From Russia With Love: Part 1

I’ve had a love affair with Russian Blue cats since 1987, when I got my very first kitten.

Seven Russian Blues later and fueled by an amazing international Russian Blue Facebook community, I again felt the kitten siren call. I tried to ignore it, reasoning that there are so many cats in my own backyard that need homes. However, once you’ve been owned by a Russian Blue cat, there’s no going back.

Tekla, now 11, was bred by Ingeborg Urcia.

Tekla, now 11, was bred by Ingeborg Urcia.

Tekla, now my sole Russian Blue, was 11 years old. She was from the breeder who wrote the book on Russian Blues, Ingeborg Urcia. My Facebook friends on the other side of the world were posting photos of their kittens and cats, and I started making inquiries. I put aside a chunk of my freelance income without any particular plan of action, but in the back of my mind I was preparing myself.

One day a Facebook friend, Liliya Moyseenko, posted a photo of two of her girls who were looking for homes. My heart skipped a beat. We had previously chatted a bit about our common occupations and cars adorned with Russian Blue insignia.

We started our conversation on Nov. 12, much of it trying to figure out how to transport a kitten from Kaliningrad, Russia, to the US. In its efforts to be everything to everyone, Facebook has a Cat Transport group, which focuses primarily on shipping cats within Europe. That was our starting point.

One girl, Cherry Sweet, was placed pretty quickly. That left Celica Blue. She was just 3

Celica Blue at 3 months.

Celica Blue at 3 months.

months old. The price was good. That left arranging transport for a price we both could live with.

We swapped transport names back and forth and possible dates. We determined that the best way would be for Liliya to fly from Kaliningrad to Moscow, where there are direct daily flights to JFK. We connected with Vladimir, who ran a professional transport with his wife, Ekaterina. The stressful part was in coordinating the dates for Liliya to fly to Moscow to hand over Celica to Vladimir, who would hand carry her in the cabin of the plane to the US.

Vladimir and I finally talked on the phone to arrange a price and a date – Friday, Dec. 12. Liliya and I had to figure out the best arrangement to pay for the kitty. She sent me account information, which I took to my banker – I’ve been dealing with him for several years and he didn’t think I was too crazy. Besides he and I drive the same kind of car. He figured it all out and she got the money the next day!

However, there were hic-cups along the way – confusion about the date, still more transport options, problems reaching Vladimir, who was in the US, coordinating between Liliya, Ekaterina, Vladmir and me.

In the meantime, I was dealing with my husband’s skepticism. He was afraid the whole thing was a scam and we wouldn’t have a kitten. I found it difficult to explain what Liliya and I were going through in trying to sort this out.

Finally, Thursday, Dec. 11, was nailed down, and that happened just the weekend before, to everyone’s relief. Celica would finally fly from Moscow to her new home in the US. I could finally allow myself to get excited about my kitten.

ArrivalsSally and Kelly, my bosses, ever so kindly drove me to JFK. The plane was due in at 12:30 p.m.


About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

2 Responses to From Russia With Love: Part 1

  1. Amy Shojai says:

    And….and ….don’t leave us hanging! *s* What a great story, can’t wait to hear the rest.

  2. Tekla is 11?! OMG I remember when she arrived! I can’t wait to read the rest of the story about Celica’s arrival, which was on my mother’s birthday! More pictures, please! I feel as if I’m an auntie again! Please kiss her for me and hurry up and write part 2!

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