Planning a road trip across the USA border into Canada with your cat? Here’s what you need to know before setting out on your road trip.
We crossed into Canada at the border at Calais, Maine in our van with our cat Yoda. It was our first time traveling by land into Canada from the US with a pet, so we wanted to make sure we had everything we need.
Our cat Yoda has traveled extensively – by plane mostly – but having crossed Mexico – US border in July 2019, we are getting used to traveling overland with pets.
As you’ll see, you only need two main things in order to travel with your cat to Canada by land.
Can I Take My Cat Across the Canadian Border?
Yes, of course! Canada welcomes all domestic cats and dogs to cross the border from the US into Canada.
If you are traveling from the United States or Mexico which are not rabies-free countries, you’ll need to show proof of a rabies vaccination certification at the border.
When you arrive by car with your pet at the Canadian border you must show documentation of a valid rabies certificate (in English or French).
Your Cat Needs Proof of Rabies Vaccination to Enter Canada
As stipulated by the Canadian Inspection Agency here, the rabies vaccination certificate must:
- be written in English or French;
- be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
- identify the animal (as in breed, color, and weight);
- state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
- indicate the date of vaccination;
- indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
- specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).
Getting a rabies certificate signed by a vet is very easy to do. Just schedule an appointment with your vet ahead of time.
After the first-year rabies vaccination, your cat can get the 3-year rabies vaccination. Since we already had certification from previous trips with our cat, we did not need to renew our rabies certification.
Other important reminders when importing your cat to Canada:
- Cats entering Canada do not need to be quarantined.
- Cats do not require a health certificate or import permit (unlike some other countries).
- Canada doesn’t require a waiting period between the time your cat is vaccinated for rabies and the time you import your cat into Canada.
Will Canadian Border Agents Inspect My Cat?
Normally, no. As long as your cat has a valid rabies vaccination, is in clear health, and has all other vaccinations updated, your cat will not need to be inspected at the Canada border.
We were directly asked if our cat was in good health. Since Yoda is healthy, we replied yes. Beyond that, the agent never asked to see Yoda physically.
The only reason we had to get Yoda out of the van is that they needed to inspect the inside of our vehicle. Asking us to take Yoda out in his backpack carrier was just to keep him safe during the inspection.
Are there fees to import my cat into Canada?
Not at all. There are no associated fees with importing a cat into Canada aside from the rabies vaccination, which your cat should already have as part of their vital vaccinations.
Our Experience Crossing into Canada with Our Cat Yoda
As I briefly mentioned earlier, crossing into Canada with Yoda worked out perfectly for us!
We were nervous mainly because it was our first time crossing into Canada by land – and Paul being French and me a U.S citizen both traveling nomadically with our adventure cat – often raises suspicion at borders anyway. 🙂
Yoda was still roaming freely inside the van when we pulled up to the border patrol window. When he asked us about our travels, we then mentioned we were traveling with our cat. I already had the papers ready in my hand.
I knew what to expect thanks to my research prior, so I wanted to be sure to share this information with you via this article.
The agent took a look at the rabies certificate, among Yoda’s other vaccinations. As we had all our ducks in a row – so to speak – he didn’t press us with the issue that we were traveling with a cat.
In less than 30 minutes (after the van inspection) we were on the road again toward St. John, New Brunswick!
Final Travel Tips – Bringing a Cat to Canada by Land
Whether you are traveling to Canada for a short trip or a permanent move, here are our travel tips for going to Canada with a cat.
Make sure your cat has proper identification. While Canada doesn’t require your cat to have a microchip, it’s important that in case of loss or accidents for vets and shelters to be able to identify your cat. Alternatively, you can choose to add an ID tag to your cat’s collar if they wear one.
Bring copies of vaccination records. If you plan to recross the border from Canada into the US, know that you do not need a valid rabies vaccination certificate. But certain states may require it, and border inspection might ask for vaccination records nonetheless. Keep copies of all your records just in case.
Travel with handy travel water/food bowls and a litter box. Depending on where you cross, it could be a while until your next market stop. Be sure to have your cat travel accessories at the ready for long road trips.
Importing your cat into Canada by land is fairly easy. Just ensure you have all of your documents organized and be ready to show your rabies vaccination certificate.
Please don’t hesitate to drop us your questions or share your comments with us below! We are happy to help!
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Wednesday 25th of September 2019
I think it may depend on where you cross. A friend had problems getting her show cat in and out to go to a show. Is it challenging to get back into the states?
Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=
Wednesday 25th of September 2019
Hi Emilia! That's interesting! I think her situation was due to her kitty being a show cat. Commercial/show pets might have to show additional documents (at least I read that about dogs). For domestic cats though, any point of entry should be fine! As for returning to the states, it's even easier as you don't need proof of rabies! The only thing you might need is a health certificate for the airlines. The US is easy to bring pets to, it's more difficult to get them out.