Thursday, October 27, 2011

FAQ (Traveling with cats)

For you readers out there trying to find a short list as inspiration/starting-help for your first travel with your darling feline friends, I write this post after having experienced our first travel (and stay) together. 

I will try to make this list as clear and thorough as possible, listing experience and some things to consider! I have written a post about my first experience: (Click here for the story.)

Things to consider before traveling

1a) Do my cat really need to come with me? 
If you are going on a short holiday (1-2 weeks and especially if you need to go by airplane), I would suggest that you leave your cat at home. To travel might be very stressful for your cat and not all manages well to be taken out of their usual environments/territories. So 1-2 weeks might not give them time to settle before they need to move again. 

1b) I decided not to bring them, so what are my options?
If you decide to leave the darlings at home you might have several options:

*The cats stay at home like usual: You get your amazing friends or family to look after them.
*The cats stay at home like usual: You hire a "catsitter" who come by and make sure the cats are ok.
*You leave the cats at a boarding cattery. (The most expensive)
*You board the cats at a veterinary office (The cages look small and might not be great for longer stays!)

Do an internet-search for the possibilities around your home. In Oslo for example, you can hire catsitters on Sentrum Pass. 

1b) I decide to bring them, what should I think about?
Depends on where you are going, and how! Here are some things to think about:

*Are you going abroad? Then you need to get a cat-passport. You'll need to start a rabies-vaccine regime at least 6 months before you travel. So start with that as soon as possible, talk with your vet. (If your cat passes the blood-test taken after the 120 days, you'll need to make sure your cat get a shot against rabies every year. If you forget, you will have to start it all over again.....) You will also need to check with the country you travel to, what other rules they have for bringing cats into their country. (Ticks, worm-treatments, etc.)

*Are you staying at a hotel? You'll have to find a hotel who permit guests to bring cats! Make sure they know about this before arriving. (Write an email or phone them to make sure it will not be a problem). I had to pay about 35£ (400 NOK) extra for cleaning of the room after I left, which I knew of before arriving. (Also had an agreement that I would pay for any damages made.) I have seen that many hotels mentions if they allow animals or not on their website (or on sites like: etc), but please contact them anyway!

*How will you travel, and what about carriers? There are some differences on how you choose to travel, but if you go by air there is in theory only vari-kennel who are the universally accepted carrier on all airlines. You might get accepted with another type of carrier at some airports, but then again you might very well be denied on others. So be certain you have a correct one! If you go by car you can see what type of carrier your cat likes, (to have full view, or to hide in a little "cave", etc). If by car it can be any brand of carrier. But DON'T put them in a cardbox with holes, you might get a nasty surprise when your cat bounces around in your car, pooping all over after having clawed his way through the box like it was butter! 

Watch this nice video about bringing pets on your vacation: (and explanation on rabies-vaccinations etc).

*It costs extra to bring pets! The airlines charges differently, but there is most definite a fee. So take that into consideration. (In Norway, Widerø is the cheapest airline).


Things to bring: 

- Litterbox
- Some litterpearl
- Favourite toys
- Feliway
- Nail scissors (to minimize damage they could do)
- Small scratching post (my cats loved their travel-sized one)

- Ear cleaner + cottonpads. (At least if you have Sphynx & Devon Rex ;)
- A few days rations of catfood (then buy more when you get there)
- Vari-kennel crate for transport (or a Sherpa-bag if you get your cat in the cabin).
- Drinking bowl
- Food bowl
- Floor protector

Other things I would recommend: 

- If you travel by air; MARK the carrier with your name and telephone number! (When the airline lost track of my Amadeus this was essential! Read about the experience here!)

- Bring Feliway! (To spray in the carriers before leaving, and spray several places in the hotelroom to make them feel safer! It doesn't smell anything for our human noses.)

- If your cat likes to play with water (like my Christa) put the drinking bowl in the shower to save the floor ;)

- At the airport: Get there early to prevent your cat (and you!) from getting more stressed than necessary. For example: If you are to bring a cat inside the cabin you will need to go through security with it. This means that you will have to send your normal stuff through the x-ray, then the soft-sided carrier and then you will have to carry your cat through the metal-detectors.

Do you have any questions or other advice I could add?
Please feel free to comment :D

Bon Voyage!
Safe Journey!

Some links on cat-traveling
Cat Health (How to travel)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Sorry. We don't know where your cat is"

The cats' passports

What would you do if you got this message when you went to pick up your cat?

Sunday was the last day of the Magic Flute performances and me & the cats were to travel back to Oslo. The journey up had gone really well and been free of any complications, so I was relaxed and certain that the airline (and airport) was very experienced, professional and careful with my Amadeus.

Like last time I had Christa with me in the cabin (in a sherpa bag) and Amadeus had to go below. (Widerø airline-rules). So at the airport Amadeus was checked in the vari kennel carrier with his favorite blanket like he was at Gardermoen airport one month earlier. Only this time they had no idea where he was when Christa and I arrived in Oslo.

"Sorry, we don't know where your cat is"
We went down to claim our luggage like usual and expected to pick up Amadeus from the "Special luggage" area. We waited and watched the instrumentalists (who were on the same plane) pick up their contrabass and other large instruments. When no little blue box with my cat were among those, I asked the man if my cat was to come soon? (Adding that he was on the same plane as these instruments). He replied that "it probably would". Then he left me to wait some more, wondering why he weren't delivered in that load. I waited a long time and started to feel nervous. My heart jumped every time the door opened, and it sank when I realized it was only workers going out for a cigarette. I realized that something was wrong and I went to the widerø helpdesk.

Amadeus (at home) in his blue box
I explained and told her which flight I had been on and that I still haven't got Amadeus back. She called the luggage handlers (and the people who had worked on that plane) and was told that they didn't know anything about no cat. I could hear the man on the telephone tell her this and this was the cue for me to try to hold my tears and panic back. (And not to forget my anger!) She then told me what I all ready heard and said that they had no clue where Amadeus were, but perhaps he still were back at the other airport. I got horrible pictures in my head of my little Amadeus left on the cold runway. Obviously forgotten, since no one had phoned me or the airline all ready. (I was even more scared since I knew that the flight was overbooked and they had asked me, and others, if we wanted to take a later plane back. + the unusual amount of instruments as luggage!)

She then tried to phone the other airport for a long time, but no one picked up. (It was a small airport, but still not acceptable!) When she didn't get a reply she said that "he might be there still and they might send him here on the next plane in 4,5 hour. Do you want a food-coupon while you wait?"

NO! I don't want a f***** food-coupon, I want my cat! 
I want you b****** to know were my cat is, and then I want him delivered safely to me. 
(This is what I wanted to say, but in real life I strangely enough dropped the ugly swearing. But I can assure my readers that I were pretty angry and teary at this point.) 

My kind friend who were outside ready to drive us home had to pay a lot extra for the parking and I felt horrible leaving her to wait so long as well, although my main concern at this point was obviously Amadeus. The widerø-lady continued to try to reach the other airport but got hold of no one. I sat beside the counter and fought off the tears. 

Then, after 1.5 hour, I finally got a phone call.
It was from a cargo company (not the airline) wondering if I were the owner of Amadeus. Thrilled and scared senseless at the same time I got the message that Amadeus were with them and they wondered what to do with him. Not understanding how my cat ended up with this lot (as he arrived on the same plane as me & the luggage handlers had no idea about him) I gave the phone to the widerø-lady who told that they had permission to deliver him to me at the "special luggage". The man who came with him told us that they probably had thought he were cargo and not luggage, and therefor had been sent to the cargo hold when he arrived. 

I can NOT understand (or accept) that they can loose track of a live animal that way. This time the reunion were a happy one (and actually took place), but there is obvious a risk that animals can get astray like that when traveling? Scary! (Luckily I had been smart enough to put my name and phone number on the crate, if not, then what??).

I had a horrible hour of not knowing, and felt that the airline was completely incompetent and helpless in retrieving him. 

I am grateful that it all went well. Amadeus & Christa were a bit tired after the flight as expected but showed no signs of stress. They are now safely back home, Amadeus sleeps in my lap as I write this. Thank God!

Do my readers think I should write a letter to the airline? Do you think it will amount to anything?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cats doing unexpected & weird things

This post is dedicated to all the crazy cats out there, doing weird or unusual things. We love you!

Keep at it! :D

WHAT is this cat doing? Hahaha!!!

A cat & rat relationship! 

A cat gets caught barking and quickly resumes meowing, hihi

The cat who showers with his human

Two noisy Siamese don't like that the owner takes a shower (Annoying? Yeeeaah, hehe....!)

Kitten stuck in a hamsterball

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Freddie Mercury (Queen) and the cats he loved!

In memory of Freddie Mercury

The operacat's human (Angelica) have grown up with Queen streaming out of the bulky, black speakers of her childhood home. Since before she was born, her parents (especially her father) loved and surrounded themselves with Queen, and admired the unbelievable stage presence and vocal abilities of Freddie Mercury. He was, and is still one of Angelica's greatest idols and inspirations. 

But he was also a very famous lover of all things feline! 
He had many cats himself, some of them adopted from shelters. He dedicated his album "Mr. Bad guy" to one of his cats, and later made a song about his favorite cat, named "Delilah".

The cats that stayed with him till he died November 1991 were:
Romeo, Goliath, Delilah, Oscar & Miko

"You make me so very happy
When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me
And then you make me slightly mad
When you pee all over my chippendale suite"

In Queens last music video, Freddie uses a vest with cats on. The cats portrayed are his own!
(At this stage Freddie was so ill that he could barely stand at times, he insisted to make more music though and kept busy till the end. He died shortly after this video was shot. Many feel this video is a "good bye" to his fans). "I still love you".

Quotes about Freddie Mercury and his cats

- "Peter Freestone, Mercury’s personal assistant and cook, wrote in his book “Freddie Mercury” 
that his boss put as much importance on them as any human in his life."

 - “Most of them were from rescue centers. We have a charity [in the United Kingdom] called The Blue Cross, which takes care of sick animals. Freddie got at least two from them, if not more.”

- "Queen fans know quite well Mercury’s love for felines. After all, he did dedicate his solo album, “Mr. Bad Guy,” to his cat Jerry, as well as the rest of his brood at the time, and extended the note to “all the cat lovers across the universe.”

- “They did get ordinary cat food at times, but mostly it was fresh chicken and fish prepared for them. I also remember he used to talk to them on the phone if he was away for a long time.”

- "Their unconditional love gave him great comfort and company in his final days, and Mercury would never deny them admittance to his bedroom."

Links to sites about Mercury and his cats

Quotes about Freddie Mercury

Freddie with his cat vest!
"The difference between Freddie and almost all the other rock stars was that he was selling the voice."
Montserrat Caballe

"I adored Freddie Mercury and Queen had a hit called Radio Gaga. That's why I love the name. Freddie was unique - one of the biggest personalities in the whole of pop music. He was not only a singer but also a fantastic performer, a man of the theatre and someone who constantly transformed himself. In short: a genius."  - Lady Gaga

"If I didn't have Freddie Mercury's lyrics to hold on to as a kid, I don't know where I would be. It taught me about all forms of music. It would open my mind. I never really had a bigger teacher in my whole life."
- Axl Rose

"I’m a Freddie Mercury fan." - Micheal Jackson

“I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend.”
                                                                            Freddie Mercury

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kittens, kittens, everywhere!

Today let's have a celebrate kittens-day!
If you love kittens, please feel free to enjoy the little collections of heartbreakers!

Kitten massaging another kitten!

Kitten vs Scaaaary apples, Epic fight!

Surprised kitten!

Cutest little meows, scottish fold beauty!

Remember when your cat were a kitten? An adorable, mischievous little thing! 
Here's a picture from when Amadeus was only a few weeks old!

I'm a cutie, out exploring!