Speaking of Chengdu (the capital of Szechuan), I got a completely unsolicited email from a Chinese student named Yi, who, with his girlfriend Xixi, found a passel of five abandoned kittens on the campus of his university in Chengdu. After some back and forth, the kittens all got saved. Here’s the story, with photos (Yi’s emails are indented):
Me and my girlfriend, a junior at the Southwest University for Nationalities (SWUN, in Chengdu), recently bumped into a bunch of kittens around the university’s south gate. They were hanging around the bush, as shown in the photos attached. According to the guards at the gate, they seem to live underneath the curb surrounding the bush.
When we first met them, we couldn’t tell how many. In fact, we could barely see them, as they were scattered around in the bush, only making the sound “miao, miao…” There are perhaps 5 or 6 of them. Our guess is that they were recently given birth to by their mother, who is owned by some of the students at SWUN. But it seems they are left unattended because we have never seen a “mother” cat around. Of course, we hope their mother is around and does come to take care of them at times.
At any event, everyday we pass by the place, my girlfriend and I bring them a type of Chinese hotdog, made of meet and mostly starch — the food is usually eaten along with ramen noodles in China. Although we feed them on a daily basis, we rarely see them. We just leave the food at the entrance to their “home,” in the hope they come to eat it. They do. Every time we come back checking, the food is gone.
This afternoon, it was raining hard. I was hesitant to go feeding them, but my girlfriend insisted. She even imagined the kittens might be waiting for us (or their food). Surprisingly, although it was raining, they were actually waiting at the entrance (or so we thought). My girlfriend was so excited and started to prepare the food for them immediately upon hearing their voice , while I was holding the umbrella for her. She saw at least 4 kittens, two black and two yellow, in the hole. My girlfriend even caught sight of them fighting to get food; one black kitten fell over after being pushed by a yellow one. Because I was holding the umbrella, it was hard for me to take photos, to say nothing of the darkness inside their home. However, I did snap a couple, where you can vaguely see a yellow kitten facing down and enjoying her food. We were soaked in the end, but it felt fantastic as this was the first time we actually saw them eat our food and, more importantly, we got to feed them (well, my girlfriend did). We will keep doing this until we have to leave the campus in a couple of weeks, when the finals are over. Hopefully someone interested would come to adopt them at some point.
Can you make out the yellow kitten here?
My girlfriend wants me to add: the kittens are barely the size of her palm.
We finally managed to snap a few clear photos of them. When feeding the kittens, unfortunately, we suspect their eyesight seems a bit poor. It is perhaps due to malnutrition. We are bringing a diversity of food, including milk and egg. Also, the yellow kitten in the photos seems most active of all, and least afraid of strangers.
Just like Jerry Coyne the Cat!
All five of them!
This one looks like Jerry Coyne the Cat. Xixi has given it milk.
When Yi wrote me with the photos, I was sad because a Chinese street kitten has virtually no chance of survival. And although Yi and Xixi were feeding them, the kittens surely couldn’t survive on starchy Chinese hotdogs. I told him that I would be much happier if the cats were captured and put up for adoption. Luckily, Yi and Xixi are kind, and did exactly that:
We want to thank you, also. When we first met the little cats on campus, we weren’t so sure what to do about them except for bringing some food over. It was at your encouragement that we became more serious about the idea of adoption. Even after we knew there were people willing to help us, I was still worried if we would be able to catch all of them. Thank goodness it all worked out — my beloved girlfriend played the big part!
And, sure enough, they got them all and found a nice lady to take care of them:
Today, my girlfriend and I found a lady to take care of the kittens about whom you were worried. She’s coordinated several grass-root groups devoted to saving street cats here in Chengdu. She’ll be taking care of the “babies” until all of them get adopted. Good news is that two have already been spoken for! The lady checked on each kitten when we handed them over to her. To our great delight, the babies were in a better shape than we had thought. Also, rest assured the little babies are in good hands, judging from the way she checked on each of them. She’s also a very nice person. Attached are some photos for you.
This one was labeled “They were put in this box”:
Yi called this one “A bit crowded”. Indeed, but they’re on their way to a home!
Yi called this photo “The nice lady to take care of them”:
I then expressed my concern to Yi that the kittens might have eyesight and other health problems, and that I hoped the “nice lady” would take them to the vet.” (I can’t help it!). And she did, and they’re fine! Yi’s final report:
This is just a note that all kittens have been taken to vets by the lady who is helping them find adopters. To our delight, they are all in good shape. Attached are a number of their recent photos.
So here’s to Yi and Xixi for their kindness and persistence. They’ve saved five little lives, and I’m enormously pleased.