My cats, Peaches and Buddy faired okay once we got into Costa Rica with some first trials. The first one was the cottage I rented next to other houses that had yapping unfriendly dogs. The cats didn’t want to go outside, and the place was small, so there weren’t many places for a view of the outdoors. And you know how cats love to sit where they can watch the world go by.
The next cottage was a bit better, but the first time the rainstorm fell on the tin roof, the noise scared them so bad, that I could see the fearful questions on their furry faces.
I opened the door to let them see that it was rain and not scary monsters trying to get inside to take them away.
During the nearly two years I lived in Costa Rica, I utilized the loopholes afforded expats by leaving the country every 90 days, and when I did, if it were only for two or three days, I’d leave enough food and water for the fur boys, and when I returned the litter box was full and all the food was gone.
But, when I had a longer stays, such as in Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama or even Holland, I took them to a cat boarding facility.
I actually didn’t see it in person, as the people would come to my cottage and pick them up.
So, after living near the mountains in the coffee plantations, I spent the last six months in Jaco Beach, which was hot and had more lizards and iguanas to entertain all three of us, as the lizards scurried up the walls.
A washroom outside seemed to be a favorite place for the iguanas to sit and watch how I washed clothes out by hand.
Once in the middle of the night both cats put out an unearthly sound that came from down in their throats. I got out of bed to see what was causing the ruckus, and there in the water bowl sat a green frog.
I picked up the bowl and threw the frog outside, and we all went back to sleep.
Later on another night, the same sound woke me up, but that time I didn’t find a frog.
I couldn’t find the source of their displeasure, until the next day, when the caretaker came to tell me that he saw an iguana walk into my cottage. Since my Spanish wasn’t up to par, he had to bend down to the floor and show me how the iguana slithered in on the floor.
That would have been worth selling tickets to watch.
We didn’t find the intruder that time, but the next day, I heard a racket by the cupboard drawers near the kitchen.
I called out to the caretaker and asked him to take the iguana out. He moved the shelving and pulled the iguana out by its tail. The tail stayed there, maybe forever, for all I know. But the iguana landed out on the grass. They do grow new tails, I was told.
So all was good until it was time to go back to the U.S., and I proceeded to do the homework on traveling with pets.
The plan would be to fly from Costa Rica to Florida and switch planes to Houston to visit with a friend, then to California. However, while the arrangements were made and I had the tickets, the plan to visit a friend, in Houston fell apart. I’d continue on with the original plan, anyway.
The veterinarian was contacted, and I tried to get an appointment at the appropriate time before departure, but it was difficult as he was too busy. I called everyday for a few days, and knew I was being bothersome, but rules are rules.
Finally, I walked to the office of the veterinarian and was told he went to my place, so I walked as fast as I could, and found him leaning against his truck waiting for me.
He told me in Spanish that if it had been really important, he would have been there in a flash, but knowing what it was for, he had plenty of time.
So, remember the details? Check with the airlines, the security at the airport where you’ll land, and the customs for that country for all the rules concerning traveling with animals.
This time, for the particular airline I’d fly on, required only one cage for both cats. That would be good, for they would find it comforting to be together in the carriage hold.
I gave the previous used two containers I had to the veterinarian to appease his displeasure at my pestering him.
The cats paper work was finished and put in a package along with my tickets and passport. What could go wrong?
Well, let me tell you right now, anything can go wrong, and it more than likely will, no matter how prepared you are.
I got aboard okay, the cats were taken and put on board, I thought. But just to make sure, the cabin crew said he would check and come back to assure me.
And he did, but not until we were airborn. They were on board.
But, when we landed in Florida, walking through customs, the cats were delivered to me and I picked up my luggage to catch the plane to Houston.
But, here’s the twist: the airlines I should catch, was cancelled, so my choice was limited. The airline to transfer to was on the other side of the airport.
I had no way to get there, and no U.S. dollars to pay a taxi. There were no shuttles.
But, as always in my traveling, angels appear from nowhere it seems. A man in a van that makes deliveries said he would take me to the other side. I told him I had no dollars, but he just said to get in, luggage and cats.
Now, I was at the substitute airlines, a nice gentleman was sorry to have to tell me that his airline requires separate cages for animals.
“But, the airlines I just flew here on was agreeable for one cage. I don’t have another one. What am I suppose to do? This isn’t my fault.”
Peaches and Buddy were screaming their heads off.
“Well, I do have a cage here that someone left, and I’ll just give it to you.” Didn’t I say angels are everywhere?
That made everything work all the way to Houston, where I stayed a few days in a motel and then flew to San Francisco, and all three of us stayed with my son and his family, until…well, that’s another story.