Antwerp and Mechelen / Belgium / Canada / Escape Belgium / France / Gibraltar / Iceland / Maritime Provinces / Midi-Pyrénées / Slow Travel
This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 10 Favourite Photos.We all know the internet was created so people could share photos of cute animals. Who are we to defy the internet? That’s why today we want to share with you our favourite photos of the furry creatures we’ve encountered on our travels.
Andrew and I travel often and, at least once a year, we are away from home for more than a couple of weeks. People often ask me what we do with our cats and if I worry about leaving our flat empty. The truth is I used to worry about our pets and our home, when we were on the road, but two years ago I discovered a great solution for travelling expats – house-sitters. Ok, before you say it, I know exactly what you are thinking, because in all honesty, I though it too. You let strangers stay in your house while you’re gone… with your cats and all of your stuff? Isn’t that weird and, well, dangerous? Well, sure, it would be if I just grabbed the first person to walk down my street and handed them the keys to our flat. But that’s not exactly how we’ve gone about it. And I promise you, we’ve had no regrets, other than not finding house-sitters sooner.
People are always surprised when we tell them our cats are Canadian. “You brought three cats to Belgium, all the way from Canada,” they exclaim. Well, actually it was four cats and our Saint Bernard joined us three months later, but yes. Our pets are all from Canada. It surprises me that they are surprised. We wouldn’t dream of moving without our pets. They are an important part of our family. When we adopted them it was for life.
This morning we had to say goodbye to our sweet little Calico. After weeks of fighting her kidney failure we knew it was time to let her rest. Over the past week she had gradually being getting weaker and had pretty much given up eating. This morning our vet agreed that it was best to let her go. It was a hard choice but the right one as we didn’t want her to be in any unnecessary pain. Dea was only 11 and we feel cheated that we had to say goodbye so soon. She was our second cat; the first that we chose together at the shelter. She traveled more than many people and was always fearless about exploring new places and claiming them as her own. Although she was very loving to everyone she met, she was a Daddy’s girl and Andrew was always the best person in the world in her eyes. It was a short life but we hope she thought it was a good one. Our family won’t be the same without her and she will be missed every day. We love you Dea.
Orange is taking full advantage of being allowed in her Mom’s normally off-limits office. So last night Andrew and I had the joyful task of force feeding Orange. We let her eat as much as she wanted from the bowl on her own first and then the fun began. Let me tell you… syringing cat food down a wriggling, clawing, unhappy cat’s throat is not a fun task. By the end of it, there was more cat food on Andrew and I, on the floor of the kitchen and wiped up in paper towels than in the cat. Miraculously however, we all survived the ordeal. This morning we were geared up for another battle. Orange however, shocked and thrilled us by eating the entire bowl on her own (very slowly mind you but entirely without force). We were ecstatic about this and feel it’s a very good sign. We weren’t quite home free as we had to get a pill down her throat… something she absolutely hates. That was quite a struggle, involving some blood loss on my part but we won in the end. After that, she even ate a bit more food to get the pill taste out of her mouth. So I’m hoping tonight will go as well as […]
First of all, let me say a huge thank you on behalf of Andrew, Orange and myself for all of your kind comments and e-mails. It really helps. I know that many non-pet owners (and for that matter, some people that own pets) don’t understand the bond that Andrew and I have with our cats, but they really are like our children and are such an important part of our family. When they are sick, we feel responsible, helpless and scared. Your kind thoughts and words let us know that we aren’t alone. So first the bad news… Orange is suffering from liver failure. This is terrifying to me but fortunately there are some positives as well. The good news is, first of all, we know what we are dealing with now. There are ways to treat the problem (which I’ll get to in a bit) and that gives us hope. The biggest positive is that Orange was allowed to come home with us this morning. She is much perkier after her fluids and some force feeding by the vet. In fact, the little miss is exploring my formerly cat-free office as we speak (yes, the sick must be given some privileges). She is happy to be home and wants lots of attention […]
Belgians love a good party. Even the tiniest villages have some sort of annual celebration. Throw in a parade, live music and of course a good helping of Belgian beer and you’ve got yourself a Belgian festival. It seems like every weekend there is a festival going on somewhere in Belgium. The themes can range from the expected — jazz, art and cultural festivals — to the tasty, such as the chocolate festival in Bruges. Then there are the downright strange: the rugby and beer festival, the cactus festival and (something I have vowed to check out this year) The International Regatta of Bathtubs. The Bathtub regatta, it seems, was dreamed up as a marketing stunt to attract visitors to the town of Dinant in August. A flotilla of highly decorated bathtubs makes its way (or not, as the case may be) down the Meuse River, to the delight of onlookers. This sounds like good times to me! Last weekend, my festival sights were centred on Ypres and the 41st Kattenstoet — the Cats Parade. This celebration of all things feline happens every three years and is attended by cat lovers from around the world. The Kattenstoet seems like the […]
Ok, so I didn’t think anyone was actually reading these regularly, but when this one was late, everyone started complaining. So you’d all better be reading. I will start with our trip to Brussels on Saturday. We were late getting on the road and for the second time in a row, headed to Belgium in a downpour. Shortly after we crossed the border (about as eventful as crossing a provincial border at home), the sun came out and stayed with us for the day. (Oddly enough on the drive home, shortly after we crossed back into the Netherlands we were hit by a freak hailstorm…) Brussels is much more spread out than central Amsterdam. It is an interesting mix of architectural styles with a very French feel. There are a lot more modern buildings here and the Art Deco period really took hold. We parked in the Old town not far from the Market Square, by far the most impressive square we’ve seen in Europe. As you enter the square, you are literally surrounded by some of the most stunning architecture imaginable. The crown jewel is the magnificent gothic town hall with its huge tower. Across from the town hall […]