Bringing Pets to Zihua

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Escrito por Abigail desde ( el día miércoles, 25 de agosto, 2004 a las 01:18:20 horas :

I'm only going to relate this because I remember how frustrated I was when I was first planning to bring Mojito with us and couldn't get any practical first hand info on what I might have to look forward to in bringing our four-legged family member home to Zihua.

From the moment our cat, Mojito, could fit into a collar and harness I was training her to travel to Mexico. We would just ride around in the car and make practice runs to the local highway rest stop. Mojito even has two name tags for her collar: one for the U.S., and one for Mexico.

Mojito's first trip to Mexico, when she was still a kitten, was by car. It takes us 3 days in the U.S. and two days in Mexico to drive to Zihua. To keep her from wandering through the pedals and peering out the front window from the dash board on the drivers side or just losing her in the floatsam and jetsum of the back of the van we keep her in a harness with a leash. We set up a basket for her to have her own seat in between the front seats with her cat case set just behind it for when she wanted to go hide and rest. The litter box was under my feet on the passenger side floor. She had gotten used to using the litter box while en route and as if to prove to us that she was as seasoned a traveler as we were she just had to use the litter box on the rough stretch from Morelia. (Give yourself a moment to imagine a cat in a litter box -don't forget the part where they cover it up- on a bumpy road - and no the floor was not covered with kitty litter - kinda covers a whole range of emotions doesn't it?). The only time she seemed to get fussy (meowing and moving around a lot) was dawn and dusk when the light changed otherwise she looked at the cars and scenery and slept just like anyone. (We start out a 5 a.m. the first day.)

Our first time bringing a pet into Mexico and in anticipation of being inspected, injected and neglected, we had gone to the vet in the U.S. and had them fill out the requisite documents within one week of departure in quadruplicate verifying that Mojito had had all of her shots. At the boarder I started taking Mojito out of her box so there would be no mistake we were bringing in a cat, to show her and ask what needed to be done. We were greeted with one of two reactions from every Mexican boarder official we showed her to: 1) they looked at us like we were crazy to be so worried about a cat or 2) they had to play with her, the consistant reaction at the airport in Zihua. So much for bringing the cat INTO Mexico.

One thing interesting to note is that Mojito knows when she is home. It doesn't matter if she is flying or driving she knows home, whether it's our place in Mexico or here in the U.S. This is especially evident when we are flying and she has traveled, changed planes and sat in airports quietly but when she gets home boy does she know it - and I know the most important thing I have to do is get the litter box placed for her - IMMEDIATELY PLEASE!

Also a favorite toy in Mexico is small superballs you can buy by the bag in the toy stores in the market. They really zing around on those tile floors!

Mojito also loves to eat bugs - I have been told by more than one local the Mexicans keep cats to eat the scorpions and although I'd probably have a heart attack if I saw her playing with one I can kind of relate to the concept that the scorpion is not likely to sting her through the fur - but no that's one bug that would get the blade. (I will digress enough to say that I did have a local tile worker yawn at my alarm over a scorpion who had the misfortune to get into our apartment via a box of tiles, cut off the end of it's tail with a blade, and throw the hapless tailless creature out the window.)

Getting back into the U.S. with a cat is a different story. We haven't driven back over the border with her but she has flown in her soft carryon Sherpa case via Mexicana, Delta and this year on American Airlines (Aero Mexico will not let her fly in the cabin). And yes it costs. the airlines charge for the cat to travel with us figure $60 - $100 depending on whether you change airlines each way.

The first time Mojito returned to the U.S. from Mexico, we had been to the vet in Ixtapa (Dr. Islas) gotten all the papers in quadruplicate and inspected very carefully and professionally by the vet one week prior to departure so all Mojito's papers were in order. Althought they say that you shouldn't give your cat water for three hours before a flight I still bring a small needleless syringe (Dr. Islas' idea) on the plane with me so Mojito can wet her whistle. Mojito knows when she is flying to just settle down and be quiet and I believe she does so because she has just gotten in the car with us and gone so many times that traveling is just a part of life for her.

Her training on the harness and leash stands well for her at airline security check points. She has to get out of the box for the security inspection and if it's not crowded she loves to show off and go through on her own - tail straight up in the air. If it is crowded and she's uncomfortable with the press of humanity that leash and harness make us BOTH feel more secure while I carry her in my arms.

The only thing different about U.S. Customs is that after asking me if all her papers are in order we are told we can leave by the exit door. They never even look to see how adorable she is.

So this is the way Mojito travels. How about your pet?

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