Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Journey of Momo & Ralph Waldo

Cat Tracker... From LAX to Amsterdam and finally Singapore!
Singapore is an rabies free island so getting Momo and Ralph prepped for their life abroad took much more work than getting the human members of our family over to Asia. Although the Singapore agriculture website offered a ton of information and guidelines for pet import, the information was often confusing; we decided to enlist the help of a professional pet transport company to ensure the best care for our sweet kitties and to reduce the quarantine time that they'd have to endure.

So after about hauling both cats to the vet 7 times (not an easy task when Momo weighs 14lbs, 6.5kg and Ralph is a hefty 18lbs, 8.2kg), 4 rabies vaccinations, 2 FVRCP vaccinations, 2 additional feline chlamydia vaccinations... ew, 2 rabies titer blood tests, 2 months of crate training, 1 case of feline urinary tract infection for Momo, 1 additional blood test to see if Momo's UTI was something worse, 1 more urine test for Momo to see if she actually had a bacterial infection and 2 cases of feline acne (Ralph's acne was much worse than Momo's and poor thing would have a bloody & scabby chin), Momo and Ralph were deemed healthy enough for international travel. They flew before I did on KLM as special pet cargo. KLM has a pet cargo area is is exclusively for pets; instead of flying in the pitch dark and cold with luggage, Momo and Ralph's area pressure and temperature were just the same as the main cabin. KLM leaves the a dim light on so the cats can sleep but can see around their surroundings if they choose. Other airlines load pets first in their cargo pits then load the luggage... so the poor pets are in the cargo deep pit then luggage comes rushing in at their crates... then it gets pitch dark for the duration of the flight. Momo and Ralph also went the opposite way through Amsterdam rather than through Japan: that's because KLM has a pet facility at the Amsterdam airport where they will take your pets out of their crates, make sure they potty (place cats in clean litter & walk dogs), they also place fresh bedding for the remaining leg of the flight. There's certified vets at the facility so all the pets get inspected to see if they're holding up well. Momo and Ralph's layover in Amsterdam was about a day then they were approved for their remaining flight to Singapore.

During their entire journey, I constantly refreshed the google flight tracker. I know it was silly of me to be so worried about them since we've already made all the precautions to make sure they're in the best care... but like a crazy cat lady, I couldn't sleep well until they had landed in Singapore and Andy finally FaceTimed me to show me that our furry kids made it across the planet okay.

Then Momo and Ralph went through their mandatory Singapore 10 day quarantine period. They had a lovely little air-conditioned room with a huge window that Momo would watch birds all day long. Poor Ralphie would only venture out of his crate when Andy visited. After quarantine, they were delivered to our friend's apartment where Andy was staying at... Momo was excited to be with Andy and instantly started cuddling. I'm sure Ralph was happy too but he just hid under the blankets.

They're both now settling into Singapore life quite well. Now Andy and I are going through the process of acquiring the proper kitty supplies. We had shipped over a ton of their food but thought that we could find kitty litter rather easily. Not true, there's only about 4 litters that exist here: silicon crystals (which are bad for cats respiratory systems), saw dust pellets, cruddy cheap clay sand litter or paper based pellets.  In the 3 weeks the kitties have been here, they've went through 3 types of litter already! The saw dust pellets and clay sand were annoying and tracked everywhere; I was constantly stepping on kitty litter and found a ton of it in our bed. We've finally found a litter made from recycled paper with a charcoal center. It's working out ok but I have to scoop it at least twice a day or else it'll just smell like awful. I find it really interesting that kitty litter technology is so ancient in Singapore considering we have an app that helps us hail cabs. Meanwhile, Momo and Ralph don't mind the litter changes much; they seem to actually like it and play around in all the different litters... fun for them, annoying for us.

Although these little mundane details will probably continue to plague us, Andy and I are extremely happy to be reunited with our furry loved ones. It brings me a sense of peace to cuddle into bed and have our ridiculous half cat half, human family together again.

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