When George first came to live with us, we had to take him to the vet for a general health check. We hadn’t named him yet, so we just called him Sanban (Number Three).
Among the bazillion other things we have to do to pull up stakes and start our lives over, we have to process the cats. There’s no rabies in Hawaii so the Department of Agriculture is extremely vigilant about quarantine standards for imported animals. It doesn’t matter that ours are indoor cats or that there’s been no rabies in Japan since 1956. There is one set of rules and everyone must abide by them. No exceptions. So sayeth the Dept of Ag.
I won’t go into the tedious details except to say it takes six months, minimum. The first step involves vaccines which involves several trips to the vet, always a popular pastime within the fur community. Fortunately, the vet’s office is only a five minute walk from here because they scream bloody murder all the way. The neighbors look daggers at us, wondering what sort of horrible torture we’re inflicting on them.
But then we arrive and the vet is a chubby, kindhearted woman who seems to care about our fuzz muffins nearly as much as we do.
We told her about the move to Hawaii and fortunately she’s been through this process before and can help us through it. When she finished with the first set of injections, she smiled gently and said, “I wish I could be Number Four.”
I smiled back and said, “Sensei, I think you’re a little too big for the cat carrier.”
“I’ll lose weight,” she said.