By: En Ni Hsiao
Like many pet owners may be some time in their lives say that they will not have another pet after their beloved pet passes away, I ended up having five more cats. How is that possible, though? Well, maybe the love for animals or the compassion one feels towards a poor animal made that possible. After my old cat passed away, the vet offered me to adopt an abandoned kitten outside her clinic. I accepted, and that is where the first cat came from. A little Carey cat, called Han Ah, from the word ‘’Hana’’ in Japanese, which means flower, since its patterns remind me of a flower.
At that moment, I was moving, so we scheduled the adoption for two months later. Who knows that during that two months, one day, a stray came in wandering at my family café and stayed. We brought that stray home and called her Kitty. Kitty took a bit of time to adapt to living in an apartment. Until she got spayed, she kept wanting to go out and party. Spaying helped Kitty to calm down and adjust to the new life. Unlike Han Ah, Kitty was already an adult cat by the time it became a part of our family. Kitty took care of Han Ah as a kitten and bonded very quickly. Kitty would let Han Ah sleep by its side, and they ate from the same bowl.
About five months later, I met another homeless cat begging for food. I remember it was on a December night. My friends and I were dining at an outdoor restaurant when the cat came close. I fed the cat and noticed that it had an injured eye. I decided to take it to the vet the next day morning. At the clinic, we came up with the surprise that it was a mother who had recently given birth because it was storing milk. It was a hard decision whether to let it go or stay, but I decided to keep it and called it Rengarina. Rengarina is such a sweet girl, and I guess its previous owner abandoned it because you can see that it has no fear of humans. Timid, submissive, and shy is the personality that describes Rengarina. Although its injured eye never recovered, and now she can only see with one eye, that does not stop Rengarina from being a cuddly cat. Its eyeball remained in the eye socket, but the third eyelid was damaged and could not go back to place. After Rengarina, I thought that the next time adopting a cat was very far away, but I was wrong.
Only one year later, I encountered another cat with a severe injury. It looked like some dogs had attacked it. Sadly, its back left leg had to be amputated. After its amputation surgery, I thought things would get better for this poor cat, which I called Shinpat. Day by day, Shinpat was getting better, eating more. It even started to wander around and play with the other cats. At some moment, Shinpat began to have a terrible eye allergy. I took it to various doctors and professionals but none of them with a clue about what was the leading main cause. Finally, one doctor managed to help Shinpat, by giving Shinpat an eyelid surgery. The cause of all that discomfort and pain turns out to be something called ‘’entropion’’, which happens when the outer edge of the eyelid turns inwards resulting in the eyelashes, skin, and fur of the outer surface of the eyelid constantly rubbing on the surface of the eye. After its second surgery, it seemed that Shinpat’s personality bloomed and it became more open, willing to socialize with other cats and play hide and seek.
The funny thing about all this is that Shinpat was the only male pet at home until Lazlo came. Lazlo is a little black stray kitten I found on the streets. At first, Lazlo was very scared of everything, especially the dogs I own besides the cats. But, about two days later, it started to play alone in the room with its toy and never seemed bothered by anyone or anything. When they got to know each other, at first, the female cats Han Ah, Rengarina, and Kitty did not like Lazlo. Shinpat was the only one willing to play with Lazlo. Nowadays, they even sleep together; Shinpat helps Lazlo to groom. Lazlo is very different from other cats.
I don’t know if it is because I found it very little and it grew up with dogs or what. You can’t leave anything at its sight or it will rob it. For me it is somehow related to their natural survival tactics as a stray, you have to rob food to survive. As a pet, Lazlo can now only use those abilities to rob things like rubber bands, socks, and paper balls, no more needing to rob food.
In conclusion, I currently own two dogs and five cats. People often ask me how I can live with so many animals in an apartment. I don’t know either, but I somehow manage it. It is true that sometimes when we are sick or tired, we don’t have the same energy to take care of our pets, but after seeing their smiley faces and other signs of them showing affection towards us, it feels like the energy is coming back. Watching them grow from little ugly hair missing stray kittens and others returning to joy after being given a second chance at life makes me feel happy.
A vast difference in their life was made. Han Ah will not survive if it has not been found on time by the doctor. Kitty may have died in a car accident since she used to live near a gas station located on a highway. Rengarina might have starved to death if she did not find enough food for her and her kittens. Shinpat would have died from bleeding and infection. Lazlo may have lived the everyday normal short life as a stray but never experienced the warmth of human touch.
They all live happy lives now, with no starvation and warm beds waiting for them at night. They only have to worry about who gets to sit on the throne chair (a chair they love and I don’t know why) and who gets more scratchies since their owner only has one pair of hands.