Shadow a few minutes before we gave him a natural calming remedy. You can see by the way he is panting how hot it was in Khartoum that evening even with the airconditioning and overhead fan in our bedroom
Well, we're home safe and sound, praise God. And I can honestly say that Shadow was a model traveller all the way home! At 11pm on Tuesday I gave him natural calming meds which lasted four hours. Once he was in the cage he stayed there until we arrived home in Marquard at 8pm on Wednesday. He'd spent a full twenty-one hours in the cage. No further medication was given (we didn't want to risk unlocking and opening his cage anywhere en route) and still Shadow was as good as gold on the trip.
At first we sat for hours in the airline cargo office in Khartoum waiting for the plane to land. When it did at 2.30 on Wednesday morning, a guy came into Ahmed's office (the agent we'd been working through for Shadow's travel arrangements) and with him holding one end of the cage and Grant holding the other, (with me and Issam following) Shadow was taken to the custom departure area. We had to take our leave of him then (which was very emotional for me, boo-hoo!) and we waited in the boarding lounge to board our flight at 4.40am.
All went well on the short hour and a half flight toAddis Ababa. There we had a two-hour wait and where our luggage (and in this case, our cat!) would be transferred to another aircraft. I asked the lady in the lounge where we waited to check up on the live cargo which was my cat! She managed to return with information that my cat was being tranferred to the Johannesburg plane as we were on our way to the aircraft. When we got off the bus to board the flight, Grant spotted Shadow's cage at the bottom of the roller leading up into the hold. I , of course, dashed across there and was duly stopped by a security official for trying to enter an unauthorized area. Then he saw the cat-cage and asked if it was mine to which I replied yes and would he mind if I had a quick look at my cat. He walked with me to the cage where three other men were standing looking with great interest into the cage. At this stage, poor little Shadow was quite stressed and had pushed himself up to the back of the cage and was hissing and spitting. I think he recognised my voice but I only had a few seconds to see him when I was asked to leave the area. Then two of the men lifted the cage and placed it on the roller and up into the hold he went. I returned to the bottom of our aircraft steps and made my way up with Grant (who had waited while I checked on Shadow) feeling much better for having seen my cat being loaded onto our flight.
Four-and-half hours later we touched down in Johannesburg. Within twenty minutes, we been through passport control, had collected our luggage and were on our way to meet Angus, Amanda and our little grandson waiting in the Arrivals hall. Shadow however, would only be released more than an hour later after being checked by the State vet and collected by the pet travel agency who'd hold him for us.
We decided to have lunch at the airport while we waited. We went to the Ocean Basket, a fish and seafood franchise which serves delicious fried or grilled fish, seafood and a variety of sushi including the vegetarian options for yours truly.
We had lunch at Ocean Basket at the airport. The food and service is always excellent and the waitron brought a feeding chair for our grandson which enabled him to sit at the table with us
Peek-a-boo! Our grandson lifted the feeding chair tray with his feet, peeped under it and struck this comical pose when he saw I had my camera focussed on him
Our grandson (now eight-and-a-half months old, is strapped into his own safety car chair in the back of the car. Shadow's travel cage fitted in beside him
Here is Shadow in the back of the car after we collected him at the Cargo buildings at 3pm on Wednesday. He'd been in this cage since 11pm the night before and still had more than four hours before we reached home where I eventually opened the cage and let him out. He proved to be a very calm traveller (except for short while of anxiety on the tarmac at Addis Ababa airport while waiting to be transferred to the connecting plane)
It was after three when we drove over to the cargo buildings and collected Shadow from the Pet Travel agents. The lad who handed him over to me said they have many cats and dogs flown into South Africa but he has never collected one from North Africa. With Shadow loaded into the back of Angus' car next to our grandson, we were soon on our way down the National freeway heading for home.
When I let Shadow out of his travel cage at 8pm on Wednesday night, he slowly stepped out onto the carpet in my bedroom. He spent the next forty-five minutes checking out the smells, sights and sounds of his new room. Here he is checking up on the lighting
Shadow sees himself in the mirror in our bedroom
Further afield: exploring the kitchen
A few of our home cats having a snack in the entertainment area
It has been three days since we arrived with dear little Shadow and although we still haven't let him out into the garden, he has already claimed the whole interior of our house as his domain. The other cats all sleep in the entertainment area and know there is another cat inside but are very nervous of the newcomer. We will slowly introduce each cat to Shadow over time
Thanks to everyone out there for your kind thoughts, prayers and encouraging comments as we made this journey across the African continent. Bless you all.