We then had an agonising wait of an hour and 45 minutes before the animals arrived all shackled together on a cargo pallet. We had hired the fantastic Michael Foley from Global Animal Transport to clear them for us, so he’d done all the vet stuff and customs clearance before they even landed. So when they finally arrived at the KLM warehouse on their pallet (transported by a forklift no less!) we were able to unshackle them immediately, load them into the van we’d rented, and head for home. The dogs were thrilled to see us but the cats were very distressed. You could hear them miaowing a mile off. They all looked very bemused to be manoeuvred around by a forklift! But thankfully they all made it, I was very worried that someone would die of shock or something.
It took about 45 minutes to get up to the house and we released the cats first. They were all in quite a state, sort of shell shocked and soaking wet, not in pee, but probably where their water had spilt and they’d just had to sit in it for hours. Once we let them out they all rushed off and hid somewhere. A couple of them came to eat and they were all quite disoriented. Curtis seemed to handle it best. He just started exploring as if nothing had ever happened. Spencer and Finlay found a quiet shelf in the wardrobe and curled up and went to sleep there. Mini Me hid in a box for hours on end, Jeffrey found his way onto the kitchen counter and started dozing there in a corner, and Loulou found another wardrobe shelf to hide on. Quite a few of them headed straight for the litter tray, poor things.
Once we’d sorted all them out, we got the dogs out one by one. We let them straight into the house as their run was not quite ready. They were a bit disoriented too but were quite bouncy. Two of them ate and they all drank gallons. We took them straight out for a little walk so they could stretch their legs and go to the loo.
We are quite worried about Jeffrey and Finlay, they didn’t cope at all well with the journey. Finlay has hurt his back leg and has been limping around, and also seemed to have some sort of nosebleed on the plane. Jeffrey seems a bit traumatised and hasn’t eaten since we arrived. They’re just hiding themselves away so we take them water every now and again and they’re both drinking, and Finlay ate for the first time this morning. just giving them a bit of time in the hope that they’ll get back to normal eventually.
The biggest change is that the braver cats – Mini Me, Spencer and Curtis - have all been coming into the kitchen and living room and the dogs have been taking any notice of them whatsoever (except Louis of course) so everyone is kind of wandering around together. Maybe they bonded on the flight! I’m sure Jeffrey and Finlay will join them once they feel better, but Loulou will probably stay away.
We’ve already taken the dogs on a couple of short hikes now up some of the trails and they love it. They don’t even seem to have noticed they are on a totally different continent with trees and hills!