From Russia With Love: Part 2


Celica Blue at about 6 weeks.

Celica Blue at about 6 weeks.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time. The board noted that the plane was on schedule and going through the normal de-planing process. We cruised the food court and got something to eat – I ate a half a wrap, ham with Swiss cheese.

The arrivals were in one general area, so it wouldn’t be hard to miss them as they came through. We chatted with a cute young guy who was waiting for his Russian fiancé; they hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half. Turns out he was a native of Cuba and worked for a printer in Virginia.

I wonder if anyone noticed that I was ready to jump out of my skin and that my eyes were spinning around in my head.

She's here!

She’s here!

Finally, the passengers from Aeroflot SU100 came through. Vladimir had emailed me his photo, so I knew him right away – he looked very Russian, black hair, black jacket, I snapped a photo and waved, and followed him around to the common area, where he placed the carrier on a table.

Celica Blue was bouncing around inside, demanding to be released from its confines

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Checking her out.

after a very long 10-hour journey.

Vladimir took her out and I thought I would melt on the spot. She was quite small with very large ears and incredibly soft fur. We fussed over her, then realized that we needed the carrier from the car (which I should have taken with me), so Sally ran to get that, while Vladimir and I chatted. He explained that he and his wife had nine rescue cats and started their transport service when they needed to ship a dog to Germany and realized there was no way to do it. His English was perfect; he said he had lived in the US for 20 years.

My new baby!

My new baby!

Sally returned with the carrier. We placed Celica inside, and I hugged Vladimir good-by.

One last photo.

One last photo.

I would probably never see him again, but I’ll never forget him.

All international negotiations should be this diplomatic!

Once in the car, I couldn’t believe I finally had my little Russian princess. She was curious, energetic, and beautiful with the softest bunny fur. She surveyed everything with wide-eyed wonder and I couldn’t stop loving on her.

Staying in the carrier was not an option though she did play with the catnip toys with the lid open. I pretty much held on to her and petted her the whole way home, passing her every so often to Sally. I had brought some food from home, but she wasn’t interested.

On the way home.

On the way home.

Once we returned to the office, we transferred Celica to my car for the final couple of miles home.

I brought her upstairs and opened the carrier so the first thing she saw was the litter box. Knowing where the litter box is located is always a good thing.

I messaged Liliya right away that Celica was home and all went well. We messaged each other several times a day over the next few days.

Tekla and Mollie came around with the WTF? bubble apparent over their heads. Kittens are relatively easy to integrate, and I was eager for Celica to learn about her new household and get comfortable in her new life. It was apparent that she was a confident kitten.

My husband – he who had no idea how I managed to pull this off – came home shortly thereafter. He had followed the flight arrival online from work and quickly fell for her. He planned on taking the next day off to get acquainted with her.

Home at last.

That evening Celica stayed pretty much in the living room with us, alternating between my husband’s lap and mine, and a heating pad set on low on the end table. We took turns staying up to make sure she was all right. Mollie and Tekla kept a respectful distance.

The next day consisted of learning the ropes. It must have been pretty hard work because she was asleep in my husband’s lap when I got home from work (he was also asleep).

Over the weekend, she discovered the upstairs and Monday night she learned that everyone sleeps together in the big bed, so of course she now joins us there. Under the covers in true Russian Blue tradition.

My big concern was accommodating her to our cats’ diet. Since she had been eating dry food, I dug up some Orijen, which she nibbled on. Then I finger-fed her a mixture of homemade and canned with some dry on top. And by the end of the weekend, she was totally on board and meowing for her chow! What’s more is that a couple of days later she turned her little nose up at the $2.29 pouch of gourmet food in favor of the homemade. Go Celica!

I’ve had to get used to doing the kitten shuffle – one minute she’s nowhere in sight and the next she’s at my feet.

Everyone

Everyone’s favorite place.

Like all kittens, she lives to play, and even plays fetch. She purrs readily and she loves to snuggle. She’s still working out her relationship with Tekla and Mollie.

In short, after only a week, we’re still marveling that she flew more than 4,600 miles to be with us. At 4 months, she’s flown farther than most people I know.

Liliya, her breeder, has sent lots of kitten photos and I have her pedigree, which does have some American relatives … just to show you how international the cat fancy is. For a kitty that was born halfway around the world, I know more about her than Mollie, who we adopted a few miles from here.

Every so often, we need to follow our heart and do something unconventional. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d have a Russian Blue cat from Russia. But I do now.

Snap the photo! She's still!

Snap the photo! She’s still!

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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 2

  1. I love a happy ending! And I hope I have an opportunity to meet your new little girl! Enjoy the holiday season with a full family and a full heart. 🙂

  2. Amy Shojai says:

    What a fantastic story and journey! Welcome home Celica–you landed in the purr-fect home!

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