This is the sixth in a week-long series of interview with less adoptable pets inspired by the BlogPaws Be the Change challenge. All the cats I am interviewing need a home.
Poor Ming Shai! This lovely Tonkinese mix was expecting to live out her senior years in comfort and safety — as it was, her life hadn’t always been easy, as a once-broken and badly healed leg attests. But instead of sitting in the lap of luxury, she found herself in a cage at the Carson shelter, waiting to die. Fortunately, her story was shared on Twitter and she was pulled by Kitten Rescue. It may seem ironic that an elderly cat would be saved by a group by that name, but Los Angeles-based Kitten Rescue saves cats of all ages. In fact, they place about 1,000 cats yearly! Like many Kitten Rescue kitties, Ming Shai is living in a foster home, which is where she conducted the following interview.
Ming Shai, I know it’s not polite to ask a lady kitty her age, but there seems to be some debate over how old you are. Apparently someone at the Carson shelter, where you were rescued from, said you were 19, but when you went to the vet clinic, they said you were more like 14 or 15.
Well, it really shouldn’t matter how old I am — I’m a special kitty, no matter. The mean people who dumped me at that shelter told them I was 19 — I don’t think they knew what they were talking about, though. For the sake of all concerned, my foster mom says she thinks 17 is a good age for me to be. It’s somewhere in-between 15 and 19, and an odd number — I like odd.
Any idea why an attractive, mature kitty like you would wind up at a kill shelter? It must have been horrible there for you!
Well, the people who turned me in wrote on the papers that they no longer had time for me and that I wasn’t using the litter box correctly. It WAS horrible there — I was cramped in a cage, and I got real dirty, and got lots of fleas. It was just terrible! My food arrived in paper plates, for goodness sakes!
The story of you getting rescued from the Carson shelter is interesting, because it already shows that social networking saved your life! Can you tell me a little about it?
Yes, yes! It was social networking that helped me! I don’t know that much about those things, but what happened is that someone posted a note to Kitten Rescue’s Twitter account saying they had heard about a beautiful senior kitty (ME) being dumped at the Carson Shelter. Very quickly I had many fans cheering for me on Twitter and then someone suggested that if a no-kill shelter could take me in, that my Twitter fans would give a donation to that rescue group. My foster mom told me that she has a very special place in her heart for senior kitties and that when she read the post to her Kitten Rescue group about a foster home being needed for me, she was quick to answer. I came to live with my foster mom the day after her birthday last December and then at Christmastime one of my fans sent me a lovely Christmas stocking with kitty goodies in it! That was fun!
Can you tell me about your foster family, and the kitties you are living with?
My foster mom is very nice to me, though she is poor — she feeds me foods that I like (even foods the OTHER kitties don’t get to have!). She tries to make me as comfortable as possible, though most of the things here are hand-me-downs. I was given a used DOG bed to sleep in, for goodness sakes! And there are way too many other kitties living here with me. I tell all the other kitties to stay away from me, because I just don’t know if one of them might try to hurt me. I prefer people to other animals. I like to be off by myself, but do enjoy it when my foster mom pets me and pays attention to me. Sometimes I lay near her feet when she is working on the computer (like I am doing RIGHT NOW while she types my words) or sitting in the big chair watching the television.
What about any medical issues you have? Most kitties have a few when they reach a “certain age.”
Well, right now the vet says I have some teeth that should be extracted. I guess I didn’t brush enough when I was younger. I haven’t made up my mind yet if I want to have them pulled, as I was told that I would have to be fully anesthetized and that scares me. Also, I do admit that I don’t always get IN the litter box when I need to potty. But foster mom has figured out that if she puts newspapers around the litter box, I will go on the papers. Sometimes the litter just doesn’t feel right on my paws, or maybe because there are so many other kitties; I don’t know — sometimes I just don’t want to get IN the box. I AM a special kitty you know!
Does the vet have any idea how long ago your leg was hurt? Is it ever a problem for you?
The vet did not tell me or foster mom how old the break in my leg is. They did an x-ray though, and that’s how they could tell that my body made its own makeshift socket for the back leg to be in. Sometimes the leg pops out of the socket and I slip and fall — it’s very frustrating and I get real scared and growl if another kitty is near me because I think that kitty will take advantage of me and try to hurt me. It seems all my legs have been a little achey lately — probably due to being at the vet when I got that exam and had my fur cut. Now that I don’t have all that long fur to hide my legs and body, foster mom says she winces every time she sees my leg pop out. It is rather odd to see — but it doesn’t seem to hurt me much. Foster mom still would like to have the leg and x-rays looked at by a specialist to see if something could be done to fix my leg, or maybe make it a little better.
You recently got a lion cut because you had mats in your fur. How do you like your new ‘do?
I wasn’t sure I liked this lion cut because now I get a little cold. BUT it is so nice to be able to feel my foster mom’s hand when she pets me — and I really enjoy the pets again. When I had all those mats it really pulled on my skin and made it hurt, so I didn’t really like it much when people petted me, I would growl and swat with my paws to make people stop petting me. Now I even kinda like to have my tail petted too!
Would you prefer keeping up with your lion cut, or do you enjoy being brushed — or a little bit of both?
I’m not sure to tell you the truth. I did like my fur long before, and really enjoyed being petted then. I just don’t like the mats. So maybe a little of both would be nice. Foster mom had my tummy shaved when I first came to live with her — as it was matted up. Then I got some special baths because I got a fungus on my ears and needed the baths. I think that I should have had a bath and light grooming after the fungus went away as some of that medicine from those special baths stayed in my fur and on my skin and I think THAT is what made my fur mat up.
What would it take for someone to adopt you from Kitten Rescue?
What would it take? Well, hmmm, someone that would love me the way I am, broken leg and all. Definitely I would like a Tempur-Pedic bed with a velvet coverlet and satin pillows for my head. And of course china dishes for my food and water! Maybe even a ramp or something for me to step up on so I could feel like I’m above everyone (because I am, you know!). My new someone could put my litter box on a smooth surface and put newspapers around it so it would be easy for me to use.
After all you’ve been through, Ming Shai, I think you deserve a Tempur-Pedic bed and china dishes! What do you think are the best things about adopting a senior kitizen like yourself?
My foster mom likes senior kitizens because she says they deserve a nice place to live out their golden years. She also says I have this really cool cat-a-tude that she has not seen in senior kitties before. I can be very feisty (some people might say cranky) — and I have lightning-quick swatty front paws in case people touch me in places I don’t like. But I forgive very quickly so I will just swat and then let you pet me if you’re nice and gentle. Another thing — because I am a senior kitty, a senior person might like to love me because I will not live a much longer life — I have more years behind me than in front of me; and sometimes a senior person would like that.
Thank you for interviewing me, Sparkle. I’m tired now, though, so I will go find a place to curl up and take a nap.
If you would like to know more about adopting Ming Shai, or see some of the other kitties who need homes, visit the Kitten Rescue website.