A couple people have asked how Majerle and Gracie are doing. The answer is that they're adjusting well for the most part.
Neither one of them have liked riding in the car much, since we first adopted them. But Gracie really seemed to hate it. She'd start howling as soon as I put her in the crate and only stop when I got her back out.
So I wasn't really looking forward to the 7+ hour ride to LAX. (We drove them (and us) to LAX because the temperatures in Phoenix in mid-August are just too high for pet air travel -- even though the cargo hold is temperature controlled once the plane is flying, there's still a period of time of sitting on the ground where it is just deemed not safe.) Fortunately (for us), Gracie generally quieted down after about the first hour and did well. Majerle was mostly quiet although he would stand up, watch out the window, then meow at us a bit every so often.
We stayed at the Sheraton right by the airport over night, as the pet taxi folks were scheduled to pick them up 9:30 the next morning and - if we stayed close - they'd pick them up from our hotel and take them directly to the airport -- which was one less transfer the cats would be subject to so I was all for it.
They were generally quiet and nervous in the hotel - a whole new space with new smells. Both of them spent most of the time hiding behind something -- either the chair in the corner or behind the TV in the armoire piece. (First thing I did when we got in the room before I let them out of their crates was to make sure that the "under bed" space wasn't accessible. I had nightmares of having to dig them out from under the bed in the morning. It was a great relief not to have to do that. The hotel was great - when I realized our room didn't have a freezer, I asked the folks downstairs if they could freeze the furkids' water. (PetRelocation.com recommended that we freeze the water, so that it wouldn't spill on first transfer and would slowly thaw, giving them cool water for several hours.)
Anyway, the pet taxi folks who partner with PetRelocation arrived the next morning. I'm sure people near the entrance of the hotel thought I was surrendering them or something because yes, I cried. The pet taxi guy asked me whether they'd flown before, and I said "no." He laughed and said, "they don't have a clue what is happening then, do they?" Uh .. when he saw my face. Then he assured me that they'll be just fine.
We got them both in the back of his little mini van and I said goodbye. And off they went. (He was very efficient and that was a good thing - longer the process, the more upset I would be, so I was glad he was transferring them fast and all that.)
And then, off they went. I walked around a bit to get it together before returning to our room to pack up our stuff.
They were scheduled to fly out at about 1:45 but the plane was delayed a few hours. Of course I didn't know that as we were scheduled to fly out ourselves at about the same time, so even though I had signed up for flight following, I also had already turned my phone off before any delay messages came through.
When we got to our hotel in Shanghai, I checked messages and saw that they had arrived in Amsterdam. I didn't notice the delay in arrival, but it ended up having "consequences" as - from what I understand, the delay out of LAX resulted in them being held over another full day in Amsterdam. I didn't learn about this -- that they weren't on their scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Hong Kong until after they'd been scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong. That was a little disconcerting. But - flight delays happen (on our last trip to Shanghai, we ended up getting here a day late because we were delayed out of Phoenix and by the time we'd gotten to SFO, the plane to Shanghai had already left. The *good* thing, from my perspective, was that they were delayed in Amsterdam, not in Hong Kong. KLM, the airline that they flew, has a wonderful "pet hotel" just for furkids like Majerle and Gracie who are flying around the world.
Anyway, since they were delayed out of Amsterdam, they would not arrive in Shanghai until Tuesday, rather than Monday as we'd thought they would. (Well, originally we understood that they'd not get to Shanghai until Tuesday, but then we learned that they were scheduled on a flight to get them here on Monday ... until they missed their flight out of Amsterdam.)
Finally (or so it seemed to me), I was able to go get them at the airport in Shanghai. And that's when things got a little crazy, due to what I can only fairly describe as a series of miscommunications/misunderstandings between myself and my relocation company.
As an aside: The MOST IMPORTANT thing to know is that both Majerle and Gracie arrived safe and sound, physically and mentally. Another important thing to know is that, while there were some miscommunications, I share the responsibility AND, even so, the company has more than "made things right" by proactively listening to my story and asking me what could make it right, and then making it right -- making actual changes to processes to ensure that things don't happen again. Flight delays happen. Miscommunications happen. Busy customers who have 1,000 things to think about sometimes hear things wrong or don't hear them at all. And everyone is human and can make honest mistakes. What matters most to me is that (a) my furkids arrived safe and sound, (b) PetRelocation was great to me, and (c) PetRelocation made some changes to processes based on how things are here in Shanghai and ... how things played out. I fully expect that I will use PetRelocation when we return to the states based on how they professionally and graciously handled the entire situation - and can recommend them to others.
Anyway, two heroes saved me that day (the furkids were fine; I was a basket case): "Mr. C," our driver, and J's wonderful secretary "Ms. E." They worked the phones for a couple hours figuring things out (and, with Mr. C, continually telling me that it'll be ok - they will figure it out.) When there was some issue with the paperwork and the shipping company didn't want to release the cats, it was Mr. C who ... uhm ... spoke persuasively, and Ms. E, who found, then provided, information that convinced them I was who I said I was and those cats were mine!
Anyway - all I can say about that is that I was a basket case for a few hours, and I can't recall when I was so relieved as when we had them in the back of the van and were driving back to our place. That trip was hard, because their crates were wired shut and - huge, obviously - so they were in the back and I was in the front. It took us about an hour to get back home. Ugh. But -- we did.
And, finally, they were HERE. Out came the wire cutters and all that. I'd expected to need to bathe them after such a long trip but both they and their crates were clean (enough). So, that was one less trauma (for both of us, as they both hate baths!)
I kept trying to get pics of both of them to post on Facebook that they were here, but it was almost impossible with her because ... this is how she was. For a long while.
Eventually, she was content to sit on my lap for a while. But when I got up to go to the bathroom .. or anywhere, she was like a little puppy following me around, then jumping up on me.
Essentially, Gracie was .. attached for pretty much the first 24 hours or so. When I went into the kitchen, she'd stop to get a drink for a bit, but only for so long as I stayed near. Soon as I left, she would too.
Gracie cuddling me after she arrived.
Majerle, on the other hand ... not so much. I had also shut all the doors to rooms to give them an enclosed space, but Majerle anyway, was having none of that.
After spending some time drinking up, he promptly went to the first closed door (kitchen) and meowed at it, until I opened it. He'd not even explore that space before going to the next door and meowing at it until I opened it. So, within about 10 minutes, all the doors to all the rooms were open in the house.
Majerle would come over every once in a while but wouldn't let me pet him initially. He'd just rub up against me then walk away to explore again.
Then he'd come back to me for a while longer, and even sit up on the couch beside me (us). Never for long, but for little bits of time.
Eventually, he did let me pet him. But he was pretty restless for the entire day.
Tbe next morning, though, all was well in Shanghai. I woke up to Majerle curled up with me, along with Gracie just a few inches away. And, they stayed that way pretty much the entire day: sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping some more.
By Thursday, Majerle was back to exploring some, then napping, then exploring. Gracie was back to being a leech, then napping (usually on me), then being an active leech on me again (I could not type or do much of anything. She was THERE, insisting that I pet her, talk to her, actively BE with her.)
They've been slowly adjusting. In part, it is hard - especially for Majerle I think - because our sea shipment is not yet here, so we still have a lot of wide open spaces, with very few places to hide. He loves hidey holes, but -- other than the bed and the couch - there just aren't any. He used to get in the closet (much to our dismay, actually, but the doors were such that we couldn't prevent him from doing so) anytime he wanted a break from his little sister (who can be really annoying!! she is such an attention whore. seriously! she must think she's a dog or something....)
So, they are "arguing" (cough cough) more than they did before. And I haven't yet found ways to stop that. I separate them but then MAJERLE comes back and insists on engaging Gracie again. Which I find very weird. He gets so annoyed at her for trying to play - growling, hissing, etc etc. But each time I separate her and give him space in a room and distract her, he just comes back for more. ::: shrugh ::: I'm hoping that when our stuff comes and he has his "space" that used to be HIS space ... on the bed, on the dresser, and the like, that they'll stop -- or at least reduce -- their squabbling.
The funny thing is that while they really do squabble like an older brother and younger sister, all that stops -- immediately -- when someone "new" comes. (And, so far - given that there are still certain things that need fixed and the like -- someone is coming virtually every day.) When the door bell rings, they're suddenly very close buddies. It generally goes like this: They run behind the couch in my office (which I pulled away from the wall so they'd have a hidey place). And they listen, peeking under the couch. Majerle, who gets sooooo tired of Gracie, is such a "big brother." He will watch with her, then just look at her until she settles down, sometimes nudging her, always looking straight at her. Then, and only then -- once she's settled down and closed her eyes, he'll decide to take a nap too. If she wakes up, he's immediately watchful and watching her. Then, once she calms down again, he'll close his eyes and take another nap too.
They stay this way (whether awake or asleep) -- face to face -- until the place is quiet again. Then Majerle will venture out and check out the place to make sure that no one is here. Then he'll come back in on the couch and meow a bit, and then (and only then) Gracie will come out from behind the couch. And - half the time (at least), they'll just start squabbling again as if they weren't the sweetest siblings 30 seconds before ....
And - Majerle has his new "garage door." Back in Phoenix, Majerle always insisted on going out into the garage in the evening. (Gracie never did.) He'd meow at the door while Jeff was cooking or I was cleaning, until we let him out there. Twenty minutes later, he'd be ready to come back in. Here -- he does the same thing at the kitchen door, insisting that we let him out into the laundry/storage room area.
He is also not at all yet done exploring the territory. No matter what door or drawer I open, he is in it before I can stop him.
Gracie is a little less in-my-face, but not all that much. She's constantly up here, on my desk, while I'm trying to work, insisting that I pay attention to her. Then, she'll settle down for a bit, anyway, so long as she can be beside me....
As it was back home in Phoenix, both Majerle and Gracie like to be up on my desk beside me, as I work (or play) ... my desk is much smaller, so they now have to take turns ...
So, they're adjusting well over all, but I think it'll take some time (and the delivery of our "stuff" that they're used to being with and on) before they are fully comfy and realize that this really is their home ... for a while anyway.
*Special thanks to Pam Barklage for permission to "borrow" her term, "Fur Kids." It is a perfect moniker for, well, my furry "kids."