You won’t find a lot of specific recommendations in my blogs. I’m not much for pushing products and services, but when I find something that is great, I will pass it along. And I found one.
We had to move our cats from once coast to another. There are several ways to do this: take them in the car, take them with you in the airplane, or ship them commercially.
All three of those were out for various reasons. The car was being towed behind the van; airlines will let you take one cat on the airplane, and not more than two on a flight; commercial airlines won’t take an animal in the hold if the landing temperature is 95 degrees or above.
After asking (sigh) for advice and receiving an interesting mix of distasteful (“there are a lot of cats in Arizona, just dump them in Virginia”), impossibly complicated (“Post on Craig’s list for people leaving for Phoenix the same day you are, arrange to have them each carry one cat and you meet them all at the Phoenix airport and collect the cats”) and absurd, (“I’ll take one, just bring it to New York,”) we got a really good piece of advice–use a pet travel service. I didn’t even know they existed.
There are several, we used All Pet Travel. They arrange to place cats on climate-controlled, pressurized airplane compartments, using various airlines. The cats are watched as they make connections, collected at the destination and kenneled until you pick them up.
We took the cat to the airport to save a little money. The service isn’t cheap, but it is worth every dime. At the airport, the cats were taken by hand, not dumped on a baggage belt. We got a text message when they successfully made their connection in Houston. Then they ran into a bit of trouble.
There were monsoon storms in Phoenix and the plane was diverted to Tucson. This is where it gets
good. A representative from All Pet took care of them in Tucson till the cats could continue the flight to Phoenix. They arrived in Phoenix, were taken to a vet, who called me to tell me all three had arrived safely. Because the Tucson flight had required many cages to be close together, our cats were given a flea treatment and inoculated (all with my permission) against the upper respiratory infection that had nearly killed Buster a month ago.
I had been told that when they arrived in my apartment, they would stay under the bed for days. Not so. They cheerfully inspected the premises, tried out the tub for instant cooling, and learned about traction on the wall-to-wall carpet. These cats have lived with hardwood floors for the last seven years, this new experience was like having a full-length toy.
I might add that I purchased a tightly-woven sisal doormat and put it in the apartment for scratching purposes, and they took to it immediately. No scratching the rug.
On Wednesday, they will have one more move, but this one relatively short. They will be loaded back into their airline crates, put in the car and driven to the new house. They will have a lot more room, three sliders to look out of, and a hallway of carpet to race down.
While Aretha, originally feral, seems to have been spooked the most, she is eating and staying close to me. Other than that, they all three had a successful and healthy trip. And I’m happy to recommend the kind and helpful people at All Pet Travel. It was worth the expense to have healthy animals loving Arizona.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach who successfully relocated to the Phoenix area. She runs workshops in business and creative writing. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2008 All rights reserved.