Herding cats, part 3

We know by reading the waggadventure stats that posts about our three kitties are popular. So, here is another one… documenting some of our most serious “Oh fuck” moments of the days leading up to “airport day”.

This is just some of the paperwork required to take the cats to Wagga. Importing children would have been a lot easier (though much less pleasant overall).

In the few days prior to the UK trip (you know…when the house was packed, loaded and sold within just a few hours of our flight), Lisa was doing a great deal of last-minute prep work to get the cats ready for their trip to quarantine. One of the small details that niggled at the back of her mind was what AQIS calls “Certificate A”. Details about this certificate were sketchy; it seemed ultra-important, yet the (11-page!) information sheet didn’t include this as an appendix or provide many other details. This is a great time to have uber-librarian skills, of course! After a bit of digging she finally found a note on the AQIS website noting that Certificate A was located in the official import document — i.e., the formal approval to import your “quarantine material” into Australia. Of course, each cat has a separate import permit, totaling some 30+ pages of documentation. Did we read it thoroughly at the time we received it? Hell no… we were just getting ready for our trip to Ontario, so Lisa simply marked that as “done” on her lengthy to-do list and moved on.

Well… one should never underestimate the power of bureaucracy! As it turns out, Certificate A involves the following steps for each cat: final check by vet; deworming pill; spray-down for ticks; lots of signatures, dates and details re: vaccinations, etc. All of these must be done within 4 DAYS (!) of export. Now, this is where things get tricky! You may recall, from our last post, that we recently celebrated Canada Day – i.e., July 1st – i.e., exactly 4 days from the export day of July 5th. Being a holiday, vet offices are closed; they are also closed on July 2nd and July 3rd was a holiday. Crap! We had to book the kitties for this lovely battery of checks, rechecks and treatments for the morning of July 4th – the same day they were scheduled to fly to Vancouver!

We're not sure why we had to put Live Animal stickers on this carrier. It is pretty obvious from the way he yells all the time that Lester is very much alive.

Whew – totally dodged a bullet there, we think… but there was more fun to come. On the day the kitties were going to camp for their final visit while we were in the UK, Dan was assembling the big travel crates. He is, as we have pointed out before, an idiot. He can’t read instructions. The instructions say the door hinges are to go into specific holes. Dan looks at the diagram, but not closely, and tries to fit them into another set of holes that are there for the locks. Lots of swearing ensues. Suddenly, he yells – in completely panic mode – “We’ve got a really serious problem here!” Lisa comes running (cats scatter) as Dan jumps up and down and runs around yelling “The doors don’t fit! They’re the wrong size! (expletives removed to protect innocent eyes)”. Lisa, after a brief moment of panic (already pulling up the company name/phone number in the back of her head), remembers that a) Dan’s an idiot and b) Dan can’t read instructions; she inspects things more closely. Aha – just the wrong holes for the door, in fact. Everything works perfectly! Thank you, Dan, for demonstrating that Lisa’s heart is strong; it can take the impact of sudden panic and direct the brain to the state of calm, cool togetherness that this entire process demands.

So, yesterday (July 4th) was the kitties big vet/airport day for the first leg of their journey; we spent most of the morning getting our babies shipped off. We decorated the kennels with “Live Animal” stickers, taped a blanket (smells like home… well, what used to be our home) and some food to the outside of each crate. All of this we did at Calico Hills Kitty Lodge where their surrogate (camp) mom was very sad to see them go! Lester, in particular, is legendary at camp, so all of the employees came to say their last goodbyes (while Lester pawed at Lisa’s leg, hoping to get out of the crate for one last belly rub).

The owner of Calico Hills made these pawprints of our kitties for us. Thanks so much for loving our babies so much - we are going to miss you.

We were told that camp “will never be the same!” without our kitties; we are probably the most regular clients, since we travel so much. We will never be able to replace Calico Hills, but we hope to find something nearly as good as this in Wagga, since we do plan to travel a lot around Australia (and beyond!).

The equivalent of the airport full body scan for kitties. Malachi gets his pre-flight checkup.

The first leg of the journey that we weren't involved in. Lester and Ellie got to ride in the back.

We then transported the cats from Calico Hills (their home away from home) to Whitemud Creek Vet Clinic where they had their final checks and treatments. Then they were picked up by Sandy’s Waggin’ Wheels (isn’t that a great name for a pet taxi service!?) to go to the airport. Lisa looks out the window of the vet and thinks “Oh, an SUV; I think that will be big enough for the kitties 3 crates.”

These dogs in the background are lucky that Malachi was locked in. The vet even has a note on his file that he is big and muscular (feminist figure cat?).

Well, yes… but it was a tight squeeze, what with the 3 large dogs that were sharing the front and back seat of the thing, without any crates, leashes or other controls. They were climbing over the seats, tongues lolling out of their mouths, anxious to meet (eat!) our cats. “No problem… (says, Sandy)… they’re used to cats.” Of course, our kitties are not used to dogs. Even camp is a cats-only facility. Ellie and Lester were loaded into the (dog-free) back of the vehicle, while poor Malachi had to share with 2 of the dogs in the back seat.

So, off they went to Edmonton International Airport and then to Vancouver. As we write this post they are resting comfortably in the boarding facility provided by Worldwide Animal Travel (WWAT – our removal company). Today, they will have a chance to rest up for their final flight, the midnight trek (15+ hours!) to Sydney. We’re on the same flight, arriving early morning on July 7th. According to our contact at WWAT the kitties will benefit from our psychic energy as we travel the globe together. So, if you’re reading this, please send your own positive thoughts to the kitties as they embark on their big adventure.

New blog feature: In the metablog post, we mentioned the Google search terms that were finding our blog. Some of these are pretty hilarious, and we really wonder a) why did they hit our blog, b) what page did they get to, and c) what were they looking for?  So each week we will post 3 of our favourites; please leave a comment to vote on which is best.

Search terms of the week:

  • Latin sweat pants
  • marmots in hats
  • kangaroo and beaver pub crawl

About waggadventure

Canadians newly relocated to Australia.
This entry was posted in Australia, Canada, cats, Moving, quarantine, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Herding cats, part 3

  1. Diana Keto says:

    Obviously Latin sweat pants. Because, what the hell were they looking for, anyway?

    Hope everything is smooth sailing to Australia for you and the kitties!!

  2. Kristan says:

    Helo and I are sending warm thoughts to all 5 of you for your journey!

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