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Cats

by Pamela Blalock and John Bayley

The cats have been through a lot for this move. Last winter (northern hemisphere time) when we first started talking about the move, we thought it would likely be some years off due to quarantine issues with the cats. We simply wouldn't consider six months of quarantine for them. They would not come out the same cats. But then we found out the quarantine would only be a month, and I called our Realtor the next day.

We did have a few tests to do beforehand. At least 6 months prior to departure, they had to have id chips implanted, and a rabies test performed. They would need another rabies test a month before leaving, and a bunch of other tests and treatments right before leaving. The worming pill the day before departure was the worst.

If you are considering a similar move, let me warn you to budget as much to get cats over as for all your other belongings. The flight to LA wasn't too bad, but due to new security restrictions, we were forced to use a kennelling agency who picked up the cats in LA, took them to get a USDA seal, and put them on a flight to New Zealand. They were supposed to inform the quarantine folks regarding flight numbers, but never did so, and I still have to raise a ruckus about this. Anyway, between the fees for microchips, rabies tests, flights and quarantine, it has come to about US$6000.

But of course they are worth every dime (and I have to remind myself of this whenever they are mischievous).

We shipped them out a couple of days ahead of us, in case there was any problem, we would hopefully be able to resolve it quickly. So it was a couple of days again before we saw them. They were sort of happy to see us, but Echo voiced his displeasure with his new quarters with gusto.

Their lives have been disrupted several times since the summer, with temporary housing, the flight and quarantine, so it's not unexpected that they might be unhappy with us. Fortunately, they do still seem quite attached to us and happy to see us every time we visit.

The facility is about 40 km from the city centre, out a boring dead flat road. We've tried finding alternate routes, but Christchurch sits at the edge of a large flat plain, and every route out to the Quarantine place is flat and windy!

We got the tandem assembled our second day in the city and made our first trip out to see them. We took a bit too long assembling the bike and just barely got there before closing, but we did have a nice visit.

The facility is good size. The three stay together in a room about 2x2 metres, with both and indoor and outdoor part, so they can sun themselves and enjoy the fresh air and cuddle together inside on cooler days. We are allowed in to pet and play with them, and all in all it's not unpleasant. If only boarding facilities in the Boston area were as nice!

Christchurch