Monday, April 7, 2014

Here Kitty Kitty - Part 2 (18-Mar-2014)

Before we left for France on March 11, we made sure everything was in place to have our cat Xoom transported to France a week later.

Xoom would stay home under the care of our GREAT, AWESOME friend. Then on Sunday March 16, two of my AMAZING friends would drive Xoom from Swisher, IA to the pet facility near the Chicago O'Hare airport. You know you have unbelievably wonderful friends when they volunteer to drive 8-9 hours round trip with your cat. I was so touched that they would do this for me.

Xoom would stay overnight in Chicago on Sunday and most of Monday. By mid-afternoon Xoom would be loaded onto the cargo hold of British Airlines plane for a direct flight to London.  In London Xoom would be taken off the plane and would be examined by a Vet.

After a four hour layover Xoom would be loaded on another plane for a flight to Marseilles France. There he would be met by a representative from This representative takes care of all of the requirements for getting our pet through customs.Once that was done they loaded Xoom into their van and drove about 4 hours to our home in Mondonville France.

So far so good. However the reunion with my beloved cat did not go exactly as I had hoped.

Xoom arrived at our house around 8:45 pm on Tuesday - nearly three days after leaving our home in Iowa. He was obviously overwhelmed and frightened. We let him out of the kennel and he started exploring the house. This was a mistake. The new house is very large and I'm afraid it overwhelmed him even more.

After a few minutes Xoom started crying a horrible low pain-filled cry. Then he collapsed. We believe he fainted. His eyes were open and he was breathing but he was completely limp and non-responsive. To say I was upset would be a major understatement. We did not have a vet lined up and did not know how to contact one. I took Xoom back to the kennel thinking he may feel safer there, and Paul got on the internet to search for a vet and possibly find out what was wrong and what we could do about it.

Xoom came around shortly and I got dressed for bed and took him bed with me with the lights off. I talked very softly non-stop while petting him. After a time he seemed to understand who I was. He started kneading the blankets by me and then laid down and fell sound asleep. I stayed awake with him for nearly the entire night. He would wake up, frightened every once in a while and I would talk to him until he fell asleep again. Around 3:00 am he woke up again and I put him by his dish of water. He drank for nearly 7 minutes. He came back to bed and slept for most of the remaining night.

I was exhausted. I had cried for so long and stayed up through the night but I felt things were better. We believe that Xoom ate, drank and slept very little if at all for his entire journey. Being dehydrated was very dangerous for him since he already had kidney problems.

Over the next few days Xoom would drink but would not eat. I went to the vet and talked to her and purchased some canned food specifically for cats with kidney problems. I used a plastic syringe to feed him 3-4 times a day.

After a few days he started eating on his own. As of this writing it has been about two weeks since he came to stay with us. He has continued to regain his appetite and is coming out to investigate more and more.

If I had it to do all over again I'm not sure I would make the same decision. The main thing I would change is to do anything possible to shorten the length of the overall journey. I would have had him transported to Chicago on Monday instead of Sunday and possibly would have driven to Marseilles to pick him up myself instead of having an additional four hours with strangers.

But what is done is done. I'm glad he is here with me as I spend the majority of my time alone in the house. But I'm already terribly worried about what we will do when it is time to return to the United States. Xoom will be nearly 16 when it's time to return home. I will have a terrible decision to make at that time.

For now I'm enjoying having him with me and am trying not to worry about the move back home.

Remember - if you are using a pet relocation service they do not travel with your pet. They help you coordinate the move and make sure everything is in perfect order. A very valuable service. They will provide someone to transport your pet to and from the airline if needed, but once on the plane your pet is on his own. Whether you arrange the journey on your own or with an agency I advise that you do everything possible to make the journey as short as possible.

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