Deciphering government websites is not my forte. Please help me figure out what my cat needs in order to cross the border from Canada into the US.
I'm moving from Canada to the US in August. My ultimate destination is North Carolina, but I will be entering the states by land via the border crossing at Fort Erie/Buffalo. My cat is coming with. After consulting these three websites
, I know that some sort of documentation is required for my cat to enter the country/state, but for the life of me I can not figure out what, exactly, this documentation is, or HOW and WHEN to get it.
My understanding is that I must prove my cat's rabies vaccinations are up to date, and that a vet has certified him to be in good health. Seems simple enough, but all the info on those websites is so freaking vague and poorly worded that I'm left with the following uncertainties:
- NC " requires that all domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets entering North Carolina must have a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of the date of entry into the state"...does that mean I could obtain this health certificate AFTER entering NC?
- How do I prove my cat has been vaccinated for rabies? Is there an official form I need? Or will a signed letter/document from my vet suffice?
- Here's the really confusing part: The Border Control website says "Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination." Does this mean that I won't
be asked for documentation at the US/Canada border, since federal law doesn't require it? If that's so, how do the state of North Carolina's stricter regulations come into play once I'm in the US? Will I be stopped and asked for documentation when I cross state lines into NC? How can NC enforce their own regulation if the border guards are going to let us in with no paperwork? I'm so confused......
In short, I am looking for your expertise (gained either through experience or through superior government-language-parsing abilities) about taking animals from Canada into the US, and about how state regulations interact with federal ones. I'm certain there are millions of mefites out there who have taken their kitties across the border, so PLEASE tell me how it works. Bonus points for explaining it to me like I'm a not-particularly-bright five-year-old, because that clearly seems to be what I require.