Cat Export Preparations Update #3

Well, we’ve encountered two hang-ups.  One isn’t so bad and one is making me want to claw my face off from frustration.

I received the airline certified cat carriers this afternoon but there was a problem.  They were smaller than what I’d thought when I originally bought them.  They looked roomy and more than adequate when I was in the store, but when I put one down and stuck Dapper in it, it was obvious that it was not going to be appropriate, or even acceptable by the airline.  Dapper could barely fit inside, couldn’t turn around and couldn’t even stand up.  Maybe it’s because she’s so fat, but regardless, I had to jump in the shower and take them back to the store for an exchange to the next bigger size.

When I went up there I was a little worried about how the whole thing would go.  I’d never tried to exchange anything in Singapore before and while it would be an easy swap process in the US, you never know when it comes to Singapore retailers.  Thankfully, this standard of exchange is in use here in Singapore as well.  I just had to show that the carriers were still in new condition, with the packaging on them, and present the receipt and it was a quick process to request a “top-up” to the next size.

So, I was able to bring home one carrier in the next higher size and I’ll have to wait until next week to get the other two.  I imagine it’ll take 7 days again, which means I’ll get them on the 28th, just in time to take them to the vet on the 29th for their rabies shots and health certificates.  I’m glad I bought those other cages when I did, leaving myself room for fixing this sort of mistake.  I’m also glad that the people at PetLover’s were pleasant and quick to help me out with the exchange!

That was the easy fix problem.  The next problem is the one that has me banging my head against my desk.  Well, not literally, but I want to.

Part of the process of getting my cats out of Singapore is requesting an export permit from the AVA.  Getting an import permit from the Philippines BAI was as simple as sending an e-mail with the details of the cats, the shipping method and date of arrival.  There was a slight hang-up due to technical issues but once we contacted them we had it back on the same day by e-mail.  The AVA is proving to be much, much more difficult.

When you go to their site there are clear links for export permits for personal pets, and it indicates that you can fill out a form online for two day processing of your request.  The problem here is that all of the links point to an online form that seems to be geared towards businesses.  There is no personal form that I can find.  The form we keep getting directed to requests some business identification number and another number I don’t recall right now, but either way, you can’t progress past the first page of the request form without filling those in.  We obviously don’t have them, and the average person wouldn’t have them either.  I keep getting the feeling that I’m looking at the wrong form, but no matter how many links I click I always wind up on that one.  My wife tried with the same results.

So, tomorrow I’m going to have to call up the AVA and figure out what the deal is.  I hope they don’t tell me something that’s going to make me throw my phone through the wall.  This process has already been stressful enough, both on my wife and I, and on my wallet.

This whole process has been a real lesson in how difficult an international move really is.  Before this, any time I’d ever moved I’d had it all arranged by the military.  Well, except for my coming to Singapore in the first place, but when I did that I gave away my furniture, electronics, and anything I couldn’t immediately use to my family, packed a few suitcases and hopped on a plane.  I suppose this wouldn’t be too much different, except for there being two of us now, if not for our cats, but we aren’t about to abandon them either.

Anyhow, the “top-up” on the carriers wasn’t free, so here’s the update:

Total damages so far: 770 SGD (approximately)

Total to go: 380 SGD (approximately)

Cat Export Preparations Update #2

We are well under way!

Last week I went to the pet store in White Sands and found IATA certified Ferstar travel carriers that will meet our needs.  They were a bit pricey at 75 bucks apiece, but since they’re airline certified I know we’ll be able to use them multiple times in the future, since the Philippines isn’t a destination so much as another stopping point to learn and enjoy life.  I opted for home delivery both because it was free and because they didn’t have 3 carriers on hand.  They had to order them from their warehouse.  A few days later I got a call saying that the carriers would take a bit longer to come in because they had to be ordered from overseas.  That’s a little troubling, since I don’t have a lot of time to play around with anymore.  They’re supposed to arrive tomorrow, so here’s hoping it pans out alright.  When we get them in, I’ll be sure to throw up some photos of the carriers and point out some of the details.

Beyond that, I called up Philippine Airlines to discuss having the cats transported along with us.  The procedures are fairly simple.  You book your tickets and then within two days prior to the flight you have to go down to their office to provide them with a copy of the export permit, import permit and health certificate.

If you’re wondering, cats (and other pets) can’t ride on the budget carriers.  You have to take one of the full fledged airlines and the only two offering the service between the Singapore and the Philippines are Singapore Airlines and Philippine Airlines.  The difference in ticket prices between SIA and PAL was about 400 SGD, so we went with the cheaper option.

Total cost of the carriers: 213 SGD (after PetLovers members discount of 5%)

Total difference in cost between premium airline tickets and budget tickets: roughly 400 SGD

Total ‘Damages’ So Far: 713 SGD (approximately)

Total to go: 380 SGD (approximately)

Stay tuned for more updates!  Also, I’ll later be compiling all of the details into a more refined post for a good walk through on how to bring cats from Singapore to the Philippines.

Cat Export Preparations Update #1

So, last month I mentioned the astronomical costs associated with taking our cats with us to the Philippines and detailed exactly what some of those costs are.  Today, we had the opportunity to take that list down a notch by getting our cats their first round of vaccinations.

We had to do some searching around for good pricing.  I was really surprised by how much prices on the same set of shots varies from vet to vet here in Singapore.  The low end was 21 SGD and the high end was 54 SGD.  We did the sensible thing and went to Clinic For Pets in Geylang, which was charging the lower amount.  It’s farther away, but since we were doing multiple cats at once it balanced out the extra taxi fare in the end.

The cats received a 3-in-1 shot that included Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calici-Panleukopenia, and Chlamydia Psitacci Vaccine.  Did you know cats can get Chlamydia?  I didn’t.  I recently found out that cats can carry a feline version of HIV too.  We were also given deworming tabs and a medical strength shampoo to apply to their coats to make sure any fleas, lice, etc are completely eradicated.  Those are supposed to be applied within 7 days of their departure, to be noted on the Health Certificate we have to get from the vet, which in turn has to be certified by the AVA.

There’s still a lot more to go in this process, but the fact that we’ve taken the first step is a relief.  Honestly, if not for these cats I could just buy a ticket and board a plane, but I’m not the kind of cruel bastard that just dumps my cats when it becomes inconvenient.

Total ‘damages’ so far: 108 SGD (shots, tablets, shampoo, taxi fare)
Total to go: Roughly 780 SGD

As for the cats themselves, they seem to be taking it pretty well.  They didn’t much like the ride to the vet, but they were quiet while there and on the way back home, even when we got caught in a deluge of rain while trying to hail a cab.  Dapper still seems a little shook up and is seeking refuge in the dirty laundry basket along with my smelly socks and used underwear.  I don’t know why but she really likes it in there.  I think the noise and all the stuff going on around her while she was in the carrier rattled her nerves.  She’s sensitive.  She grew up in an apartment on the 13th floor, so she’s used to things being quiet, peaceful and relatively unchanging.  Even now we’re on the 3rd floor so she looks out the window and watches things below her from a ‘safe’ perch.  She must have been really unhappy to actually be in the middle of everything with buses, trucks, and cars zooming by on the road and the train shooting past us overhead.  Poor thing.  I’m sure she’ll be fine in the morning!

I’ll keep a running log of updates on their status here on my blog, of course, and when it’s all done with I plan on writing up a detailed post about taking cats from Singapore to the Philippines, that way someone else can easily follow the steps without having to comb through so many different government web sites for information.  I’ll probably set that up as the first post on my Philippines blog, after I stop publishing to my Singapore blog.

Update: I rolled all of my blogs into just this one, so the last sentence above can be disregarded. For a detailed look at the export process from Singapore and the import process to the Philippines for dogs and cats, please see the following link:

Importing Your Cats To The Philippines From Singapore

The above-linked page includes detailed information and examples of the web pages and forms used in the process.

Kuala Lumpur Cats

These are just some of the cats we saw while we were in Kuala Lumpur.

 

This is Mr. Jinja.  He’s a cat at Hostel Cosmopolitan.

 

 

This is Whinny, Mr. Jinja’s friend.  She also lives in Hostel Cosmopolitan.

 

 

This cat was hanging out in an eating area in Kampung Baru, begging for scraps.  I gave it some chicken.

 

 

This girl was working at a satay stall we stopped at for a late meal.  In fact, we got there just before they were closing.  As they started packing up, cats started showing up.  I was wondering what was going on until the girl working at the stall pulled out a bag of cat food to feed them.  She seemed really excited to see the cats, and she had a good laugh when my wife ran over to watch them and had her photo taken with them.

Cats Are Good For Singapore

I’ve heard a lot of complaining about cats in Singapore, both first hand and second hand through friends. People seem to think they’re a nuisance and that they should all be gotten rid of.

Well, it’s true that cats can be noisy sometimes at night. They’re territorial and they like to fight. Sometimes they’re horny and they want to get laid. How can you fault them for that? It’s in their nature to do those things. It’s also true that they sometimes utilize cars as cat beds. I know from personal experience that it can be annoying to come out of the house in the morning and find a fresh set of cat tracks on the hood of a car. It doesn’t make me want to get rid of them. It certainly doesn’t make me want to do something cruel and insane like mass poisoning.

Instead of focusing on the things cats do that may annoy you, you should focus on what they do that’s good for Singapore!

First and foremost, cats are good pets. If you see a stray cat, instead of kicking it, take it home. It’s a bit costly up front, but once you get your cat used to being in your home, and fatten him or her up a bit, they’ll become lifelong companions. There’s nothing quite like having a warm cat on your lap while you watch a movie. There’s nothing quite like having all your cats waiting at the door for you because they recognize the way you walk and want to welcome you home. There’s nothing like waking up with a cat warming your head, or sleeping curled up next to you.

Every cat has its own unique personality. I never knew that before I had cats of my own.

Tangible Benefits From Cats in Singapore

Besides being great, or at least interesting, companions there are other reasons to respect cats. If you’re thinking that indoor cats are fine, but it’s the outdoor ones that are a nuisance, ask yourself this: Would you rather see stray cats or see a massive increase in huge rats in your neighborhood? Which do you think carries more disease? Heck, which carries more of the ‘gross’ factor?

Cats are natural mousers. Having cats around keeps down the rodent population. If it weren’t for cats, the rodents might overrun the neighborhoods and that would be bad, because I’ve seen rats in Singapore that were as big as a six month old cat. Also keep in mind that rats aren’t as tame as cats. The chances of your child being bitten by a cat on the playground are slim. The cat would generally run away from a human being. A rat on the other hand might be more prone to attack.

To illustrate I have some photos of a cat doing his work. I was lucky enough to see this guy cleaning up the 24 hour hawker in Pasir Ris the other night. This is in the bushes just in front of the air conditioned area of the hawker center, near where people typically park motorbikes and bicycles at night.

 

 

As you can see, cats do a good job of keeping things tidy.

A Better Option

If, however, you simply cannot stand having a lot of cats around, or think there are too many, there’s another option. Volunteer your time and money to safely and humanely treat the problem. Work with the SPCA or the Cat Welfare Society. Or, do something above and beyond. Every month, catch a cat (lure with food into a carrier) and take the cat to a vet to have it neutered or spayed. Then, care for it indoors for a week and put it back out. That will effectively reduce the cat population by potential dozens for every ‘fixed’ cat.

Summary

[Update: Just to make it clear, the pictures below are not of the same cats. The ‘bad’ pictures were taken from online news articles in Singapore. Images of similar looking cats were used to emphasize the fact that cats are cute, and shouldn’t be hurt. Thanks!]

Do Not beat up, maim, harrass, torture, or kill cats. That goes for dogs too, though it’s not so much of a problem here. Besides the fact that it’s just sick and wrong, there are stiff penalties in Singapore for that. Are cats really so horrible that you want to risk a 10,000 SGD fine and/or up to 1 year in prison? Use your head! Think of alternatives!

This:

(Source – Edit: 2016, source no longer exists)

 

 

Or this (my cute kitties):

 

 

Which Do You Want To Have On Your Conscience?