Awhile back, when we were dropping Leo off at one of the neighborhood veterinarian shops to have his bi-weekly bath, Shanshan and I saw a very pretty cat who was in a cage with bandages around her midsection. It turns out that she was a stray/homeless cat that had been recently neutered, after being brought in by a group of neighborhood grandmothers who took care of cats in our community.
The grandmothers put their money together and split the cost with the veterinarian. (A bit later, we also saw grandmothers from another group at the other veterinarian that we frequent… Shanshan told me that grandmothers banding together in Beijing communities to provide these and other services is not uncommon.)
Shanshan made a passing comment about how it would be nice if we could take her home, and, well, a few days later she was with us.
As far as her name goes, Su is my Chinese family name, Xiao means “small”, and Jian means “is friendly to everyone”.
In the last photo, you’ll notice some raccoon-like striping toward the end of her tail. Xiao Mao, our other cat, also has similar markings. I think it’d be interesting to see some genetic mappings of cats in Beijing.
Oh, a bit about the cost of adopting Xiao Jian… there wasn’t any. Shanshan told me that if Xiao Jian hadn’t been adopted, the grandmothers would’ve returned her to where she was taken, and would continued to take care of her there.