Who can ever be sure where things will lead? This morning, for instance, we headed off to Gourdon to the Centre Veterinaire des Fauvettes for the annual medical exam of our two cats, Amélie and Scooter. We had taken along their papers from their vet in Toronto, and were expecting the usual — the vet would listen to their hearts, take their temperature, clip their nails, weigh them, and give them a vaccination. Little did we know that this simple trip would open up the skies of Europe.
It turns out that if we want to travel with our cats to other countries in Europe, we are required to have passports for them. Now I’ll admit that travelling with a cat isn’t exactly my idea of a dream vacation (we thought we had done pretty well getting them across the Atlantic, and spending one night in Paris). But why not? It’s always better to be prepared.
So at the end of the exam, our young female veterinarian, Dr. Stein, carefully filled out two European Union passports “for companion animals,” including the labels from the vial of rabies vaccine that each cat was given. (We have the option of including a photo of each cat in its passport; we’ll think about that one.) They’re pretty smart-looking, don’t you think?
Interestingly, the whole appointment went well. On the drives to and from Gourdon, there were no “accidents” in the cat carriers, for instance. Both cats performed well on the exam table, didn’t freak out when their nails were being trimmed, and kept their moans to a minimum. It’s interesting to speculate whether it was having their new passports — the opportunity to see more of Europe — that kept our two pussers so calm. After all, isn’t it the anticipation of travel that is so involving?
For the male, Scooter, we’re pretty sure that he’d like to see some action. Oslo, Copenhagen or Stockholm? Amsterdam? Maybe a techno-music festival in Berlin? Prague is supposed to be wonderful now, and there’s always London. (Paris is so last summer.) But if he can wait until February or March, the carnival in Venice is always interesting and a bit bizarre. Yes…that could be it. If only we could get a glimpse inside his mind, as he contemplates his new passport. As he is doing here:
By contrast, our female cat Amélie is particularly adept at relaxing. While she is certainly the more curious of the two — there isn’t a box or bag in our house she hasn’t tried to climb into — she’s also more calm. We can walk past her without her jumping two feet off the ground. She can tolerate a vacuum cleaner as close as five feet. And she loves to snooze on her back, with her paws in the air. So for Amélie, the first place to try out her new passport would have to be a really relaxing spot. Maybe an all-inclusive resort in the south of Spain. A quiet town in Tuscany, like Rada-in-Chianti. Or maybe one of the countless lovely Greek islands? Yes, that seems about right. Do you think she’s ready for the islands?