Owning a Cat in Germany: All You Need To Know
Are you considering or getting a cat in Germany? You are not alone! According to Statista, Germans own more than 16.7 million cats and over 34.3 million pets in total.
Cat is the most popular pet in Germany. Every second German household has a pet, and cats are much more common than dogs. Owning a cat doesn’t involve a significant amount of responsibility compared to dogs. In the end, they spend their entire life indoors and don’t endanger people and animals around them.
Moreover, as a cat owner, you don’t pay any taxes and only need to care about the cat food and occasional vet bills. What’s luck! Nonetheless, your cat deserves to live a happy life, so you must care for them in accordance with German standards. Hence, all pet owners in Germany must be aware of the regulations provided by the Animal Welfare Act.
Also read our guide about owning a dog in Germany.
Is Germany cat friendly?
Germany is overall a very pet-friendly and, therefore, cat-friendly country. Cats are Germans’ favorites; there are much more cats than dogs in Germany. In fact, every second household has a pet in Germany, whether it’s a cat or a dog. Pets are among families with children, where 69% of such have one.
Small animals, such as rabbits or guinea pigs, as well as pet birds and fish, are also popular. Overall, 47% of all German households had pets in 2021.
Where to buy a cat in Germany?
There are only three ways where you can get a cat in Germany:
- Animal shelters
- Private online offers
If you have decided on a certain cat breed and want to take in a kitten, then you should seek a cat breeder. Make sure the breeder is certified. Check the following criteria when choosing a breeder in Germany:
- The breeder is a member of a reputable breeding organization
- How many breeds they breed – it should be a maximum of two
- Can you visit the breeder and see the cat’s mom?
- The age of kitten should be at least twelfth weeks old
The clear advantage of getting a cat from a reputable cat breeder is that you will have a healthy and well-socialized kitten without many negative experiences in life. The breeder will also give you advice and tips on how to care for the animal.
The disadvantage of this route is the high price you might pay for an animal.
The animal shelter is a great way to get a cat in Germany. Tierheim or Tierschutzverein can be found across the country. There are many dogs and cats of all ages, sizes, and breeds to be adopted. When getting a shelter cat, you will pay a fee of about 100 EUR.
Private online offers
Nowadays, more and more people buy pets online. That can be private offers from people who just give their cats away due to the circumstances or offer little kittens from their litter.
Make sure you check the source where a cat is coming from and the owner. In the end, you don’t want to support any farm kittens.
Also, the kitten must be old enough to leave the litter. Cats should be allowed to stay with their mother and siblings for at least 12 weeks. Even if it’s a private offer, a kitten should have already been checked by the vet and received all necessary vaccinations.
Here are some popular and trusted websites in Germany:
Moving to Germany with a cat: how and what to keep in mind
Can you bring your cat to Germany? Fortunately, yes, and the whole process isn’t overly complex. Moreover, there is no quarantine for healthy dogs or cats imported to Germany according to proper import regulations.
Most importantly, your cat must have all required health documents, such as an EU pet passport or health certificate.
Nonetheless, moving with a cat to Germany requires a good amount of preparation and planning, depending on the country you are coming from. Here is the checklist of what your cat must have before traveling to Germany:
Also, keep in mind that your cat must be older than 15 weeks to bring it to Germany.
Before bringing your cat to Germany, it must be microchipped. The chip must be ISO 11784/11785 compliant.
2. Check all vaccinations
In Germany, all cats must have these vaccines done: feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus, and feline panleukopenia (feline parvovirus). They also must have additional vaccines against rabies and FeLV (feline leukaemia virus).
3. EU Pet Passport
If you are moving to Germany with pets from another EU country, you only need to show the official EU Pet Passport. EU pet passport lists all the details about you, your cat, and rabies vaccination.
4. Rabies vaccination
Cats and other pets must be vaccinated against rabies for at least 21 days before traveling to Germany. The vaccination must not be older than one year prior to entry. You should also bring a certificate with the results of a blood test that proves the cat is vaccinated. A rabies blood test can be done 30 days after the vaccination.
5. Animal Health Certificate (for non-EU countries)
If you bring a cat from a non-EU country, you will need an additional certificate called AHC. This document is issued by an official veterinarian and essentially is a pet passport.
Similarly to the pet passport, an AHC includes information like the pet and owner details, rabies vaccination details, and a rabies blood test (if required). Keep in mind that AHC is valid only for 10 days after it was issued.
6. Book a flight to Germany that allows pets
To travel with your car by air, you need a pet-friendly carrier. Check prior booking whether the airline allows pets on the plane. Cats usually fly in the cargo sector.
7. Organise import if needed
If your flight is long, or complex, or you simply can’t bring your cat yourself, you will need a pet transportation company to import it into Germany. There might be plenty of carriers in your home country or Germany.
Cat import from the third country
Bringing a cat or dog from a country other than an EU country is more complex and requires more preparation time. A simplified entry procedure exists for a list of third countries; this includes 43 countries and territories, like the USA, Japan, or Australia.
Third countries are: Andorra, Antigua, and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Croatia, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, San Marino, Switzerland, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St. Martin, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, Vatican City, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Wallis and Futuna.
If you are traveling from a third country, you must also meet these criteria:
- Kittens must be at least 15 weeks old.
- Microchip (as above)
- Animal health certificate with proof of rabies vaccination. Initial vaccination must have been done at least 21 days before the border crossing.
- Written declaration by the accompanying person that the animal will not change owners after entry.
- Import is possible only by the direct route.
Cat import from other non-EU countries
Bringing a cat or pet to Germany from all other countries, for example, Turkey, Morocco, Thailand, or China, takes more effort and time. The most important thing you must remember is that you will need rabies titer test results if traveling from a non-listed country. This test must be done at least three months before entry. Here are all requirements:
- Young animals must be at least seven months old.
- Microchip, as mentioned above.
- Rabies titer test results
- Proof of blood test for antibodies against rabies. This test must be done at least 30 days after vaccination and at least three months before entry. Blood may only be drawn by authorized veterinarians. Only laboratories approved by the European Commission may perform the analysis. The blood sample may have to be sent out of the country for this purpose, which requires further customs formalities.
- Animal Health Certificate issued by an officially authorized veterinarian.
- Vaccination certificates or proof of rabies blood test results.
- Registration with customs.
- Written declaration by the accompanying person that the animal shall not change ownership after entry (“Model of Declaration”).
- Entry only via certain airports or seaports.
Allowed locations for pet import are Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Koln, Shoenfeld, Hahn, and Leipzig-Halle.
Renting an apartment with a cat
In Germany, landlords can decide on an individual basis whether they allow pets in the apartment or not. Some might allow dogs but not cats; some let only fish inside. Usually, you will find all rules in this regard in your contract.
Therefore, there might be clauses in the contract requiring approval to keep a pet. If you don’t have their permission and bring a cat home, your rental agreement can be easily terminated and even without a notice.
If nothing is stated in the rental contract, you can assume that cats are generally allowed in the apartment. Keeping pets can not be prohibited in principle. However, the final decision will depend on the landlord.
Overall, finding a cat-friendly apartment is less challenging in large German cities and more difficult in small towns with fewer offers. Nonetheless, many landlords refuse tenants with any pets since they usually have a wide choice of potential candidates.
Cat laws in Germany
Germany’s Animal Welfare Act has set some regulations and general recommendations when it comes to owning a cat. For example, the cat’s living space, hence your apartment, should have an appropriate size.
The general guideline states at least 50 square meters. They also want you to provide a cat with climbing and scratching equipment. If you have two cats in the household, the law mandate a separate litter box for each cat. Plus, the space requirement increases to 60 square meters.
Cat tax in Germany
Fortunately, there are no taxes on cats in Germany (yet). Only dog owners are obligated to pay annual contributions to the government.
Every cat owner should consider pet health insurance for their loved ones. While healthcare for humans is free in Germany, you must pay out of pocket if you go to the vet. However, if you have a cat health cover (Katzekrankenversicherung), it will pay your vet bills!
You can choose between different rates and coverages. Some will pay only for surgeries, while others offer comprehensive insurance packets. You can also opt for a deductible or go without.
The best and most adorable dog health insurance in Germany is provided by Luko (ex Coya) (ENG) and Getsafe (ENG).
For example, comprehensive but affordable cat health insurance from Getsafe includes:
- Up to 100% reimbursement
- Microchipping included
- No waiting period for emergencies
- Daily cancelable
- Including video consultations
English-speaking insurance company Luko offers the following package:
- Coverage of 80% of the cost
- Price: from 5,15 EUR per month
- Coverage abroad
- No deductible optional
- English website and service
On the other hand, you can get insurance from Agila for 5,90 EUR per month. They mainly cover operations, with 80% of the costs reimbursed. With a package that costs 8,90 EUR per month, you will get back 100% of the surgery costs.
Be aware that standard routine treatments such as vaccinations, castrations, or sterilizations are often not covered by insurance. However, it’s helpful if your pet needs some serious treatment like surgeries, where costs can go quickly into thousands.
Moreover, coverage of the cat health insurance includes:
- Veterinary and surgical costs for outpatient, inpatient, and surgical treatments, medication, accommodation, and diagnostics for your pet.
It usually covers:
- Necessary operations and treatments
- Dental treatments
- Hospital stays up to 20 days after surgery
- Necessary medication
- Treatments and emergencies while abroad
Cost of owning a cat in Germany
Owning a cat in Germany isn’t expensive if we don’t consider occasional vet bills. You only need to take care of the cat’s food. That said, owning a healthy cat costs about 50 EUR per month, depending on the food and insurance you choose.
The main financial risk is if the cat gets sick, the costs can go in thousands of euros. You pay between 50 EUR to 100 EUR to visit a vet for check-ups, deworming, and vaccination in the beginning.
A microchip costs between 60 EUR and 80 EUR. At the same time, an EU pet passport costs 25 EUR. If you want to neuter the cat, you will pay between 60 EUR to 300 EUR, depending on the clinic. These are all initial expenses. They won’t occur again.