It’s early evening in Illinois but late morning in China.
This is the time when my phone begins dinging messages and videos from Wayne’s Pet World, the Luzhou pet shop and grooming center that currently is kenneling rescue foster kitty, Ping-ping.
“She is fine,” owner Liu Rongjie texts in Chinese. “Do not worry. Your child is well-cared for.”
Next comes a 15-second video clip of a beautiful gray 8-month old feline in her spacious, closet-sized, glassed-in enclosure. Kitty toys, bedding, tidy litter box and a straw fish-shaped scratching board litter her plush kennel. She is energetically gobbling up her breakfast of canned food, a luxury which she certainly never received in my home. All my rescues ever get is generic dry food.
I re-read Rongjie’s note and watch the video a second time.
Her words of “well cared for” seem to be the understatement of the year. This kitty is being treated like a royal princess!
Making Adjustments to Adoption Plans
What was only to be a 1-month stay at Wayne’s World, while I helped my mom move in America, is being extended to indefinitely. I now wait anxiously to return to China which has temporarily canceled all visas of foreigners looking to re-enter the country from abroad.
The fear is that we overseas’ folk will bring the virus back to China in full force. The country itself has managed a miraculous feat of containing the virus after strict lockdowns throughout the country, in particular Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. In the past few months, cities have re-opened and life is returning to normal for a majority of the country. However, a few cases are currently popping up here and there with two having been imported from outsiders, at a northern Russia-China border.
In other words, China is still very wary of overseas’ guests, thus the ban remains. This I completely understand and am in full agreement with, although it saddens me to say so.
While my travel is put on hold, so is Ping-ping’s adoption. This was to take place in February, after my return to Luzhou. Unfortunately, due to the virus, she will have to remain in the shop until I can be able to personally see to her receiving a forever home.
The Story of Ping-ping
In October, I received a knock at my 9th floor apartment door from Granny Zhang (Jah-ng) on the 3rd floor. She had her 2-year-old grand-daughter in tow and wanted to borrow one of my collapsable pet cages. These I have in abundance in numerous sizes, always ready for rescues or for loaning out to others. I’ve had several in my building borrow these from time to time for rabbits, baby chicks, kittens and even (in one instance) frogs destined for the dinner table the next day. Everyone on campus knows I am the one to come to for such animal containment help.
I asked why she needed a cage and received a distraught, verbal gushing in Chinese. It seems Granny Zhang’s daughter, a teacher on my campus, had picked up a tiny abandoned kitten which she found in the pouring rain on her way back from class. Granny needed a cage to keep the little one in. Because I wasn’t sure which size she needed, plus was curious as to the kitten’s state, I asked to come and take a look.
What I saw in her home nearly broke my heart. The ragged, crying thing was very tiny, perhaps 3 weeks old, and was in need of more care than I felt Granny Zhang was capable of giving. The elderly woman, however, seemed eager to try so I set her up with cage, bedding, kitty food, bowls and a litter tray in the hopes that the kitten would somehow thrive.
I left feeling pleased with myself that I had been so helpful and relieved that I wouldn’t end up being responsible for yet another stray.
Plea for Help
But after a week, it was apparent that Granny Zhang (despite all her good intentions) was in way over her head. After asking her during that first week how the kitten was, her distressed, desperate reports caused me to become more and concerned: “Very bad,” “The kitten has diarrhea. It poops everywhere,” “It won’t eat,” “It cries all the time,” “It is getting weaker and weaker,” “I give it baths because it is so filthy.”
In other words, under her care, the kitten was in dire straights. It was obvious she wouldn’t survive with Granny Zhang in charge, who had her hands so full with a toddler she had little time to deal with an unweaned kitten. She needed someone in-the-know how to care for a very young feline.
Who else would that be but the animal-loving foreigner who had the reputation of rescuing lost critters on campus and finding them good homes?
Taking in a lost soul
Thus gray kitten entered my home amidst my teaching duties, English Center activities, grading finals for my seniors (their courses ended a month before others), my Christmas open houses and the usual lesson planning. We had every 4-hour feedings from a bottle which gave her the nutrition she needed. Granny, not knowing better, had been feeding her raw meat which the starving thing couldn’t chew. Nor was processed cow’s milk helping since feline newborns can’t digest it.
My little girl also had an anal infection which I was concerned about. In a 1-day Saturday trip, leaving at 7 a.m. and returning at 8 p.m., I took her to the capital city of Chengdu for a consultation with my vet, Dr. Wang. She was placed on oral antibiotics (which I happened to have in my emergency pet kit) and after 10 days, recovered wonderfully.
How Ping-ping’s name came about: A Church in Georgia Gives Input
Throughout the gray kitten’s time in my home, I had been updating overseas’ American friends through emails about her predicament. When her full recovery seemed a given, I put out a call for a name. What should I name this little girl?
Bea Terrell, from Flowery Branch UMC in Flowery Branch, Georgia, took this to heart. During a Thanksgiving Day potluck gathering of her church family, she announced my requests for naming my feline charge. After discussions floated about among the tables as people ate, suggestions were made to somehow include the word “flower” or “branch” in the kitty’s name.
I added to this and came up with Peaceful Flower, Ping-An Hua (ping ahn hwah) or Ping-ping for short. Her quiet disposition fit the name perfectly.
Continuing to look for a Home
Ping-ping today is still being cared for while waiting for a forever home. She completed her vaccinations in January and recently had her spay, which now puts her in a good place for adoption. My kennel owner, Rongjie, and I have posted her picture and story among our combined WeChat groups. We’ve asked others to pass along our requests for a home.
Send lots of lucky thoughts her way for a family that will love and take good care of her. While she is safe and pampered in her current dwelling place, it would be wonderful for her to get the kind of attention, affection and stability a permanent home would bring.
From Illinois, this is Connie wishing you, and Ping-ping, 平安 (ping ahn), “peace” for your Memorial Day weekend.