corners of the community. Before long, there were not enough leftovers in the market for them, so having enough cat food became a problem for her. Hu could not bear to starve them, so she started cooking for the cats. It took her more than two hours a day to cook for them, and this has continued for twelve years. After feeding the cats, she returned home to make her own meal. Sometimes, she dids’t eat till ten at night. She jokingly said as she patted the mosquitoes, “They’re very punctual. I’m afraid that they may go away after waiting too long for my food, and they would starve if they couldn’t find anything to feed themselves. So I have to be punctual.”
Gradually, she felt powerless to buy the items and cook for stray cats every day. Last year, she began to buy cat food instead of cooking for them.
She told us that more than sixty cats in the community might eat up to seven catties of cat food in a day and she had to buy more than 200 catties a month. In addition, she also bought medicine for sick stray cats and sprayed pest repellents, costing her nearly 2,000 yuan a month.
Take care of the stray cats as her own
Although she feeds stray cats, Hu is particularly meticulous. To prevent dust, rain, and other particles from falling into the cat food, she has hitched a plastic sheet to her handcart. Before feeding the cats, she uses a broom to clean up the area where the cats are fed, then sets a clean container out and fills it with food. When a kitten has difficulty digesting, she puts the cat food in the boiled water so that the food would be soft and easy for digestion. Sometimes when a kitten disappears and its mother mews around her in a panic, she would take a lot of time and energy to help the mother.
Granny Hu was particularly concerned about an old sick cat. Years ago, she saw it on the side of the road, sick and dirty. She took it to the pet hospital for treatment and bathing. However, the hospital refused to take the dirty cat, afraid of infectious diseases. She had to wash it herself and her hands were accidentally scratched. Furthermore the cat was a slow eater and other cats would steal its food. Therefore, she would watch the cat until it finished eating. Granny Hu bought some anti- inflammatory
drugs for it too, broke them up and put them into the cat food. With her care, the cat still lives to this day.
When a hungry cat comes along, she always bends down to give it a few scoops of food. She even knows which cats are missing in the community. If she hasn’t seen a cat for a few days, she worries about it. She looks around anxiously to find it. One day she didn’t return home until eleven o’clock at night because a cat was missing and she felt compelled to make sure it was okay.
Eye surgery is still prolonging
When she was young, Hu suffered from the LDH ( lumbar disc herniation) because of her long time office work. As she gets older, it has become aggravated. She was originally a member of this community, but she moved to live in the neighborhood because she wanted to help her daughter. Every day, she hauls her cart from her new neighborhood to feed the cats. A distance of three or four hundred meters is a severe test for an old lady suffering from lumbar damage, especially on a scorching summer day and in the freezing wintertime. “I walk, rest for a while, and arrive here generally after resting three times,” She told us, leaning over her slightly hunched body.
During one Spring Festival, Granny Hu had a fever of 39 degrees Celsius. She felt uncomfortable and dizzy. She skipped feeding the cats and took a dose of medicine to help her sleep. When she later awoke feeling a little better, she was worried about the cats, and came over to the neighborhood to see them. Unexpectedly, the cats were still crouching there, waiting for her. She had to turn back to her house and fetch the cat food to feed them.
Granny Hu lives alone, her daughter being in Shanghai. When her daughter gave birth, she asked her husband, an eightyyear-old man, to help care for her daughter in Shanghai. “I know it’s a little inhumane, but when I’m gone, who will take care of these cats? I can’t leave.” She then pointed to her eyes. “The doctor told me to have an eye surgery long ago, but it would take two weeks to do it. These cats will be uncared for if I do leave for such a long time.”
Because of her daily cat
feeding, some of her friends began to think her house smelly and some were afraid of catching some kind of infection, so they gradually lost contact. She laughed and said she was “divorced from the masses” and dealing with cats all day.
In fact, it’s not just the cats that are inseparable from her, she is also inseparable from these cats. With them, she finds life much more amusing than living alone. “Have you ever thought about the day when you can’t feed these cats?”
Granny Hu was silent for a while after hearing our question. “This is what I have been worried about…” She did not know how long she could keep feeding them. “Maybe I have spoiled them so they can’t feed themselves,” Granny Hu blamed herself. “But I can’t bear to see them starve to death. What should I do?”
(Translation: Qing Run) 指了指自己的眼睛，“医生早就让我去做眼睛的手术，可一做就需要两个星期，这些猫没人管啊！”
Granny Hu and her handcart 胡奶奶和她的手推车
Granny Hu feeding the stray cats 胡奶奶给流浪猫喂食