My friend Cammie moved back to Hangzhou this year for a study-abroad program and with her return, my cat obsession has found a friend.
Cammie's ownership of a cat in HZ a few years ago inspired me to get my Mushu kitty. She's had a rough turn of events in moving back to Chinatown and there seems to be only one logical option for helping her be happy - get a cat!
She's on the hunt for the perfect cat and we have brokered a deal. She will keep the cat for this year and then, if everything goes well, it will become mine (and Mushu's) cat in the summer. The rule is that there can only be one pet per passport on international flights, but if my family comes here and flies home with me, then I can take both cats home to America. (this is just the rough plan, if Mushu doesn't get along with the cat or I can't handle two, then I will be responsible for finding it a good home, which is easy here.)
Anyways, our hunt for a cat for Cammie led us to an animal shelter about 45 minutes outside of town. Animals are not viewed the same in Chin.ese culture as in American culture (pets don't become part of the faimly, there is no idea of 'animal rights', etc) so we were surprised to find that there was a place for stray animals that had a website and seemed clean.
Turns out the shelter is right behind my boyfriend's house (spoiler alert!) so on Sunday we took his e-bike up into the mountain on the mud path, past families of geese, a pig, and brick homes, to the animal shelter.
The directions only said to, "find the blue door," so when we approached this blue gate with sounds of barking dogs behind it, we were skeptical about what was on the other side.
We were happy to find that what was on the other side was a large lot with clean facilities for the cats. (We never saw the dog area, only heard it...) We were greeted by the volunteers who were surprised to see two foreigners (especially an African and a redhead) and I explained that I was there to look at the cats for a friend who is interested in adopting. The volunteer, Mo Mo, took me into a huge caged area with about 40 cats inside and I spent awhile checking them out, taking pics, and asking her questions.
Unfortunately, most of the cats are unadoptable (by my standards) because of sickness or fear of people. Most of them would shake or run when I appoached them gently. Out of all of them, I chose two to report back to Cammie as being possible cat babies for us.
Mo Mo (the volunteer) and the sweetest kitty, Mi Mi. (one of the options).
The other option, King (Xiao Wang). He was so friendly and healthy looking and approached me right away. I loved his large face - I thought he was so handsome.
Safety in numbers from the big, bad world.
Unfortunately, I don't think Cammie will get a cat from there because the process for adoption is ridiculous. They have to approve your housing situation and then you go to the vet together. It takes 1-2 weeks. And the shelter is not downtown. I think they are trying to make sure they don't get eaten. Ha.
I plan to go back with Cammie, though, since it's so close to Yoni's house and it was interesting to see a Chin.ese shelter. The people were very kind and the animals were so well taken care of. It made me more optimistic about the plight of animals in Ch.ina. The people there do a great job and they are mostly volunteers! (another thing not often heard of in Ch.ina!) It was a great experience all around.
I'm thankful for my Mushu. This adventure of looking for a cat for Cammie has made me realize how lucky I am that my random cat from behind the supermarket has turned out to be so healthy and happy and awesome.
Was that enough pictures of cats in one post? hahaaha.
walk slow. xoxo.