what vaccinations do cats need to fly

What Vaccinations Do Cats Need To Fly What You Need To Know

If you’re getting ready to fly with your cat, there’s a good chance that you’re wondering “what vaccinations do cats need to fly?” Well, you’re not alone. We’ve been wondering this since we were planning on a trip with Fluffy, so I’ve done all the research to help answer this question.

Most airlines will require you to have a valid health certificate that proves your cat has been an up-to-date rabies vaccination. The Certificate of Veterinarian must be signed by an accredited veterinarian. (we’ll discuss everything you need to know about a health certificate below)

What Vaccinations Do Cats Need to Fly?

Most airlines require your cat to have an updated rabies vaccination, which may range from $20 – $40 dollars. Check with the airline you’ll be flying with to see which vaccinations they require for your feline.

This is also a good time to get a microchip implanted in your cat, which can cost around $45.

You may also want to go to a pet shelter to see if you can get them for cheaper.

Flying With A Cat In The Cabin

Every airline will have its own pet policy, so you’ll want to make sure that you visit their website to see what the requirements are.

It’s important to know what documents Fluffy needs, otherwise, they won’t be allowed to board the plane.

Airlines want to make sure that your cat is not contagious to other passengers.

What Is A Health Certificate For A Cat?

Most states require an up-to-date of Veterinary Inspection from an accredited and licensed veterinarian before traveling. A USDA health certificate endorsement indicates that your kitty is free from diseases or other illnesses and is ready to travel.

Most airlines require this certificate before you fly within the continental US. Read this in-depth article for other forms of transportation of traveling with your cat.

How Much Does It Cost to Get A Health Certificate?

The price will vary according to the average costs of a veterinary consultation, which can vary between $25 and $350.00.

Most vets will charge an office visit of $35 to $60 in addition to the cost of the vaccines.

Steps To Get A Certificate of Veterinary (CVI)

As soon as you know you’ll be flying with your cat, I’d recommend contacting your veterinarian to get the process started, this way, you’ll have plenty of time to address any problems that arise.

Getting your documents in order can be a long tedious process, depending on your destination. If you’re flying domestically in the US, the process won’t be as long as if you’re flying abroad.

Here are the steps to get the process started so Fluffy can fly with you without worrying about being quarantined.

  1. Make sure that Fluffy is even allowed to fly to the destination. Most states will be fine, but California, Hawaii, and New York City do not allow ferrets to enter.
  2. Contact your vet and schedule an appointment to get Fluffy vaccinated no more than 21 days before your flight. If you’re flying internationally, tell your vet.
  3. Make sure that your vet meets the appropriate level of federal accreditation.
  4. Share all your travel information with your vet.
  5. Make sure that you comply with the regulatory timelines to meet the requirements for traveling with your cat.
  6. Keep a copy of the CVI and any supporting documents with you at all times.

The most important thing is to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get a health certificate.

If your CVI needs to be endorsed by USDA-APHIS-VS, make sure you plan ahead. You’ll be expected to pay a fee before you are granted a federal endorsement.

What Is An Interstate Health Certificate?

An international travel certificate (IHC) is often required by foreign countries when live animals are entering into the country. You can download the APHIS Form 70001.

The process is similar to getting one for traveling in the United States, except you’ll need to use a USDA-Accredited veterinarian.

Check with your destination country to find out if it is a requirement before flying.

International Cat Travel

When you’re traveling abroad it’s important to find out what requirements your destination country requires.

The International Health Certificate should be issued by a USDA certified veterinarian, no more than 21 days before your travel date. The certificate should include the following:

Up-to-date vaccinations, including type, manufacturer, and batch number

  • Name of pet
  • Color
  • Breed
  • Age of cat
  • Country of origin
  • Confirmation that the pet is healthy and free of parasites
  • Name/phone number/address of the owner of the pet

Every country has its rules and regulations. Making sure that you have the proper paperwork, will prevent kitty from having to be quarantined.

Travel Certificate For Pets and Livestock

Whether you’re traveling with a cat, dog, horse or any type of livestock, you’ll be required to have a certificate of veterinary inspection.

Importing Cats Into The US

If you’re planning on bringing your cat into the United States, it’s important to know that all domesticated cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry.

They will be denied entry into the United States if they have any evidence of an infectious disease that is contagious and can be transmitted to humans.

If they become ill and a further examination is required by a licensed veterinarian, the owner will be billed at the port of entry.

Felines are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination to allow importation. However, every state has its own requirements.

It’s best to check with the state and local health authorities to find out what’s required before you enter with your cat.

If you’re visiting Hawaii, you’ll want to read their rules and regulations regarding their imposed quarantine requirements.

What States Require A Health Certificate for Pets?

We’ve done our best to find out which states require your feline friend to have an up-to-date health certificate (OHC). Every state is different and some require only a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI).

These can change with time, so make sure that you do your due diligence before you travel using this website.

StateCVI: Certificate of Veterinary InspectionOHC: Official Health Certificate
AlabamaCVI: for all domesticated cats. Kittens 3 months old do no require one.
AlaskaOHC proof your cat has been vaccinated against rabies.
ArizonaCVI
ArkansasCVI
CaliforniaCVI NOT required but your cat must be healthy
ColoradoCVI: Must be issued 30 days prior to entry by an accredited veterinarian
ConnecticutOHC: Certificate must not be older than 30 days before entry and must be approved by a proper livestock sanitary official of the state of origin
DelawareOHC: Official Health Certificate required for all cats 6 months and older.
FloridaCVI: Proof your feline has never been exposed to rabies and up-to-date with vaccinations.
GeorgiaCVI: Not required but all cats 12 weeks and older must have up-to-date rabies shots.
HawaiiHealth Certificate Required as well as a cat import form and two rabies vaccination certificates.
IdahoCVI required for all cats 3 months and older
IllinoisCVI not required you may want to check as it doesn't state what's required.
IndianaCVI required 30 days prior to entry.
IowaCVI: No rabies vaccination required
KansasCVA required and all cats older than 3 months must have up-to-date rabies vaccination.
KentuckyCVI required for all cats older than 4 months old.
LouisianaOHC must be issued by an accredited and licensed vet. Rabies vaccination must be up-to-date within a year prior to entry.
MaineCVI not required, but your cat must be up-to-date on their rabies vaccination.
MarylandCVI is required and you must have proof that your cat has not been exposed or quarantined for rabies.
MassachusettsOfficial Health Certificate must be on hand for all cats older than 6 months.
MichiganNo requirement but it is recommended that your kitty be up-to-date with their rabies vaccination.
MinnesotaCVI required with proof of vaccinations, serial numbers, and date of vaccinations.
MississippiOHC with proof that your cat is free from contagious illnesses and diseases
MissouriCVI required and must be signed by an accredited licensed vet.
MontanaThe only requirement is proof an up-to-date rabies shot.
NebraskaCVI all cats must have a current rabies vaccination. If not, you'll be given 30 dayes within entry to get them vaccinated.
NevadaCVI required all felines older than 3 months must have have proof of rabies vaccination.
New HampshireCertificate of Veterinarian Inspection required.
New JerseyDidn't state what's required.
New MexicoOHC along with proof of vaccinations.
New YorkHealth certificate with proof that your feline is free of any infectious diseases.
North CarolinaHealth Certificate within 30 days of entry for cats older than 3 months.
North DakotaCVI required if you'll be staying for more than 30 days.
OhioCVI with a current rabies vaccination certificate
OklahomaCVI required within 30 days of visiting Oklahoma
OregonValid CVI issued less than 30 days of visiting Oregon.
PennsylvaniaNo CVI required, but you need a current rabies documentation.
Rhode IslandCVI required for all felines older than 3 months old.
South CarolinaCVI with rabies vaccination for cats older than 4 months of age. Kittens need to have a valid 1-year booster vaccine.
South DakotaHealth Certificate for all felines 3 months and older.
TennesseeOHC required. If you're visiting for 15 days, you're expect from having a health certificate.
TexasCVI not required if entering via airlines. However, you must comply with the airline pet policy.
UtahCVI required for all felines 3 months of age and older.
VermontOHC that was issued and signed by an accredited veterinian.
VirginiaDoesn't say, so check before traveling.
WashingtonCVI and certification that your feline is up-to-date on their vaccinations.
West VirginiaNo information, check before you travel
WhyomingCVI required for all felines over 3 months of age. Must also have certificate of proof of vaccinations.

Should You Board Your Cat?

Traveling with a cat or any other animal can be challenging. Make sure you have everything ready to fly without headaches.

Depending on what documentation you need, you may also want to consider leaving Fluffy at home. For instance, if you enter a country that requires them to be quarantined, it may be better to avoid taking them.

Related: Is It Better to Board A Cat or Leave At Home?

Do your due diligence and find out what the best thing is for your cat.

Bottom Line

Traveling should be a fun adventure for both of you. Hopefully, this helps you understand what’s required of you as a pet owner before you fly with your cat.

If you feel that your cat will be put through too much stress, you may want to consider leaving them at home with a friend or family. You should be fine flying with your cat if you’re traveling in the within the US.

It tends to get harder when you’re traveling abroad.

Further Reading and References:

CostHelper – Cat Vaccination Cost

United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Cats