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Sep 17, 2009

Traveling with a cat abroad to Japan, Mexico or the U.S.A.

Sputnik in her new pet porter

Last month, I had to buy a new pet porter for two reasons: the handle on the old one was broken, and the old pet porter was bigger than the allowed carry-on size for United Airlines. It took two weeks for Sputnik to adopt the new one over the old one, but she is finally going into the new one throughout the day to hang out in there. Hurray!

We visited the Vet last Monday, and she took her first trip in the new pet porter. She has two more Vet visits in preparation for the Overseas move. My poor baby.

In case, someone might be looking for this information, I am posting all the links I found for traveling with your pet to Japan, Mexico or the U.S.A. with a Cat. **right click on your mouse to open in a new window.


Japanese Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) is the official bureau which oversees the import/export of pets into Japan. They require advance notice of arrival to the airport with a pet:
"When trying to import dogs or cats, you must submit advance notification of the planned date of arrival, number of animals and other items to the Animal Quarantine Service which has jurisdiction over your intended port of arrival at least 40 days prior to arrival in Japan."
Japan is pretty strict in the prevention of Rabies. The country of origin determines how AQS will handle the entry of your pet into Japan. Japan breaks up the countries of origin into two Regions: "Designated regions" and "OTHER THAN designated regions." The U.S.A. fits into the latter one, so the microchip and rabies vaccination will determine the length of Quarantine.

It is important to meet all the requirements and make sure you have the appropriate paperwork in order to avoid a longer Quarantine.
"If there are any omissions in the certification or individual identification, the animal may be subject to a long import quarantine up to 180 days."
As changes might occur to what was written above, view the English AQS website to get the current requirements for your pet and country.


I believe that Senasica is the Government Bureau that oversees pet importation/exportation.

According to their English Website, if your your dog or cat is older than 3 months, your pet needs:
" a Health Certificate* and Vaccination Card, specifying the application of rabies vaccine with a validity no longer than 1 year. These documents must be presented in original and copy."

The health certificate must have been issued for your pet within five days prior to arrival in Mexico. Check the English Senasica website for details on what information is needed on the health certificate.

As changes might occur to what was written above, visit Senasica to get the current requirements for your pet and country.

To view the information in Spanish, visit the Spanish Senasica Website.


In addition to the Federal Government requirements, each State has it's own vaccination regulations for pets, so you'll need to check with the State where you plan to arrive. Of special note is Hawaii and Guam have Quarantine periods, and Owners of dogs imported from countries or regions affected with Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) have special precautions to follow.

Both CDC and the USDA have regulations when traveling with your cat or dog to the U.S.A. However, according to, CDC regulates cats and dogs. There are too many variables to consider, so I am not posting any summaries here. It is best to visit each site and decide how you want to handle the situation. Visit the CDC website and USDA website for up-to-date information on their requirements.

For myself, since I will be staying in California, I am having my cat vaccinated according to what is recommend by the California SPCA prior to departure from Japan.   I will also obtain a health certificate from the Vet two days prior to departure from Japan.

CDC - Taking Animals across International Borders


Good Resource of links at

Port Veterinarian List.

Pet Requirement FAQ for California.

USDA-APHIS information for traveling with your pet.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- CDC


Anya said...

Kareltje goes only to the vet or cat hotel
(when we are on vacation ;)
He had never make a trip to on other country!!
Its a very sweet picture from Sputnik ,
he looks totally relaxed :))))

Gallery Juana said...

Hi Anya,
Your cat is lucky to not have to travel so far.

This will be Sputnik's fourth trip overseas. I am sure she is thinking "Would you stay put in one country!"

Anonymous said...

Good to know! Cute kitty : )

readingsully2 said...

Awhhh, Sputnik looks totally content. Great info too.

Poetic Artist said...

How I love Sputnik..
You are moving? Again

Chris Stone said...

Sputnik is such a cutie.

Romantic bed and breakfasts said...

This will be Sputnik's fourth trip overseas. I am sure she is thinking "Would you stay put in one country!"

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