Rabies Requirements for Cats Traveling to the United States

Name: Helen
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Cat
Pet Breed: Brindle Tortoiseshell
From: Manchester, England
To: Millburn, New Jersey, USA


Hi There,

We are relocating and taking our cat with us on a flight from Manchester, UK to the US. We arrive at JFK airport but we shall be passing through to Millburn, New Jersey where we will be living. New Jersey State does not require the cat to have a rabies vaccination, but it looks like New York State does require one.

Seeing as we are landing in New York State, do we still need a rabies vaccination? And do we have to have received one 30 days prior to travel or is the week before travel sufficient? We have run out of time now as we travel on May 4th. Please advise.

Many thanks,


Hi Helen,

Thank you for submitting a question to us, we're happy to offer some information. Importing cats to the United States is pretty straightforward, and technically cats do not need a rabies vaccine to fulfill the import process. Take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for further verification. 

As you mentioned, New York law requires that cats living in the state be up to date on their rabies vaccines, but there is a provision in the law that states the requirement does not apply to a pet being transported through the state or that remains in the state 15 days or fewer (source: health.ny.gov). It sounds like you'll be fine to continue on your way to New Jersey.

Many people generally recommend keeping cats up to date on their rabies vaccines no matter what the state laws are (especially if they'll be spending time outside), but it is your choice, of course.

Please let us know if you have any further questions, and if you're thinking about hiring assistance with your cat's move to the United States you're welcome to fill out our online consultation form.

Good luck with your trip!


PetRelocation Team





United States, UK
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