How To Import A Cat From The U.S. Into Canada

If you are importing a cat from the U.S. into Canada, it’s important to understand the current challenges. COVID-19 has put a kink in picking up your new furry member of the family when you’ve purchased them from a U.S. breeder. If you cross the border yourself to pick up your furry friend, you are likely going to have to quarantine for 14 days upon your return (that is if you are even allowed into the U.S.). If U.S. customs deems the reason for your travel as non-essential, they can refuse you entry. So how do you get that furry piece of your heart to your home?

The process is relatively simple if you ensure all the requirements are met before your pet arrives at the border. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the importation of cats into Canada and requires certain inspections and documentation in order to approve the import. Here is what you, the Importer, need to do to ensure streamlined clearance into Canada:

Before The Border

There is no distinction between personal or commercial cat importation into Canada. Therefore importing a Cat from the U.S. into Canada has fewer requirements than their canine counterparts.

As with dogs, Cat’s entering Canada must have a current rabies vaccination certificate.

Cats that are under 3 months of age are exempt from needing a rabies vaccination, however, proof of age may be required.

If you are hiring a transportation company to transport your dog a formal customs entry will be needed. You will need to set up an account with a customs broker or arrange to meet the transportation company at customs to file the customs entry. If you are bringing the animal across yourself, no formal customs entry is needed

At The Border:

The cat and its documentation will be inspected by the Canada Border Services Agency (or CFIA Veterinarian) to ensure the rabies vaccination is current, if applicable, and the animal's description matches the documents and customs declaration. This inspection also checks for visible signs of illness. Note: inspection fees between $30.00 to $60.00 per animal may apply.

If the rabies vaccination is not current or deemed invalid, you will be required to have the vaccinations updated within 2 weeks of arrival in Canada. You will be put in contact with the local CFIA district office for assistance and follow up. 

If the CBSA needs veterinary guidance or expertise they will contact the CFIA for further assistance in assessing the animal.

After The Border:

If a rabies vaccination was required follow up with the CFIA Local district office for instructions and make the vaccination appointment.

Although it is not required by the CFIA some veterinarians recommend quarantining your new friend for up to 30 days. It has also been recommended that the new pet be kept away from other animals and people with compromised immune systems to ensure they haven’t accidentally brought an illness with them that wasn’t apparent when they started their journey to their new home. Introducing your new pet to your own veterinarian is also a good idea to double-check health, just in case you need to follow up with the breeder.

Service | How To Import Dog And Cat Into Canada
pet import and transportation service
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About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS, CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Gloria Terhaar has over 17 years of Canadian customs brokerage experience. She currently works in our Canadian division as a Trade Compliance Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Gloria has extensive experience in all aspects of documentation and regulatory requirements as they relate to importing products into Canada. Gloria is often called upon to train industry with some recent talks for MNP, the Surrey Board of Trade, TFO Canada and the BC Produce Marketing Association. In 2018, Gloria also participated in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council advocacy event "Fall Harvest" in Ottawa where she participated in advocacy efforts for the Canadain produce industry.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.