Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fat Cat Landed!

It is a bit funny that the first member of the family to land in Dhaka was Fat Cat. for all those of you who wrote to me about shipping your beloved furries, I would like to give you a brief description of the shipping process. On Friday, the Diplomat and I loaded Fat Cat and his Lady Friend in our rental car and drove to Dulles airport. for the past 2 weeks, we kept the kennels in our living room (classy, I know), and served food inside them to get Fat Cat used to its presence. So, we thought we are cool and prepared for the drive. Not so much. 15 mins into the drive on I-66, we got stuck in rubber-necking traffic (a cop had stopped a teenager on the highway and it was apparently all the rage of the day) and that is precisely when Fat Cat decided to hyper-ventilate, pee and poop, all in that order. It became a bit odoriferous in the tiny car and we had to open the windows to let some good old fuel fumes inside to mix with the poop. Finally, the traffic let go and in no time, we approached Cargo area 6 where Lufthansa was shipping animals and other disguised cargo on behalf of Qatar Air. I went inside, announced loudly that I had a reservation for 2 cats (I felt inordinately cool for doing that, not sure why) and startled a massive dog in a humongous cage right next to the window who then started barking his brains out. He did not stop for the entire 30 mins I was there, which made communication rather confusing.  To add to the circus, a few minutes later, a couple of heavily bearded gentlemen with dark glasses (possibly from Pakistan) came in dragging two large camouflage canvass bags (rather similar to body bags?!) with the words Islamabad on them and in very broken English tried to ship them on the same plane as our cats. Apparently there was a snag in the plan since it seemed that they were trying to load 1000 kg of some stuff while their air waybill authorized them to ship only 100 kgs. They seemed crestfallen and after a flurry of frantic Urdu left. All said and done though, the process was easy as charm--we weighed the cats, filled in some endless paperwork, paid a wad of cash and were done. So, thumbs up for all those of you who decide to ship your pets on your own:
1. Make sure you have an appropriate kennel--it should be plastic, with metal screws, and allow enough space for the pet to stand and walk. Get "Live Animal" stickers and arrows pointing upwards for the kennel.
2. Get the appropriate vaccinations for the country you are going and get a vaccination certificate.
3. Microchip the pet--if going to Europe, you will need the European standard one (read--MORE expensive). If not, you can pass with the US ISO one.
4. Get a health certificate and certify it by the local USDA.
5. Check if you need import certificate for the host country.
6. Breathe deep--your pet will most likely be fine. Ask GSO shipping at post--they WILL help you!

So, the cats are safe and sound in Dhaka, and staying at Lady Friend's house. Apparently, fat Cat has chosen to hide behind the freezer and will only come out when the Lady Friend comes to get him. Amusing.

We finally packed all the circus luggage and household effects, left Oakwood and have moved into the Westin hotel close by. I like it. No cooking, no cleaning, no tidying up, bad TV. Dreamy.

Also, today, the second member of the house left--the Diplomat caught the shuttle to NYC this afternoon and per his last phone call, has gone to the movies. I have one more week here in Arlington, and then I also leave for NYC with Son. In case you all wonder why we all go to NYC on the way to Dhaka--those officers who leave for their first consular tour of duty overseas, are advised to spend some time with the Department of Homeland Security in downtown NY and at JFK airport (or Miami or the West Coast, depending on where you are going) before reaching post. That way we get to  observe what happens once we issue those visas overseas and the happy travelers arrive in the U.S. Once he is done with that, the Diplomat flies to Dhaka on Tuesday.


  1. woohoo for Fat Cat making it there safely! well done, you! good luck on your own journey.

  2. Amma enjoyed every bit of your parting blogs. You have given absolutely a fabulous guidance for all intending pet shippers!it is really amazing to see the first of the family landing with the companion at least at this stage of his life! I wonder how you are going to manage emil and also your travel needs, with my son not being there. I wish you all the best in the chosen career and in the service of the great nation!

  3. So glad he made it okay and with minimal fuss. I hope these last few days go well for you all.

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  5. Hey you, I am still following you :) Can't believe you guys are going to Dhaka! This is way different from our days at W and D!

  6. Thank you all. Apparently Fat Cat got out from behind the freezer and washed his butt. Which was appreciated by all...

  7. Elizabeth!!! Yes, we cannot believe it either, even though the Diplomat apparently is already there, prancing around our new place! I love your blog idea!

  8. Thanks Og :) Hope you guys are doing well!!

  9. I am enjoying your pattered blog thanks for share this and keep it up.

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