Importing Your Pets to Malaysia


How to import your pets in 8 steps

Few things make a house feel like home more than having your furry family members there with you…or having their hair on your toothbrush and everything else you own. So of course, you’re going to bring your pets along with you when you move to or from Malaysia. They’re your family, after all, and no one gets left behind. It’ll require a little bit of work, but don’t worry, I’ll break it all down for you in 8 easy-to-follow steps. And I’ll provide lots of helpful resources, too.

You can do most of this yourself, with a little help from an import agent to manage the trickier bits, which is the most affordable way to go. Or you can hire a full-service pet relocation company to do it all for you, which offers peace of mind but it’ll cost you more. I’ll cover all the options below, including contacts.

Just so you know that I’m not some robot stringing together links off the interwebs, these are our three cats who we brought with us from California to Malaysia. That’s Waffles (above) in the suitcase. And this is Mango (left), who is the world’s best emergency breakfast alert system. And Long Socks, who wants you to know he’s not fat – he’s “prosperous.”  🙂

When we were moving to Malaysia, I couldn’t find any online resource that outlined the entire process for importing our pets to Malaysia or exporting them from the US, so I got a few “wisdom highlights” (otherwise known as white hairs) while figuring out all the necessary steps. And then I went through it all again when I rescued this adorable dog (below) from a beach in Penang and exported/flew him to a rescue group in California (where he found a great home – that’s him with his new mom).


(Photo credit: Josh Norem)

To save you from incurring “silver streaks of stress,” I’ve compiled all the information here for you and I’ll use examples of our certificates and permits throughout this article. The process is actually pretty easy, and it’s totally worth the effort. Some of the steps may even overlap for you to make things easier, like the health certification/vaccination needs of your export country and that of Malaysia. So let’s dig in, shall we? Here are the 8 steps for importing your pets to Malaysia – scroll down for details on each step:

  1. Start early
  2. Check to make sure that your pets meet the import requirements
  3. Check your airline’s pet transport requirements
  4. Obtain an import permit from the Malaysian government for each pet
  5. Get a veterinary certification within 7 days of your pet’s flight, and a 15-digit microchip
  6. Check with your home country’s Department of Veterinary Services or Department of Agriculture for export requirements
  7. Book the quarantine stay and visit your pets while they’re in quarantine
  8. Arrival procedures

And at the end of these steps, I’ll also break down the costs and list pet relocation companies.

So now for the details…

1. Start early!

Depending on your country of origin, the process can take a few months, and there can also be delays due to vaccination needs, illnesses or errors. So start the process as soon as you know you’re going to be relocating.

2. Check to make sure that your pets meet the import requirements.

There’s no limit on the number of pets you can import, but they must all be a minimum of 3 months old.

Certain vaccinations are required for pets being imported to Malaysia, and that list of mandatory vaccines changes frequently, so be sure to ask your import agent about current requirements. (See point #4 below about how to find an import agent). Note that there may be some special out-of-the-ordinary vaccinations that Malaysia requires for your pet, which may take your vet some time to find. For example, the “horse flu” vaccine for dogs is a recent Malaysian requirement that has thrown lots of people for a loop. So be sure to ask your important agent about current vaccination requirements and get your pets vaccinated as soon as you can.

Also, if you have a dog, be sure to check that his/her breed is not banned from Malaysia – here’s the link: dog breeds banned from Malaysia.

Some of those banned breeds include Akita, Bulldogs and Pit Bulls. (They forgot to include Donald Trump in the banned list, which was clearly an oversight since surely Malaysia doesn’t want to admit a sexist, racist orangutan toddler. But what’s up with banning sweet doggies?!)


There are also “restricted” dog breeds (also listed in the above link), and if your dog happens to be one of them, you can still import your dog by first obtaining written approval from the Director of State Veterinary Services. To do so, you’ll have to write a letter (or have your import agent do so on your behalf) with the following information:

i. Importer’s name
ii. Importer’s telephone number
iii. Breed of dog
iv. Age of dog
v. Sex
vi. 15-digit Microchip ID number
vii. Country of origin (exporting country)
viii. Pedigree Certificate issued by an approved organization in the exporting country which clearly defines the dog’s microchip ID number
ix. Vaccination record of the dog
x. The residence/premise address in Malaysia where the dog will be placed after import

In the letter, it’s critical that you state that the purpose of importing your dog is because your dog is your pet. (I think this is because they don’t want people to bring in restricted-listed dogs for the purpose of breeding them).

Normally, you’d have to submit that letter to the Director of State Veterinary Services via their website, but at the time of publishing this article, their website has been down for several months. So you may need your import agent submit this letter for you in person. (See section #4 for the names/contacts of import agents).

3. Check your airline’s pet transport requirements.

Most airlines have a section of their websites dedicated to international pet travel. Be sure to check for certain key issues, such as:

  • Does the airline require you to have a pet relocation agent? (Some do).
  • Can your pet travel in the cabin with you, or must they fly in cargo?
  • Pet crate requirements.
  • In-crate drinking/feeding kit requirements.
  • Restrictions on animal breeds. (For example, Malaysian Airlines won’t transport any snub-nosed dog).
  • If your flight has an international transfer, will your pet require a transit permit, and if so, will the airline help you obtain that?
  • Fees for transporting your pet.
  • Required forms, and veterinary health records/certifications requirements.


4. Obtain an import permit from the Malaysian government for each pet.

Within 30 days of your pet’s flight into Malaysia, you must get an import permit for each pet from the State Director or Director General of Veterinary Services. You’ll need a licensed import agent to apply for this (see below). Your import agent will let you know what is required to obtain the import permit for a pet coming from your country of origin, such as a current copy of your pet’s health records and vaccinations. Here’s the import permit we were issued:


Here are two really good import agents:


Best Way Global Services
CL Lee

(This is who we used – CL was great! He’s affordable, responsive, diligent and he took care of booking our quarantine stay, too.)

Kuala Lumpur:

CTI Logistics
Phone: +60-12-315-0298

(I’ve heard good things about CTI from friends in KL who have used them to import their pets.)

5. Get a “veterinary certification” within 7 days of your pet’s flight, and a 15-digit microchip for each pet.

Malaysia requires that your veterinarian create an official health certificate with the name, age, description and microchip number of your pet. This must be issued within 7 days of your pet’s flight. Also, be sure that your pet’s chip is a 15-digit international microchip or your pet will be denied entry to the country.

The veterinary certificate must include the following (as per the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs):

A. The animal has been examined and found to be healthy and free from any clinical sign of rabies and infectious or contagious diseases of dog/cat, at the time of examination and certification, prior to export.

B. The animal has been vaccinated against rabies using an approved anti-rabies vaccine, prior to export.

C. The vaccination history status, treatment given and health status of the animal.

The certification must also have records or your pet’s routine vaccinations. For cats, that’s the typical FVRCP series and leukemia; for dogs, it includes distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, hepatitis and parainfulenza.


To be safe, it’s helpful to take the extra step of having your veterinarian include a letter stating that your pet is healthy enough for air travel and that there are no signs of infection or contagious diseases present.

Note: the rabies vaccine must be administered between 30 days to 12 months prior to your pet’s flight to Malaysia. Also note that unlike some countries, Malaysia does not require a rabies titer test for pets entering the country, which is good since that’s a pain in the neck.

Make at least 5 copies of the certificate and vaccination records, one for each of the following: the airline; your pet’s travel crate; transit permit (if flights connect through another country); Malaysian quarantine; and one for you.


6. Check with your home country’s Department of Veterinary Services or Department of Agriculture for export requirements.

In order for your pet to fly internationally, your home country may require you to have an animal export permit, or perhaps even a pet passport. To obtain these, you may need to supply a recent health certificate, vaccination reports and other pertinent information. You’ll probably need to fill out some paperwork, too.

For example, if your home country is the US, the pets must be examined within 7 days of the flight and your vet must fill out, sign and stamp a specific USDA form. Then you have to take that form down to a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services office (or Fedex it there) and pay a small fee, get your application approved and obtain a certification number. Here are links to the government sites of the US, UK and Australia about pet export requirements:

United States

Here is the form that the USDA requires your veterinarian (who must be USDA accredited) to fill out for your expert permit.



7. Book the quarantine stay, and visit your pets while they’re in quarantine.

Pets flying from some countries are not subject to quarantine. At the time of writing this, those countries are: Brunei, Japan, Ireland, Singapore, and the UK. But note that your pets must still meet all the other requirements.

For pets coming from anywhere else, they must be quarantined for 7 – 10 days to make sure they’re “free of infection” (presumably just from rabies, but the quarantine office couldn’t confirm that for me. Just hope your pet doesn’t sneeze or cough during quarantine). There are three pet quarantine locations in Malaysia: Penang, Kuala Lumpur, and Padang Besar. Your pet will need to be quarantined at whichever airport he/she flies into.

You can reserve your pet’s quarantine stay yourself here. Or you can ask your import agent to do this for you. The per-day rate is minimal (see below for full costs). You pay at the end of the quarantine period.


This is a Penang cat quarantine room, which is about the size of a bathroom and is open-air.

You will need to supply your pets with bedding, food, water/food dishes, toys, litter boxes, kitty litter, leashes, etc. The floor of our cats’ room was pretty dirty, so you may want to line the floor with newspaper, too. For cats, I highly recommend bringing them little cat tents (or even just boxes turned on their sides) so they’ll have somewhere to hide and feel safe. It also helps to line their bedding with some of your worn t-shirts so that your pets can be comforted by your scent.


They let all three of our cats stay in the same room together, which helped them feel more comfortable. When you go to visit them, bring some pillows to make *yourself* more comfortable – your backside may go numb sitting on that hard tile for long periods of time!

You will need to do all the feeding/cleaning of your pets, so plan to visit them daily. Daily visits also help to ease their stress. It provides them with so much comfort to see people they love, and it helps them understand that they haven’t been abandoned.

If you can’t visit them certain days, your import agent may be able to arrange a feeding/cleaning service for you.

Here are the addresses and phone numbers for Malaysia’s three animal quarantine centers:

Kuala Lumpur – KLIA Animal Quarantine Station
Jalan Pekeliling 4
64050 Sepang, Selangor
Phone numbers:

Penang – Bayan Lepas Animal Quarantine Station
9583 Jalan Ban
11960 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Phone number: +60-4-6451292

Padang Besar Animal Quarantine Station
02100 Padang Besar, Perlis
Phone number: +60-4-9490230

8. Arrival procedures.

When you and your pets fly into Malaysia, you will likely not see your pets at the airport if they were transported in the cargo hold. The import agent is responsible for meeting your pets at the cargo area, waiting for the DVS representative to come, and then accompanying your pet to the quarantine facility. You will not be allowed to pick up your pet or accompany them to the facility. But if you land during office hours of the quarantine facility, you’ll be able to go and see your pets as soon as they’re checked in, which I highly recommend so you can help them settle in.


While individual costs will vary, here’s what we paid for our 3 cats to be flown from California to Penang, to be imported into Malaysia and quarantined in Penang:

USDA Certification: $38 USD

Flight: $863 USD for three cats on Cathay Pacific

Transit fee for Hong Kong airport: $110

Import Agent costs:

  1. MAQIS Import Permit application for 3 cats – RM220
  2. Custom clearance – RM250
  3. Delivery to quarantine station –  RM  60
  4. Seven days quarantine charge – RM128 per cat
  5. EDI Documentation / Custom document / FCZ –  RM85

Total cost for all 3 cats: RM5043 (about $1260 USD)

…and it was worth every penny to have our three furry family members here with us. They think so too.

Full service pet relocation services

If you decide to go the full-service route, here are some turnkey pet relocation services. Please note that I don’t have any experience with these companies since we only used an import agent, so you’ll need to research the reputability and the costs of these companies yourself:

Happy Tails Travel

Pet Express

Worldwide Animal Travel

Global Paws

Pet Air UK

Snoopy Pets

JetPets  (this one is particularly popular for Australian pet importing/exporting)

Also, International Pet and Animal Transport Association has a database full of pet shippers who are members of their association, which you can access here.

Phew! That was a lot of info!

Please let me know if this article is helpful to you, and feel free to ask me any questions you like. Before we moved, I was super stressed out by the thought of hauling our cats to Malaysia and was worried that we’d have to jump through a ton of hoops to make it happen. Our little guys mean the world to us and this process scared the pants off of me. But thanks to thorough preparation, it all turned out fine for us, and I’m sure it will for you, too.


It didn’t take Long Socks long to put the memory of flights and quarantine behind him and get on to his primary mission in life: claiming all soft, horizontal surfaces as his own, and covering all household objects with fur. (Mission accomplished).

57 thoughts on “Importing Your Pets to Malaysia

  1. Gosh… you are a super star to bring all that info together. I only wish we had moved a few months later than we have done, so i could profit from all your hard work.
    Bringing our two dogs from the UK, we had it a little easier (re no quarantine restrictions;) but I do agree with the sentiment that it is not a difficult process to organise yourself, just long winded, so starting early is a very very good idea.
    I would also add, that KAR pet location were wonderful at sorting out the necessary Malaysian import licences :
    Sri Kuhan Karpayah
    Pet Travel Consultant
    +6012 218 7020

    • Thanks Drusilla! Sorry I didn’t publish this post while you were planning your move here, but I hope it’ll help others in the future! Did KAR just handle import licenses for you, or did they do more full-service/turnkey pet relocation services for you? I’d love to add them to the post, but I want to figure out the section in which to add them: either as an import agent, or a pet relocation service.

  2. Fabulous information I’m thinking to make the move out of Malaysia with my three Malaysian dogs and I must admit I was finding the thought of moving them daunting , so this is extremely useful thank you

    • Thanks Elaine! Would you like me to do a post about exporting pets from Malaysia? The process is similar to importing pets here, but I found a few differences when I was exporting a dog I rescued here (and sent him to a rescue group in California since I couldn’t find him a home here).

      • As the parent to 2 cats who will at some point relocate to the states, any info on how to export pets (cats) would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for putting all this together!

  3. Thanks for the info. Very, very informative.
    We have MM2H but still haven’t made the move from Japan yet!!
    Unfortunately, we lost our golden this year and only have the one house cat now… 🙁 but we were VERY worried about the heat for our dog… I’m guessing our cat will love it there… Hot, hot, hot!
    Thanks again and give Long Socks a scratch from us.

    • Hello, I saw that you said you are moving from Japan. I also going to move from Japan to Malaysia. Can i ask a few question? What airline do you use and do you transport them in cabin, excess baggage or cargo? Plus, do you board the same flight as them? Do you translate all the documents in to English from Japanese. Thank you.

      • You’ll need to talk with one of the pet import/export agents. The ones I mentioned in the story are really good and very reliable. They’ll be able to help you out with the details, get your pets’ flights booked and fill out all the paperwork for you to make sure you get an import permit prior to coming. 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I’m currently organizing a move from New York back to Malaysia with my rescue cat and the step-by-step information with expected costs breakdown is so helpful. I hope you don’t mind if I share this post with others in the same crate.

    • So happy that the post is helpful to you, Shazana! Please feel free to share with anyone else who needs the info. And please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Good luck with your move! (And good for you for adopting a rescued cat – all of ours our rescues too.) 🙂

    • Hi Shazana, would you mind sharing what airlines did you/will you be taking to transport your cat? I’m in DC and planning to move back to KL soon as well

      • Just to add to the list. I’ve found a full service agent to help me relocate my cats from Penang to California. They’re Malaysian-based and only do pet transfers to/from Malaysia, but they’ve just transferred the cat of a friend from here to NYC and she raved about how wonderful they were.

  5. Dear Cimeron, Thanksssssss so very much for your very helpful article, I have did a lot of research about relocate my dog since 7 years ago, very hard to find sources, until 5 years ago, so happy to see a blog “Import pets to Malaysia”, sound very easy, but soon after that, message I found / learned, every year some new process coming up………..
    I plan to bring my dog to Penang Malaysia on June 20 2017, I have a question about obtaining the “health certificate” (I believe same as what you said “veterinary certification”) from my dog’s vet.
    According to my vet’s schedule, he schedule the appointment for us to pick up health certificate is June 8 (he said within 7 to 14 days before our departure date), then we have enough time to get endorsement for the Health certificate from the USDA within 7 days before departure date!
    I read your article noted #5 and #6, “veterinary certification” and “USDA” endorsement must obtained within 7 days of the flight!? if this is true, then I must reschedule the appointment any day between June 15th to June 20? please kindly advise
    Thankssss and have a nice day
    Yew-Keng Lim

    • Very happy that you find this article helpful! When we were importing our cats, the requirement was for the vet visit and health certificate to occur within 7 days of travel. But as you say, things change all thelse time. So definitely check with the USDA and also with your Malaysian pet importer. Good luck with your move! 🙂

      • Thanks Cimeron, I did verify with my pet importer, is between 7 to 14 days before departure date! and USDA endorsement within 7 days before departure date.
        Now is time for me to prepare dog crate! based on your experience, can you please outlined the way to prepare carte (did you leave some treat inside the crate for your dog you rescued and how did you prepare water for your rescued dog ? any toy? ext….ext….). and what is the procedure on the departure day at the airport when you shipped your cats? Did the airline issue any airway bill? how did your importer receive the AWB?!
        Best regards!

      • There are several important things to do to prepare your pets’ crates: 1. Line the bottom with several “piddle pads” (super absorbent puppy training pads). 2. Affix a pet watering bottle to the outside of the cage with the nozzle pointed in (and get your pets used to drinking from these watering bottles prior to the flight). 3. Buy heavy-duty zip-ties to secure the heck out of the carrier, tying up the gate to the crate, and the top of the crate to the bottom. This makes sure that even if a bolt comes loose, your pet won’t get out. 4. Exercise the heck out of your pet before the flight – play a ton, walk many miles, and get them to eliminate as much waste as possible so that they won’t soil their crates too badly. 5. Put a full day’s worth of food in there with your pet. 6. If your pet likes toys, put a couple in there as well. 7. For cats, I sprayed the cages down with a calming pherimone product to help soothe their nerves.

        Departure day procedures vary per airline, so be sure to call your airline’s cargo department to talk with them about their particular procedures for shipping pets. For ours, we had to take our cats to their cargo department about 3 hours before the flight and they prepared all the airway bills, inspected the crates to make sure they met the airline specs, and took payment for shipping our animals. In Malaysia, our importer met our cats at the airport and took them to quarantine facility. It was after-hours, but they let me meet them there so I could set up our cats in their quarantine room. I brought them their favorite bedding, hidey tents, food, treats and toys to help make the quarantine room more familiar and comfortable for them. I also brought them pet wipes to clean them down, which was a really good thing to do since they’d gotten a bit filthy en route with all the food, water and waste sloshing around in the crate with them.

        I hope this helps!

  6. Thanks Cimeron for all your valuable advises, I learned a lot from you!
    I had change all the crate bolts, nuts from plastic to metal, I had trained her to drink water from her
    20 oz reversible drinking water bottle, I put 2 layers of absorbent pad plus a thin goose down bedding, her favorite toy, ………..hopefully all these will make her fell less stress!
    Already make an appointment with USDA to have our Malaysia Health Certificate endorse on June 15th……Now I am waiting for the import permit from our pet relocation agent, then everything will be set
    Thankssss again and have a wonderful day
    Yew-Keng Lim

  7. Please help!!

    We were all set to relocate our dog from the UK to Malaysia, when I saw that Malaysian airlines (who we have our flight booked with currently) will only transfer dogs to Malaysia via Air Cargo, and not as checked baggage. Is this the case with all airlines, or only M.A? Do you know if dogs are accepted in via checked baggage on other airlines? From what I am reading, they are only accepted as air cargo (but I cannot work out whether this means a designated air cargo plane, or if checked baggage counts as air cargo!?). I thought I had it all sorted but it seems not!

    I hope you read this, even though its an older thread.

    Many thanks!!

    • Hi Hanna,
      Most airlines will only fly animals in cargo. You don’t want them to be considered “checked baggage” – pets need to be in their own special cargo area of the plane that’s temperature controlled, monitored for their safety, and secured so their cages don’t bounce around or get crushed by other baggage. You’ll need to book a place for your dog by calling the airline’s Air Cargo division, and they will give you their list of requirements for the carrier and paperwork. and I hope that helps!

      • Hi Cimeron,

        Thank you so much for your article. You are a hero to so many parents like us. We are planning to move back to Malaysia from Chicago later this year and we are planning to bring our cat with us. Do you know if cats are allowed to travel in the passenger cabin as opposed to in the air cargo? Meaning that having the cat in the carrier bag, which is placed under the passenger seat in front of my seat. Is this allowed by the Malaysian immigration office if the airline allows it?

      • Hi Ali! Last I checked, all animals coming from the US to Malaysia must travel in the pet cargo hold. But just in case something has changed, talk with your airline’s cargo department. If your cat does have to fly in cargo, don’t worry, everything will be ok. Our 3 cats made it just fine, and two are seniors. I hope your move and your cat’s flight goes well!

  8. Thank you so much for providing these information.
    I also going to bring my cat home in Malaysia from Japan.
    Luckily I live in Penang much much easier for relocating.
    Only I have a few questions, my cat from Japan doesn`t need quarantine but I`m moving home alone so is there pet hotel I can ask the import agent to check in them? Or can I have them stay in quarantine places as they might arrived before me?

    • Hi there,
      There are lots of boarding facilities that can house and take care of your cat until you arrive. You will need to arrange that with your import agent. I don’t know of all of the boarding facilities in Penang, but here’s one that many of my friends use and really like – it’s called Bark and Purr in Tanjung Bungah:

      I wouldn’t recommend having your cat stay at the quarantine facility because it’s a pretty ugly place that can be stressful for pets, and they don’t take care of pets there, so you’d have to hire someone to go there and take care of your cat.

      I hope that helps!

      • Hi Cimeron, Thanks for your excellent article. My wife and I are looking to bring our two cats from Hong Kong to Penang. I was just reading your last post…. so we don’t need to leave the cats in Penang Govt quarantine? That is good news. Do you know what the alternatives are? Presume you can’t quarantine them in our apartment?. We are coming to Penang tomorrow for a week, so if you are around would be nice to have a chat. I don’t have a mobile number as yet but will get one and advise you.Thanks again. Marc

      • Hi Marc! Pets being imported from most countries are required to be quarantined for a week (or sometimes more). You’ll need to check to see if Hong Kong is one of the places of origin requiring quarantining. If it is, there’s no alternative for quarantine. I tried getting them to allow me to quarantine our cats in our condo but they wouldn’t agree to it. But our 3 cats did fine, especially since I visited them in quasrantine every day (which I strongly recommend – it significantly reduces their stress). Unfortunately I’m traveling right now so I can’t meet up with you in Penang – sorry! I recommend that you contact the Penang import agent I listed in the article and meet up with him – he’s a huge help! Best of luck with your move. 🙂

  9. Hello there,

    That’s a huge PHEW thank you for bringing all of those information to us. I want to bring an update to the information you provide here. I’m going to go with Peggy because her answers were really quick ! But, her company charges around RM 400 for the feeding and grooming. I said that I could do it myself, but it seems like the rule changed and a pet owner is no longer allowed to feed his pet. The up-mentionned fee is now compulsory.

    All the best to all pet owners and lovers who take their beloved furry companion to Malaysia !

    • Mine were transported in cargo with Cathay Pacific. As far as I understand it, unless an animal can travel in the cabin with you, all pets must fly “cargo” since there is a special pressurized, temperature controlled pet cargo area that ensures a safe flight for them. (The baggage area wouldn’t be safe for pet crates due to crush risks, lack of temp control and pressure.)

  10. Hi
    As a cat owner, this is great information. One of my biggest worries on moving to Penang has been how to move my cats. Like most people with pets, they are our children. I am curious how you handled giving them a “bathroom” break? I moved my cats from New York to California and with all the time in the carry on bag, they soiled it. Maybe a crate is better because you can add a small litter box?

    • That was our biggest worry too, Jana! Our cats are all older, and they did just fine…even though one of our flights got cancelled and the total journey was more than 40 hours for them. As for bathroom breaks, I asked the airline if I could put a small litter box in their carriers, but they said no – the litter would get everywhere. Instead, they suggested putting in a few layers of “puppy piddle pads” in their carriers. That worked really well.

  11. Cimeron, First, bravo for taking your kitties with you! I work in cat rescue and I can’t tell you how many pets are left behind when owners move out of the country. At some point, I will be moving to Penang (from California) and will be taking my kitties with me. Your article was excellent! I have two questions, did you find a direct flight or did you need to change planes? If changing planes, how many times and how worried were you about the cats being re-boarded onto the correct flight? That is my biggest fear. Lastly, did each of your cats have a separate crate or were they together in a large crate? Thanks much!

    • Hi Lynn! Nice to meet you. I too have been an animal rescuer for many years. Our furry family members will come will us wherever we go, because of course, they’re family! To answer your question, from California, there are no direct flights to Penang at the moment – hopefully that will change in the future, but my guess is that it’ll be many years off. We flew on Cathay Pacific from SFO to Hong Kong to Penang, and yes, there was one plane change. Every other day, they have a short connection time through Hong Kong (and the other days, the layover is about 7 hours). I chose the short layover flight, but unfortunately, our first flight was delayed and we landed an hour late. The flight crew was super helpful – they said I could make the connection to the Penang flight, but our cats couldn’t. So I asked them to get our cats, me and my luggage on the following flight, which they did. That was a stressful layover, as I was really worried about our cats and whether or not they’d make it on the next flight. Luckily Cathay handled everything really well, and all of us made it on the next flight. Phew! Door to door, my cats were in their carriers for about 40 hours, and they all did fine. I, on the other hand, was a wreck. 🙂

      All three cats were in separate carriers, and I’m glad we did it that way. Our vet recommended it, as did the Cathay cargo people, because if there was turbulence and the cats were together, they could have hurt each other. Plus, you never know what an animal will do under stress – it might lash out at whatever is nearby, including a furry friend. It’s safest to have them separate.

      When you get here, send me a message and we’ll meet up! Sounds like we’ve got a lot in common. And in the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to ping me here or on Instagram (which is also “OhMYExpatLife”). Best of luck with your move! 🙂

      • Thank you Cimeron. I appreciate the response. And the invite! Not sure when I will be making the actual move. I will visit first and we can connect then. That visit will be sometime in 2018. Hope to meet you then.

  12. i would like to enquire more about bringing your pet from California to Malaysia. I going to bring my both dog from California to malaysia early on Dec 2017. Today i only bring them for rabies vaccination but i would like to know more about the step . thank you

    • Hi Soo Wan. I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand your question. If you’re asking for the steps for bringing your pets from the US to Malaysia, you’ll find all those steps within this story. 🙂 Best of luck with your move!

  13. Hi Cimeron, remember you gave me some valuable advices of the procedures to bring my dog back to Penang! My dog Foxy was back to Penang smooth and safe since June, she is very happy and sound. She already adjusted in our new home. She plays ball two times a day in our small garden, sometime she even plays ball with our neighbou’s kids, those kids are so amazed that Foxy can play ball like a football player and said that : no wonder dog from America is so different! :))
    Once a while we my sisters will bring her out to the seaside for a walk and to a pet friendly restaurant.
    Now I am back to San Francisco and prepares for the next year final move.
    Once again, thanks so very much for all your kind help!

    • I’m so happy to hear that, Yew-Keng Lim! That’s wonderful news that your dog Foxy did so well with the flights and quarantine and that she’s now happy in Penang. Thank you for letting me know that the story helped you and Foxy – that made my day! 🙂 Good luck with your big move here! I’m very jealous you’re in San Francisco right now – I miss sourdough bread soooo much!

      • Hi Cimeron, Sourdough bread,! Ummm Yamyam, my favorite too, do you know Boudin Bakery just at the other side of the street of where I work! 😂

      • I used to go there all the time when I worked in SF! But my all-time favorite sourdough bread is made by Tartine Bakery in the Mission. If you haven’t been there yet, definitely go – their bread is absolutely unbelievable. Oh man, I’m drooling just thinking about it…

  14. Good afternoon Cimeron, do you know, Boudin Backery sourdough bread is already satisfied my palate 😒! You are truly a gourmet, I heard about Tartine Bakery before! Very famous, But never tried! I think i must at least try once Tartine Backery sourdough (not other) before I leave SF! Hahaha

  15. Hi Cimeron
    Thanks for such a hugely informative blog! I am currently trying to bring two dogs I adopted in Phuket to Australia but they have to spend some quarantine time in Malaysia before entering Australia. I’ve had a quote from Jetpets to do the whole process from Thailand to Australia which is stupendously expensive (over $20k US) but reading your blog has helped explain some of the costs…
    They are required to undergo preliminary quarantine on entering Malaysia (and one is a cross G Shepherd/Corgi so there’s extra regulations involved for her) and I presume the pet agent will do the caring for the dogs while in quarantine (the feeding, cleaning etc you mentioned) but my main concern is where they will be kennelled for the couple of months afterwards. Jetpets won’t tell me where they would be kept, and I’ve Googled dog kennels in KL and there are very few, and they look horrendous…. would you be able to provide me with any ‘insider info’ on the kenneling options that might be available for them in KL? (they apparently can be privately boarded once out of quarantine, so maybe that would be a better option, although Jetpets doesn’t seem open to any ‘discussion’ on alternative kenneling options…)
    So I would much appreciate any advice you (or anyone else in Malaysia) could help me with on this. Cheers, Michelle

    • Hi Michelle! So sorry for my delayed response. For some reason, my blog stopped sending me notifications of messages to my email inbox, so I was wondering why things have been so quiet for a while. 20k is an absolutely insane quote for doing the transport and import of your dogs – it’s disappointing to hear that pet relo companies are trying to mark up the prices so stupidly high. To answer your other question, unfortunately since I live in Penang, I don’t have any experience with the kennels in KL. But try contacting CL Lee – the import/export agent I list in the story. He’s the guy we’ve hired for importing and exporting our pets and he’s super honest, very knowledgeable, quite affordable and super professional. I bet he’ll be able to give you some advice. Just let him know I sent you and he’ll give you extra special treatment. (I don’t get kickbacks or anything – he’s just a really nice guy and he knows that I’m a decently nice person too. So when he knows that a friend of mine is coming to him, he’s always happy to work with them). Best of luck!

  16. We used to have that held a wealth of information about moving (and other cat-related stuff).. unfortunately the forum closed down! and a few blogs that have written about the process also were deleted. thanks a lot for this post <3

    • Happy to help! When we moved here, there was pretty much no information online about importing pets, which drove me nuts and made it really challenging for us to bring our cats over. I didn’t want anyone else to pull their hair out like we did, so I’m happy this is helping people!

  17. Hi Cimeron,
    We have exchanged info previously. I have a question on the cat quarantine. We are bringing 2 cats in July. both are persian breed (very heavy fur) cats. Are the quarantine areas air conditioned? I am extremely concerned about them over heating. Also, did you feel that the quarantine attendants were caring for the cats? I know you have several and am sure you were concerned that were under good care (clean water, clean litter, fresh food, etc) Any additional insight on this area would be appreciated

    • Hi Jana,
      In the Penang quarantine facility, it’s open-air with metal grates – not air conditioned. It’s well shaded though, and air flows through freely, so our cats didn’t overheat. But for Persians, you may want to get them lion-cuts to keep them cool. And no, the quarantine staff did not care for our cats at all. I don’t think that’s their job, actually. It’s up to pet owners (or an agent appointed by the owners) to take care of their pets every day. To keep our cats comfortable and make sure they didn’t feel abandoned, I spent multiple hours each day at the facility with them. It was also my responsibility to feed them, clean their litter boxes, change their water, etc. So unless things have changed dramatically in the past couple of years at the quarantine facility (which I seriously doubt), you’ll need to care for your kitties yourself or pay an agent to do so on your behalf. I hope that helps!

      • I am planning to relocate my two cats this summer or fall to Malaysia from US. Im so confused tho. Aside form all the other stress of this , how does one get the health certicate within 7 days and purchase airfare?? What I mean is , if I purchase my ticket now ( which would be less expensive) but the health certificate doesnt quite get approved withinn the 7 days, ….. any info on this. Or advice, etc?? Thank you so much!!! Tara

      • Hi Tara, I purchased the airfare for our pets well in advance. You need to book in advance to make sure they get a place in cargo. When I purchased their airfare, the airline we used was fine with me providing a copy of their last health checks (a few months before), which verified that our cats were real and healthy. Then within 7 days of the flight, we took them all in for the health certification that’s required for export, import and for the flight itself. I hope that helps! Good luck on your move. 🙂

      • Hi Wayne, I employed CL Lee as my export agent for Singa to be exported to Penang to San Francisco (and also used him as our import agent when we first moved here with our cats). The cargo cost to ship Singa from Penang to SF was 3823.40 ringgit. I can’t remember how much I paid CL Lee for his services and never kept the receipt, but I remember that it was very, very affordable.

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