Singapore Expats Forum

Help moving cat

Moving to Singapore? Ask our regular expats in Singapore questions on relocation and their experience here. Ask about banking, employment pass, insurance, visa, work permit, citizenship or immigration issues.

Sponsored by:
The Club Residences

Posts: 39
Joined: Tue, 05 Feb 2013

Help moving cat

Postby WanWanWan » Tue, 05 Feb 2013 8:08 pm

This is my first post after reading some hundreds over the past few days.

My spouse and I are moving to Singapore (probably permanently) in a few months from Australia due to work. We'll both get working visas and apply for permanent residency when the time comes. So far, all our preparations are looking good, except for one thing: our cat.

She is an abused and abandoned cat we found some years ago and have basically nursed back to health. After putting so much time into making sure she is healthy again (and doesn't look anorexic from starvation), we've gotten attached to the poor thing and want to take her with us rather than give her away to a friend.

After pouring over various official sites regarding pet import, I have a few questions for which I cannot find answers online. I will ring officials in Singapore next week if need be, but would rather just find out online.

We are planning on taking our cat in the cargo hold, largely to save costs, but have emailed a few pet Mover places for quotes nevertheless. Oh, and it should be noted that we don't have to keep her in quarantine because there is no rabies virus in Australia, so that helps a little.

1. According to, a pet needs landlord permission prior to arrival. This means my spouse will have to go to Singapore about a month before me, find a place to rent, fax back a permission letter, and then I will get an import licence and all the rest of it to bring our cat over. Is this necessary? There is no mention of needing landlord permission on the AVA website, nor can I find any mention of the officials checking for such a letter. Any advice?

2. The veterinary form at has a section that needs to be filled out by the airline pilot of all people. How is this normally done? Before or after the flight? Is there a process I go through when booking the ticket, for example, or is there a staff member on the plane I need to see? There is no indication of how to go about this! Gaaah frustration.

3. The AVA website also says that, after landing in Singapore, to claim the cat I have to go to the Lost and Found desk and ask them to find her. That seems rather odd. Surely there's a more standard section for pet import than just the old Lost and Found'?

4. If we don't actually need the landlord permission, can we get the import licence and vet stuff done and just fly over together, and then put the cat in a cattery of some sort while we find a place to rent? Or do motels even allow cats, eliminating the need to book a cattery?

Life was so much easier before we had a cat. Still, we can't bring it upon ourselves to give her up after all we've done for the poor old thing.

Sorry for the length of this--I'm verbose. Thank you in advance to any who are able to give answers!

Posts: 21
Joined: Sat, 19 May 2012

Are you sure you want to do this?

Postby nzmarkj » Tue, 05 Feb 2013 9:14 pm

OK, first up, it is possible to import your cat to Singapore, we brought ours in four months ago. We found ourselves in a similar situation: we thought we had found a good home for her, but that fell through, so we had to import her. I have to say though, all in all, its a far nicer environment for a cat in Australia or New Zealand than it is in Singapore: Ours is now an indoor cat as we live eight storeys up. She has adjusted well, but its not the same as she is used to, having access to the outdoors. Even if you do manage to live somewhere with access to the outdoors, the local cat population here are truly wild. On two occasions now, while walking the dog, a wild cat has leapt out of nowhere and attacked him.

And the eye-watering cost is something to behold. It cost us $1300 to ship the cat from New Zealand, even though we avoided paying agents charges at this end (more on this later).

And just before I answer your specific points, it would seem to me it is cheaper to bring the cat with you on the same flight, rather than ship it separately in the hold, if that was what you were intending.

To answer your questions:

1. We never got a permission letter, for either the dog or the cat, and it didn't seem to matter. We did let the landlord know, when we were looking for a place, and in the agreement, just so there wasn't a problem. We applied for the import permit online, and it was granted right away. it does ask for the address. For the dog, applying for the licence, we gave a work address for the permit. For the cat, following later, we gave our actual address. Just beware where you rent: HDB flats do not allow cats.

2. There is a lot of paperwork that has do be done in the right order: From the originating country: Vet clearance from an approved ministry vet, certain flea and worm treatments to be given not later than 48 hours, not less than 24 hours etc. Captain's declarations. Plus, the crate has to be correct in terms of size and water bottle etc etc.: We used an agent to organise this, hence the stratospheric fee. You could ask the airline if they can assist, and do it yourself, but, you have to get this all absolutely right and correct. This is Singapore you are going to, everything must be right.

3. That's very odd advice. To save myself the quoted fee from an agent of $600 to clear the animal this side, I thought I would do it myself. The animal is picked up from the specific Airline Air Freight centre. We shipped ours with Singapore Airlines, so they were in contact with us regularly, confirming when it was due and giving is instructions on where to pick it up.

Got time to read this and save $600? OK. I caught a taxi to the airfreight centre. Problem One: its in a secure area. Taxi waits while I queue to get a security pass: I explain why I am there and they issue me a pass and hold onto my ID card. Taxi then drives round and round Changi Air Freight trying to find the place. After stopping and asking directions three times, we find the office. I wave the taxi goodbye. Big mistake. Go into the office, show them the forms, and they go out the back and get the cat, and a big pile of documentation. Good start. I then have to go upstairs and get something stamped from the airline. Not sure why. Now, its time to take the cat and the paperwork to AVA. Problem. No taxi, the place is a a km away and I've no idea where it is or what it looks like. The manager very kindly offers to drive me there himself. Don't believe all the stories about Singaporeans being unhelpful, I 've found everyone, locals and ex-pats, all very helpful indeed. So out we go to AVA. The vet checks the documents, checks the temperature, stamps everything, and then gives me directions to the customs shed, a km away in the other direction. My helpful Singapore Airlines manager is still willing to chaffeur me around, and drops me off near the entrance and points out a nondescript building which looks deserted, but contains one customs officer who takes the sheaf of documents, does something and gives them back. We are free to go, walking back out through security, dodging the trucks, and then call a taxi to take us home. Ooops, nearly forgot to swap the security pass for my id. Phew. Next time, try and hold on to the taxi.

4. Yes, if you really don't know where you are going to be living, book a cattery. I don't think cats will be welcome anywhere else. Or someone might kindly offer to look after it while you get yourself sorted.

Are you still sure you want to do this? A friend of mine is involved in cat rescue. There are plenty of deserving cases over here.

Posts: 39
Joined: Tue, 05 Feb 2013

Postby WanWanWan » Tue, 05 Feb 2013 10:07 pm

Thanks, nzmarkj!

She's an indoor cat, so not going outdoors isn't a problem at all. She was beaten by her previous owner (who abandoned her about a month before we found her), and she would initially flinch violently and run away to hide whenever anyone raised their hand to scratch their ear or something. It was pretty awful. She's better now, since she doesn't spend literally days at a time hiding under various pieces of furniture, but is still pretty timid and quiet. She likes to sit and stare out the window all day, but is always too afraid to go outside.

No landlord permission letter--good! That makes things easier. We'll book a cattery. Thank you for clearing this up.

I'll see if I can find a site with the requirements for a crate to put her in on the plane. She doesn't mind being caged, strangely. The noises during take-off will most likely be the most unpleasant part for her.

Do you (or anyone else?) know how to get the captain's declarations? I still can't find anything on this.

I think I'll save the $600 and pick her up myself like you did. Thanks for the heads up on all the paperwork and so on. And yes, thank goodness Singaporeans are on the whole helpful and friendly.

User avatar
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 1:07 am

'Prior before your pet import to Singapore you need written permission of your landlord to keep a pet at your home in Singapore.' ... ngpets.php


This seems a ridiculous statement as:-

- Very few people seem to have tenanted accommodation agreed/signed before arriving in SG.
- Usually they would view and choose their own place within their first month of arrival.
- I know a guy who arrived and lived his entire stay in the Marina Mandarin hotel for three years. Who was his 'landlord'... no one.

Go to source. I'd suggest starting at etc

Posts: 39
Joined: Tue, 05 Feb 2013

Postby WanWanWan » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 2:52 pm

JR8 wrote:Go to source. I'd suggest starting at etc

I can't find any reference to needing landlord permission prior to importing the pet on that site, or any other actually. Obviously, landlord permission is required to have the pet living at the property, but it seems that needing it for import is less than factual.

Looks like the only thing I have yet to sort out is how on earth to get the pilot to sign the form. It's still looking hopeless--there is nothing online. Surely they have a standard way of going about it?

On Monday (when I have no work) I'll just ring Singapore directly. Hopefully they will be straightforward.

Posts: 21
Joined: Sat, 19 May 2012

Postby nzmarkj » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 4:32 pm

OK, I've checked my stuff that came with the cat. I think getting the captain's declaration is the least of your worries. Ours isn't signed.

The document is here: ... _CatA2.pdf

I strongly suggest you talk to the airline: they provide the waybill with the details of the animal, they will charge you to transport the moggie (looks lile the charge is about $400. They are the ones that take the animal off you and put in on the plane. They are the ones who sign off the captain's declaration

Now, just to be clear, are you really sure you have everything under control? The things I would be worried about are:

1. Having the cat microchipped, and having the original record
2. Having the full, original vaccination record.
3. Getting the shots at the right time. for example the feline AIDS one has to be done no later than 30 days before the trip
4. Having the right container: it needs to have some mechanism for filling up the water bottle from outside the container, and it need to have the right bedding
5. Having a vet administer and certify the flea and worm treatment just before you go
6. Getting Aus export clearance to ship the animal
7. Getting an official vet, licenced by MAFF or DAFF to sign it off

I would talk to the airline.

Posts: 39
Joined: Tue, 05 Feb 2013

Postby WanWanWan » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 7:26 pm

Thanks Mark. Yes, we've been tracking down as much information as we can at the moment. The vet stuff is the easy part. In my state, all cats and dogs need to be microchipped anyway, so that isn't a problem. And the pilot didn't sign the page on the official form and Singapore didn't mind? Awesome.

This might be helpful to others. At the moment, the schedule looks like:

- book the flight and tell the airline we will be taking a pet as part of our baggage. Find out what type of cat container they specify and get one
- less than 30 days prior to leaving: get AVA import licence online (2 working days clearance; costs $50; valid for 30 days)
- at least 2 weeks prior: get F4 plus chlamydia vaccinations from our local vet (who we have checked with and he is government accredited to do all the official stuff for exporting animals). Also get a new microchip because the current one is over ten years old and not up to Singapore's modern standards
- 2 weeks prior: send notice of intention to export to AQIS and make a booking with them (AQIS = basically Australian quarantine and export) to drop off paperwork. Also contact cattery in Singapore if it looks like we won't have a place to rent sorted out upon arrival
- at least 5 working days prior: contact Singapore Quarantine office to let them know our cat is coming.
- 48-24 hours prior: go to the vet again and get the rest of the health certificate filled out (basically treating for any fleas, GI tract parasites, etc.)
- 24-0 hours prior: drop off paperwork at AQIS (only open on weekdays 9am-4pm annoyingly, so we basically can't fly out on Saturday/Sunday/Monday)
- boarding flight: drop cat off at oversized luggage part of airport with specifically bought container
- in Singapore: follow airport signs or ask for help to work out where to pick up the cat (airfreight centre). Take a taxi and copies of all the paperwork, and be prepared for it to take ages
- take cat to new home/cattery via taxi

It's pretty confusing. I've rung people from various pet moving companies, and all the quotes are for over $2000. Ouch. It's a lot of running around, but otherwise doable, I think.

Posts: 21
Joined: Sat, 19 May 2012

Looks good to me

Postby nzmarkj » Wed, 06 Feb 2013 10:21 pm

Sorry I doubted you, it looks like you did do your homework. I have a container you could use, unfortunately its here in Singapore.....Which means there's probably a few spare ones floating around in Oz. Perhaps tap into your networks to see if someone has one left over. Good Luck

  • Similar Topics
    Last post

Return to “Relocating, Moving to Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest