By Patricia Gordon
Recently I saw yet another posting of a cat needing a new home because her owners were moving. As I gazed at the photo of the kitty I was overcome by a sense of sadness; the cat was 12 years old and probably had been a member of the family for quite sometime. I asked myself, “why can’t they take her with them?” It seems too often some pet owners are too willing to give up their pets when a change in circumstances means they are leaving for new pastures. I find it perplexing that pet owners will go to great lengths to make sure they ship out their table and chairs, but not their pet.
A few years ago I received a call from my mother in Spain; I sensed something was bothering her and then she began to tell me about a young black abandoned, injured cat she had been feeding and nurturing back to health. The problem was, this young cat, my mom name Josh, was too rambunctious for my mom’s aging cat Tigger (another abandoned cat) to handle. The daily taunts by Josh became too much for Tigger and the fights were wearing my mother out! Since a visit to Spain was already in the works I told my Mum I would bring Josh back with me. It was only after I hung up the phone that I began to wonder if that was even possible.
Over the next few days I researched how to bring a domestic cat into Canada. Since most governments post information on the Internet about importing pets, answers to my queries were easy to find. Bringing Josh into Canada was not going to be a problem but now I needed to find out how to do it. I found a pet carrier right in Calgary and the airline explained what I needed to do to prepare Josh for transport
Prior to arriving in Spain I contacted the local vet via e-mail and explained my plan. The vet came out and administered Josh his rabies shot, and as a precaution he was microchipped there. Since we were travelling via Europe I also obtained a pet passport from the vet for Josh. Everything was in order. On the day of our departure to Canada I made sure that Josh was put into his carrier well before we were to leave. To avoid nausea he was to have no food. Josh travelled in the cargo section. I was reassured the cargo area was safe and quiet. It turns out Josh had company since there were 2 other cats and dogs also travelling.
The journey was long, travelling on three planes to get home. When we finally arrived in Calgary I was so a relieved to collect him. Josh was fine except for a bathroom accident, which was understandable for such a long trip. When we finally arrived home, I placed Josh in a kitty friendly room by himself for a few days so he could adjust to the new smells, including my other cats, and recover from his travels. After two days I took him to the vet for another check-up and it wasn’t long after that Josh settled in.
He has been a welcomed addition to the family and became best buddies ironically with the oldest cat, Orwell, who, unlike Tigger, is quite happy to tolerate Josh’s bundle of energy and wrestling sessions.
The costs and time spent researching and preparing for Josh to travel was small compared to the joy of having him as part of the family. It is possible in a few years we will leave Calgary, but no matter where we go, we will be travelling together and staying together as a family – the way it should be.
The above story was published in the winter 2010 edition of CitizenPET under the tilte Josh & Orwell. CitizenPET is a magazine published in Alberta, Canada www.citizenpet.com