The worst thing for my Mom and me in Cambodia was doctors. First of all, human doctors would not treat me for some reason. Second: it is very difficult to find a real vet doctor there. A couple of times we went to Phnom Penh to the French vet clinic. Eight hours by bus one way for no answers to what was going on, or an improper treatment that lead to severe consequences.
There were no doctors in Siam Reap at that time I was born. We found one experienced American vet doctor with no clinic later, but he left after several months. Then there was a real nice vet nurse from Australia. We found her when we were already leaving. I really hope that situation has changed and there are more vet doctors in Cambodia now. But if you are travelling with your pet or planning to adopt a cat or a dog there, be prepared and search the net beforehand to have a help, shall you need it, on time.
And the most fascinating thing for me was that I was a star in Cambodia. Decide for yourself: everyone smiles at me, everyone tries to touch me, everyone is so eager to know everything about me and asking where I came from. It became even worse when I finally got a passport.
For the first several times Mom had to carry me through the Thai border illegally. I was too small and too sick to have a passport, and I needed to be treated by a good doctor in a proper hospital. So we had to go to Thailand and she felt herself being a smuggler. But when I finally got a vet passport, crossing a border became a huge show for everyone around.
Thai customs officers were shocked every time, even in Suvarnabhumi, when we were leaving South-East Asia for good, airport staff was asking their managers many times to check if they were doing everything right. Here, on the border with Cambodia they have never seen a cat with a passport before. They were hesitantly smiling, asking my name, checking and rechecking my passport, but their reaction was very mild in comparison with Cambodian customs officers’ reaction.
The first time I entered Cambodia legally, twenty or thirty people came to see me. Imagine serious men, policemen in the uniform crowded around my mom and passing my passport around, asking to see me and to touch me.
We were so tired, I was still sick and Mom gave them a permission to see me from several steps away only. More and more people were coming and Mom hid me in my traveling bag and had to stand guard for some policemen still tried to touch me and see me closer. They were excited as if children, seeing a cat for the first time.
The thing is, not every human in Cambodia can afford having a passport, and there was a cat in front of them who had it. I believe I still have a fan club there: many serious men scratching their bellies and telling their friends that they have met a cat with a real passport.
It is very important mentioning one more thing considering my star status in the land of the red dust, which is everywhere, by the way. It’s my tail. I have a very special tail. Yes-yes.
My tail is a crotchet in a shape of a hook. It looks exactly like a Royal cats’ tails from an old Siamese legend that tells about a princess and her cat. One day the princess went to swim in the lake and her cat followed her, as always. And when the beautiful girl undressed herself, she took off her jewelry as well, and not to lose it, she put it on her cat’s tail and made a knot out of it. Thai people believe that since that day all Royal Siamese cats had such tails. It means that I am a descendant of a lost cat-prince or princess of Siam, living in Cambodia in disguise.
Don’t ever believe any other explanation. No-no-no. Only this one is a true reason, why I have such a tail. Have no doubt!
Living in Cambodia was an adventure. We had our ups and downs, of course. But you know what? Sometimes I miss it, and when it happens, I hunt geckos in my dreams. And what are your dreams about?