As this month is dedicated to relocation we wanted to share some great stories with you about pets that have been relocated. Their stories are diverse, from having been beloved family pets for years to being a stray that won their hearts in a few short months.
We spoke to Charlie’s Mum, Eileen who was happy to tell us all about her experiences in relocating Charlie and 4 other cats to France last month.
So – almost 5 weeks after we arrived in France, Charlie joined us. He’s been here 3 weeks now and is an absolute delight. Introductions to the other 4 have been fairly smooth, with one exception, Sally, who is still bullying him a bit. He gives us love and makes us smile (well, not Sally – yet!) every day. He is sitting on the desk beside me as I type this, waiting for me to be done so the he can be cuddled – again.
Charlie appeared at our door in early January, immediately after we had been away over the Christmas period. He was very friendly, clean, in good condition and neutered. But - very hungry; starving would be nearer the mark! I started to feed him outside in the car port and when he was still around after a couple of days, took him to the local vet to see if he was microchipped. He was, so I did all the usual things – contacted the animal charities, put posters up in the local area etc. No success at all - he had clearly been dumped. As the time got closer for us to leave, I was getting desperate and tried everything to find him a home or shelter. I still hadn’t let him in the house as I didn’t want to upset the other 4 cats just before we moved, but he was working his way into our affections by always being around and even waiting for us at the door after we had been out!
A few days before our move, we drove Charlie to RAK AWC. I held him on my knee; or rather he reclined in my arms, purring, for the whole journey. By the time we arrived he had a name (we had avoided giving him one until then!) and he had completely won us over. Nevertheless, after staying with him while he had his check by the vet, we left him there, hoping he would be adopted. After following up on his progress we learned from Jenna that his chances of adoption were not great as they had received 68 cats that week alone. Fortunately more than half of which were able to be a part of their Trap, Neuter and Release Program. Nevertheless, to us it was looking fairly slim, so we made enquiries about shipping him over to join us in France. Between Jenna at RAKAWC and Janet at DKC it was all arranged.
We lived in the UAE for 6 years and spent 2 years in Qatar prior to that. We originally took 2 cats to Qatar from the UK. One sadly died while we were there after getting into a fight with a local stray. While we were there we were adopted by another 3, the whole group moved with us to the UAE. Our original cat that moved with us from the UK is now 16 years old and has lived in 4 different countries
My advice to anyone who will be relocating is to be prepared well in advance; I started about 4 months before we were leaving. Make sure injections are up to date – have boosters done a little early if necessary as there has to be a month between the booster and travelling. Don’t listen to well meaning friends who have done it themselves, everyone tells a different story - USE AN AGENT. There are so many things that can potentially go wrong and I know of several disaster stories. Also rules change all the time. Moving is stressful enough – a good relocator removes so much of the anxiety as well as any potential logistical problems.
The longest flight that any of them has experienced is 7 hours from the UK to Qatar (Buddy) and now Dubai to Paris (all 5). The flight to Paris was followed by a 5 hour car journey after clearing customs, so a very long day. I would suggest that prior to flying you have the travel boxes out and open at home in a prominent place for at least a month before travel. This has always worked really well for me as they all then slept in their boxes as a matter of course.
We would like to thank Eileen for taking the time to share her story. If you have relocated with your pet please feel free to share your experiences here – you can also email us your story and perhaps we can make use of it throughout the month.