Moving Lola overseas

Taking lola for walks outside at the farm

We have officially and successfully moved Lola, our cat (also called Cat and Lolypols), from Australia to Singapore. She was with us in Sydney but has been living with my parents since August 2018.

I was with her at my parents’ farm until our move to Singapore. Triston was commuting between Sydney and the farm. The problem was that my parents were moving so I was with her to settle her into the farm and she started to really love it there, it wouldn’t be where she was going to live once December hit. There was no fixed date on her move from the farm to the more isolated but actually in a town setting house. The one thing we knew was she would be reunited with the dogs.

Lola at the farm
Lola at the farm

After a few weeks of being at the farm, maybe it was a couple months. I don’t remember now. My mum took the dogs to the village house. When I say village, I mean a village with a total greater township area population of 66. But, it is a town, with houses and people and streets and cars. It isn’t a 40-acre farm-let next to big farm properties where if Lolypols raced out the door nothing would happen. It is in a house in a town, where neighbours live and have their own pets. Most of the streets are dirt. The highway and street to the pub are sealed roads but those are the important streets, the remaining roads are dirt.

One of Lola’s favourite things to do is race out the door. She isn’t a big fan of outside. Well, she wasn’t until the farm. Lola loves to explore new rooms and is pretty adventurous for an inside only ragdoll cat.

Everyone wants Lola

Her pet hates are all other pets and animals of any kind, not being allowed through a doorway and outside. Her favourite things are new people, me, Triston, pats, brush brush, cuddles, sleeping and healing you with her purring.

It was a huge decision to bring her with us. We had considered all of our options. Carefully. We investigated which other options were on the table, including contacting the person I still refer to as Lola’s Mum. When we got her, she asked me to let her know if we ever needed to give her up as she would have her back. I checked if she was in a position to do so. I wasn’t saying she was getting her back just checking the options for us to consider. There were big things in her life that would prevent her from having a cat. Illness and things that wouldn’t allow enough time for a pet again.

Everything was carefully considered. It is a big task, is this what we want or what is best for her. No option within our friends or family were suitable. Most people have their own pets, which eliminates them. Cat being alive isn’t the goal, happy and relaxed is. Anyone who had another animal would not be able to have Lola as she would never fully relax.

Moving Lola is it best for her or us?

Our final options were:
give her away or sell her to someone unknown,
let her move back into our flat in Sydney, or
Triston’s parents as their final dog had passed and they now no longer had any other animals.

We didn’t want to give her away to someone unknown but if we did we could always think of her as alive. In 10 years, 20 years time, we wouldn’t know any better so while it would be likely she wasn’t still alive, it would allow us to think of her as alive. Also, she is an old cat with asthma requiring daily treatment. It is a hard sell to get someone to take a cat, even a ragdoll as sweet as Lola but one that is old and needing medication, that is a lot tougher. We decided that we probably wouldn’t trust anyone who wanted her and ruled that out.

Who could keep Lola?

Our unit in Sydney is in a ‘no animal’ building. The people living in our unit are tenants and while we all used to live together it doesn’t seem appropriate to have our cat stay with them when the building can start a motion of eviction due to a breach of the bylaws. They lived with her and love her immensely. It was ok when we lived in the apartment as well. If there was going to be any issues with Lola being there, it was our responsibility. To have her their responsibility and put their home at risk – they were happy for it as they wanted her back – but it just seemed unreasonable and a bit unethical.

So then Triston’s parents. It did seem like a solution but Lola doesn’t know them and we don’t want her to feel like she has been dumped. I was with her while she was getting to know my parents and we no longer had the time to do that with Triston’s parents. Other issues and considerations. Lola is really an inside only cat, she isn’t stupid exactly, just naive and unaware of dangers plus the friendliest cat around.

Furniture would be scratched, she has already found her favourite couch spot to scratch here. She would have been able to have her bed, and usually when she has that she doesn’t scratch the furniture often because it is mostly made of scratching posts but she will still dig into the furniture. Just for fun, on occasion. Sometimes it is to show she is super happy, other times I think she is exerting her dominance lol.

Lola is terrified every other animal

Her hair gets everywhere, constantly, and while it is so soft and fluffy the cleaning will never end. We had cat hair in the hotel in Singapore just because she had been with us while we were packing some things and it got everywhere, travelled with us and floated all over the room when we arrived.

Mostly it was about her safety. Yes, there was no dog at the house anymore but Triston’s family always used to have cats. They had village cats, cats that go outside and know the neighbourhood. Lola isn’t like that. If she were allowed outside, she would be timid at first but she always wants to see what is in the other room, so she would go over the fence. Or out the front, or to the street. She has not seen a road in her life. Not even with the girl who had her before. She doesn’t really understand cars, other than hating car rides.

It means that she needs to be in a house that is sealed to the outside. Triston’s parents’ house has a back deck with an open doggy door. It could be closed over, yes so it isn’t a huge deal but it was something to consider. How much house modification and habit altering would we expect someone to do to look after our Lola? She would be loved and she gives a lot of love. There is a hole to fill because it is now a pet-free household but you need the right pet for the right home. Lola is a bit of effort.

Lola is fussy and has asthma

Then there is her kitty litter, the bathroom door needs to be open and accessible to her at all times. She drops some stinky poops, she will not go to the bathroom outside. While she was at the farm, when I let her outside she would mostly sit under the stairs of the house but she would run back inside to use the bathroom. I could even put her on some sand outside and she would still run inside to use the bathroom. Her litter box is her toilet and nothing else will change that. Having the bathroom door always open is uncommon with people that we know. The bathroom door tends to be closed. I would rather ours closed but she needs access.

She does need daily medication and she is fussy with her food. She doesn’t eat treats just the food she likes. It has to be the food she likes. She needs to sit with you all day. You have to feed her when she wants it. She is generally spoiled and I am trained the best.

Lola likes belly rubs, on her terms. The palms of her feet tickled, only by me. She gets really annoyed with Triston when he tries. He thinks it is super cute when she fans her paws out for it. Earwax is one of her favourite things along with armpit scratches. Most people do it wrong. If you do it wrong she gets really upset.

After agonising over it we decided it was best she remains with us. Cue the stress doubled and set in. Were we being selfish, would she survive the trip. Should we just let Lola stay with my parents. My dad had grown attached and Lola was just starting to be friendly with mum.

She is our cat

And then she arrived. Just over 2 months after we left Australia she arrived in Singapore and she was so happy and relaxed. It wasn’t just about us, it was right for her. She hasn’t even given us the cold shoulder. Usually, she would give us the cold shoulder for a day or two after we take her for a drive or when we go away on holiday or for a weekend.

She would run excitedly and say yay your home and then give us the stink eye and ignore us for a day or two. That is her usual schtick. This time, however, she just said OMG you guys, YAY. And love, cuddles, play and purrs ever since. It has been a few days already so it is too late for her to remember to be annoyed at us.

Is it really best, does she want this?

With an animal, you can’t just ask them what they want. I decided that she loves me a lot and that she would want to hang out with me. Does she though? I don’t know. It was a founding thought in all the options we considered though.

The thought of her really loving and being attached to us. I have always felt that she loved us more than the people we got her from. I still think it is true. When she got here, the room filled with joy. From her. She used the bathroom, ate her food, played with string, spoke to us, wanted pats and cuddles and gave us headbutts but her body just radiated joy. Like she said to us, “oh, this is what all that was for? Yay! Totally worth it then.”.

Read more about Lola in Singapore.

This post was originally posted on 10 February 2019
The day was 10 February May 2019
Updated 2nd November 2019

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