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Seafaring Pets

What kinds of shots and papers do I need for my cat when sailing to the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico?

Mark Matthews responds:

When traveling with a pet on board a cruising boat, it's always a good idea to check local regulations before you get there to avoid any surprises. After a bit of researching, this is the information we found, but you should corroborate it by calling the numbers listed here as well.

You can bring a pet into the Bahamas, but you need to make preparations before your departure. You can find a download of the form you'll need at This is the "Application to Import Domestic Animals Into the Commonwealth of The Bahamas." You should also read the pet import requirements. Basically the animal must be six months of age or older. The animal must be accompanied by a valid certificate verifying that it has been vaccinated against rabies not less than one month and not more than 10 months prior to importation. The animal must also be accompanied by a Veterinary Health Certificate presented within 48 hours of arrival in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to a licensed veterinarian for examination. This permit is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. For more inforomation, The Bahamas Humane Society is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (242-325-6742).

In the British Virgin Islands, pets will not be admitted without prior clearance. For regulations on pets entering the Territory, write well in advance to the Chief Agricultural Officer, Road Town, Tortola, BVI, (284-495-2451) or call the Humane Society of the BVI (284-494-2284).

Puerto Rico appears to fall into a gray area. Check with your vet at home or try The Humane Society of Puerto Rico (787-720-9398) for more information.

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