Flying with Cats

This will be about my cat, Jango.

When I decided to leave Toronto for the Dominican Republic, it seemed to happen so fast, I couldn’t believe it. I had come in to a bit of money when my father passed, Thank You Dad!, and had briefly thought about buying a property to rent the DR.  But as I sat at my kitchen table watching the snow hurl itself sideways past my window, I thought, do I really want to  rent my apartment out to some drunken Americans or French Canadians so they can trash the place, break the dishes and piss in my bed? No. If anyone gets to do that, it should be me.

I had been emailing with a friend of mine who lives here about it all and he suggested that I come down and check it out. The problem with that was, A: I have a cat and B: I hate to fly. It seemed like less bother to just pack up and move here.  So that’s what we did. But the problem was the cat.

It never really crossed my mind to leave him. A friend did offer to take him and he would have been fine in their care, but what about me? The next day I’d see pictures of him on her Facebook being all cute and fluffy like he does and then I’d snap and shoot up a Tiki Hut full of drunken Americans. Or French Canadians. Of course I’m taking him.

I did all the shots and dealt with the airline  but the day my stuff left my apartment for a slow boat to the Dominican Republic, I found out that the rabies shot had to be in the cat at least a month. He’d had it a week. It was the first and I believe only time I truly freaked out about it all.  I called a friend and started to cry, thinking I’d have to camp on his couch but he is The Voice Of reason and as soon as he asked what I needed, it was all fine.

I decided on a crappy hotel in Parkdale, right across the street from where I used to live. I’ll be honest, it was hard. It was hard on both of us.But we made the best of it. I got to visit all my favourite pubs and restaurants and Spring in Toronto is spectacular. Lilacs, tulips, crackheads pissing in the streetcar shelter. Ah.

I had so much anxiety over the whole thing with the cat. A few years before I moved here I had thought very hard about moving to halifax and the only thing that stopped me was, how do i get the cat there? If I do move back to Canada, it would be to the East Coast. There had been a lot of paperwork to accompany him with me, I had gotten the forms all signed once, $60 in a cab, thai you very much just to have to have them re-done as they are time sensitive. The second set were signed after a hairy car ride with my friend ( see post about swearing into the elevator) who managed to get us there at closing time.

The day finally arrived. We had been hole up in a small dingy room, eating take out (Even all my favourites got boring) and all the worry I had had was finally here. In the three weeks of hotel living I had worn the same t-shirt and same woollen socks everyday, inside the room so I could put them in his carry case for the plane.  At least his case would smell like home. He had to go in the baggage area and I was shitting bricks.

I had hired a Town car to get us to the airport, same price as a cab and much nicer. I had to put my luggage on the sidewalk, along with my Baby Jango. I got a trolley cart, loaded it all up and managed to find the check-in line. Keeping in mind I was stressed beyond belief. I got in line, grabbed some baggage labels and within a few seconds the woman in front of me turned around, glared at me, looked at mango in the travel case and then sniffed, like I’d just shit myself. But she was looking at the cat. Not on my watch, Cunt.

I said, way too loudly,’ He doesn’t smell, you can’t smell a thing. Just turn around and mind your own, Bitch’.  I immediately assumed I’d be sitting next to her on the plane. Once through, I had to get his travel case inspected. I had to take him out and let them run the case through an x-ray. Now, I ask you. If I’m going to go to all this bother of bring the cat with me, am I just going to toss a bunch of knives and hand grenades? No. No I’m not.

Got through that, then I had about ten minutes with him until someone came to collect him on a little tractor-type of vehicle. I found my seat on the plane and was able to watch him below my window going up the ramp to the storage. The flight was fine, beautiful scenery and he was the only animal in the animal area so that was fine.

We landed, I gathered my baggage and had to wait quite a long time for him. I finally saw someone banging on a window, pointing at the large double doors. A very official looking man came up to me, motioned for me to follow and we were finally reunited. They brought him in and as soon as he heard my voice he sat up and started meowing. I’m sure out of relief more than anything. If you are going to build up a trust with an animal, Keep It.

Next was to a small office where a lovely old gentleman wanted the paperwork and then he proceeded to sit at an old electric typewriter, in ’70’s yellow, crank the dial on the side to get the paper in and then hunt and peck his way through the form. Seriously, this thing out-weighed him by at least three pounds.

It all worked out.  He just walked past me on his way to his litter box, stopped and gave me a look that said, ‘It better be clean’.  It was. Jag-Jag


If you are travelling with your pet, be kind.



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