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Gatitos (Kittens) and New Friends!

Gatitos (Kittens) and New Friends!

So about a week ago I got the chance to do- or be, rather- something I’d never been before: a cat owner.

What you first need to know is that Santiago is a city full of abandoned/stray dogs and cats (primarily dogs). The cause of this (or perhaps this is more of an effect rather than a cause) is that there’s a lot less love for them [cats and dogs] than in the states. Also a lot less shelters!

In any case, I was walking my friend to the metro station near my apartment when we saw two kids (well, 18 and 19) on the corner. The guy had a box in his arms and when we came closer we saw two adorable, mewling, ridiculously tiny kittens! (pic) The guy had found them (and 3 others that they had already found homes for) in the park in the shade of a rock formation, and were trying to give them away. I ran home (quite literally, I was out of breath when I got there) and burst in the door to ask my mother if I could have a cat.

Unfortunately, my wonderful mother’s one flaw is that she hates cats and dogs. So I ran back to the corner [where my friend was waiting as well] but just can’t bring myself to leave these two teens and these sad, sad kittens.

So I stayed with them for two hours, talking and trying to see if any of the passer-by would be willing to give a home to one of the sweet kittens. They also told me that the refugios, or shelters, in Santiago only kept cats for a week to a month before euthanizing them, which is why they were trying so hard to find them homes.

So I called everyone and their brother [in Chile] to see if they would be able to take in a cat. Finally I called one of my friends from another program also attending UAH (Universidad Alberto Hurtado, the Jesuit University that I attend here in Santiago) who lives in an apartment rather than with a family. The conversation started with something like…

Me: Oh hey Nealy! So, random, but… do you like cats by any chance?

I was so lucky that the answer was yes. And that Nealy and Rachel [the girl Nealy rooms with who I’m also friends with] were wonderfully accepting of housing two kittens each under a month old.

Gatitos with Rachel! That first night.

We had to feed them special food and buy special flea remover meds, and even bathe them in a certain way so as to teach them how to bathe themselves (like their mother would have done). We basically went in blind, using google as our guide dog/walking stick, and acted like ridiculously obnoxious mothers of newborns, cooing every time they stumbled (newborn cats and drunks are close cousins in matters relating to walking), ate, cleaned themselves, and even when they pooped (TMI, I know. Deal with it).

The girls’ program director was even happy to have them! Unfortunately, the apartment management didn’t feel the same way, and so after a week with our lovely kittens, I had to start looking for new homes for them.

Mijo(what I called the male kitty, short for ‘mi hijo’/’my son’) was adopted within a day of my posting the ad by a wonderful Chilean, who brought me blueberries from his family’s farm as thanks for finding him a kitten!

The last night- Mijo spent it at my apartment and preferred my laundry basket to the bed I’d painstakingly made for him. The stinker.

Anyway, that was just one more wonderful Chilean experience that gave me not only my two kitties for a bit but also introduced me to two new great people in this great city.

Hasta Luego, Dela

PS: Bonus picture of Mija!

Mija in Derp Face
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