Saturday, October 14, 2006
So I went on my nightly walk down along the river when nature called and I stopped off to use one of the many wretched, putrid public facilities provided along the trail.
There were two kittens eating out of a torn food trash bag (all food garbage here in Korea is separated from the regular trash), picking at it and sitting side by side.
Now the strays in this country share many similarities, among them being skittishness and that dirty, hagard look of poor animals that are used to fighting to survive.
In my three years here I have tried to capture strays in the past in hopes of offering them a better home but due to their absolute mistrust of all humans (who often beat and torture them because cats are traditionally despised here) I have been unsuccessful.
I stopped to watch the two kittens eat, afraid to proceed since they were happily parked in front of the bathroom and I didn't want to deter them from their meal when it could very well be a while before they find another.
Knowing the general attitude of strays, imagine my surprise when they were not only unfazed by my presence but also came up to me and starting rubbing against my leg.
These kittens were relatively clean, a little chunky and not at all afraid of me!
In Korea it is also a common practice to abandon pets outside when you tire of them. So many dogs,cats and rabbits have been left, tied to poles with a few days food with them or just left to their own devises ...and when I saw these little guys it was the first thing that came to mind.
These kittens were brave, friendly, clean and a good healthy size and I started to wonder if they hadn't been abandoned as well.
For some reason the idea of stray kittens living on the steet bothers me but not overly much since they come into that environment and are therefore better equipped to handle whatever may be....
But the idea of housebroken kittens being abandoned outside broke my heart.
So I went to a local convenience store and bought a few cans of tuna and searched through a neighbouring apartment biulding's trash to find a box.
After a 20 mintue absence I returned to find the kittens exactly where I had left them.
I had to proceed slowly. I didn't want the ktitens to suddenly get nervous and run away. So I opened the cans of tuna and waited for the kittens to approach on their own. (it only took about 20 seconds because these guys were hungry...)
I had put the open box next to the open cans of tuna in hopes of being able to use the element of surprise to get the kittens into the box after they had started eating.
...But I had forgotten that these were kittens I was dealing with and as soon as they noticed the box, they both jumped in and started sniffing around.
I simply transferred the cans of tuna into the box with them, waited until they were comfortably eating and then closed the flaps to the top of the box.
One of the kittens meowed for about 10 seconds before resigning himself to his new situation. It was sort of like a "Hey! what are you doing? Where are we going? Wait. Is this tuna? I - oh, never mind, I'm good."
And so it is that despite my adamant promises that I was not getting a pet, that I now have 2 kittens comfortably snuggled, fed and asleep in my bathroom at the moment.
*sigh*. When will I learn?