Yma is 10 years young and the sweetest cat I have ever met. She came into our lives pretty soon after Ron and I started dating, we rescued her from around my mom’s house. Yma’s feral mom was still a kitten herself, and we made it our mission to find homes for her five babies.
We like to think that Yma is partially responsible for us moving in together after only a few months of dating. Ron went away for two weeks that first summer and I took care of her and stayed at his place while he was gone. He ended up coming home a little early from that trip because he missed me, and asked if I’d stay for good.
I found Tesla four years ago when I was outside having a post sewing exam cider with a friend. We were shooting the shit when her face lit up and she pointed at something behind me. “KITTENS!” “There are so many kittens over there!”
I whipped my head around and six adorable kittens were making their way towards us, climbing out of a pile of garbage. A quick inquiry at the neighbouring cafe confirmed that the kittens belonged to no one, had been there for a couple of weeks, and the folks there had been feeding them every night at close. I called Ron to meet up with me and we were both charmed by Tes, who was so small and friendly. The rest of the litter were picked up by Toronto Cat Rescue and I hope they all found amazing forever homes.
Flying Vs. Driving them Across the Border
If it hasn’t been made clear with all of the gushing, we love our girls. Of all the moving worries, making sure we got them across the border with as little stress as possible was the ultimate. One of our buds had recently moved from Toronto to L.A., and she swore by a pet service that picks up your pet from home, brings them across the border for you via air, and delivers them to your new home. Going with this service means your pet is super certified, and your pet doesn’t have to go through an examination when entering the U.S.
This is what we originally thought we’d do, as this service is meant to be an easier transition for your pet, it’s less travel time for them, and they deal with all the paperwork. It’s also very expensive. One of the major sites that provide this service gave a base price of $2,000 to $3,000 per pet.
Next, we talked about driving across the border with them. It’s going to be a long ride in a moving truck, about 14 hours, but at least they’ll be with us and we are in charge of getting them across safely. Also it doesn’t cost any money for us to do it ourselves.
A Trip (or 2) to the Vet
I booked a vet appointment for the girls and we took them over last week. Both Yma and Tesla needed a rabies shot, which has to be done 30 days before going into the United States. They also need some paperwork that we can provide at the border, saying they are healthy and free of all sorts of specific things that most cats don’t have. We decided to microchip them, because they love running out the door when we come home. It’s fine in our current apartment building, they really like going full speed down our hallway, but in our new place the front door opens to the outside and even though it’s unlikely, we’re worried about one of them taking off.
The vet confirmed that they should be fine in their soft carriers for the duration of the trip. She recommended that we bring extra clean towels in case they go to the bathroom before we stop somewhere. They’ll likely be pretty stressed, and not doing much eating or anything until we settle in at night.
Ron and I asked about sedatives despite being hesitant about using them, and the vet recommended that we use Feliway, a spray that is applied to their space before and during the trip. It’s meant to mimic the scent of a mother’s pheromones, and the reviews are generally really positive. We were so relieved to have this as an option over medicine they would have to ingest.
Finally, we asked about the 14 hour drive and what their experience will be when we cross the border. We were fortunate to get an appointment with the clinic travel expert, and she calmed our fears right away. I honestly had this vision of uniformed serious folks taking the cats out of the kennels, poking and prodding, they’re all stressed out, Ron and I are crying, it’s mayhem. What actually happens is that we show up at the border with all the appropriate paperwork that they’re healthy and good to go, and they don’t even take them out of the truck. RELIEF.
So that’s what’s happening with Yma and Tesla up to this point. It seems like we were probably over-stressing about the process but in the end it was worth it to consider the options and prepare well in advance of hopping in the truck.
Now I’m dreaming of it all going smoothly, we’ll see!
*Adorable sketches of Yma and Tesla by Ron, obv.