When I mentioned that I was “importing” my pet cat, Weave, to Israel there was a collective countrywide groan. Surely Israel does not need anymore cats!
Modiin has no shortage of felines and I could literally have my pick of the bunch! Fat/thin/mottled/gingy/male/female/spotted/striped – you name it, it is a kitty smorgasbord! Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat wouldnever dream of excluding them! Erm, did I also mention that she is 15 years old? An age where most cats dream of the big scratch pad in the sky…
Weave’s move to Israel required as much planning as the Normandy landings. She needed an extra battery of shots and tests in order to be approved by Israel’s State Vet. This delayed her aliyah. Naturally news of this debacle led to frantic execution of Plan B which entailed me phoning around, desperately trying to find accommodation fit for a feline princess while she waiting to be probed and scanned, jabbed and examined.
Enter the dynamic teams of Gail’s Kennels and Keringa Petwings who ensured that this feline princess was looked after like a queen and travelled to Israel safe and sound.
It is often said that Israelis are amongst the warmest and most hospitable people in the world. This epitomised my experience collecting my furry friend from the airport. Navigating red tape is about as much fun as a root canal treatment. Armed with the necessary paperwork in Hebrew and English, I trekked off to Ben Gurion airport on a solo mission to collect this most important arrival. Half expecting her to strut through the arrivals gate, travel cage under paw, I was quite perturbed to find out that not only would she not be disembarking with the rest of El Al Johannesburg to Tel Avi’s passengers but that I would have to find my way to cargo city to collect her.
A short shuttle trip with a driver who had no concept of speed limit later, I arrived at cargo city. To cut a long story short (okay and a mini meltdown due to my lack of understanding of Russian-accented Hebrew and a drop in sugar levels which brought out my inner dragon) negotiations with the “lady” who ran collections was a non entity. Teary eyed (and potty mouthed) I pleaded with the two gentleman from Cargo to please help me.
My eternal gratitude to Ezekiel Ezekiel, Dani and the mysterious Kobi who moved heaven and earth to cut the red tape and bring my precious cargo to me. I don’t know what was more entertaining, Weavie’s excited mewing or the macho Israeli men trying hard not to smile at our joyful reunion!
And so by plane, train and automobile (literally!) Weave made her way to her new home in Israel. Gratitude to Ben Gurion security, Israel Railways security, the nice Russian guy who carried her to the platform for me, the nice security guard who shared stories about pets while waiting for the train, the nice teenager who carried her to the taxi and the befuddled taxi driver who asked me, “Nu, what is so special about THIS cat?”
I am happy to report that she has settled in nicely. Kitty ulpan optional.