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The Taj Mahkitteh

Today’s Hair Across Weasel’s Ass: plane-legal pet carriers. A regular, take-her-to-the-vet-sized pet carrier will not do (never mind that mine is 30 years old, solid as a brick shit-house and served perfectly well to fly a bigger cat than Charlotte from Tennessee to Rhode Island). If the airline doesn’t turn the cat away, there are grievous fines on the UK end for shipping an animal in a container they consider too small.

And so, of course, they provide really precise instructions for choosing the appropriate carrier.

Ha ha! Just woofin’ you. Every document describes the requirements s-lightly differently. It should be the height of the cat standing, the height of the cat sitting or two inches above the ears of the cat standing. There has to be ventilation in all four sides, or it doesn’t matter as long as it’s 13% open to air. The animal has to be able to stand up turn around and lie down again (which makes jump down turn around pick a bale of cotton spin up on my mental Wurlitzer). The problem is the confluence of airline regs, US government regs and UK government regs.

I particularly liked this instruction from DEFRA:

Containers for cats should have litter trays which are either heavy enough not to move around or fixed to stop them moving.

Litter trays! Holy pooperscooper! Charlotte needs at least a five foot radius to operate a box properly. She’s a sweet girl, but stupid. She stands with all four feet inside, hangs her ass over the side and pees on the floor.

Whatevs. I bought her the biggest carrier that’ll fit in the Weaselmobile. And it occurs to me I never told you what needs to be done to bring a dog, cat or ferret into the UK. It’s a hell of a deal, but I won’t complain — they don’t have to go through six months of kennel quarantine on the British side now. They essentially allowing the pet to serve out quarantine at home. Zo! In this precise order:

■ Spay and microchip. (Very important — that microchip is checked before every stage of the process. Some people drop a couple hundred bucks for their own chip reader, just to be sure).
■ Vaccinate for rabies.
■ Some time later — twenty days is recommended — draw a blood sample and have your vet send it to Kansas State University.
■ They send back a document certifying presence of rabies antibodies (my documentation didn’t have the official seal, so I had to chase them to send another one).
■ Six months after this date, the travel documents can be applied for. If the rabies booster comes due before you’re ready (ours did), booster and documentation.
■ When the time comes, gather all the documentation and FedEx it to the nearest USDA veterinary office. They FedEx the docs and the stamped travel permit back. This document is good for four months.
■ Not less than 24 nor more than 48 hours before Puss gets on the plane, one last vet’s appointment. She gets de-ticked, wormed (must contain Praziquatel!) and the vet makes a final entry on the USDA and airline forms.
■ Show up at the approved airline’s freight service six hours before the flight. There are, incidentally, one or two government-approved cat-flying airlines for each city that flies to London.
■ After going through People Customs at Heathrow, hop a taxi and drive four miles (oh, the cabby’s going to love me!) to the Animal Reception Center. They say it takes 3-4 hours to process a cat through. Why? I don’t know!

And…umm…ta-dum, I guess. All for the filthy little crooked-tailed, squint-eyed, bug-eating feral Goblin Princess I trapped in my garage five years ago.

Oh, well. One good thing I’ve gotten out of this: pee pads! They’re giant Kotexes for bed-wetters. You put one in the bottom of the travel kennel to mop up accidents. I got a ten-pack of 30×36″ pee pads for six bucks at Wal*Mart.

So that right there is nine wonderful, lazy Sunday mornings I can say to myself, “nah. I don’t feel like getting up yet…”


Comment from apotheosis
Time: November 18, 2008, 1:18 pm

On the other hand, you can just put her in a little burqua and no one will have the sense or temerity to question her right to be in the country.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 18, 2008, 1:23 pm

And that’s just the cat. You wouldn’t believe the rules for weasels…

Comment from scubafreak
Time: November 18, 2008, 1:30 pm

Oi. Remind me not to move to the UK anytime soon.

On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t move there anyway. I’d love an extended visit, but my hobbies include collecting military relic firearms, which wouldn’t be possible there….

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2008, 1:42 pm

There are antique firearm collectors in the UK, Scubafreak. You’ll never prevent men liking killsticks. They vandalize them in some way to “decommission” them for legal sale. Pour lead in the barrels or something.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: November 18, 2008, 1:46 pm

I’m a new reader…and have slowly been putting the cast of characters together here…started looking through the archives, and got confused by your references to Chalotte the female cat. What happened to Damien of the Jaunty Balls? I hope I did’nt miss something bad an am asking a question akin to a fart in an elevator.

Great writing and graphics. Very enjoyable reading, by the way. Best of luck on your move.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2008, 1:52 pm

New blood! Gooble-gabble, gooble-gabble. One of Us. One of Us.

Oh! <koff> Excuse me. Welcome to mine ‘umble blog, Gromulin.

Yes, sadly, Damien vanished around our mutual birthday in May. I walked the neighborhood, put up fliers, hung out at the pound, nada. Well, not nada — oddly, several of my neighbors claimed to have seen him, and that he was hungry and super friendly.

So blog consensus is that he got sick of the workmen and the chaos and took a powder.

Me, I think he would at least have come back for the occasional free meal (they have a cat door). My first guess is that he ventured onto the Interstate or something. A very rash and bold boy, was Damien.

My second guess is that somebody saw him being hungry and super friendly and took him in as a stray. I did that with a cat once, and the bastard lived to be twenty. The weird thing is, if that happened and his new owner ever takes him to a vet, he might pop up again — I had him chipped as part of the process described above.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: November 18, 2008, 2:30 pm

OK. Gotcha. I grew up in a house that had many cats…it was like a homeless-cat networking group. As soon as one would wander off or pass away, a new one would show up on the doorstep.

Comment from scubafreak
Time: November 18, 2008, 2:40 pm

Well, thats the problem, Stoatie. If they have to be functionally destroyed (rendered inoperable), then you may as well just buy a replica. The value is gone either way.

I own a First Production run M1 Garand, and would never be able to let someone sabotage it just to fulfill this or that ordinance. I would donate it to a museum first.

Comment from steve
Time: November 18, 2008, 3:51 pm

Available at Amazon.com


You place the furry feline into this device a few days before you are set to travel, and simply pack her into your carry-on…

When you get to Old Blighty…just add a few drops of water and VOOM!….Miss Charlotte is back to her retromingent self….

And as for YOU!

You get to enjoy the full 10 Sunday mornings of sleeping in bed late…wallowing in your own filth!

Comment from jwpaine
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:02 pm

We live w-a-y t-h-e h-e-l-l a-n-d g-o-n-e out in the country (that’s our actual address, too) in a very sparsely populated county in Colorado. And yet, a kitten showed up (hiding atop the tractor engine after the dogs chased her up there) outside our barn shortly after we had to put one cat down, and another showed up crying outside our door just a couple of weeks before our oldest (21-22, we’re guessing) died in her sleep.

I’m guessing there’s a waiting list.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:05 pm

Oooo! retromingent! A lemony-fresh new word (for me) to use, abuse, and annoy! You are now my BFFL, steve.

Comment from steve
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:27 pm

“You have revealed yourself as a miserable, carping, retromingent vigilante, and I for one am sick of wasting my time communicating with you” (Benjamin C. Bradlee, Editor, The Washington Post).

Comment from Jill
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:34 pm

JW, I hear tell that there’s a very small Greyhound bus, just about kitteh size, and the destination placard reads JWPAINE FARM.

It bounces down the road, trailing bright pink yarn and jingle bells out the rear window…

Comment from JuliaM
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:40 pm

“There are antique firearm collectors in the UK, Scubafreak.”

Not if our ‘elected representatives’ – like Angela Smith, MP for Basildon, for example – get their way:


Comment from TimB52
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:44 pm

Two words: Space Bag

Comment from iamfelix
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:45 pm

LOL @Jill ^

Stoaty — I discovered the utility of those pads after taking care of my seriously-ill ex-spouse before he died. I had a boatload of them left over, so I put one under the box every time I change it. Despite the fact that the box is the size of a wading pool, Miss Maxine has issues with her aim … or trajectory … or something.

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:49 pm

I think what Jill is referring to is the Catbus from “My Neighbor Totoro” http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/1/1d/250px-Catbus.jpg

Kitteh Central Command (or CATCOM) dispatches it as needed to maintain uniform feline coverage in its area of operation.

Comment from Farmer Joe
Time: November 18, 2008, 4:51 pm

I thought pee pads were going to be the answer to my prayers. I have a greyhound who can’t get through an 8 hour work day without letting one go in the kitchen. So I put pee pads down all over the kitchen. So what does he do? He goes in another room.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: November 18, 2008, 5:03 pm

That’s cute, BCR. “Uniform Feline Coverage” is how I got back to 3 of the little devils this year, I think.

Another kitteh bus here.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: November 18, 2008, 5:09 pm

I have no doubt, Jill, that some sort of scheduled kitteh transportation is involved. They see quite organized.

steve: Oh, to actually use retromingent in an insult. I could die happy.

Comment from Jill
Time: November 18, 2008, 5:28 pm

JW, it could be their other modus operandi: tiny little kitteh
paratroopers wafting gently down to earth…

Comment from harbqll
Time: November 18, 2008, 5:31 pm

Is the Uniform Feline Coverage program a sub-division of teh Itteh Bitteh Kitteh Committeh?

Comment from scubafreak
Time: November 18, 2008, 5:32 pm

Jill, I was thinking Kitteh hippies having a jam-fest in the back yard… 😉


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2008, 5:40 pm

My rule is: don’t buy kittehs, never turn away a kitteh that comes to your door looking for a handout. Weirdly, I’ve had one cat at a time, with fairly short gaps between. There were several years between Andrew’s death and Charlotte’s arrival. Then Damien turned up and I had two at once, which really messed things up for a while.

Kittehs blow around like a hot wind. I do still miss Damien something fierce, though.

I always told my mom, Felix, that if she ever started using adult diapers, I’d know it wasn’t because she needed them, it was because she was too lazy to put down her book and get out of bed. Didn’t work out that way. Mortality is teh suxor.

Ummm…I think I just finished packing. Like, finished. Not counting the things I can’t do until it’s time to go, like my last plate.

I packed all my coffee mugs and I’ve been drinking my coffee out of a whisky tumbler. That’s so very, very wrong.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 18, 2008, 7:25 pm

Never mind. It’ll get you used to the jam jars, which is what I’m down to here 😉

Comment from scubafreak
Time: November 18, 2008, 7:25 pm

I dunno, Stoatie…. Make it an IRISH coffee, and it fits. 🙂

I’ll even throw in a bottle of scotch for ya..

Comment from Jill
Time: November 18, 2008, 9:33 pm

My kittehs always kinda showed up unannounced…Senor Gato Negro came with teh house…Cato Fong was mewing inside the neighbor’s York a/c unit, which wasn’t running…and Ernie Douglas was dropped off on the porch and taken under Cato’s paw. Senor Gato fostered Cato who fostered Ernie. It was pretty cool.

Comment from Allen
Time: November 18, 2008, 11:29 pm

My guys have also come in by Kitteh Express. Oliver was born in the pump house, and was abandoned by Momcat. Yeah, we had to constantly bottle feed him he was so young (please sir can I have some more?)

RC and Moonpie found me at a gas station at 5 AM one morning. What? Those are perfectly good names for cat brothers. Moonpie was obvious, he has a perfectly round head. RC, came about due to a thing in some parts of the south. Breakfast for some is a Moonpie and an RC Cola.

Comment from geoff
Time: November 18, 2008, 11:40 pm

Gonna miss you, S. We had some fun times at AoSHQ. Have a great trip and enjoy the land of bucolicity.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2008, 5:25 am

Yeah, hey, goodnews, geoff — they has teh innernets in England now. We loaned ’em an IP and an old acoustic modem and they’re all set.

Allen, was there a comedian who did a routine about “an RC cola and a moon pie”? Because my mother used the phrase a lot and I got the impression it was from something. She pronounced it “arrah see” cola.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: November 19, 2008, 7:53 am

Our cat stands in his tray and shits down the outside side too. And then he moves the grit around and buggers off. Small world, eh?

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: November 19, 2008, 11:13 am

geoff may just be anticipating that you will have so much fun with Uncle B that you won’t have time for us anymore.

*wipes tear away, but bravely trudges on*

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: November 19, 2008, 11:49 am

Er, not to be a pedant, but the Taj Mahal isn’t a palace. It’s a mausoleum. Juss sayin’.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: November 19, 2008, 11:52 am


the song “Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous” by Tracy Byrd includes the stanza:

Yeah our idea of high class livin’
Is sittin’ on the porch on a cool night
Our champagne and caviar
Is an RC Cola and a Moon Pie.

That’s the only reference to said comestibles I’m aware of.

Comment from geoff
Time: November 19, 2008, 5:16 pm

Yeah, hey, goodnews, geoff — they has teh innernets in England now.

That is good, as long as you use them. I guess I formed a mistaken impression from some of your earlier posts that you weren’t going to continue blogging. I’m glad it was mistaken.

Just remember: Blogging Hottie ==> Good; Blogging Haughty ==> Bad.

Comment from glenster
Time: November 20, 2008, 2:51 pm

Fair Weasel –

I seem to remember Andy Griffith had a routine on Moonpies and Arah-Cee Cola, back before he was Sheriff Taylor of Mayberry.

I am a yankee, but I must admit I have breakfasted on MPs & RCCs back when I lived in Boone NC, loooooong before it became a trendy skiing spot…

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