Please help me bring Zuma home!
My partner and I have been living in southern China for the past 3 years teaching English. Last year we rescued a kitten from a terribly small cage on the side of a busy road that she shared with several puppies. And she has real character! I wanted to give her a name that somehow described her high energy and finally came up with the name "Zuma." Inazuma means lightning in Japanese. And Zuma sounds a whole lot like "zoooom-a," which was perfect because that's exactly what Zuma does, she zooms around the house. She's not the usual housecat, and I attribute much of her wildness to her close lineage to the Asian wildcat, which is where many domesticated cats today originally come from. She doesn't snuggle up and purr beside us very often, which means when she does do this, it really means something. She plays fetch like a dog, either with her toy mouse or with her favorite, hair bands. She runs full speed to chase them as they're thrown, screeching on the tile floor as she goes. Then she runs back to us and drops the hair band, or mouse at our side, awaiting the next toss. She's just like an eager dog. When we come home, she runs to the door to greet us, meowing the whole way. I had cats for my entire childhood and I've never had a cat that played fetch. She is a special cat.
Now that you know the cat... This coming May my partner and I are leaving southern China and traveling to Africa to volunteer for as long as we can afford to. The thought of leaving Zuma behind breaks my heart. I've looked into pet relocation services and they charge as much as $3,000 to bring a cat from China to the USA. But if I do everything on my own, everything that is required, like rabies vaccinations, pet health certifications, transport to the airport and booking her a 'seat' on the cargo deck of a pet travel certified airline, then I can knock the price of everything down to just about $1,400.
And this is where I need help. Working in China, at least in our small town, does not lend much to savings. And after 3 years of saving we've managed just enough to get us to Africa to volunteer for several months. The $1,400 cost includes $800 for the international flight from Beijing, China to Los Angeles, California. A domestic flight from southern China to Beijing of about $250. A $250 domestic flight from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio which is where Zuma will find her new temporary home while we are away. And the cost of an airline certified crate of about $100.
Cats are not the favorite pet for most Chinese people. In fact, when I told friends of mine here in China that I'd rescued a cat, the immediate reaction was, "Why!" There are, however, a lot of cats in China. Many of them are tied to the side of a building for a majority of their lives, with the only purpose being to catch mice. But I'm not sure the effectivness of this being that they're tied up. The cats that aren't tied up are left to fend for their own food and water. If they are fed they're given leftoever rice and whatever else remains after dinner, which almost always includes spicy pepper, not a cats favorite. They're not allowed inside during cold winter months. Veterinary medicine for cats is incredibly uncommon. Some people in China regard cats, like dogs, as a delicacy, a food delicacy that is. And cat furs are sold regularly at the markets where I live. This would be the worst case scenario for Zuma if I can't get her home!
Zuma will be living the life. If only she can get to Ohio where our family has agreed to care for her in our absence. She will be well cared for, having the run of a farm, climbing trees and bounding through the fields as she pleases. Or curling up on a soft couch inside during the cold winter months. This is what I hope for Zuma. When we do move back to the USA, we will be able to bring her back home. Any donation helps, and every donation will be greatly appreciated. If anyone has seen the desperate circumstances in which animals can live, especially in places where animal welfare is not a top concern, then please, help me bring Zuma home!