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Do airports/customs check to see if cat has rabies vaccination?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm flying back to the US with my new cat in just a few weeks. He has not been vaccinated for rabies for a very good reason... he is a completely indoor cat and I have major concerns with vaccinations since my last cat died from anaphylactic shock from a rabies vaccination. That was a nightmare that I'm not willing to ever come close to revisiting when it comes to future rabies vaccinations.

Anyway, my understanding is that animals imported to the US are not required on the federal level to have a rabies vaccination, but state laws can require it. My cat will have a health certificate, but I'm wondering if somebody somewhere along the line will ask for proof of a rabies vaccination?

Has anybody had experience with international travel and bringing a pet into the US... if so, does somebody ask for a proof of rabies vaccination? Or, even domestic travel in the US - do they ask for proof?
post #2 of 8
When I travelled with my cat across Canada by air my vet suggested I bring his records. Reilly had a severe reaction to the rabies vaccine the last time he had it so my vet wrote a letter stating that he was an indoor animal and that he had previously been inoculated with the vaccine and did not require it yearly.

They never ended up asking for it anyways, but I would say to have your vet include that in the record of health incase they inquire about it.
post #3 of 8
I didn't fly across borders, but no one looked at the health certificates or proof of vacinations on either kitty I flew.
post #4 of 8
Better check with the state you are flying in. Pretty sure you will need a rabies shot coming in from another country. Except for a few countries/Hawaii that is rabies-free where you would not need the rabies vaccinations; most other states/countries have to have the shot I'm not sure if Sweden is on the list for a safe country.

Once you get in here, you are required to get rabies shots for your cats/dogs in almost every state. Even if they are 100% indoors. I get them rabies shots every other year.

If your cat cannot have a rabies shot due to medical condition, a vet has to have a written statement as to why not.
post #5 of 8

I'd suggest checking to see if there's any regulations/laws in the state you're flying in.

Where I live(FL), there's a county(Hillsborough) regulation that all pet animals(cats & dogs) must get a rabies shot(either annually or once in 3 years depending on the kind) AND be annually registered in the county by submitting the proof/certificate of shot. My cat is strictly indoor but still needs to be vaccinated because of that.
post #6 of 8
Hi there
I just brought my cat to the USA, from Spain.
He is a about a year and a half.
He is also an indoor cat.
This is what my vet told me to get.
rabies shot & vet certificate( issued a week before leaving the country)
And it was optional to have pet passaport and microchip

I think the rabies shot depends on the state although I would say better safe than sorry.
They asked me for the rabies shot proof.

I got all 4 things just in case. I mean you dont want to have to leave your cat there just because you dont have all the right paperwork.
All they asked me for was the rabies shot I think. I flew into Newark.

I reccomed you get you cat feliway to help him deal with the airplane. I think it really help my cat. He did great for like all 18 hours.
The worst moment was take off, and landing. Make sure to have LOTS of papertowels.

Call your airline 48 hours in advance to double check that they have your cat on the list. Also ask your airline for specific requirements.

hope it goes well
post #7 of 8
You have to have a health certificate from the vet and yes, I believe you do have to have them up to date on rabies. I hear they are more thorough when someone is flying in from another country.


This one is about flying to a European country.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the advice - this is useful info.
I just called the airline again and they said that the rabies isn't required for cats by the US consolite, but I suppose state laws could require it... this is getting confusing!

I guess I will find out!
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