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Cats

General Information

The possession of lions, tigers, cougars, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars and panthers is illegal in the state of Michigan; this includes the importation of these animals, except under special exceptions. Please call MDARD at 1-800-292-3939 for more information.

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Coming into Michigan from Another State (import)

  1. Cats must have an official interstate certificate of veterinary inspection filled out by a United States Department of Agriculture accredited veterinarian in the animal's state of origin.
  • Please note that Michigan does not issue entry permits for cats to be imported.  Therefore, no permit number is required to be written on the interstate certificate of veterinary inspection.
  1. Additional requirements for cats being imported to a registered animal shelter:
  • Cats must be eight weeks of age or older and be currently vaccinated against panleukopenia, herpesvirus-1 and calicivirus.
  • Cats 12 weeks of age or older must also be currently vaccinated against rabies.
  • If indicated, cats must receive treatment for external and internal parasites prior to importation into Michigan, so the cats are not capable of spreading external or internal parasites to another animal when imported into Michigan.
  • The above required vaccinations must be listed on the official CVI including each disease vaccinated against, date(s) of vaccination, and (if possible) date(s) of expiration.  Also, if treated for parasites, the drug given, dose given, and date(s) given must be listed on the CVI.
  1. Additional Requirements for cats being imported to a pet shop:
  • Cats and kittens must be nine weeks of age or older and currently vaccinated against panleukopenia, herpesvirus-1 and calicivirus.
  • Cats 12 weeks of age or older must also be currently vaccinated against rabies.
  • Vaccinations except for rabies must be administered at least seven days before entering Michigan.
  • If indicated, cats must receive treatment for external and internal parasites prior to importation into Michigan so the cats are not capable of spreading external or internal parasites to another animal when imported into Michigan.
  • The above required vaccinations must be listed on the official CVI including each disease vaccinated against, date(s) of vaccination, and (if possible) date(s) of expiration.  Also, if treated for parasites, the drug given, dose given, and date(s) given must be listed on the CVI.

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Exhibition (Show, demonstration or display) Requirements

  1. With the exception of lions, leopards, tigers, cougars, panthers, cheetahs, and/or any hybrid cross of any of these animals, there are no specific requirements for cats moving within the state for exhibition.

    Lions, leopards, jaguars, tigers, cougars, panthers, cheetahs, and/or any hybrid cross of any of the listed animals on display shall meet all of the following:

    a. The public cannot have any direct physical contact with large carnivores.

    b. Large carnivores over 20 weeks of age are required be confined far enough away from the public that the animals cannot pose a risk.

    c. The public is not allowed to touch, pet or hold large carnivores under 20 weeks of age.
    Exception: individuals in possession of a bear on March 26, 2013, or acquiring a business that was in possession of a bear on this date may allow direct contact with bears if the bear is less than 36 weeks of age or weighs 90 pounds or less.

    d. Meet or exceed to the standards in the Animal Welfare Act. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Care at 919-855-7100. Please note the person possessing the animals must possess and maintain a USDA Class C license and reside in Michigan.

    e. Not be bred.

    f. Not be sold, except as approved under state law. For information on when large carnivores can be sold, please contact MDARD at 800-292-3939.

    g. Primary purpose of display is for education or exhibition.

  2. Cats being imported from out of state for exhibition:
  • Cats must have an official interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) filled out by a United States Department of Agriculture accredited veterinarian in the animal's state of origin.
  1. Contact the fair, show, or exhibition authorities for any additional requirements.

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Moving within Michigan (intrastate)

There are no specific requirements for cats moving within Michigan.

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Leaving Michigan to go to Another State (export)

  1. Please contact the state of destination for their requirements.
  2. A person shall not export or attempt to export a lion, leopard, jaguar, tiger, cougar, panther, cheetah and/or any hybrid cross of any of the listed animals to another state or country unless all of the following requirements are met:
  • The import and possession of the animal are lawful in the other state or country.
  • The destination and proposed new owner of the animal have been approved by the regulatory agency in the other state or country having authority to do so, if any.

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International Movement

With the exception of lions, leopards, jaguars, tigers, cougars, panthers, cheetahs, and/or any hybrid cross of any of the listed animals (i.e., large carnivores*), the State of Michigan has no specific international movement requirements for cats. Please visit USDA's pet travel website to check for requirements from other agencies.

*The importation and possession of large carnivores is illegal in Michigan, except under special exceptions. If you are considering the importation of large carnivores, please call MDARD at 800-292-3939 for more information.

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