Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cats in Jamaica

Those who know me well - and those who only know me a little! - know that I am very fond of all animals, particularly cats and especially my two Russian Blues, Whittington and LizzyBetty. I wanted to bring them to Jamaica, but read online that Jamaica does not allow the importation of cats except from the UK and Ireland. I have left them in the most excellent care of their "foster parents", Mihai and Alexandra, who send me updates and pictures and I know they are safe, well loved, and happy.

However, I miss them terribly. I would love nothing better than to come home to two grey faces welcoming me at the door. 

Last week I visited a veterinary clinic nearby to see if there was any way that, with special permission and medical certificates, that I could bring them to Jamaica.  I guess we could call it the "faint hope clause". Serendipitously, the vet that I spoke to is the recent past-president of the Jamaican Veterinary Association (she graduated from vet school in Ontario). Not only did she say that they have been lobbying for changes to the antiquated regulations for years, but that the Ministry of Agriculture has now agreed to pass legislation and change the regulations!  Unfortunately, we are on "Jamaica time"  and with all the other pressing issues this government faces this is hardly a priority.  I asked if contacting the Ministry would help and she said it could certainly do no harm and may, indeed, assist - if not for me, but for those who follow - and she gave me the names and addresses of those to contact.

I have now written to the Director of Veterinary Services, The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, and the Permanent Secretary, respectfully requesting a Ministerial Permit or whatever as long as I comply with the agreed new regulations. In an effort to nudge Jamaican-time I confirmed that I would be flying back from Vancouver on January 2 and could bring them with at that time.  I will give it a few weeks and then call them. And then I will go meet with whoever it takes. 

I am not unrealistically hopeful, but I have to try. 

A few photos of why I miss them . . . 

Whittington with little sister, LizzyBetty

Whittington lounging as only a cat can.

LizzyBetty  loves a tummy rub

W in window of cottage

Cozy on a winter day

Still best friends at 6 and 5 years old

Summer Chilling

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