Jan 6, 2012

Daily thoughts - My Cats' "Visa"Journey part 1

When I finally got my visa to go here, my husband bought a plane ticket for me right away. I had 1 month to get me and the cats ready for our long awaited trip. Since it was already decided that we will be using Delta as our airline, I looked up on their website what important information I needed with regards to exporting my cats from Philippines to the USA.

My 3 cats are originally from Singapore. I brought them with me when I moved back home to the Philippines in 2010. All three cats are now in New York City.

Dapper and Marble

It was quite an ordeal to get them here but I just cannot imagine leaving my baby girls behind.

The most common question I get when I tell people that I "imported" my pets from Asia is whether the cats  have a visa. Well sort of but not really. But some requirements had to be met in order for them to be allowed to be brought in the US.

Namely, the cats needed the following:

1)  Cat shots

2) A Health Certificate from the Veterinarian

3) An Export Permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry

4) A plane ticket

At one glance, the list seem simple. Not to me it wasnt. I spent 2 weeks stressed out just to get things ready so that my 2 girls Dapper and Thumper would be allowed to join me on that plane ride.


I mean getting the cat their rabies and 3 in 1 shots.

First issue is transportation. I live in a remote village, like a hidden valley. It is surrounded by mountains,trees, tall grass, and animals roaming around freely. You will find goats, chickens, roosters, ducks, dogs, and cats roaming around freely. There is also a cave near the school I went to when I was a kid. Yes seriously.

I dont have a car. Actually, there is a car at home that belongs to my baby brother. But his truck, is a monster gas guzzler. I have to shell out 500PHP in one day to run one errand. No thanks, Id rather go through the annoying ordeal of lugging 2 whiny cats in a tricycle.

the tricycle stand in our subdivision

cats in the tiny carrier
Boodapdap visible

Top view

Getting them cats their shots alone was tough. I had to put both cats in a small carrier, set the carrier on a stroller so I can drag it when I walked all the way to the tricycle stand. Luckily that day I ran into my sister in law. She has a car so me and my cats were able to get a free ride to town. When we got off, I still had to board a tricycle going to the part of town where I could ride another vehicle called the fx going to the city.

After the cats got their shots, I put them on the back of an fx on that trip to and from clinic. I paid extra so I could take up the extra seat beside me. I wished they could magically just be transported back to my house. I thought my arm would be dislocated from its socket. Damn fat cats were heavy!

The next on the to do list was get an airline approved carrier.

When my husband brought our cat Marble here to the US on September 2010, he used the same carrier we bought in Singapore. One of the 3 carriers we bought got torn up after that flight we had from Singapore to the Philippines. It is held only by nylon zip ties to keep it together. I had one left intact with the original plastic clasps. But since I had 2 cats in tow, I had to buy another carrier. I also wanted to be practical so I thoroughly researched on how it would be cheaper for me to bring my 2 cats on the plane.

The Delta website mentioned that they will allow two pets in one carrier and will be charged as one:

Awesome. I went to the city to look for a bigger carrier. I found a place in Shangri La which was recommended by the vet who took care of Thumper. The name of the store is Bow and Wow. I was impressed! Too bad I found about this place only a few days before leaving the country. They had a variety of stuff for dogs and cats. The place boasts of organic food for animals plus they had all sorts of pet needs that I couldnt find in another pet stores. They even have the booda dome that my cats are currently using. The items are a bit pricey but considering the selection and the location, I understand that the overhead costs must be somewhat steep too.

I looked around and found a carrier that said it was airline approved. It cost 100 USD. I felt robbed but I was in time constraint. I needed a carrier ASAP. I did like the service at the store though. The saleslady was very pleasant and accommodating. I was reassured that if the carrier is the wrong one I could still return or replace it.
front view

side view
thumper excited to try it out
thumper seems to like it
Dapper's turn
Boomer wants to check it out too
Dapper and Enchong

Enchong inspecting hmmm
Dapper trying out the new fleece blanket too

Dapper enjoying the new carrier and blanket
Thumper's turn to try the blanket

Dapper licking Thumper
Still licking..
still licking..

passed out

still passed out
carrier and blanket : cat approved
the new pet taxi vs the old ferplast cat carrier
The carrier was nice. But the issue popped up only after I thoroughly read delta and other websites on what carriers are considered airline approved.

thats a plastic side latch
Fuuucccckkk. ...

To be continued.

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