From the brink of death to spoilt princess
It was on an unusually chilly April morning that I found myself walking home from the grocery store with my partner and a bag of unnecessary groceries.
Even as I held the spindly plastic bag handle with my aching fingers I knew that everything in that bag that could perish, would perish. (I dont cook much but I have good intentions).
I was actually thinking about what food I could have delivered that night (in spite of the groceries) When the old lady who lives on the ground level of my apartment building stopped my partner for a chat.
The two of them had a conversation as I stepped up and down the lowest step on the staircase, my limited patience slowly drizzling onto the ground.
It was in that moment that I saw her.
She was seemingly attacking her mothers nipple. The mother was very obviously annoyed and kept shoving her away, but the tiny cat persisted. Eventually the mother kicked her in the gut and trotted away, leaving the kitten to bite her own tail and swivel around on the ground.
Conjuring my very limited Mandarin ability, I mentioned to the old neighbour that the kitten was cute.
The neighbour replied that we should take her.
We didn’t really understand what she meant, so she continued to explain.
Over the course of a ten minute conversation she explained that she owned several cats that lived outside. One of these cats, her favourite one, became pregnant by accident. Her plan was to just allow the elements to claim all of the kittens.
This was the last one.
We were horrified and I agreed that we would take her. First we said we’d need to buy supplies and that we’d come get her in a few days once they’d arrived from the online store.
We raced upstairs and jumped on TaoBao, China’s answer to Amazon.
Immediately I spent over $100 on toys, food, kitty litter, beds, litter box, food bowls and everything else PetMD and RSPCA recommended.
Once we’d finished the buying spree we sat on the couch in complete silence for about a minute. My body was full of adrenaline, I knew that everything I’d just bought would take about 3 days to arrive from the cities they were coming from, and my new pet might be dead in that time.
“I’m going to the pet store, I can’t wait”
My partner grabbed our coats and we ran back out the door and flew down 6 flights of steps. We arrived at the bottom and were greeted again by the old lady.
My partner explained that we were headed to the store to buy supplies and that we’d be taking her immediately after we got back. The old lady told us not to worry and disappeared into the house to get what she described would be
“Everything your new kitten will need.”
We were delighted by the prospect and waited while she shuffled into the darkness of her apartment. A darkness that reflected her heart.
She emerged a few minutes later carrying a well-worn shoe box. A box that she described as “everything the kitten would need for sleep, eating and bathroom needs.”
We politely excused ourselves and briskly sped-walked away down the street to the pet-store we’d walked past a million times but never actually seen inside.
“That old bat wants me to house my child with her food and shit inside of an ancient shoe box? She’s out of her damn mind.”
Experienced pet parents will probably roll their eyes, but I had no idea how much more a street-side pet shop charges than literally everyone else online.
The pet-store gouged us with prices, charging up to 4 times as much for the same food and supplies. But we were desperate.
We didn’t buy everything we needed because so many of them were on the way from TaoBao, so we just grabbed the essentials -
Wet and dry food
We used a cleaned out pizza box for the kitty litter (not that it made a difference, she shat on the floor for the first 2 weeks she lived with us).
Then for food and water I used Tupperware that I was only using to store food.. until it inevitably went bad.
With supplies in hand we trundled back the apartment as fast as our laden bodies could carry us and immediately started looking for the cat.
It took us more than 15 minutes of searching to find her.
Suddenly we weren’t looking for a cat, we were looking for our cat. Which made an enormous difference.
We were looking frantically, as if we’d been the ones to lose her and were desperate to recover her.
Then I saw her.
She was taking a nap wedged up underneath the back wheel of a motorbike, the wheel pushed into her back.
It was clear at that moment she wouldn’t have survived three more days.
I grabbed her with one hand and held her as I walked slowly up the stairs to my apartment. Cat in one hand, supplies in the other.
She meowed the entire time, mad that she’d been woken from her nap and confused as to why some massive stranger was kidnapping her.
We brought her inside her new home, put her on the ground and stressed out when she immediately ran and hid under the couch.
Although Dr YouTube quickly informed me that this was entirely natural new cat behaviour.
Now, thanks to Dr YouTube and our actual doctor down the street, we have a healthy, happy, entirely not-dead street cat running our apartment.
We named her Miu Miu.
If you’ve enjoyed the story of how we met and adopted Miu Miu the street cat, please let me know and I’ll write a follow-up story about what happened next.
We’ve had her for just over two months now and it’s been a wild adventure. From potty training, to dealing with her illnesses; I’ve gone from knowing nothing about animals to knowing a lot more than nothing about caring for a cat.
Read the next chapter right here —
My name is Jordan and I’m a traveller living in Shanghai, China. You can catch more of my stories by clicking right here!
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