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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mini Mao

The movers have come and taken everything, all the touchstones of pleasant memories, connections and past adventures that created a home, packed away. Homeless now in the US, I’m carrying what I can to continue building a new life in China, but I’m especially worried about a single item. In the taxi on the seat beside me, my pet of 16yrs meows forlornly. We arrive at the airport on a grey cool morning in October, unsure of exactly where we are going.

At this hour, few souls roam the cargo area. The large warehouse, yellow taped areas, industrial shelving and equipment all hint at bustle but lie quietly now. Its three hours before the early return flight to Shanghai, and I’m carrying precious cargo. Cargo that requires special check-in. The woman behind the counter looks at my forms and frowns. “There’s a mark on the form, she says.. The date appears to have been changed. There’s a good chance the form will not be accepted and your pet will be turned back at the connection in New York. Do you want to continue or would you like to take her home now?”

Bringing a pet to China is not easy. One pet moving company would charge $3000 and one airline had a policy of limiting pet travel to 12hrs at a time. Making the trip … Boston to LA to Tokyo to Shanghai very expensive and over 24hrs of travel time. Isn’t extra time in kennel and extra take offs and landings harder on the pet? Paperwork also needs to be done.: a health certificate done within 10 days of arrival, a rabies certificate done between 6mos and 30days prior to arrival. One week of quarantine, paid for by the owner, awaits the cat once landing. Both forms subsequently certified by the US government. Forms that now are being called into question.

The only option is to press forward.. I’m hopeful that the subsequent paper handlers will favor approval as the easier, less fuss filled, option for their job. They take the cat, put her on the shelf and I pay the $700 cargo fee. I pet her and exit to the terminal area. I wonder if she will survive the stress of flight, the stress of quarantine and the scrutiny of the customs officials


  1. ...and the result?
    F. in Big D.

  2. Kitty is safe and happy now, glad I took the trouble