A Story of Affection

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong Kong, Miscellaneous

It was Tuesday. My wife and I had things to do at Telford Gardens. My wife and her sister were hungry for something Chinese, and I wasn't, so they went off to their choice of restaurants while I began making my way to Starbucks for a coffee. On the way though, I was side-tracked by a young lady who recognised me from a veterinary clinic I had visited a few times with Rose our rabbit.

The lady was trying to rescue a kitten and asked for my help. The kitten was behind some building materials stacked up against the wall facing the outside carpark and crying out loudly. While the lady used a plank to force the kitten out of hiding, I waited on the other side and grabbed her when I had the chance. Little did I know how much of a wild cat she was in spite of her small size. She instantly spun around and clawed at me with everything she had. She even managed to bite me at least once, but I quickly grabbed her gently and securely, covering and holding her head with one hand and holding her body with the other. She stopped moving but growled angrily from time to time in protest.

While I switched my position to hold the small kitten by the scruff of the neck, the lady opened the boot of her car and began looking for a box to contain the kitten for transport. The kitten wasn't ready to give up just yet and began struggling as hard as possible to get away. The lady found a box in the car, but it was obvious that getting the kitten into the box would be almost impossible because the opening of the box was far too small and the kitten had all four legs sprawled out, ready to push away whenever the opportunity presented itself.

It was at this time that we realised that the kitten had a mother, and that the mother was in the rafters above us. She had been calling out to Mum all along. We looked up to see the mother peering down at us. There was a fire in her eyes, the kind that only wild animals possess. It was obvious to me that she would never trust us, and that she was worried about her kitten.

Getting the kitten into the box was pretty much pointless, and the kitten's mother was there to look after her so we decided to let her go. As I lowered the kitten to the floor and let her go, she pounced onto the floor with all four paws spread out and disappeared into the building material almost instantly. She was gone.

The lady left. I went into the bathroom to attend to the cuts and bites on my hands. With bites like these, it's advisable to press a little blood from each of the wounds to help wash out any bacteria that might be present, so I bled the wounds and washed my hands.

Back at Starbucks, I sat down to coffee and a sandwich. When my wife arrived, she was none the wiser to what had just happened in her absence.

On Death Row

Several hours later, I returned once again to Telford Gardens to change an order at Ikea. After getting my parking validated, I walked out to the car park and over to my car. While unlocking the car, I was keenly aware of the kitten crying out again. This time, it was in a stairwell. Too curious to be healthy, I peered around the stairwell and saw the kitten. She saw me too, and began backing away up the stairs. I decided to leave her alone and go home. Just as I was getting into the car, I noticed one of the security people carrying a cardboard box, walking in the direction of the stairwell. I was pretty sure I knew what he had planned but wanted to be sure and asked him. Sure enough, he was getting ready to catch the kitten.

A couple of weeks ago, I remember walking down the corridor of Telford Gardens Phase III with my wife when we noticed a medium sized non-threatening nervous black dog walking towards us. As he passed us, we also noted the security guard following closely behind talking with some urgency into his walky-talky. Obviously, he was planning to catch the dog.

I felt sorry for the dog. He wasn't harmful to anyone. He had no problem walking among the hundreds of people shopping in the centre but he wasn't welcome and he'd be caught by the security people soon enough. Once caught, his death was almost guaranteed.

I was familiar with the security guard planning to catch the kitten. I had talked to him several times in the past. When I asked about the kitten, he said that the kitten would be given to the SPCA. I commented that this action was the equivalent of committing the kitten to death (almost all of the animals given to the SPCA are delivered to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department which kills them within days of receipt) but he said there was nothing he could do. People move from Telford Gardens and some of them rather than taking their pets with them choose instead to dump them in the public areas. The pets leave toilet products in the public areas and the company consequently has no choice but to catch and dispose of the abandoned pets.

I had ignored the black dog, but I didn't want to abandon the kitten, particularly because I knew of someone who was willing to home it; the lady who had asked me to help her catch the kitten earlier. I accompanied the guard to catch the kitten.

Just as we exited the stairwell on to the public garden courtyard, we observed a young teenager chasing the kitten, enjoying himself as he instilled needless torture and fear into the kitten. How can people be so ruthless? Is it really so macho to persecute and terrorise small animals? These people are so pathetic. I reprimanded the teenager (whose father was watching nearby) with 「有啲人道先得嘅!」 and the guard and I proceeded to catch the kitten which I then took home.

Home

We have a spare cage which I unfolded and placed on my desk next to the computer. I wanted this wild kitten to see me as much as possible, to adapt quickly and lose its fear of people. I placed a mat inside along with water and dry kitten food I had picked up at the pet food store on the way home. I then gingerly placed the cardboard box with the kitten at the door to the cage and opened one flap of the box. The kitten didn't come out. It was cowering in one corner of the box. It not an option to place my hand in the box with the kitten so I opened every flap of the box and gently shaked it while keeping it pressed up against the cage to prevent the kitten from escaping. She went in.

We have eleven dogs, and fear was not going to help this kitten settle down, so I covered most of the cage with towels keeping the kitten blind to the world around it; except for one small area facing my chair.

The next thirty hours were incredible. I'll never forget the change that unfolded in front of me.

Every time the kitten cried out for her mother, I popped into view and gently meowed back to her. She cried all night long, even when her voice began to get dry and raspy. We didn't sleep much that night. I got up four or five times and went over to her. The more she saw me, the easier she would become with me. At least, that was the plan.

Day time came and the kitten continued to cry for its mother but she was getting tired. She hadn't touched the dry food, nor the diluted milk I had set down for her. Throughout the day, she became quieter, and began nodding off. It had been a terrible and exhausting ordeal for her.

Later that day at the advice of a friendly vet, I bought some canned kitten food for her. The strong smell of the canned food would make it more enticing to the kitten, and sure enough, not long after I set the food down, the kitten began to eat a little.

Over the next several hours, the kitten changed dramatically. Little by little, the kitten relaxed. She slept some, then she ate some. She cleaned herself, and she began to roll over and play around, even playing with her own tail. She talked to me more and more without the loud crying we had been subjected to for nearly 24 hours. Throughout the second night, she would sleep and then wake up and call out, but instead of calling out for her mother, she was calling out for me; it was a different sound. I would get out of bed and come over to the cage and meow back to her. She began to rub herself up against the cage, and suddenly, she was purring!

The second time she woke me with her calling, I came out and sat beside the cage. She came over to me and began rubbing against the cage again. I sensed that she had changed and I began to take small risks, tentatively poking my fingers through the cage and rubbing her tummy and back. She rubbed back and purred.

The third time she woke me, I decided to take a bigger chance. I opened the cage and was pleasantly surprised to find that she let me pick her up. I nursed her and she began to purr incessantly. She then walked up to my shoulders and became curious, wanting to explore the room we were in. I allowed her a limited amount of freedom, keeping a careful eye on our other kids to make sure they understood that the kitten was out of bounds.

By morning, we were good friends. The wildness in her eyes had disappeared, and in its place was an abundance of affection, comfort and joy. The change was miraculous. She was so beautiful.

Beautiful Kitten

For a 750x500 version, click here.

A New Beginning

We couldn't keep her. I wanted to but there were too many reasons that it wouldn't be a good idea. She'd have to live in the cage for several weeks while I trained the kids to leave her alone. That wouldn't have been a good life. Then after growing up, it was entirely possible that she would decide one day to attack our rabbit who is after all a species of rodent. And she'd probably go after the birds that like to come down to the ground in our garden every day.

I made a few calls and was very lucky to find someone who had a friend who was looking for a kitten. After taking my wife to work, I drove over to a temporary holding area where the kitten would begin its new life. She was not completely tame and managed to claw two of the assistants who were trying to put her into a new cage. When I looked in on her, she was shaking with fear again. I hoped that she would adapt quickly.

Two days later; i.e., yesterday; my wife and I drove over to visit her. I had missed her badly and wanted to be sure that she was ok. When we arrived, she was sleeping under the shirt on the tummy of one of the assistants. The assistant lifted the kitten out and I began nursing her, stroking her and talking to her. Half an hour later, she was that precious bundle of affection again, with a look in her eyes that would melt the heart of even the hardest criminal. It was a wonderful time.

I grew up with cats and have always loved them. When I was young, I broke my leg trying to save our favourite cat Jacob. Jacob eventually grew to a ripe age of 21 years old and died after I had moved to Hong Kong. I have seen Jacob in my dreams on many occasions, usually walking back to me from the bush that surrounded our country home in Gympie at the time. Jacob was an incredible pet and friend, and I'll always miss him.

The kitten will be staying where she is for one month until she has fully adapted to people and until she is old enough to get her first shots. She already has a home to go to and hopefully, she will have a wonderful life. In the meantime, I'll visit her as often as I can and take full advantage of the situation. She is simply too amazing for words, and I feel so so lucky to be able to spend time with her.

Unlimited Affection

Unlimited affection. How could anyone not fall in love with her?

For a 750x500 version, click here.

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35 Responses to “A Story of Affection”
  1. Winza says:

    I had a similar experience. When our neighbours moved out, they left their cat behind. He was frightened at first but then affection grew over months after we kept him. Now we let him sleep on our couch.

  2. May says:

    hey,

    wow, you really have a way with pets. :-D!

  3. yanni says:

    awwww.. i love kitties..

  4. adamant says:

    just came here all by an accident.

    that was a really great story to share. that kitten looks really lovely.
    my boyfriend has the same experience like you ten years ago. and that kitten is still in his home and getting fatter..haha. i love cats so much and agree much with you that from their sparkling eyes, you can see something. you just couldnt leave them alone.

    you are really a great person, saving those little animals with all your heart.

  5. Fay says:

    The story moved me to tears. I, too, wish her a wonderful life. How lucky she is to have met you!

  6. Choon Hong says:

    Haha, nice kitten. I prefer dog

  7. Richard Lai says:

    What a lucky kitten! I wish all the best for her. Does she have a name?

  8. sapphire says:

    小貓在照片裡很"感性",好像個 BB 女親近 daddy 一樣,很可愛。
    但你在照片裡就很"性感",因為連胸膛都露了出來。哈哈!

  9. yinyin says:

    .......this article is very touching.The kitten is so cute~~~ want to touch it!^_^
    You also kind enough to save those unforunated animals out of danger.....
    I'm just wondering, in the article you've mentioned there is a ruthless person torturing the kitten, and you saw it. Is there an animal protection policy in HK? Because samiliar cases occured in Australia around a year ago, few boys are intentionly tortouring a kitten in the station, and they are charge and one have to go to jail for 6 months~

  10. Karen says:

    Hi,
    I have been reading your blog and I would say I really enjoy it.

    I also grew up with cats. I feel that there is a special bond developed during childhood which I didn't realize at that time. I have 3 cats now. Your story really touched me especially looking at the two shots taken of you and this black-and-white kitten. She is adorable. If I live in Hong Kong, I would love to adopt her.

  11. Edith says:

    You are so kind hearted and I hope people would treat pets like you, at least, not abandon those they once loved. The kitten is very lovely! I like the pics you took, warm and full of love!

  12. Edith says:

    You are so kind hearted and I hope people would treat pets like you, at least, not abandon those they once loved. The kitten is very lovely! I like the pics you took, warm and full of love!

  13. nicky says:

    I saw many cats in the car park of Amoy plaza too... don´t know whether they are abandoned after SARS.

    She ´s adorable !

    love the pictures ! Thanks!

  14. BBrabbie says:

    Hi Greg! You really do have a gift in you, your love and affection for animals and for the world is impressive!! thanks for sharing your stories with us, i really do enjoy reading your blog! I hope there are more ppl with kind hearts like yours in Hong Kong and around the world. Animals certainly help to make this world to be as loving and as beautiful as it could be!

  15. Jann says:

    The kitten is really cute. I cannot imagine how she looked before her wildness disappeared.

    It's a great story. I couldn't help but to finish reading it although I should've been working double hard for my exam tomorrow.

  16. Flora says:

    I have a lovely cat story to share also... We have a cat - his name is Josh. A few years ago, we realised that his food bowl was always empty, which is unusual for him as he has always been a bit a of dieter (ie a small eater). Mind you, we were still feeding him the same amount we always had. But this super-clean-no-scrpas-left food bowl thing went on for a few weeks. Josh looked pretty much the same size, however. Soon enough, one day, we discovered a little yellow cat in our downstairs study! - an infrequently occupied part of the house! As soon as we saw him, he leapt upstairs and out the cat door. That was interesting, we thought, there is a cat who knows his way around the house and presumably, he has been finishing off Josh's food! It turns out this little yellow cat had been abandoned by its now-moved owners, a story which parallels many others on this page. Anyway, "Yellow", as we came to call him, was integrated into our family and we came to love him as we did Josh. We came to feed him legitimately so he wouldn't have to sneak around and we became great friends. He was a lovely, warm, friendly cat who loved us. Sadly, he died about 18 months ago.

  17. Tora_cat says:

    That kitten is adorable!!!
    It made me remebered a sad experience happened many years ago. I and my friend found a kitten under a staircase of an old building, we picked it up and bought some milk for it. We did not know what to do and did not see any sign of being a mother cat around, so, we made a decision and send it to the SPCA. By the time we gave the kitten to the staff, they told us that they would 人道毀滅that kitten. I and my friend broke into tears immediately. We became executors. Maybe we were 好心做壞事.

  18. Andrew says:

    Very touching story... I love reading your stories and adventures .. keep up the good work!

  19. duku says:

    I'm so touched at the way you saved the kitten and even bothered to find a place for it. I have a soft spot for cats but don't have my own place to have one yet. So could only console myself by visiting my friend or cousin who have 8 and 5 cats respectively.

    Kudos to you Greg!

  20. dorothy says:

    oh!i dun even know you can sing so well!!
    you know 普通話as well??
    im ashamed of myself cuz i can hardly speak a word in普通話..
    support you=]
    your blog is so sweet n the kitten is adorable!

  21. courina says:

    Hello! Greg, I suppose.. hahaha.. me, a small drama fans. Whenever I had time on my own, I will watch TVB drama. Somehow, I watch TVB drama series since I'm a young kid. Emm, I saw you in many drama series before this and pretty admire the skills you acquired, in which you can speak fluent cantonese. Even I just know your name is Greg after reading details bout' this blog. Hahaha.. a blur TVB fans I guess.. anyway, I've also saw you through one particular program (in which I forgot the title) mainly talking bout' your pets. Emm, I saw doggies only... hahaha.. maybe you rear more animals after that. I was randomly browsing through the internet and came upon to your website. Glad that I could pen down a few words here. I think you are a talented actor and was amazed by your fluency in Cantonese. I think I might going to HK very soon, if everything went on smoothly. Never been there before.. hahaha.. Anyway, as new year is ushering, may you have an enjoyable and bless New Year! All the best in your career and good health to you and your family members.

  22. Eileen says:

    Happy New Year, Greg!

  23. Olivia says:

    Hi Greg,
    I've seen you on TV here in Hong Kong since I was really young-- in Hong Kong and in Canada (where I lived for 6 years). I'm 17 years old now and I attend Hong Kong International School. I've always wanted to be an actor but I don't know where to start. My chinese is not good and I don't live in a place where they make english movies. I want to try to get jobs here in Hong Kong but I don't know where to look. I am going to the US for college in a couple of months and I plan to do auditions there while I study...hopefully get a breakthrough somewhere. But I feel like I'm not doing enough...I want to build my resume and I want to get more experience. Do you have any advice for me? I am really hoping you can help!

    By the way,
    Happy New Year!

    Olivia

  24. Julie says:

    Hello Greg,

    I'm not surprised the little creature decided to warm o you in the end, most of the time, animals know who are trying to help them and who are just swines. I admire you for your passion for animals, I too have strong feelings towards abandoned animals, but I'm ashamed to say I have turned an blind eye on such animals on many occassions, I used to help, but in the end, I realised that, just as you said, if I handed them to the SPCA, it's just like giving them early death penalties, so now I just leave them and hope for the best for them.

    I have recscued one dog myself, she was abandoned because her owner thought she was a pure golden retriever when he bought her as a puppy, but then when she grew, it was clear that she has some cocker spaniel in her, and she's not as big as "normal" retreivers, so she was locked up in a 2-foot wide cage for months and months, even when she outgrew the cage, and her spine started to curl because she just didn't have enough room to grow normally anymore.

    You are absolutely right that somoe people are complete and utter animals when it comes to these poor creatures, they are ruthless, mean and whatever you call it, it breaks my heart to see animals suffer in the hands of us human beings.

  25. Elizabeth says:

    That was quite an affectionate story. It was as if the kitten and you were supposed to be together by fate.

    I was just curious, what ever happened to the kitten's mom? Do you think it was later captured?

  26. Lee says:

    Oh, what a sweet kitty.
    我代小動物多謝你!

  27. 蝦米 says:

    成副老豆相....好溫馨又搞笑! :)

  28. mr.piksi says:

    何國榮做戲係有一手既!

  29. Leo says:

    http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%B2%B3%E5%9C%8B%E6%A6%AE
    your wiki info has been updated
    By ur keen supporter Leo

  30. Kit Kat says:

    Hi Greg and everyone,

    I was linked to this site at http://www.britishbornchinesedb.org.uk I've been a fan of Ho Kwok Wing since I was little. I enjoyed reading all the posts from begining to end.

    I'm a british born chinese from London, UK knowing limited cantonese but I'm improving everyday by reading chinese newspaper, magazines, listening to music and TVB dramas.

    Keep up with the good work Greg!!!!!!!!!!! Come to London with your wife one day!!!

  31. Steve says:

    Touching....

  32. TT says:

    Hey Greg

    Just stumbled onto your website. I'm a puppy person only, but I have to agree, that kittie was gorgeous.

    Also, I have no idea how you have time to maintain 11 dogs and a really cool acting career. Keep it up.

    All the way from Brissie ~~~

  33. Jo says:

    Touching... very touching.. I have two rabbits too.

  34. Janice says:

    What a great real story :) The cat was lucky to have you!

  35. Wendi says:

    Greg,

    That's an amazing story. Thanks for "saving" the kitten:)