Friday, April 1, 2011

There's More Than One Way to Ship a Cat

I'm slowly crossing things off my moving-to-Conakry checklist. I found a car. I made a power of attorney and a medical directive. I bought new rain boots and umbrellas. I'll get my visa started on Monday. Now I have to sort out how to get Jabberwocky to our future home. This is tricky.

We're flying economy?  Srsly?

There are three options: take him on the plane as carry-on luggage, take him on the plane but check him as cargo, or hire a pet shipping company to deal with it. The first two differ slightly in fees, airport procedures, and levels of personal and/or feline emotional trauma while flying, but the general experience will go something like this:

Trick the cat into the carrier, take him and all my luggage to the airport, fly to New York. Take him and all my luggage to theoretical hotel that allows cats and takes government rates. Put out food, water, and kitty litter and mostly abandon the cat in my hotel room while I learn about immigration from the DHS perspective and eat delicious food. Hope hotel staff does not lose/abuse cat while I'm away. Somehow get the cat into the carrier again, this time probably with force because he's not stupid. (Note to self: it might be a good idea to get his claws trimmed ahead of time). Take him and all my luggage to the airport, fly to Paris. Hope I did everything correctly and have all the proper forms to get him through EU customs. Take him and all my luggage to theoretical hotel that allows cats and takes government rates. Put out food, water, and kitty litter and mostly abandon the cat in my hotel room while I gaze at the Seine and eat delicious food. Hope hotel staff does not lose/abuse cat while I'm away. (Alternately, give in to cat's pathetic cuteness and stay in hotel feeling bitter about missing Paris.) Somehow - it'll take a miracle - get the cat into the carrier for a third time. Take him and all my luggage to the airport, fly to Conakry. Hope I did everything correctly and have all the proper forms to get him through Guinean customs. Take him and all my luggage to our palatial new accommodations. Hope cat will eventually forgive me.

The final option goes something like this: Leave cat and health certificates with Beth, go about my business and get to Conakry. Some days later, Pet Shipping Co. picks the cat up from her. Magic happens. Pet Shipping Co. drops cat off at our palatial new accommodations. Hope cat will eventually forgive me.

See how much shorter that second one is? How much easier and stress-free? This idyllic pet transport experience can be mine for the low, low price of $4,300 (current lowest bid). I think I 'll do it the hard way.

7 comments:

  1. We're doing it the hard way too, with the cat and a puppy. I actually think the cat will have a better time seeing me during this process, than being with a shipper. (Both are coming as carry-on).

    This is where we found our pet-friendly San Francisco hotel, with govt rate: http://www.kimptonhotels.com/ The best part? They don't charge extra for pets! AND they provide bowls, etc.

    Now Paris might be more complicated since EU has soooo many restrictions, but if you got it all settled, go for it.

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  2. We shipped Charlie to Israel the expensive and stress-free way. I think he would have argued the "stress-free" aspect. Our checkbook also took awhile to recover. We are going pet-less from now on - or at least that is what we tell ourselves.

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  3. I second the Kimpton idea, they're the nicest hotels ever, partly because of the pet policy, and partly because of their boutique style. Every one is different and all are really really nice.

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  4. Thanks for the hotel recommendation. They have four in New York and they all look lovely! At this point I'm leaning toward sending Jabbers cargo, partly because he's a butterball and may run afoul of weight restrictions on some key airlines, and partly because I'm afraid he'll meowl through the whole overnight New York-Paris flight, which might lead my fellow passengers to murder him, me, or both of us before we land.

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  5. I dropped mine off at Delta cargo this morning, and they're heading towards Singapore as we speak. My lowest quote for the easy, stress-free way was over $6,000 (for two, going to the other side of the earth) and I just couldn't swing it. I still paid about half that between the cost of the flights and the expeditor/quarantine costs on the other side, but the savings = worth it. Good luck with the crate business - you might want to invest in some of those heavy duty gloves the falconers use.

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  6. I recommend talking to your vet and getting some valium for your cat. You will need to give her a test dose ahead of time since some cats can have the opposite reaction to it. It will really help her chill out on the plane and hopefully avoid the cargo area.
    Good Luck!!

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  7. Bonjour!

    First off, Love the Siamese! We have one too. Second now think of doing this with three cats, yes three. Good thing they didn't have a say in this FSO lifestyle choice of ours.

    Kristin @ DiploNerds

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