As you all know by now, we were fortunate enough to bring our cat with us to Shanghai. We knew that having her along for this journey would help make Shanghai feel like home. Plus, I told Matt I wasn't going unless she was. While not too hard, there were a number of steps we had to take in order to bring our favorite furball with us.
First, I should mentioned that we did contract a pet relocation company to help us figure out the logistics. While I am pretty sure we could have navigated the import process on our own, we both felt better knowing someone else was helping us along the way.
In order to bring Snowball into China, we needed two forms of paperwork: a rabies vaccination record and an international health certificate. The requirements for each of these were fairly specific.
The rabies record was easily obtained from our usual veterinarian. Animals entering China must have received a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before your departure to China and no more than 1 year prior to entry to China. Thankfully, our cat had been to the vet in November for her usual shots and was fully covered for her rabies requirements.
We also obtained an international health certificate, which was needed by the Chinese government upon our arrival. We were provided this document by our relocation company. No more than seven days prior to leaving, we had to have Snowball examined by our vet to ensure she was in good health. Once the vet had signed our international health certificate, we sent the form to the USDA office in Albany, NY. Once the USDA had certified her certificate, they shipped the form back to us. While not a hard process, we only had a short timeline to complete this form.
There are a number of ways to actually transport your pet into China. You can ship them as air cargo, you can check them as excess baggage, or like us, you can carry your pet onto the plane. Just not in your actual luggage as my cat apparently thought.
Once we arrived in Shanghai, we had to take Snowie and the certificates to the Plant and Quarantine Office. Because we had used a relocation company, our agent took care of the quarantine fee (about 1000 RMB per animal) and had already provided copies of our information to the quarantine officials. After a quick photo shoot of us and our cat (to ensure she was returned to the proper owners), we had to leave Snowball in order to complete her mandatory quarantine. All pets are required to be quarantined for 30 days. The first 7 days are completed at a government quarantine facility. After the initial 7 days, if the animal is approved as healthy, home quarantine may be allowed for the remaining 23 days. Thankfully, the vet gave Snowball the stamp of approval to come home to us after one week. While we certainly did not love the idea of being away from her for a full week, our pet relocation company checked on her each day and reported back to us in order to let us know she was okay.
And how is Snowball doing now that her entire 30 day quarantine is up? Well, you can be the judge.