Choli by Chris Wardle
I’m taking this opportunity to provide a simple four-step guide of ‘how to export a cat from Northern Ugandan’, as it’s a skill I feel everyone should have.
The first step is to get a cat. I adopted a very small, abandoned Kitten called Choli. The chances of unaided survival for this eccentric little character were slim, as he refused to eat anything but roast chicken. This, I add, wasn’t due to spoiling him. We were in a part of the world where access to roast chicken was about as common as people who keep cats as pets.
The second step to export a Ugandan cat is to get him vaccinated for rabies, and micro-chipped by a recognised vet. You then send a blood sample from your cat to a laboratory in the EU for approval. There are no cat-vets in Northern Uganda. (Normally if your cat is ill, you just get a different cat). Jill, my partner, is a health professional, and so administered the first rabies shot. Having received our microchip and scanner from the UK (!) we then took Choli on a three-hour bumpy drive to the nearest vet. The vet had never treated a cat before, and didn’t know what a microchip was.
Following extensive explanations to the vet, Jill also micro-chipped the cat. The vet achieved the blood sample via a lengthy process in involving a razor, a test tube, and four of us to hold the cat down – a cat who could not be persuaded that this would be eventually for his own good. The sample was sent with a friend to Kampala to be air-freighted. We made our return journey, accompanied by a very miserable cat with shaved wrists and looking like it had been attempting to commit suicide. (The time we had to take him into the local hospital to plaster the leg he had broken falling off a step, is of course a whole other story).
Step three. Once there is EU approval, you simply take your cat to British Airways Cargo in Kampala to have its cage approved. You then use the export agent, that you’re obliged to hire, to organise the required mountain of paperwork, which includes a signature from the head of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Step four is to send your cat to a foster family in France to get its EU citizenship (and bypass quarantine). Between connecting flights at Heathrow Choli had access to a specialist chef who cooked him roasted chicken. (Something to think about next time you’re travelling cattle-class). Choli then lived with Patrick in Toulouse for six months, before taking the ferry to England so that he could his exert his eccentricities on my family, where he is now very much loved.
Since this incredible journey took place, Mr. Choli has become a main character of the Mr. Tinfish series of humorous children’s books. His capacity for adventuring, self preservation, and belief in his own superiority makes him a very loveable and quirky feature of the stories.
Chris Wardle holds a bachelor’s degree in physical geography as well as a Master’s degree for water supply in developing countries from Cranfield University in the UK.
Over the last ten years Chris has travelled extensively in developing countries working on charity projects in poor communities. He has been able to draw on his numerous experiences to inspire his creative works, particularly living for long periods in communities with different cultures in Africa and Asia. Please visit the Tinfish website.
Chris Wardle’s THE LIGHTHOUSE OF MR. TINFISH VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘10 will officially begin on February 1 and end on February 12. You can visit Chris’ blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of February to find out more about this great book and talented author!
Thank you to Chris Wardle for taking time to guest post. Further thanks goes to Pump Up Your Book for arranging this guest post and tour.