So, we're in the tracking phase now.
Air shipment - arrived in China; now being processed through customs.
Sea shipment - departed US; estimated arrival by end of August.
Cat import papers - in process. Yes, this whole cat import process is, by far, the most complicated part of the entire move process. Seriously. There really is a lot more going on in this move than getting the cats there -- but getting the cats there is the hardest part.
First, cats must have received required shots more than 30 days, but less than 365 days, before travel. So, even though Majerle got his 3-year rabies shot August 10, 2012, he had to get another one in late June, because the last 3-year shot was given (barely) more than a year before.
Second, not more than 10 days before travel, we have to get checkups and health certificates for Gracie and Majerle, which then must be mailed to the local USDA office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who will officially endorse the certificates and mail them back ... hopefully in time for the trip. The paperwork must be filled out "just so" (in blue ink) or there is a real risk of problems. And finding out, once cats are in Hong Kong, that there's a problem with the paperwork would ... be a very bad thing.
So - on Wednesday, Gracie and Majerle got to try out their crates for our trip to the vet to get the exam and health certificate documents. The good news: Gracie will, eventually, stop meowing when riding in a car. I wasn't sure, so decided to leave early and just ride and ride to see what happens. I learned that it takes about 15 minutes for her howls to wind down to whimpers ... then, so long as you keep moving, the whimpers get fewer and fewer. Right up until you hit a red light and need to stop. Then the howling starts all over. (Majerle, of course, just sits there quietly - looking very aggravated-ly from her to me with a "make her shut up!!" look on his face.) The 6 hour trip to LA is going to be ... interesting. But that's another story.
Anyway, while neither cat likes to be crated, the "good" thing was that, once we got to the vet where there were other critters and lots of people, they were just fine staying in their crates, thank you very much. Which was a good thing, because the process took quite a while. Our absolutely wonderful vets at Dear Creek Animal Hospital, particularly Dr. Beth Robbins, spent quite some time on Wednesday doing the health exam and getting all the required papers filled out exactly right (any errors and you need to start all over, so it was an adventure). We faxed them over to Tobi to confirm everything was good and, once confirmed, we were done. (Thank goodness for PetRelocation,who has this process down to a science.) Well, except we needed one more original signature on a document - which had to be from a vet who wasn't in on Wednesday, so we'd have to wait until Thursday to get that doc.
On Thursday, I got the final document and emailed to Tobi to make sure all was right -- and once approved, sent the package off.
And, fortunately, it arrived in New Mexico right on time today.
So, now, I'm tracking the next label, to confirm when USDA sends it back out. Fingers crossed that it will get to LA on time. I'm very much looking forward to getting this process done.... ! I don't think I'll be able to really relax about this until I've picked them up at the Shanghai airport ... Tuesday, August 27 if all goes well.
And, once they're there safe and sound, the rest is all ... gravy. Of course, I'll be hoping our air and sea shipments get through customs and all that. But really -- that's just "stuff." Once Jeff and I -- and the kitties -- are back together in Shanghai, I'll just be very very happy.
Update: The USDA's Arizona-New Mexico Veterinary Services Office called me just a bit ago as a courtesy to let me know that papers are in order and are going out this afternoon. How is that for wonderful customer service?!