It’s that time of the year again when we do our regular trip north, to the Romanian seaside, to visit the in-laws who this year have a brand new addition to the grandkid count, even though he’s a cat.
Much ado about laws
Getting the cat legal enough to travel across EU borders became one of the most complex tasks we had this summer. First, he had to be given his annual vaccinations, five moths ahead of time but, well, new passport and all. Then he had to be microchipped. Then the microchip had to be legalised, at the regional food safety agency.
Following this last step, Vlad became the first microchipped cat in the region ever. Why the legalisation? Because cat chips don’t automatically get added to the register because the microchipping rule is new or something. The important thing was people (we) had to go places (with a restless cat) and do things. But this wasn’t all.
Pets travelling in the EU need to be given a rabies vaccine at least 21 days prior to the travel date. Then, 72 to 24 hours before the travel date, they need to be given one last checkup and a dose of anti-parasitic medicine. We did the vaccine, we did the checkup, and we were all set. For a nightmare on wheels because of course Vlad would make a spectacle of himself since we had eight hours on the road ahead of us.
How did it all end? The lady at the customs glanced at the pet passport Big C. tried to hand her and said “No problem, I don’t need that.” A dozen stamps and a dozen signatures PLUS a microchip waiting to be read, all for a glance and an “I don’t need that.” Border control between Bulgaria and Romania is… well, typical, really.
The anticipation of a cat spectacle on the road had a sound basis in all the travels we’ve made with Vlad so far. There is much panting, much screaming at other cars and nature, and general restlessness that makes you want to strangle the creature and put it out of its misery.
Things started as expected. Vlad checked all his boxes and he checked them repeatedly over the first couple of hours on the road. At the first break he resolutely refused to leave the car (and its AC-enabled microclimate). After that, he curled up and went to sleep. For most of the rest of the way, he slept or when he didn’t sleep, he was quiet. It turned out, our youngest may not be a sprinter when it comes to travelling but he’s certainly a marathon runner.
Sadly, even marathon runners get tired occasionally and this is exactly what happened to the car 5 km from the border. Suddenly, the battery light went on, the AC stopped working and Big C. reported the wheel requiring more effort to turn. The last 50 km to our destination, therefore, we spent with open windows and a cat continuously sprinkled with water by me, who felt like it was ’85 again.
Our car is 14 years old, it has only had one owner and that owner (Big C.) has been impeccable about maintenance. It’s sad to see the effects of age on something as sturdy as our sweet clumsy Logan but there is little we can do except accept aging. The problem appears to be minor but that doesn’t make it any less annoying to be suddenly carless in the middle of summer. Actually, strike that, the suddenly part make every carless situation it appears in annoying. On the flip side, we just went to the beach, by bus, and we survived, so there’s that. August begins well.
Welcome to my book-peddling corner (because books won’t sell/download themselves much as I’d like them to).
For dragons and vampires, press The Lamiastriga (which you can’t read for free on this blog).
For random scary stories, here’s a complete list of my published shorter fiction.