Expat Kitty’s …. “El Meowo?”

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Well, it looks like Midnight and Copper will be joining us on this Big Adventure! I put the word out to see if I might be able to find someone to adopt them but to no avail. So onward we go with our two little fur balls. Given the fact that I have not taken them anywhere in the car since they were about 2 years old, I’m expecting any type of transportation at this point is going to be pretty terrifying for them. In order to attempt to minimize the trauma, we are putting them in their shiny new crates and taking them on short drives with us. I have been trying to desensitize them to the carriers by spraying cat nip in the carriers at night . Both cats seem to really fall for this little trick , I’ve seen them sniffing around and rubbing themselves on the crates. I think thats a good sign? The crates I bought have these nifty little food and water receptacles built into the doors. Not that you want an animal who will be trapped in the crate for upwards of 12-13 hours drinking and eating much as they have no way to go to the bathroom. Sunday we took Midnight with us while we took another load of household belongings to our storage unit. Aside from a bit of pathetic meowing in the beginning, he seemed to do pretty well. Success! Copper is next for a little outing! Each evening we are still putting harnesses on them to see if we might eventually be able to use a leash down the road. I don’t really see them putting up with being on a leash but, what the heck , It’s worth a try! I thought it might be possible to give them a break from the carriers when we arrive in Panama City but I’m most likely delusional. The reality is that they will most likely be stuck in the safety of the crates until we get to a pet friendly hotel in Panama City. Cats on leashes?? I think Not! Ha! Ha!

We will most likely have to stay one night in the city when we arrive and then hire a van to drive us the seven hours to Boquete . This portion of our Adventure isn’t set in stone yet but it’s our first best guess as to how it may go. We are still trying to decide what flights to choose to get us , our meager belongings and the cats to Panama when we go in June. There are two possible options one is to leave on a red-eye from SFO through Houston with a small layover time,then onward to PC arriving in the afternoon. This option has the cats stuck in the crates for a straight 12-14 hours with no break until we arrive at a pet friendly hotel ( A pet friendly hotel in Panama City? another thing to locate!) . Or SFO to Houston for a twelve hour layover where the cats would be sent to the kennel . We have read that the pet kennel at the Houston Airport is one of the largest and nicest . Theoretically they would have a nice break from being in the kennels during that twelve hour layover. This option still requires some research but it appeals to me to allow the poor cats an opportunity to go to the bathroom and just be out of the crates for a bit.

All the vets I have consulted have told me that the cats will be “just fine” in the crates for the 12-14 hours and not to worry. So this is all to be determined. I have yet to get them to the vet and have their immunizations updated , it’s just one more thing I have to get to. Grrrrr! My list doesn’t seem to be shrinking yet but I’m looking forward to the day I can begin in earnest to cross off tasks on my long, long list of to-do’s ! The biggest milestone will be getting the house sold. As soon as that huge part of our preparations is over then the remainder of the plans will be smooth sailin’!

There are endless reason why our life would be so much easier if we didn’t take the cats with us to Panama. Finding a place to rent in Boquete is not going to be as simple as it would be if we were not going to have pets. Landlords, understandably prefer to avoid possible damage from animals. Our travel day will be much more stressful worrying about the safety of those little guys. We have no way of knowing how they are being handled by the baggage employees and staff in charge of traveling pets. This is something I hate to think about. Yes, I am very, very aware of the complications importing our pets to our new home will likely cause us. We aren’t known as a couple who make life decisions based on the ‘easiest’ path. In the end of the day we have to do what we feel is the best thing to do for us. Our pets are a responsibility that we took on twelve years ago and we take that responsibility very seriously. Doing what we feel is best for them is a very personal and difficult decision and it’s a decision that to us doesn’t necessarily mean ‘easiest’ for us. Even If someone did step up and offer to adopt them it would not be easy. As with many other things we have done in our life, most people would most likely do it differently, but (shrug) Oh Well! In the end of the day we all have to look at ourselves and our lives and feel good about it. The good news is , we are taking charge of our lives in a huge way and moving forward with a new life of our creating! Our lives will no longer ‘own’ us, we will ‘own’ our life! That’s the plan ,anyways! Stay tuned, I think Learning Spanish may own me at the beginning of this transition… sigh!

About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

3 responses »

  1. Another option that would be a shorter flight is to drive to L.A. and then take the Redeye from L.A. direct to Panama City. The cost to pick up a car at a California airport and drop it at L.A. is cheaper than 2 tickets plus getting your luggage and cats on board. If you take the Redeye, you will then arrive at Tocumen around 9 AM and with a prearranged driver, could be in Boquete by 6ish. Be aware that COPA will not book a one way flight, you have to book through United as they will book a one way flight, even though it is a COPA flight. If you do this, then once you have your COPA confirmation number from United, call COPA and obtain your seat assignment and a NEW COPA Confirmation number.
    Also be sure that there will be a Vet at Tocumen when you arrive or the cats will be put in the kennels there until a vet gets there, this has been covered many times on the Americans in Panama Yahoo forum.
    The reason I mention all this is that we are moving to Pedasi, Panama and flying to Panama August 1, 2013. We just got our one way reservations, but have been through this routine on previous trips to Panama. Because we will be moving out of our house well before the move, we will be renting a car for the month of July, picking it up at Sacramento International and dropping it off at L.A. International. This was cheaper than flying from Sac, paying for 2 tickets and the extra baggage charges as we are each taking 2 large suitcases, 1 carry on and 1 backpack. We were going to be taking our dog (small Bichon) with us, but after finding out that no airline would take him on August 1 (in cargo or in the cabin), we adopted him out to our daughter and 3 year old grandson in Tucson. Flying with cats in June could be problematic as most airlines will no longer accepts pets in the summer. Be sure to check with the airlines now to find out their policies.

    • WoW! great advice! Many thanks! Your right we have read all the info on the forums and have gotten all the pertinent information online about it. The drive from northern ca to southern is very long, we would have to rent a car and the cost seemed pretty high, we did consider this option. As far as the one way ticket issue, we will be returning later in the year to pack and ship our container so we will have to deal with that on our way back that time. OH boy! Its just so overwhelming at times, huh? Where are you guys moving from? It sounds like you may be in Sacramento area? Its great to compare notes with someone who is making a very similar transition. Thanks again for your input, keep it coming! I hope your plans are going well and that the transition is not too hard for you and your wife. Its an exciting proposition we are embarking upon! Cheers!

  2. Although you’re a great planner, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that one of your many friends has space to adopt your lovely kitties and give them a good home for the remainder of their days. It would honestly be a load off your mind, and much better for them in the long run.

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