Shipping a Cat to Thailand From the US

Thinking about bringing your cat with you to Thailand? If you’re like us and consider your cat to be a member of the family, you probably want a rough idea of how to handle this. For anyone shipping a cat to Thailand from the US, here’s an extensive timeline on what you need know, as well as information on the submitted paperwork, medical requirements, and shipping process.

April 2017 UPDATE: This post contains information about shipping cats AND dogs to Thailand. The contact information for Thailand’s DLD at BKK has also been verified to be up-to-date.

01  Identify General Requirements, Restrictions, and Timeline

Look at the basic vaccine and timeline requirements for shipping a cat to Thailand.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Will I be able to afford to transport and maintain proper care for my cat once we’ve arrived in Thailand? We spent over $1000 USD for travel, and now spend about $20 a month on food and litter.
  • Is the breed allowed on the airline? Some snub-nosed cats (and dogs) are not allowed on certain airlines due to difficulty in breathing and possible death due to high altitude.
  • Is my cat healthy enough to travel? A certified veterinarian will tell you if you cat is healthy enough to travel during its health examination.
  • Is my pet too young or old to fly? If a cat is younger than four months, there may be airline restrictions. If your cat is too old, it will not pass the health inspection by a veterinarian.
  • What time of year should I avoid shipping a cat to Thailand? Shipping a cat to Thailand during America’s warm weather months can lead to a higher risk of suffering from dehydration or heat stroke during plane transfers.
  • Will my cat be required to stay in quarantine for any amount of time? Thailand does not need the animal to be quarantined if it comes from a rabies-free country, like the US.

02  Establish a Firm Departure Date

When shipping a cat to Thailand, establish a firm departure date that is a minimum of two months prior to your departure date. Everything revolves around this date. Decide if you want your cat to fly with you or on a different flight and/or day.

03  Buy an Airline Approved Shipping Container

If you are shipping a cat to Thailand as checked baggage or cargo, buy an appropriately sized airline approved shipping container for your pet. It must be able to stand up in the crate and turn around. Look at this guide to make sure your pet stays comfortable.

Shipping container requirements differ if the cat is traveling in the cabin. Check your specific airline for weight and container requirements.

04  Contact a Professional Animal Shipping Company

Professional animal shipping companies offer services such as flight booking, overnight care of your pet, and ground transportation. These are great services as they take much of the stress off your shoulders during your big move. However, when shipping a cat to Thailand, choose a company that is reputable and reliable.

The shipping company should be able to recommend an airline and an airport with pet holding facilities that offer excellent care during layovers. They should be able to give quotes for the fastest and most affordable routes based on your priorities.

Provide the pet shipping company with a pet description, pet weight, shipping crate specifications, departure and arrival airports, and a phone number and address for your emergency contact in the US.

NOTE: Some airlines require the booking to be completed by a professional pet shipper and will not deal directly with the pet’s owner.

05  Vaccinate Your Pet

No less than the 30 days* before the departure date, but no more than one year, take your cat to the vet for all required vaccines and a microchip.

Obtain a paper copy of the rabies vaccination certificate, a list of the administered vaccines, and evidence that the pet is microchipped. Keep copies for your records.

The required vaccines for shipping a cat to Thailand are:

  • Rabies
  • Feline Enteritis
  • Feline Flu
  • Evidence of no intestinal parasites

Vaccines required to ship a dog to Thailand are:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper (21 days)
  • Hepatitis (21 days)
  • Parvovirus (21 days)
  • Leptospirosis (21 days)
  • Kennel Cough (in instances where they will be kenneled)
  • Evidence of no intestinal parasites

*Thailand requires a rabies certification no less than 21 days before entering into the country but no more than one year. However, most airlines and other countries require vaccinations no more than 30 days before arrival.

06  Notify Thailand of Your Intent to Ship an Animal

No more than 60 days  (increased from 45 days) but no less than 7 days before arrival in Thailand, contact Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD) and notify them of your intent in shipping a cat to Thailand. The Suvarnabhumi Airpor (BKK) Animal Quarantine at the DLD can be reached by sending an email to [email protected]. They will send you a list of information to email back to them.

Email the following information to DLD at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport:

  • Completed Import Permit (Form r1-1) by a certified veterinarian*
  • Importer’s passport or identification card*
  • History of vaccinations (vaccination record AND rabies certificate)*
  • Picture of your animal*
  • Address in your country
  • Detail of your animal (such as type of breed, sex, etc.)
  • Approximate date of arrival to Thailand
  • Name of port of exit from your country

Starred (*) items should be scanned and attached as image files.

We were later asked for:

  • Email and phone number of owner or point of contact in exporting country (US)
  • Address and phone number of point of contact in Thailand (we used our pet-friendly hotel’s address and phone number)
  • Arrival date, airline, and flight number
  • Microchip number

A sample copy of our email to the DLD:

Dear Sir or Madame,

I would like to import my cat from the USA into Thailand, departing from NAME OF TERMINAL IN USA on DD MMM YYYY at TIME and arriving at NAME OF TERMINAL IN THAILAND on DD MMM YYYY at TIME.

The cat will be on CARRIER flight #XXX, layover in CITY, COUNTRY, and arrive in CITY, Thailand on CARRIER flight #XXX  (FOREIGN TERMINAL to THAILAND TERMINAL) DD MMM YYYY at TIME.

Information about the cat:
One COLOR with MARKINGS BREED cat.
The cat is NUMBER years old and IS/IS NOT neutered.
His name is NAME and his microchip ID# is XXXXXXXXXX.

Information about the owner:
FIRST NAME LAST NAME
Passport Number: XXXXXXXXX, Expires DD MMM YYYY
USA Address: FULL ADDRESS
Cell phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Email: [email protected]

Respectfully,
FIRST NAME LAST NAME

Once your information is processed, the DLD will email you the Import Permit, which will be on letterhead stating that you are shipping a cat to Thailand.

Print a copy of the Import Permit. Present this Import Permit to the arriving cargo facility in Thailand, NOT to the departing cargo facility in the US. You will also receive a nine-digit account number to be used if you ever contact the DLD Office.

A sample copy of our import permit, valid for 60 days:

Shipping a Cat to Thailand: DLD Import Form

07  Visit a Veterinarian for a General Health Overview

Ten days before shipping a cat to Thailand, a general health overview must be administered. A certified veterinarian must fill out and sign the International Health Certificate, known as the Aphis Form 7001. This form should be available at your local veterinarian’s office.

Immediately overnight the following to your state’s United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) office:

  • International Health Certificate (Aphis Form 7001) completed and signed
  • Photocopy of the rabies certification
  • Check made out to your state’s USDA (ours was for $38 in Virginia, but it varies per state)
  • Photocopy of the cat owner’s driver license
  • Pre-paid (overnight) self-addressed envelope (so that it gets back to you in time!)

Within a week, you will receive the certified International Health Certificate required for shipping a cat to Thailand.

08  The Date of Departure

Bring the certified International Health Certificate (Aphis Form 7001), a copy of your flight reservations provided by your pet shipper, your cat, the crate and travel accessories to the departing airport. If you’re shipping a cat to Thailand via cargo and not in the cabin, go to the cargo facility the day of departure, not the main terminal.

It is recommended to check in three hours before the flight departs, but no less than two hours, on international flights. Although the flight has been booked in advance by the animal shipper, the tickets must be paid for the day of travel.

At the cargo facilities, the shipping crate should include the following:

  • “Live Animal” stickers on each end
  • Food bowl and gravity-drip water bottle that can be clipped onto the inside door of the crate
  • A ziplock bag labeled with your pet’s name and containing several meals
  • A bottle of water
  • A picture of the animal taped to the outside of the crate
  • Absorbent pads to line the bottom of the crate

Whether your cat is flying via cargo or in the cabin, do not give your cat a sedative. Do not feed your cat eight hours before the flight. 

What We Packed for Our Cat

We brought a folder to house our important paperwork for our cat. Inside, we included the required copies of the Import Permit and the International Health Certificate. We also brought a photo of our cat and copies of the rabies certificate and shot record if we needed them.

In our checked bags we packed some cat travel accessories:

  • Ziplock bag of cat litter
  • Litter box liners
  • Large folded down shoe box
  • Wet wipes
  • Fresh towel
  • Food
  • Water
  • Harness and leash
  • Calming treats
  • Toys

Cost of Shipping a Cat to Thailand

It cost us roughly $1050 total to ship our cat. Here is an approximate total cost of a one-way trip to Thailand:

  • $150 medical exam plus up-to-date vaccines
  • $50 hard-shelled airline approved cat carrier
  • $25 x 2 overnight packages (one to the USDA, one from the USDA to return to home)
  • $50 pet shipper fee
  • $750 international flight to Thailand

Pet-Friendly Hotels

These are several pet-friendly hotels that either we have stayed at or friends of ours have stayed at with our pets:

Pet-Friendly Hotels in Bangkok

Pet-Friendly Hotels in Chiang Mai

Additional Information

Suvarnabhumi Airport Animal Quarantine, Department of Livestock Development (DLD) 
Phaya Thai Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10400
Phone:+66 (0) 213-407 312
Email: [email protected]

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