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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I'm finding myself in a bit of a dilemma. I'm thinking about applying for the JET program which would mean I'd be spending a year or more in Japan. The problem is, I can't take my cat with me. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any ways I could have him cared for if I should get accepted. I can't leave him with my parents and leaving him with anyone else would seem hard for me because he is so wild and can get bitey if you don't know how to handle him. He's a BIG handful and has caused damage to my property before so I'm worried no one will want to have him around. He also doesn't like other cats so anyone I know who already has cats is out of the question, and anyone who doesn't I'm worried won't be experienced enough to handle him. The thought of leaving him behind tears me up inside but this could be my one chance to have the experience of a lifetime. I'm really upset and don't know what to do! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I've read all that and as much as I would love to take him, the program strongly discourages pets as they are nearly impossible to deal with upon first arriving. The entire quarantine process would also not be possible to do while going through all the introductory courses necessary when arriving in Japan. There is also no guarantee I'd be placed anywhere near one of the quarantine facilities. People have actually been known to be rejected from the program simply on their insistence to bring a pet along. Not to mention the near impossibility of finding an apartment that is both pet-friendly and gaijin (non-japanese) friendly. I've been posing on a forum site for JET trying to find a possible way and everyone's answer has been that it's impossible and not to waste my time applying if I want to bring him with me.
 

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If you had actually read what I linked you would see that the quarantine is less than 12 hours if you do the leg-work (rabies vaccine, vet check, etc) beforehand.

See, the problem I'm seeing is that you've already discounted all of the reasonable solutions.

  • You won't take him with you
  • You don't have anyone to take him
  • He has behavioural issues that make him virtually unadoptable
  • You don't want to give him up forever
  • You don't want to board him long term
What are you even asking? Do you want us to tell you to give up your cat (with behavioural issues) to a shelter because spending a year overseas will be worth it? You have a pet and if you love it of course it's a hard decision between what you want and what's best for them. But it's not like you've been offered a 6-figure guaranteed salary with expenses included on a no pets stipulation.

I'm not sure how much research you've done, but the JET program isn't all its cracked up to be. It may be the best of the "teach overseas" positions, but you're idea that it's the "chance of a life time" may be clouding your judgment regarding the horror stories and bad experiences and wasted money that most people seem to get out of this sort of thing. If you really want to get a job teaching English in Japan, there are hundreds of private schools that will hire you to do so, and all you need is a work visa.
 

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And if you had actually read my post you would know that I HAVE read that link already. I've done my homework and I know what would be involved. It's not that I DON'T want to take him with me, I CAN'T take him with me! Yes the quarantine can only be 12 hours, that's ONLY with a 180 wait period ahead of time after microchipping and blood work. If I was accepted I'd only have about 2-3 months notice. Also, as I've said before there is no guarantee I'd be placed anywhere near a quarantine center where I could easily pick him up.

I would NEVER give him up to a shelter. What kind of person do you think I am?!?!

I'm not a child and I've been looking at this program for quite a while. You seem to think I'm jumping in without knowing what 'm getting myself into. I'm fully aware of what's involved.

If I could easily leave him with someone else, I'd never have a reason to be here asking for help! I was hoping someone could give me some solution or advice I hadn't thought of. Patronizing me over my decisions is not appreciated, I came here for support, not to be yelled at, and your comments are not appreciated. If you had no help to offer, why bother posting?
 

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Basically, what Jacq said. What are we supposed to tell you?

I will tell you something, though, experience from a family member, who taught English in Japan for 7 years.

She loved the country but not the society. She felt like she'd stepped into the 50's or eariler as far as women's rights and the perception of women went - the view they had of themselves as well was not good, needing to hurry up an marry and to quit work once they did so. It was expected of them. She had more than one occasion of stalkers; exteremly inappropriate ones. Police never did anything. Stalkers are something that is not uncommon for foreigners, as Japanese can have an obsession with the Western body and culture.

She had stories of many people becoming seriously depressed in their year of time, often otaku that had deluded ideals of the country, due to the Japanese treatment on gaijin (frequent pointing in the streets, even from adults) and of culture shock, and of isolation. A lot of people became alcoholics.

Another bizarre thing she mentioned was that most men hired were gay, she had no problem with gay men but in general it meant she was single for most of the 7 years.

When she came home after all that (the society was too much for her eventually) she was not rich by any stretch, she was not well-off at all. She ended up living with some other family members in fact.

This was in the 90's, I can only hope things have changed since then. Although from people I've heard from living there, they haven't.

Moreover, if you can't speak basic Japanese you're going to be in trouble, having to communicate with hand signals and such. It's not all it's cracked up to be, I don't even want to go to Japan even after being kyuu 3 (level 3 of 4; 4 being basic Japanese, 1 being totally fluent). I also read a story from someone recently of how they are fully fluent and still spoken to like a child, always a source of amazement to the Japanese, and spoken about behind their back like they won't understand. It's not a good feeling, knowing you'll never be treated like a Japanese person no matter what you do.
 

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Wow, this thread has a less-than-supportive tone to it. Rather than stomping on the OP's life goals, couldn't we be more supportive and help her with ideas about placing her cat while she's there? My gosh, let's go back to the original question and not stomp on her dreams.
 

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Well, long term boarding might be a titch expensive. The site I looked at in Maryland was a mere $425 per month! Ouch!

Could you talk to your parents again? You didn't list the reasons that they would be unable to care for your cat. If they have other pets, maybe there is an extra room that could be set up while you are gone???
 

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Please stay on topic, she's not asking for advice on the program. If you feel you need to share an experience then PM her.

Aqua...I think you're between a rock and a hard place. Your options for your cat are extremely limited...I don't see extended boarding as a solution either. Being kept in a confined space for a year will likely make him even more aggressive.

However, you seem to have ruled out a couple possibilities without really investigating them...maybe there is someone with a lot of cat experience that doesn't currently have a cat, or someone with other cats that has a space he can live in without contact with the other cats. You'll never know unless you try. It doesn't have to be someone you know...advertise the situation offering to pay expenses may get some results.

But...in the end, I think you're going to have to decide what's more important to you...the experience of a lifetime or the commitment you made to your cat when you adopted him.
 

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Yes the quarantine can only be 12 hours, that's ONLY with a 180 wait period ahead of time after microchipping and blood work. If I was accepted I'd only have about 2-3 months notice.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm 95% certain that the process of applying to JET, being reviewed, being accepted, and getting on the plane is much longer than 3 months. In fact, I know that JET teachers leave in the summer time, and in April if they apply for early departure and are accepted for that. So. It's september. April 2013 is six months /180 days away.

If you get on the phone now and start making appointments your cat will only be quarantined for a few days (if you happen to leave April 1st). If you're like most and don't accept early departure you have plenty of time to get the import conditions dealt with. If you don't get accepted... well, congrats, your kitty is ready for international travel.
 

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Are you keeping your residence in the US? If so, you could pay someone to care for him while you're away. I am sure there are pet sitters who would give you a discount considering you'll need them for a year.

Your family/friends can't keep him, you can't take him, and boarding for a year just isn't even an option considering he's already wild. The only other option I can see is surrendering him to an animal shelter but from what you said he seems agressive and therefore probably isn't adoptable.
 

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Hi again;

I read in your intro post that your kitty is only 10 months old. There's a good chance his "bitey"-ness is something that can still be untaught, and/or that he will grow out of!

He's also young enough that he has a very good chance and is not what I would consider "unadoptable". 10 months is very much within an age range to curb bad behaviours with success, IMHO. You might have a better time convincing someone to look after him for the year that you're gone if you
1) explain he is young and you are still working on teaching him manners
2) Pay the food/litter/vet costs while you're away (probably you will have to do this up front with someone you trust, or mail cheques each month on the stipulation of a photo update w/ a newspaper or something)
3) Make sure all of his vaccines are up to date before leaving, as well as getting him neutered if you haven't yet to prevent more unwanted behaviour like spraying.

I honestly think you have a good chance of finding someone to watch your little guy. But be careful, they may fall in love with him and not want to give him back. lol. (but, as a serious note, you are considering being away from your cat for longer than he's been alive, if that makes sense. There's a chance hid bond to you may shift or fade in a year's time)
 

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If you can find a non-cat friend who is willing, you could train them ahead of time, teaching them how you deal with his misbehavior & biteyness, letting them spend time getting to know him and him getting accustomed to them, letting them see his quirks and what he likes and dislikes. Also, I definitely agree with the one room suggestion... provides for good damage control and is still much better than a small boarding cage.
 

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Ask your vet's office. There may be someone who works there, or they may know someone, who would be willing to take on your kitty for a year. I know if I were single and didn't have kids, (they don't do well with bitey) I would do it, and I bet there are plenty of other people who would, you just need to find them. Do you have facebook, you could put it out there, you never know who might respond. I don't know if you could contact a fostering program for something like this? Someone who is willing to foster might be willing to take kitty for you for a year. Good luck!
 

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I once house/pet sat for a family for a year that had to move overseas but didn't want to sell the house and all that because they knew they were coming back. I got extremely reasonable rent to take care of the house yard and 2 resident cats and guinea pig. Do you own your own place? Could you make this kind of rental arrangement with someone?
 

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I was going to ask the same thing as Kobster. When I had to go abroad for 4 months, I found a student I trusted, who'd grown up with a cat, to cat sit for way reduced rent. So, essentially, a me replacement. Subletting was not allowed in my apt. complex, but since the lease remained in my name, that wasn't a problem.

If you can find someone you trust and you're willing to reduce your rent/mortgage in exchange for the "service," that would be far better than boarding. At least the place will remain familiar. I'm not familiar with the JET program - is it university-affiliated? ie, do you live near a college or university where there might be a ton of students who'd love the opportunity to exchange somewhere to live for cat care? You could then do interviews, have them over, and see how they interact with your kitty. Perhaps there's someone out there with experience with a bitey kitty like yours.
 

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Wow, this thread has a less-than-supportive tone to it. Rather than stomping on the OP's life goals, couldn't we be more supportive and help her with ideas about placing her cat while she's there? My gosh, let's go back to the original question and not stomp on her dreams.
Yup. Excellent job, people. Real nice.
 
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