Comfort creatures: Herding cats – the homecoming edition, Part 1

This is a song about being happy! Feel free to listen to it as you read.

Our family is finally all together here in our new home. Our kitties arrived yesterday, after a month in, as MO calls it, Kitty Gitmo (aka Eastern Creek Quarantine Station).

In preparation for the homecoming, Dan went down to the council office last week and rego-ed the cats.  We’re opposed, in principle, to having to license cats that never leave the house. They aren’t going to get lost, they aren’t causing problems in the neighbourhood. They will never need to be rescued. In London, we rebelled against registering them when a bylaw came in saying we would have to do it. We gave in when an animal control guy came to our house and told us to…they were actually driving around looking for unlicensed pets, and ours were sitting in a window.

Wagga airport doesn't have a really complex cargo system! We asked in the terminal about where the pick-up area was, and were told just go to where the luggage trolley was. Our cats were first to be unloaded.

In Edmonton, when we first arrived with Dexter and Simone, we didn’t license them. They weren’t microchipped, and it would have cost a lot of money because of that. Our vet was very opposed to that law (spoke at city council several times as it was being debated), and offered to write a letter saying that they couldn’t be chipped “for health reasons”, and because they lived on the 21st floor of an apartment building, it was kind of unnecessary – if they ever got out, they would be dead from the fall anyway. In the end, we just didn’t bother. If an inspector in a helicopter saw them on the 21st floor, we would give in! Ellie was registered by the Humane Society when we got her, and by that time we just gave in when we got Lester and Malachi. Each year, we renewed their licenses.

Registering them here in Wagga was easy. Dan just took in their medical history to prove that they are chipped and de-sexed, and paid $40 per cat for a life-time registration. Not necessary, in our opinions, but when in Wagga, do as the Waggans do (who we assume must all have their cats properly registered). The stupid thing about the whole process was that because Lisa was listed as the client on the paperwork from Whitemud Creek Vet Clinic in Edmonton, she is the ‘license holder’ here; Dan wasn’t allowed to put his name on the form. He was allowed to sign on her behalf, and they were quite happy to take his money though.

The Qantas cargo lady drove the luggage trolley to the pick-up area, where we collected our kitties. We thought of asking her to drive them across the parking lot to where our car was. The locals enjoyed saying hello to the cats as they grabbed their bags (we wish the Daily Advertiser had been there to take photos for tomorrow's paper!).

Ellie, Malachi, and Lester were released on Saturday, but because Wagga is a small town with a small town airport that doesn’t receive pets on weekends, they had to spend a couple of nights in boarding in Sydney (Kitty Kingdom!). And then on Monday morning they got shuttled to a lounge (did it have a pancake machine?) at Sydney Kingsford Airport where they awaited boarding. Then they were loaded onto Qantas flight 2225 that brought them to Wagga. Lisa stayed home from the office that morning and we met them at the airport.

Out of the entire voyage, this is the part of the trip that might have been causing us the most angst. We haven’t really spent any time with them since June 5, when we dropped them off at Calico Hills. We know that they were extremely well cared for there…Camp Mommy loved them.  Their shuttling and flights (YEG to YVR, YVR to SYD) would have been odd, but at least the planes would have been large. From SYD to WGA they were on a propeller-driven paddock hopper.  Based on our experience on that flight, it would have been loud and bumpy. Humans know what they are doing; cats, however, have no concept of commercial airline travel… It must have been very confusing for them. And, there was a dog in cargo with them, too. At least they didn’t have to negotiate SYD’s multiple terminals on their own.

Lisa getting reaquainted with Malachi. We've only seen them for a couple hours in the past 2 months, while they were having their final checkup in Edmonton on July 5.

We were quite happy with the care they received at Eastern Creek. Lisa had the mobile number for Rachel, their appointed care-giver (aka Gitmo Mommy), and called weekly to check on them. They were eating well, and being their normal selves. Rachel could describe their personalities to a tee: Lester was happy-go-lucky, mischievous, and wanted to play with the water; Malachi was cool, aloof, and generally friendly on his own terms; Ellie was extremely loving (wait – she’s normally a bitch to Dan! Hmm…). Rachel said she will miss them.

The biggest problem at EC was that they didn’t have their blankets. We had purchased some for them, and taped them to their crates when we prepped them at Calico Hills on the morning they departed from Edmonton. Somewhere along the way between Edmonton and Sydney, however, they got lost. The people at Eastern Creek were nice enough to find some old pillow cases and other blanket-like items for the trip here though, so at least the carrier wasn’t completely hard. Sadly, they didn’t have anything that smelled like home for the 30 days in quarantine. Just three mice, thanks to M&H… which Gitmo Mommy was happy to throw into the crates, so they can enjoy them at home now, too.

During their 2 month separation, Ellie almost forgot how much she hates Dan.

The airline approved crates, which we wrote about in earlier posts, were too big for our car. We purchased 3 smaller, soft-sided carriers to bring them home in; these are much nicer for them, and they will get used for trips to the vet. We’re not sure yet what we are going to do with the other ones. Maybe they will be donated to an animal rescue group, or maybe we will try to sell them. We won’t need them again…we aren’t going through this again!

So, our little family is back together. In a few days, we’ll post Part 2, about how we prepared for their arrival and how they are settling in.

Lester was too busy playing with a spider to cuddle with us. He completely decimated a daddy long legs, before abandoning it in pieces on the floor.

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About waggadventure

Canadians newly relocated to Australia.
This entry was posted in airport, Australia, Canada, cats, family, Qantas, quarantine, travel, wagga. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Comfort creatures: Herding cats – the homecoming edition, Part 1

  1. Diana Keto says:

    Ahhh! Lester looks just like my kitty! Have I mentioned that before? I may have. Anyways, awesome that the cats are back, and even more awesome that they kill insects and arachnids around the house. My lazy cat just kind of paws at them and loses interest before they’re dead.

  2. Kristan says:

    Glad to see the kittehs arrived safely!

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