Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Feline trouble

When I came home victoriously, my primary concern was our cat. I knew that it was difficult to take cats into the UK, but since I am superstitious, I didn’t start investigating before I actually got the job. I thought poor Miso would have to go to quarantine for a month, which would be a disaster. We took her from a cat home, and after she has adopted us she doesn’t like even one of us being away, while if we both are away, she wouldn’t eat. The mere thought of her locked away among strangers made me sick. As it turned out, things were much worse. In any country within the European Union you can take your pets around as you wish, as long as they have a passport. I read regulation from DEFRA (UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and I read instructions from airlines, and I read the British Embassy’s homepage, which pointed me back to DEFRA. One thing was clear: Miso had to be microchipped and get a rabies vaccination. I made an appointment with our vet and tried to find out more from them, but they suggested British Embassy and the Swedish Ministry of Agriculture. The latter said they only knew the rules for Sweden and suggested DEFRA and the British Embassy (the game known as “push the baby”). After the first vaccination we had to wait for a month and get a boost. After that, as I first understood, we had to wait six months before we could bring Miso to the misty Albion. I counted on my fingers and made it mid-November. Well, at least she wouldn’t have to spend a month away from people she knows. Out youngest son, who usually takes care of her when we are away, agreed to have her.

But it would have been too simple. The DEFRA rules specified which airlines you could use for bringing pets (forget low budget!), and the airlines specified the size and exact construction of the travel basket, including food, drink and toilet facilities; but worst of all, they took me back to DEFRA, and I realized that I had got it all wrong. The six-months rule did not apply from the date of the boost, but from the date of the positive result of the blood test which, according to the vet, must be taken four months after the boost, but which DEFRA states can be taken directly afterwards. There was a list of approved labs for the blood test. New calculations ended up with mid-December. At least Miso would be with us for Christmas. More phone calls and emails, making appointment with the vet, just in case, and a tiny hope from yet another webpage saying that the rules may change after July 3.

Several people have suggested that we leave the cat behind. To this, I can only say: “Would you leave a child behind?”

1 comment:

Staffan said...

Talking of cats, when Masha returned from London and I met her at the airport of Arlanda, she had the face of the famous cat that just had the goldfish for entré, the canary as main dish and cream for dessert.