Marble Took a Trip to the Vet Today!

I have three cats: Marble, Dapper and Thumper.  When I leave for the US next week Marble is going to be coming with me, while the other two remain in the Philippines to keep my wife company.  Obviously, you can’t just show up at the airport with your cat and expect to hop on the plane.  It takes some preparation and that preparation began today.  The process for taking a cat out of the Philippines and into the US is mercifully painless compared to how hard it was to bring my cats here from Singapore.  I’m going to write up another comprehensive guide to exporting cats from the Philippines to the US later, but for now I thought I’d share this.

Part of getting Marble ready for her trip was getting her clean and presentable to minimize the chances of her being deemed unhealthy during the inspection at the vet for a health certificate.  She was overdue for a bath anyway.  In fact, all three of my cats were overdue, so yesterday we forced them to endure a good scrubbing.

Marble getting toweled dry after a bath.

Marble gave us the least trouble with her bath, though she was the only one to inflict damage.  I have a nice new scratch on my left foot from her trying desperately to evade the water we were pouring on her from a dipper.

Thumper licking herself dry after her bath.

Thumper never stopped struggling during her bath and wound up looking like a drowned rat by the end of it.

Dapper getting brushed after her bath.

Dapper wasn’t too bad during her bath, but she was the noisiest.  She made sure we knew how pissed she was by continuously growling.  She even hissed at us once.  I thought for sure she was going to turn into a whirling ball of claws and shred our legs, but we escaped without injury.  The cats kept jumping up onto the bed while they were still wet.  They usually do that, so we decided this would be a good day to wash our sheets and just left the new sheets off the bed until after they were dry.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the horror of giving their cats a bath, but ours aren’t too bad.  I think the reason for that is that we’ve gotten them accustomed to it.  We typically give them baths about once every two or three months, sometimes more often depending on how quickly they get that nasty greasy feeling on their fur.

Marble in her carrier, on the way to the vet.

Today, Marble went on a big adventure.  She didn’t seem too thrilled about being in the carrier again, after the fiasco that happened at Changi Airport a few months ago.

Tricycles, a popular mode of transportation in the Philippines.

Overall, she was pretty behaved as long as she could see us, though she didn’t care for the tricycle ride.  I don’t blame her.  Sometimes riding those tricycles can be a little stressful for me too.  At first, she kept looking around to try to find a way out of the carrier, but eventually settled into a corner and just looked at us with pleading eyes.

The actual visit at the vet wasn’t too hard on her at all.  We took her to the Our Lady of Assumption Dog and Cat Clinic in Antipolo.  Ya… like I’ve said before, religious terms and phrases are everywhere in the Philippines.  Her booster shot was pretty quick and didn’t seem to bother her too much.  I was surprised at how behaved she was.

Something that concerned me about our visit there was the type of shots they had available.  In Singapore, our cats got a Fort Dodge Felovax 4 in 1 shot and a rabies vaccination.  The next shot they were supposed to get was a booster for the 4 in 1.  The vet didn’t recognize it though and after placing a call found out that the 4 in 1 isn’t supplied in the Philippines at all.  He said it’s because those types of problems aren’t present in cats here.  I don’t know about that for sure.  Maybe they’re just not treated here.  Hopefully this won’t cause me to run into a problem of her having to be quarantined in NYC until she gets a proper booster shot.

Regardless, she got her panleucopenia booster and we’ll be picking up her health certificate tomorrow to take to the BAI in Manila for her export permit.  They do 1 hour processing on the export permit and it’s supposedly free.  Not bad!  So far, from what I can see, the total cost for exporting a cat from the Philippines to the US is about 230 USD.  Of course, I have to stay in a hotel in Manila the night before my flight and I’ll need to find one that will allow me to have her there, so the price difference might up my total cost.  We’ll see how that goes.  I need to start calling around to hotels tomorrow.

Should You Really Get A Swine Flu Shot? It Could Be Dangerous.

A recent article in The Straits Times is advising citizens to act quickly to reserve their dosage of H1N1 vaccine.  The Ministry of Health is currently surveying clinics to see how many doses will be needed to satisfy demand.  So, clinics are compiling lists of clients who are interested in getting their shot this year, at a cost of 20 to 40 SGD, depending on your doctor and clinic.

An excerpt from the article:

Singapore will receive all 1 million doses it bought from British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline by Christmas, Mr Khaw said on Sunday at a brisk-walking event organised by the North West Community Development Council held at the Republic Polytechnic.

About 20 per cent of the vaccines will be reserved for essential personnel such as health-care workers and the police. The remaining 800,000 doses will be distributed at cost to hospitals, polyclinics and GPs in private practice.

Mr Khaw also sought to allay fears that Singapore will face a shortage of vaccines like what the United States may soon be experiencing with the traditional winter flu season approaching.


Having the swine flu is a horrible … horrible… horrible… experience.  I had it myself, a few months ago.  It’s weird too.  I woke up at a regular time that day.  I sat around doing my regular things.  Then at around 5 PM I washed up and went to Century Square in Tampines to meet my wife for dinner and a night out.  Only, things didn’t go quite as planned.  When I got out of the taxi I felt a little tired, which was weird since I’d had about 10 hours sleep the night before.  I thought maybe I’d just slept too much so I shrugged it off and went into the mall.  It was a cool night outside because it was overcast and had been raining so when I walked into the mall I wasn’t at all surprised to feel the blast of icy cool air.

It was after I’d been standing inside for a few minutes that I realized something was a bit off.  It felt too cold, like I was standing outside in the Fall in New York City.  I didn’t just feel cool or cold.  It felt icy, to the point that I was shivering.  I was really tired too.  I really wanted to sit down, so I went back outside to the taxi stand area and sat on the railing.  It felt better outside and it was nice to sit down for a while.  When my wife showed up we went to eat in the food court, but I just couldn’t manage to enjoy my meal.  I felt really cold and my appetite was starting to disappear.  We grabbed a few things from the grocery store and then took a cab home.  My wife could tell I wasn’t feeling well.  I normally devour that beef pepper rice!

We got home around 7 PM.  By 9 PM I was laying in bed, feverish.  By 1 AM my fever had risen to 38.5C / 101.3F and the following morning at 7 AM it was 39.5C / 103.1F.  I spent the next two days in and out of consciousness.  Usually, when I had fevers I knew I could only tell by the thermometer.  This time even I could notice the heat coming from my face and head.  A cool towel and a fan helped that.  I did a lot of sleeping… and I remember my cats sitting next to me while I was struggling.  That was nice of them, to come check on me.  And of course, my wife took care of me by feeding me, making sure I took meds, and frequently checking my temperature.

After that sort of experience I never want to have swine flu again.  Just like with any virus, there are different strains of it, and having one doesn’t mean you’re safe from all of them.  On the other hand, more people die each year from the regular flu than from swine flu.  I suppose the media frenzy was just their way of cashing in on people’s fears over a new virus.  First it was bird flu, then swine flu.  What’s next? Dog flu?  So, I’m not exactly frothing at the mouth to be the first in line for a swine flu shot.  Plus, there’s data to suggest that the swine flu shot may in fact be dangerous and may make you more likely to become sick with the swine flu.

From an article on, a health and wellness site:

A series of studies suggests that people who got a seasonal flu shot last year are about twice as likely to catch swine flu as people who didn’t.

And then there’s this news report of a case of dystonia that was potentially caused by receiving a swine flu vaccine:

So, I think I’ll just take my chances.  I survived the swine flu once.  I’m sure I can do it again. And there are plenty of people that don’t take swine flu shots that don’t get the flu.