What follows is a copy of an article I wrote for August 2013 edition of MelbThai magazine.
A Cat’s Tale: Monte the ‘meow farang’
A difficult decision faced by many people moving to Thailand is whether or not to take the family pet with them. Our cat ‘Monte’ travelled with us, and I wanted to share a little about what we learnt during that process. Much greater detail is provided in several posts that I contributed to an online discussion thread at http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/88593-importing-a-pet-into-thailand/page-4 (see posts #91, #92, #95 and #114).
The next decision to be made is whether to make all the necessary arrangements yourself, or to use the services of a specialist pet transportation company. The latter option is more expensive, but may be essential if you don’t have a lot of free time and/or the skills and patience needed to navigate bureaucratic ‘red-tape’. Brace yourself, because you’ll need to deal with regulations and procedures mandated by the Australian Government, the Thai Government, and the airline/s of your choice.
Below I’ve listed the key steps to be followed should you choose the Do-it-Yourself route:
1. Obtain an IATA approved cage of adequate dimensions, plus a suitable water container
2. Obtain an animal import permit for Thailand
3. Apply for an export permit from the Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service (AQIS), and organize a time to meet with relevant staff to discuss the process
4. Undergo a pre-trip medical examination at an AQIS accredited vet, including a flea bath and worm treatment. You’ll need to have your vaccination certificates with you
5. Attend a meeting at AQIS to present your papers and collect your export permit
6. Obtain the necessary papers from your chosen cargo company (NB: separate from the airline), including sticker for the cage, air waybill, etc. They will need a copy of both your import permit and export permit.
7. Deliver your pet to the freight depot at least six hours prior to your flight.
- Submit your pet and paperwork for inspection by Quarantine and/or Customs staff at the point of entry into Thailand.
Further information and forms are available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/live/household-pets.html
You will naturally worry about your pet suffering trauma but I can report that our furry companion emerged unscathed. He quickly settled into his new surroundings and was soon discovering the joys of ‘pla tu mow’. Happily he also appeared to pick up ‘pasa Thai’ much faster than his owner, and thus experienced no undue difficulty in communicating with his Thai brethren.
A final factor to consider is that your pet’s journey will probably be a one-way trip. The prevalence of rabies in Thailand means that many countries will only allow the entry of animals (that have been living in Thailand) after very lengthy and costly stays in quarantine facilities in one or more intermediary countries.
Monte lived happily in Thailand and managed to avoid the soi dogs, etc, until passing away in his sleep aged 16 years, lying down at the base of a statue of Buddha.