Qian Qian and Tian Tian are nowhere to be found. They aren't in their baskets. They aren't cuddling on the sofa. They aren't even in the depths of the wardrobe. But what's that suspicious lump under the duvet? Yes, Qian Qian and Tian Tian are feeling cold again. We've learned never to throw ourselves down carelessly onto our beds, just in case our two foster cats might be lurking beneath the covers.
These last few months with Qian Qian and Tian Tian have been hugely pleasurable, especially as we thought we'd probably have to be catless during our time in Taiwan. It's been heart-warming to see these two cats become re-used to living with humans and watch their personalities show through.
When we brought them home from Animals Taiwan in September last year, all we knew was that they'd been taken off the street because the charity workers thought they had once been pets, and weren't truly feral. Tian Tian was by far the wilder of the two, and it was only the centre manager's hunch that she was actually domesticated that lead to her capture. When we met her she was caged and hissed at any approach.
Qian Qian, on the other hand, had the run of the cat shed and didn't mind being handled. His colour (black is an unpopular colour for Taiwanese pets) and the fact that he's an adult had reduced his chances for adoption. He also has a bare tummy, which is slightly off-putting until you learn, as we did, that's it's purely due to his particular liking for it. He melts if your rub his tummy, and grooms it so much he removes all the hair.
Five months later, and both cats are completely used to living with humans again. The biggest change has been in Tian Tian, who is the most affectionate cat I've ever known, and will happily snuggle as long as you're willing to indulge her. So the Animals Taiwan manager was right. The two have become very good friends with each other - notwithstanding Qian Qian's propensity for pouncing - grooming each other and cuddling up on a regular basis. They've have grown a little too fat, if I'm honest.
Now the sad time has come to look for new homes for our two little friends. Much as we love them, if we're to be true foster carers, we should steel ourselves to pass Qian Qian and Tian Tian onto permanent homes. That way we can help out more of their friends at Animals Taiwan. We're delaying a little with Tian Tian as we found she has a disease called stomatitis, which we want to resolve before putting her up for adoption, but Tian Tian's advert went out last Saturday evening.
No replies yet, though it's still early days. We'll continue to ask around and advertise wherever we can. If you're in Taiwan and know someone who can give a loving home to a lovely cat or two, please let me know. I'll be happy (and sad) to hear from you.