On Snubs and Snobs

Moving house and relocating to another country is never easy and I am doing so for the 16th time in my life. To say that I am sick of moving boxes and living out of suitcases is an understatement, and I know this far from being the last time. Being a citizen of the world with no permanent residence anywhere has its advantages and major disadvantages, and life is certainly never boring. It is, however, physically exhausting and emotionally draining.

Transporting a cat is not new to me either, and this too is always an adventure.

  • Molly was a European Shorthair who moved from Berlin to Manila via Amsterdam. The airline was not prepared for her, and she was given a bit too much sedative, thus suffering hypothermia and had to be rushed to the veterinary hospital at Schipol Airport.
  • Mulan was an American Shorthair who moved with us from Manila to New Delhi. There was no drama there and everything went smoothly. The move from New Delhi to Bangkok, however, was the greatest disaster. Those of you who have been following this blog know the story and the dimensions the situation took. The long and short of it is that Mulan escaped from her cage while in  cargo area and in the custody of Thai Airways India. The three-month search and rescue mission that took place was an utter failure, and I was not compensated by the moving company or the airline.
  • Champagne, a dwarf Persian snub nose, is the best traveller ever, but also the most complicated one to transport. For the flight from Bangkok to Manila I had to sign a waiver releasing the airline for any responsibility in event of any respiratory problems.

fullsizeoutput_d1Not all airlines accept snub nose animals, the main reason being that in the even of respiratory problems during the flight, there is no way of attaching the oxygen mask (snub nose…). This is where it gets complicated.

All airlines have strict regulations about the specifications of the cage for transporting the pet. According to IATA, the animal should be able to stand and move around.

The few airlines that do accept Persian cats say that the cat may not travel in the cargo area and should be transported in the cabin. However, when I applied for this with KLM Philippines, I was summarily turned away because of transport box was too big, although it complies with the cargo regulations. It’s a vicious circle and in the end, I got fed up with KLM Philippines who did not accept our booking for Champagne, although they specifically state on their website that they do transport Persian cats. So either I comply with the international aviation cage regulation for humane and safe travel, or force the cat into a tiny transport box where she can barely stand or sit, and that for 18 hours is grossly inhumane. Note to KLM – I am a loyal Blue Card holder but am extremely disappointed.

Where does that leave Champagne? Well, the tireless travel agent tried some of the airlines that fly via the Middle East, but Champagne would have no landing or transit rights. Thai Airways was willing to take her again, on the condition that I sign the waiver, but Lufthansa wouldn’t take her on the connecting flight.

Finally, Turkish Airlines accepted Champagne as live cargo. Let’s see how that goes. At the moment she is making the rounds with the vets for the vaccination and blood test requirements in order to file for the export permit. The usually friendly and mild-tempered feline is in a bad mood these days and showing it.

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