“I’m planning on retiring to Ecuador this Thanksgiving. I have five cats and a dog whom I feed top quality food with no by-products, no grain or soy. Would it be a problem to import food and litter? Also, is it difficult to rent if you have pets? Do most homes have tile flooring?”
—Krystyna C., New Mexico
Latin America Correspondent Lee Harrison responds:
“In Ecuador, you’ll find that the larger cities have a good selection of pet foods, although the selection is far better for dogs than for cats. Nonetheless, the offerings won’t be anything like you’ll find in the United States at the larger pet stores or specialty shops.
“For people who are particular about a pet’s diet, a common solution is making the food themselves. I had a friend who used fresh chicken, since it was cheaper than the expensive pet food. Another friend bought cheap (but fresh) fish for her cats. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, this may be a good alternative.
“You shouldn’t have a problem renting with pets”at least, I never did. To be honest, I think this is mostly due to the fact that landlords don’t think of pets. Few Ecuadorians have pets in the home, and cats are not that common. So pets are often not addressed one way or the other by the landlord.
“I’d suggest you address the question to the homeowner’s association in the building in which you’re renting. Many HOAs have rules about pets, even if the landlord doesn’t mind.
“Finally, tile floors are very popular in Ecuador, but wood is also common. You won’t find too many with carpet.”
“My wife and I are planning to go to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. Could you tell me when the monsoon season falls in both?”
—Michael R., United States
Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice responds:
“The wet season in Ho Chi Minh City usually begins in May and ends between September and November. The wet monsoon in Bangkok is roughly this same period, from May until around October.
“However, it may rain at any time of year. Generally, when it does rain, it’s a short but strong downpour that will come in the middle or late afternoon: it rarely rains all day long. You could come to either area during the rainy season and have a great trip, especially since the rain does tend to cool things down a little bit, too.”
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