Non-approved country via group 2 or 3 country: step by step guide for cats

​​This guide provides one option available for exporters in non-approved countries. Other options are:

  1. Move your cat to a group 3 country and follow the standard Group 3: step by step guide for cats.
  2. Move your cat to a group 2 country, stay there for at least 6 months, then follow the standard Group 2: step by step guide for cats.
  • Cats coming to Australia must be accompanied by a valid import permit, which provides the conditions for importing the cat:
    • The conditions on the import permit take precedence over any other source of information. This step-by-step guide explains what you must do to prepare your cat for export; it is not a substitute for the import permit.
    • Cats must comply with all conditions on the import permit​
    • Failure to comply with the conditions on the import permit may result in the cat being (at your cost):
      • held longer in post entry quarantine
      • subject to additional testing
      • exported
      • euthanased.

  • On arrival cats must spend a minimum of 10 day at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility.
  • A government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian must perform all veterinary procedures except the initial rabies neutralising anitbody titre (RNAT) test - step 4.
  • All testing (except the initial RNAT test) must be done in an approved country in a laboratory recognised by the government of the country from which you plan to export your cat.

The department cannot give advice on treatments for diseases. Seek advice from a veterinarian if your cat tests positive to an infectious disease listed in the import conditions.

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Step 1: Contact the competent authority
Timeframe: Before starting the export process

  • Contact the competent authority in the approved country through which you plan to export your cat, to find out:
    • which veterinarians and laboratories are approved to prepare your cat for export (all veterinary procedures and testing except the initial RNAT test must be done in an approved country and testing must be done in a laboratory recognised by the competent authority of the approved exporting country)
    • if the country of export has any requirements in addition to those stated on this webpage
    • if the country of export has an agreed veterinary health certificate to use instead of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources standard veterinary health certificate
    • The department recommends that you take this information to your government approved veterinarian or pet transport agent to help you understand the requirements.

Step 2: Confirm general eligibility
Timeframe: Before starting the export process

  • Cats
    • can only be exported to Australia from an approved country
    • can only be exported to Australia after 180 days from the time of blood sampling for the rabies neutralising antibody titre test (RNATT) – steps 4 and 5
    • must not be under quarantine restrictions at the time of export
    • must not be more than 30 days pregnant nor be suckling young at the time of export.
  • In accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, domestic/non domestic animal hybrids are generally not eligible for import. Hybrid cats include, but are not limited to:
    • Savannah cat, derived from crossbreeding domestic cat (Felis catus) with Serval cat (Felis serval)
    • Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
    • Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
    • Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian Leopard cat(Prionailurus bengalensis) is the only exception. It may be imported if it is five generations removed from the Asian Leopard cat.

For more information on cat breeds and hybrids, contact the Wildlife Trade Regulation Section, the Department of the Environment phone +61 6274 1111 or email the Department of the Environment.

Step 3: Verify existing microchip or implant a new microchip
Timeframe: Before you can start blood sampling for any pre export testing

  • Cats must be identified by a microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.
  • The microchip must be scanned at each veterinary visit. The scanned microchip number must be correctly recorded on all documentation.
  • If the microchip cannot be read or is recorded incorrectly across the cat's documentation, it will not be eligible for import to Australia.

Step 4: Check rabies vaccination
Timeframe: Dependent on vaccine validity

  • Your cat must be vaccinated with an inactivated rabies virus vaccine that:
    • was given when the cat was at least 90 days old
    • is valid, in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, at the time of export
    • is approved for use in cats by the competent authority of the (group 2 or 3) country of export.
  • Rabies vaccinations with a three (3) year validity are acceptable if given in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5: Initial rabies neutralising antibody titre (RNAT) test and waiting period
Timeframe: Between 180 days and 24 months before the date of export

  • Wait 3-4 weeks between the rabies vaccination and blood sample collection for the RNAT test, but if the cat has a history of regular rabies vaccinations it may be possible to collect the blood sample sooner.

The initial RNAT test must meet the following requirements:

  • A veterinarian must scan the cat’s microchip and collect a blood sample for the RNAT test.
  • The cat’s microchip number must be written on the blood tube and the laboratory submission form.
  • The sample must be tested at:

The below list of OIE rabies reference laboratories is current as of 31 May 2016. See the OIE website for updates.

Prof. Changchun Tu
Diagnostic Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife Associated Zoonoses
Department of Virology
Changchun Veterinary Research Institute (CVRI)
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
Liuying Xi Road 666
Jingyue Economic Development Zone
Changchun 130122
CHINA (PEOPLE'S REP. OF)
Tel: +86-431 81.03.20.22 Fax: +86-431 81.03.20.22
Email: changchun_tu@hotmail.com

Note: There are two laboratories at this address. You must use the OIE Rabies Reference Laboratory for Australian import purposes.

Dr Jacques Barrat/Dre Florence Cliquet
Agence nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Alimentation, de l'Environnement et du Travail (Anses)
Laboratoire de la faune sauvage de Nancy
Technopôle agricole et vétérinaire
B.P. 40009
54220 Malzéville Cedex
FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0)3 83 29 89 50 Fax: +33 (0)3 83 29 89 58
Email: jacques.barrat@anses.fr / florence.cliquet@anses.fr

Dr Juan Antonio Montaño Hirose
Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria
Km. 37.5 de la Carretera México-Pachuca,
Tecamac, Edo. de México
MÉXICO
Tel: +52 (55) 38 72 03 40
Email: juan.montano@senasica.gob.mx
Email: juan_montano@virologiahoy.org

Dr Dong-Kun Yang
Rabies Research Laboratory
Division of Viral Disease
Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA)
175 Anyang-ro, Manan-gu
Anyang, Gyeongii 430-757
KOREA (REP. OF)
Tel: +82 31 467.1783 Fax: +82 31 467.1797
Email: yangdk@korea.kr
Email: ydk40@hanmail.net

Dr Anthony Fooks
Rabies and Wildife Zoonoses Group
Virology Department
Animal and Plant Health Agency
New Haw, Addlestone
Surrey KT15 3NB
Weybridge
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel: +44-1932 35.78.40 Fax: +44-1932 35.72.39
Email: tony.fooks@apha.gsi.gov.uk

Dr Claude Taurai Sabeta
Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute
Rabies Unit
Private Bag X05
Onderstepoort 0110
SOUTH AFRICA
Tel: +27-12 529 94 39 Fax: +27-12 529 93 90
Email: sabetac@arc.agric.za

  • It is acceptable to draw blood in one country and test it in a different country.
  • The RNAT test must be a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation (FAVN) test or a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT).
  • The laboratory report must:
    • be in English
    • be completed on the testing laboratory’s letterhead
    • include:
      • the cat’s microchip number
      • the blood sample date of arrival at lab
      • the signature of the person issuing the laboratory report
      • the country where the blood sample was collected
      • the test type and test result.
  • A result of 0.5 IU/ml or more is acceptable. A result of less than 0.5 IU/ml is not acceptable and in this circumstance you must re-vaccinate and repeat the testing process.
  • The RNAT test is valid for 24 months from the date of blood sampling. If the RNAT test is more than 24 months old at the time of export it is not valid and you cannot export the cat to Australia. You must have your cat retested.
  • The cat is not eligible for export to Australia until at least one hundred and eighty (180) days after the blood sample arrives at the lab for this RNAT test (with a satisfactory result). There is no requirement for the cat to stay in an approved country during this period.
  • A second, confirmation RNAT test must also be performed, with satisfactory results, in the approved country of export (see steps 7 and 8).

Step 6: Apply and pay for the import permit
Timeframe: Once the initial RNAT laboratory report is available

  • Submit your import permit application, as well as full payment and all supporting documentation online through our Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
  • Supporting documentation (original documents are not required):
      • RNAT test laboratory report.
      • A veterinary medical form or letter from your veterinarian detailing the condition(s) - for animals with ongoing medical condition(s).
  • Include a note in your permit application that your cat is originating in a non-approved country.
  • Additional charges may apply if information is missing, incorrect or if an application is put on hold.
  • Please allow at least 20 working days for processing your application.
  • Import permits are valid for up to twelve (12) months from the date of issue.

The department will not issue the import permit until the second, confirmation RNAT test result and an RNAT test declaration completed by an official government veterinarian are available.

Step 7: Move your cat to an approved group 2 or 3 country
Timeframe: At least 4 weeks before intended date of export

All preparations from this point must be done in an approved country. The preparations may take longer than four weeks so bear this in mind when planning your cat’s move.

The approved country may place its own import conditions on cats. It is your responsibility to check these requirements and comply.

Step 8: Confirmation RNAT test
Timeframe: Before the date of export

Your confirmation RNAT test must meet the following requirements:

    • A government approved veterinarian must scan the cat’s microchip and collect the blood sample for the RNAT test in an approved country.
    • The cat’s microchip number must be written accurately on the blood tube and the laboratory submission form.
    • The testing laboratory must be approved by the competent authority in the exporting country. It is acceptable to draw blood in an approved country and test it at a laboratory in a different approved country.
    • The testing laboratory must use either a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation (FAVN) test or a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT).
    • The laboratory report must be in English and completed on the testing laboratory’s letterhead. It must include:
      • the cat’s microchip number
      • the blood sampling date and location
      • the signature of the person issuing the laboratory report
      • the test type and test result.
  • A result of 0.5 IU/ml or more is acceptable. A result of less than 0.5 IU/ml is not acceptable and in this circumstance you must re-vaccinate and repeat the testing process.
  • The RNAT test is valid for 24 months from the date of blood sampling. If the RNAT test is more than 24 months old at the time of export it is not valid and you cannot export the cat to Australia. You must have your cat retested.
  • Regardless of the result of this confirmation RNAT test, the cat will not be eligible for export to Australia until at least one hundred and eighty (180) days after the date the blood sample arrived at the testing lab for the initial RNAT test (with a satisfactory result) – see step 5.
 

Step 9: Repeat rabies vaccination
Timeframe: On the same days as sample collection for confirmation RNAT test

  • Your cat must be revaccinated with an inactivated rabies vaccine on the same day as sample collection for the confirmation RNAT test.
  • Provide evidence of this vaccination to the official government veterinarian at step 10.
  • Rabies vaccinations with a three (3) year validity are acceptable if given in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 10: The official government veterinarian must complete the rabies vaccination and RNAT test declaration
Timeframe: After the confirmation RNAT test and before export

  • An official government veterinarian in the country of export (not the government approved veterinarian – your preparing veterinarian) must:
    • check the RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate
    • complete, sign and stamp the RNAT test declaration.
  • The microchip number, test result and blood sampling date must be consistent between the RNAT test laboratory report and RNAT test declaration.
  • Ensure the completed RNAT test declaration states the name of the testing laboratory, not the submitting laboratory.
  • An import permit may be granted once this document and confirmation RNAT test laboratory report are submitted to the department.

Step 11: Book tentative post entry quarantine accommodation and make travel arrangements
Timeframe: After you have received your import permit

Cats must spend at least 10 days at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility. See the Australian post entry quarantine facilities webpage for further information.

Travel arrangements:

  • The department does not place any restrictions on the airline you choose. But the cat must arrive direct into Melbourne International Airport. Domestic transfers from an Australian city to Melbourne are not permitted.
  • The cat must travel as manifested cargo (not in the cabin), in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for cats. See IATA guidelines at Traveller's Pet Corner.
  • There are animal transport companies in most countries that can make arrangements for you. Visit Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International Inc. for a list of animal transport companies worldwide.
  • The department accepts no responsibility for animals that escape en route.
  • All transport costs are at the importer’s expense.

Transit/Transhipment

  • The cat may transit (touch down but stay on the same plane) or tranship (change aircraft) in any country en route to Australia.
  • Cats transhipped through international airports in non-approved countries must not leave the international side of the airport.
  • It is the importer’s responsibility to contact the competent authority in the country of transhipment to find out:
    • whether they allow animals to tranship
    • whether they have a facility to accommodate animals during transhipment
    • how long the animals can be held
    • if any additional conditions apply.

Step 12: Check other vaccinations
Timeframe: Dependent on the validity of your cat’s vaccination

The department recommends that your cat receives a vaccination that protects against feline enteritis (also known as feline panleucopenia or feline distemper), rhinotracheitis and calicivirus and is valid for the entire post entry quarantine period.

Step 13: Internal parasite treatments
Timeframe: Two treatments at least 14 days apart but within 45 days before the date of export, with the second treatment within 5 days before the date of export

The cat must be given an internal parasite treatment effective against nematodes and cestodes, by a government approved veterinarian. Two treatments must be given at least 14 days apart and within 45 days before the date of export. The second treatment must be given within 5 days before the date of export.

Further information on acceptable treatments.

Step 14: External parasite treatments
Timeframe: Start at least 21 days before export and repeat according to manufacturer’s directions until the date of export

  • A government approved veterinarian must treat the cat with a product that kills fleas and ticks on contact at least 21 days before the date of export. They may need to repeat the treatment to make sure the cat stays protected until export.
  • To calculate 21 days before the date of export, count the first day the treatment is applied as day 0. For example, if treatment is given 1 January then the earliest date of export is 22 January.
  • At each subsequent veterinary visit, a government approved veterinarian should examine the cat for external parasites. If fleas or ticks are found, they must be removed and the treatment restarted.
  • Further information on acceptable treatments.

Step 15: Pre-export clinical examination
Timeframe: Within 5 days before the date of export

The cat must be examined by a government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian and found to be free from ticks and fleas and clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease within 5 days before export. You must take the cat and all documentation to this examination.

Step 16: Completion of veterinary health certificate (Attachment 1)
Timeframe: Within 5 days before the date of export

  • The veterinary health certificate is Appendix 1 of your import permit.
  • A valid import permit, with a veterinary health certificate completed by an official government veterinarian in the country of export must accompany the cat on arrival in Australia.
  • An official government veterinarian must complete, sign and stamp all pages of the veterinary health certificate
  • Any corrections made to the veterinary health certificate must be struck through, remain legible and be signed and stamped by the official government veterinarian (correction fluid must not be used).
  • An official government veterinarian must also sign and stamp every page of the:
    • RNATT declaration
    • RNATT laboratory reports.
  • Copies can be used, but they must bear the original signature of the official government veterinarian and stamp of the competent authority on every page.
  • It is recommended that you also keep a copy of every document.

Step 17: Travel to Australia

  • The cat must travel in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for cats (see Step 11).
  • In most cases the cat will be checked in at the freight terminal, not the passenger terminal.
  • The cat must arrive in Australia before the import permit expires.

Step 18: On Arrival in Australia

  • Departmental staff will collect your cat on arrival for transport directly to the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility.
  • Cats must stay at Mickleham for a minimum of 10 days. Any issues that increase biosecurity risk may result in a longer stay.