Thousands of undomesticated, stray cats roam around China every day. They are homeless, mangy, and sad, except for this one little gem, Meow.
Meow is a cat that lives outside our apartment building. When we got here in February she was just a couple of months old, a tiny orange kitten. Without fail Meow was there every morning, afternoon, and night to greet Building 16 residents at the door. She was friendly but in no means a beggar. She appreciated the food some people became accustomed to feeding her, but overall she was just a sweet, loving kitten. Her two biggest lifelines were my friends Daniel and Emily, and without them she wouldn’t be alive today.
A couple of months into the semester we thought Meow was getting fat because she was being fed too much, but in fact she was pregnant! Sunday night we all heard loud meows and noises and it sounded as if there was an incident going on outside between 2 cats, but instead it was Meow giving birth! This morning we found out she had 2 kittens and instantly went to find them. My friend Chris and I roamed around the nearby area and heard a little meow coming from the bushes. I spotted a tiny kitten that could easily have been mistaken for a leaf or a hamster as it blended in with the tree and was extremely small. We immediately contacted Daniel who took the Xiao Mao, or small cat, into safety. We then proceeded to find her mother, Meow, who was a little whiles away in a bush with her second baby. We reunited the happy family and thought all was well.
Well apparently we thought wrong. Later that night we found out that Meow had a third baby, a stillborn, that needed to be taken out of her immediately or she would die. A group of about 5 of us took charge and some began to research what to do, as China isn’t exactly home to many animal hospitals or vets. We delegated responsibilities, and got a hold of gloves, water, blankets, a flashlight, and eventually vaseline and oil. My job was to hold the 2 kittens as Emily and Daniel tried to pull the dead baby out while keeping Meow calm and safe. After a long, emotional hour and a half filled with lots of oil, vaseline, and hope, the stillborn was out, and Meow was reunited with her 2 babies and the placenta to eat.
I have never been so moved or inspired by such amazing teamwork and humanity. Throughout the night some students passed by and asked about what was happening, but a team of about 5-10 of us persevered and saved Meow and her family. I was overcome with relief and joy when the stillborn was finally out and Meow’s life, along with her two babies’ lives, were no longer in jeopardy. This experience is something I will never forget and I am so thankful for everyone’s teamwork and perseverance because without it I don’t know what would have happened to Meow and her family. Now I just wish I could figure out a way to bring Meow and her kittens home with me!