- You will experience some of your biggest culture shocks when running into stray animals. They are everywhere. It may be a shaking puppy in a street corner or newborn kittens crying in a barrel. You will never get used to it. You will, however, learn to accept that you cannot save all of them. Nevertheless it is equally heartbreaking every single time.
- If you do decide to adopt a stray animal, do know that these animals will go into heat at some stage (yes they can be spayed, but see point 6 for further thoughts). If you do not want them to have more babies, you will have to listen to the now-comfortably-domestic cat sing a loud horny opera in the middle of the night. You will hear and see the male cats enjoying the concert just outside your window.
- You will cry over cats. A lot. Here’s to you: Bosse, Boksanya, Juhannus, Tinnish, Chicarito. You will sit on the sofa sipping red wine and listen to Frank Sinatra’s My Way and think about your deceased cats. You have discovered a new place in your heart; it is called the Cat Memorial and Funeral Corner.
- You will become an expert in things you previously did not master. You can suddenly tell the difference between a hookworm and a roundworm. You are a confident midwife when the cat gives birth. Blood and other bodily fluids, you got nothing on me. Bring it on!
- You are quickly finding out that bringing a cat from Africa to Europe is almost (only almost) as difficult as it is for African countries to enter the agricultural markets of Europe. You will have to schedule time for vaccinations, blood samples and micro chip installments. There is no way around this.
- And then you will wish that there were proper veterinary clinics in town. Meaning outside the range of mere cattle clinics. There are not. You will just have to wait that your lawyer-by-day-veterinarian-by-night will visit your house when he has got the time. And when he does finally arrive, you may have to assist him (e.g. performing a spaying operation on the kitchen table).
- You are sometimes / often seriously considering opening a shelter house for stray cats and dogs.
- Your biggest fear about ebola is that in case we are evacuated what will happen to our cats?!
- You will find out that there is no pet food for sale in the local mini shops. It will transform you into a skilled cat food maker. Potato and fish stew as well as avocado are big hits. Then you realize you are spending more money on making cat food than some locals are spending on their own food which makes you feel a bit idiotic and predictably Western.
10. You can’t help but love animals.