January 10, 2015
We have some very happy sad news to report. Kitten has found a home and will not be coming back to America with us. I’ll give you a moment to get your feelings under control after that devastating piece of news.
While I’m really sad that our beloved tiny friend won't be coming back stateside, I can't be too sad because kitten is in a better place (no, he’s not dead).
Meet Xinh (seen) and Nhung (nyoong)
Xinh is our language teacher and has been teaching us Vietnamese for the past 6 weeks. She meets with us after work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday completely free of charge just to help us learn the language. She is endlessly patient even though we’re terrible, she has taken us to local tailors and restaurants, and she even invited us to a Christmas Eve dinner with her family and friends. In short, Xinh is awesome.
Xinh and Nhung are sisters and they moved to Hoi An together along with Nhung’s husband about a year ago. This is a really big deal in Vietnam since it’s rare for people to move so far away from their families.
The sad part of the story.
Xinh and Nhung had a puppy, Ting-ting, who died about a week ago. But he didn’t just die. He was stolen and killed to sell for meat. Xinh and Nhung were understandably devastated. Using dogs for meat isn’t uncommon in Vietnam, but it’s upsetting to know that people will steal and kill beloved family pets to that end.
When John and I went to Hue for a three day visit we didn’t want to leave kitten at the Homestay (even though he technically belonged to the Homestay at that time). We knew the owners would keep him outside on his 3 foot long leash all day and night. We once left him with them for 8 hours and when we came back he was on the outdoor porch meowing, and he had meowed so much all day that he was hoarse. When we heard Xinh's story about Ting-ting we asked them if they’d like to watch kitten while we were gone; Xinh thought it might help Nhung feel better and we thought it might help both of them feel better. Within three hours of dropping him off we got an email from Xinh asking if they could keep him forever.
We can’t blame them for falling in love with kitten; he’s a really affectionate and expressive cat. We asked the Homestay if we could buy the kitten for a Xinh and Nhung as a present, which they agreed to after a little bit of discussion. Xinh and Nhung were thrilled when we told them he could stay with them forever.
It’s for the best.
At first I was really sad and missed having the kitten with us all the time. Then John and I visited him at Xinh and Nhung's house and realized that kitten didn’t miss us at all. He has three adults to give him almost undivided attention (he doesn't have to compete with any children). He has lots of space to play, toys, and he even has the holy grail of kitten playthings: a box. It would have been silly to take him back to the US since you can’t really claim you ‘rescued’ your cat from a life like that.
It’s for the best anyways since we’re still traveling; we’re going to Hong Kong tomorrow for a week and we’ll be in Bangkok in February. There are many more kittens in the world who need happy homes, and one day I will have one! But happily sadly it won’t be this little guy.