- Cats coming to Australia from group 3 countries 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
- On arrival cats must spend a minimum of 10 days, or a minimum of 30 days at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility depending on the identity evidence submitted with the application (see step 4).
- A government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian must perform all veterinary procedures listed below.
- All testing must be done in an approved country in a laboratory recognised by the government of the country of export.
- 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.
Contact the competent authority in the country of export to find out:
- which veterinarians and laboratories are approved to prepare your cat for export (all veterinary procedures and testing 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, Fisheries and Forestry standard veterinary health certificate.
- How to obtain an identity verification from an official government veterinarian.
The department recommends that you take this information to your government approved veterinarian or pet transport agent to help you understand the requirements.
Further guidance for government approved veterinarians preparing dogs and cats to Australia
Guidance for government approved veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia PDF (157 KB)
Guidance for government approved veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia DOC (124 KB)
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.
- can only be exported to Australia from an approved country
- can only be exported to Australia after 180 days from the date the blood sample for the rabies neutralising antibody titre test (RNATT) arrives at the testing laboratory – steps 5 and 6
- 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. NOTE: Only cats that have undergone identity verification at least 180 days prior to export will be eligible for export while pregnant.
- 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).
Note – in certain circumstances, the Department may permit the import of Bengal cats that are five generations or more removed from their wild ancestor. If you plan to import a Bengal cat, please contact Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your cat satisfies the requirements before you apply for an import permit.
- Cats must be identified by an ISO compatible microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.
- A government approved veterinarian must scan the microchip at each veterinary visit and check that the scanned microchip number is correctly recorded on all documentation.
- If the microchip cannot be read or is recorded incorrectly in the cat's documentation, the cat cannot be imported to Australia.
- 9 digits microchip numbers are not acceptable as they are not ISO compatible or ISO compliant.
- Microchip numbers starting with 999 are not acceptable because they are not unique.
- Approach the competent authority in the country of export to request to have you cat’s identity verified for the purpose of importing a cat to Australia.
- Do this before having blood taken for the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre test (RNATT).
- To be eligible for this pathway your cat must be presented to an official government veterinarian who is directly employed competent authority in the country of export.
- The competent authority will provide evidence of this process directly to the department.
- Cats that have had their identity verified using this process prior to collection of blood for the RNATT (step 6) are eligible for 10 days post entry quarantine upon arrival into Australia.
- Cats that have not their identity verified using this process prior to collection of blood for the RNATT (step 6) are eligible for 30 days post entry quarantine upon arrival into Australia.
- Cats that originate from Australia with evidence of identification on their Australian-issued export certification are eligible for 10 days post entry quarantine.
Please note that the department is engaging with overseas competent authorities to implement this process following the release of the new policy on 12 January.
- Your cat must be vaccinated with an inactivated or recombinant rabies vaccine that:
- was given in an approved country when the cat was at least 84 days old
- is continuously valid, in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions, from the date of vaccination prior to blood collection for the Rabies neutralising antibody titre (RNAT) test up to and including the time of export
- is approved for use in cats by the competent authority of the country of export.
- Rabies vaccines with a three (3) year validity are acceptable if given in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
- It is recommended to wait 3-4 weeks between the date of 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. Your cat’s veterinarian can advise on a suitable timeframe.
- The 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.
Note: The department will not accept amended laboratory reports where the microchip number has been corrected due to an error made at submission.
- 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 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 written 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.
- NOTE: RNATT laboratory reports with an e-signature and QR code are acceptable.
- 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 12 months or 365 days from the date of blood sampling. If the RNAT test is more than 12 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 before the expiry of the existing RNATT (i.e. 12 months).
- 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).
Note: There are no exceptions for dispensations available to this mandatory 180 day waiting period.
- Submit the RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate to an official government veterinarian.
- An official government veterinarian in the country of export (not the Government approved veterinarian – your preparing veterinarian) must 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 that the completed RNAT test declaration states the name of the testing laboratory, not the submitting laboratory.
- 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):
- Rabies vaccination and RNAT test declaration form.
- RNAT test laboratory report.
- Note: The application form will require you to indicate if your cat has undergone an identity verification.
- Additional charges may apply if information is missing, incorrect or if an application is put on hold.
- The import permit will be valid until the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre (RNAT) test expires.
Cats must undergo the minimum post entry quarantine period specified on their import permit at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility in Melbourne. See the Australian Post Entry Quarantine Facilities webpage for further information.
Cats who have undergone an identity check performed by an official government veterinarian the competent authority of thein the country of export, or have originated in Australia are eligible for a minimum 10 days post entry quarantine period on arrival. All other cats are eligible for a minimum for 30 days post entry quarantine. Please see step 4 for more information.
Where a biosecurity officer deems necessary, diagnostic samples may be collected from animals in PEQ, including to verify that the import conditions continue to manage the biosecurity risks associated with the import of animals to Australia.
- 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. IATA guidelines can be viewed at Traveller's Pet Corner.
- There are animal transport companies in most countries that can make arrangements for you. Visit the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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. Continuous protection from external parasites must be maintained until the time of export and treatments may need to be repeated by the veterinarian in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.
- 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.
The cat must be examined by a government approved veterinarian or official government veterinarian and found to be free from external parasites and clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease within 5 days before export. You must bring all documents to this examination.
- 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 report.
- 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.
For further guidance for official government veterinarians preparing dogs and cats to Australia
Guidance for official government veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia PDF (165KB)
Guidance for official government veterinarians preparing dogs and cats for export to Australia DOCX (122KB)
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.
- The cat must travel to Australia in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for cats (see step 9).
- Do not place any items, including toys, medication or items of value, in the crate as they will be destroyed after arrival in Australia as biosecurity waste.
- 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.
- Department staff will collect your cat on arrival for transport directly to the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility.
- Any issues that increase biosecurity risk may result in a longer stay than the minimum period specified on your import permit.
- Where a biosecurity officer deems necessary, diagnostic samples may be collected from animals in PEQ, including to verify that the import conditions continue to manage the biosecurity risks associated with the import of animals to Australia.