Ages ago, when we first started traveling with Ty and Buster, we shared our tips for traveling to Canada with dogs. Since then, a lot more cats are traveling with their families – and that’s purr-fect! To make your next trip across the border a little easier, we’re happy to share these tips for traveling with a cat to Canada.

Tips for Taking Your Cat to Canada from


Required Documents when Traveling with a Cat to Canada

Traveling with a Kitten Less Than Three Months Old

If you’re traveling with a kitten who is less than three months old, he or she is not subject to the import requirements. The only documentation you’ll need is proof of your kitten’s age.

Proof of Rabies Vaccination

If you’re traveling to Canada with a cat that is at least three months old from the United States, Mexico, or any other country not considered rabies-free, you’ll need your cat’s rabies vaccination certificate. The certificate must meet the following requirements:

Domestic or pet cats may enter Canada if accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate. A licensed veterinarian must issue and sign the certificate in English or French, and clearly identify the cat by breed, color, and weight.

This certificate must state that the cat is vaccinated against rabies and indicate the date of the vaccination, the trade name and serial number of the licensed rabies vaccine used, and the duration of immunity (up to three years).

If no duration is indicated on the certificate, the vaccine will be considered to be valid for one year.

Canada does not impose a quarantine on pets arriving from any country. Additionally, Canada does not require a vaccination waiting period. Your pet is welcome to enter Canada immediately after he or she receives the rabies vaccination.


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Updated: Traveling with Your Dog to Canada |

What If You Don’t Have a Valid Rabies Certificate?

Traveling with your cat to Canada without a proper rabies certificate will mean jumping through some additional hoops. First, your cat will have to be vaccinated against rabies within two weeks of arrival. Once the vaccination is administered, you’ll have to submit the vaccination record to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.

In addition to the cost of the vaccination, you will be charged administrative fees of $55.00 + tax for the first animal plus $30.00 + tax for each additional animal. These fees must be paid in advance when crossing the border.


Do Cats Need a Health Certificate to Enter Canada?

Health certificates are generally not necessary when traveling with your cat to Canada. It is possible for the border agents to refer any animal crossing the border for secondary inspection. But as long as your cat appears healthy, this is unlikely to happen.

If a cat looks ill, the inspection agents may request a health certificate from a veterinarian. Their primary concern is that the cat’s condition is not contagious. We recommend that anyone traveling with a pet whose health could be questioned have a health certificate from their vet with them when crossing into Canada. While it’s inconvenient, it’s easier than being stopped at the border!

Cats traveling by air to Canada must meet the requirements of the airline on which they’ll be traveling. Most carriers require a current health certificate for all pets.

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Do Cats Need to have Microchips or Tatoos?

Canada does not require a microchip or tattoo identification for pet cats.

Choosing the Right Harness for Your Cat

Taking Pet Food and Treats into Canada

Visitors traveling with cats to Canada from the U.S. are allowed to bring a total of 20 kg (44 pounds) of pet food and treats. The food and treats must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The pet food and treats must have been purchased in the US, be commercially packaged, and be unopened
  • All pet food and treats must be in the possession of the traveler at the time of entry
  • The animal that will eat the products must accompany the traveler at the time of entry
  • The products must be fed only to the animal that accompanied the traveler into Canada

For longer trips, consider taking a dehydrated pet food with you. The Honest Kitchen cat food is human-grade and great for traveling because a 4 pound box makes 12 pounds of food!


Required Documents when Traveling with a Cat to the U.S.

Cats do not need health certificates and proof of rabies vaccination when crossing into the United States from Canada. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies. For that reason, it’s a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.

When you cross the border into the United States, your cat will receive a visual inspection. Cats appearing to be ill might require further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense at the port of entry. Any cat appearing to have an infectious disease that could be transmitted to humans may be denied entry.

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Personality Traits of Adventure Cats

Cats are great travel companions, and love joining in your travel plans. We hope your trip across the border to Canada goes smoothly for all the members of your family!



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    • Hi Adam, and congratulations on your upcoming move. A microchip is not required to bring your kitten into Quebec. The website you linked to discusses pet licenses, which are not the same as microchips. However, depending on the length of your stay, you might be required to get a license for your cat. Once you’re settled, check with the municipality where you and your cat will be living to determine if she’ll need to be licensed. Good luck with your move!

  • Hi
    I am leaving Ixtapa Mexico, hopefully on June 4 and arriving in Vancouver that day.
    I have been at my residence in Ixtapa since November 16, 2019.
    I have an official document from my vet in Canada proving that my cat’s shots are all up to date including rabies.
    Question: am I required to get another document from my vet here in Ixtapa; Mexico for her to be able to enter into Canada?
    Can you please let me know what’s expected in order for entrance into Canada.


    Rosemary Nowe

    • Hi Rosemary! If you’re driving across the border, you’ll just need your cat’s valid rabies certificate. If you’re flying, you’ll need to confirm with your airline which documents are required. I hope that helps and wish you safe travels.

  • Hi. We plan to take our cats back to Canada from Brazil. They have all their shots, and I can easily enough get a health certificate (which indicates their vaccine record) but the problem is, it will be in Portuguese. What will the officials do? I don’t know how to get an English one.

    • Hi Jeremy! Unfortunately, I’m not an expert on international pet travel. Perhaps a company like, who helps people and their pets relocate all over the world, will be able to help.

    • Hi Cindy! If you’re driving, the only documentation you should need for a kitten less than 3 months old is some proof of age – probably from your veterinarian. If you’re flying, you’ll need to contact the airline directly to determine their requirements.

  • I’m having such a panic at the moment! I am planning on taking my 2 year old cat with me to canada from the UK, I contacted my vet and asked what they would advise me to do, immediately she said to contact DEFRA to get an export certificate, and started talking about brexit and how things are changing after October 31st (not sure why that has anything to do with canada) but this export certificate is nearly impossible to get hold of, you need to get it 72 hours before your flight and in this time it has to be sent to your vet, verified by DEFRA and then sent to you, and I honestly don’t see how that’s possible? I really don’t want to just wait until last minute to know whether or not my cat is able to fly with me. I am getting his rabies vaccination done next week, will this be enough to get him into Canada? Or will they stop me at the UK airport if I don’t have an export certificate? Please help! My cat is my baby I love him so much and can’t bare the thought of leaving him behind.

    • Hi Chereise! I’m sorry that you’re having a difficult time. There is no waiting period between having your cat vaccinated and when he can enter Canada. I don’t have any experience with DEFRA or the new rules for traveling related to Brexit, but I wish you all the best and hope you have a great trip together. Good luck!

    • Hi Wissam! I’m not sure what you mean by “keep cats for 3 months.” If you mean that you can’t travel with them for 3 months after they’re vaccinated, that’s not true. As soon as they are vaccinated they can travel. However, a cat needs to be about three months old before they can receive a rabies vaccination. I hope that helps!

  • Category: Travel Resources / Tagged with: Cats