weigh under 8kg are permitted. This is because cats must fly inside an airline-approved carrier that fits under the seat in front of their owners.

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With a Cat In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies].


Guidelines for Cat Carriers

If you are flying to Canada with a cat, it is important that you use a cat carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different pet carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your pet carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have set out some specific rules and regulations to ensure that cat are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, cat must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).

Furthermore, the rules for pet carriers will also vary depending on whether your cat will be flying in the cabin or cargo area of the plane.

If you are travelling in the cabin with your cat, then you will need to ensure that the carrier fits under the seat in front of you. This is why, generally, only small pets weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.

Additionally, airlines often require that your cat must behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t hiss or cause trouble with other passengers or staff. If your cat does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.

For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With a Cat In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies].

BUDGET

CAT CARRIER

PRICE

LOW AmazonBasics Pet Carrier Medium

CHECK HERE
MEDIUM PetsFit Pet Carrier With Expandable Side

CHECK HERE
HIGH Mr. Peanut’s Double Expandable, Soft-Sided Pet Carrier CHECK HERE

Can I take other pet species to Canada?

Yes, you can. However, other pet species are subject to different rules and regulations from cats. It is likely that you will require further or different documents for dogs, ferrets, rabbits, rodents and birds.

For information on taking other pet species, such as dogs, ferrets, rabbits, rodents and birds, check How to Get a Canadian Pet Passport [2020 GUIDE]. Or for a detailed guide on taking dogs to Canada, check Taking Dogs to Canada [PET PASSPORT 2020 GUIDE].


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can I take my kitten to Canada?

Yes, puppies under the age of 3 months entering Canada are exempt from import requirements. See above for information regarding kittens between the age of 3 and 8 months.

Can I take my cat to Canada with an EU Pet Passport?

You can travel to Canada with an EU Pet Passport, or alternatively Canada will accept a health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian as long as it is in English or French.

Can I move to Canada with my cat?

Possibly. You may be able to move to Canada with your cat, as long as you and your cat meets requirements listed above.


Bottom Line

Importing cats to Canada is simple, as long as you are aware of the guidelines. How to get a Canadian Pet Passport and the regulations, depend on your cat’s age and where you are traveling from. If you are traveling to Canada with an adult cat who is your pet then the process should be very simple. If you have an EU Pet Passport for your cat then it’s very simple. However, if you do not, then your pet will simply need a valid rabies vaccination certificate and possibly a health certificate.

Hope you have found this helpful – happy travels!

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