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  • And just like that, we have a cat
  • Making arrangements for my cat

And just like that, we have a cat

And just like that, we have a cat.

Last night, as I was worrying about my paperwork, I heard W- yell, “Sacha, would you like to pet a cat?” Cat-petting beats paperwork-worrying any day, and besides, I was mostly done.

There was a charcoal gray cat on our porch. It–she–had apparently followed W- and J- home, and was purring like a sports car engine while J- stroked her. She was too friendly to have been a feral cat, and her coat was too well-kept for her to have been out on her own for long. She had no collar, though.

She was a little skittish, noticeably tenser whenever she heard cars zoom past or whenever the screen door latched loudly. But she was friendly, and we eventually tempted her in with saucers of milk and mashed-up salmon.

After she licked the saucers clean, she stood by the door and we let her out. She sat on the porch steps, watching the cars go by. She also explored the flowerboxes. After a while, J- reported that she couldn’t see the cat. I put on my shoes and stepped outside to check if the cat had moved on, looking for her home. A shadow moved near the tree in front of our house, and then ran–ran!–up the stairs and back into the house. J- and I smiled when we saw how she was getting used to us.

Cold night, or food and warmth and attention? Must’ve been an easy choice.

As we watched her explore, we munched on the salmon-mayo sandwiches W- made from the rest of the can. She explored the entire house, rubbing her face against everything in order to mark it hers.

Definitely friendly and completely unafraid of humans. Looks like we have a cat.

The totally awesome Sandy Kemsley read my Twitter gave me a cat bed, a litter box and a few liners, and some cat treats. The cat took to the bed immediately and spent the rest of the afternoon comfortably ensconced in it. W- picked up some cat litter and food; the food met the cat’s approval, but the litter still hasn’t been used. (I hope that she’s either used to litter boxes, or–lucky!–maybe she’s toilet-trained!)

We’ve put up “Cat Found” posters around the area, but I hope we can keep her. I am temporarily calling her le chat gris, like the way I called my first cat Neko because I was studying Japanese. Maybe we can teach each other how to speak French.

Making arrangements for my cat

Trying to arrange my cat’s transit isn’t easy. Today I called the Japanese Quarantine Service. Not trusting my command of the Japanese language (it’s been two years of no practice!), I decided to just try to make it in English. I’d rather repeat myself using creative analogies than have my cat turned back at the airport!

The woman at the Yokohama head office assured me that I didn’t need the microchip and quarantine system they have for pets brought into Japan. A health certificate would do. She advised me to call the Narita Terminal 2 branch for more details.

So I called up the Narita Terminal 2 branch and explained that I wanted to bring my cat from the Philippines to Toronto through Narita, and that I wanted to know what papers I needed. The man on the other end of the line apologized, saying he spoke little English.

After trying to explain it in different ways, I gave in and said, “Ummm… neko no koto desu.”

“Oh, cat! Nihongo ga wakarimasu ka?”

I explained in the fragments of Japanese that I remembered that no, not really, I’m really bad at Japanese (heta desu), but we could try. In broken Japanese, I explained what I wanted to do. Relieved, he launched into a confident (and fast!) explanation, which I had to interrupt with “Gomen nasai, zenzen wakarimasen deshita! (Sorry, I didn’t understand a word of that!)” He slowed down and made an effort to intersperse English words whenever he could–and that’s how I found out that I just need to check with the airline.

See, if Neko were here, my Japanese would probably be better. I had been studying Japanese when we tore open the bathroom wall to save this tiny ant-covered kitten, so naturally I named the cat “Cat” in Japanese. (My sister calls her Catastrophix, based on the characters in the wonderful series Asterix and Obelix.) I practiced my Japanese on her, and that’s probably why she won’t listen to anyone else in the household. Anyway…

So I need a health certificate no earlier than 10 days of departure and a document from a vet showing rabies vaccination no later than 30 days prior to departure. As I won’t be there a full month, I’ll need to ask my family to take care of getting the rabies vaccination certificate.

I’ve missed my cat so much. I’m looking forward to bringing her over. Don’t know what she’ll do about snow, though. Looks like she’ll be an indoor cat with a heated bed and all! ;)

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