I recently returned to the UK from China, having lived there for four years.
While in our 2nd year living in Guangzhou, my partner and I adopted a street cat named Maya, one of many stray cats that roamed the streets of the historic Yuexiu district in the western part of Guangzhou city. We located her on a well-known Chinese discussion board (gzcat.org), where a listing had been posted by a kind volunteer and devoted pet lover who had taken her in as a young, frail kitten. The listing stated that if an owner weren't found for her quickly, she would have to be returned onto the streets after being neutered. Only a short time was needed to deliberate whether or not we should proceed with the adoption; as we couldn't get the little kitten out of our minds.
Upon visiting her, it's fair to say we connected immediately. We knew from the pictures and the descriptions that Maya was in a terrible way. She had an open wound across her belly and showed early signs of gastrointestinal parasites/worms.
She had a nervous demeanour (a character trait which has remained). Her anxiousness is perhaps due to some cruelty towards her during her time on the streets. In the year following, with countless visits to the vets and a lot of love and care, we managed to get her on track to becoming the happy cat she is today.
Despite being in totally unfamiliar surroundings, Maya coped tremendously well and fit straight into our little family. The love we gave her, she gave back ten-fold, and she made our home a joyful place.
Even after the many trips to the vets, which she wasn't too enthusiastic about.
In the beginning, while she was on the road to recovery, she had to wear a special body-suit bandage which kept her wounds covered.
We spent a wonderful couple of years together in our apartment in Guangzhou, as Maya developed into a healthy, happy cat.
Then in 2020, COVID-19 struck, and the future suddenly became uncertain for Maya. We all went into lockdown earlier than most parts of the world (January), and my partner and I were already making plans to return to the UK later this year for our studies, as we are both students. From February onwards, through the continued lockdowns, we managed to get Maya to the vet to get her vaccinations and documents to allow her to travel with us to the UK.
We tried everything to bring Maya with us home to the UK on our flight in September. The restrictions ended up being tough on us, and in the end, we became resigned to the fact that Maya would have to stay behind in China in a cattery until we could gain clearance for her. It has now been over two months. Saying goodbye to her was incredibly difficult.
The owner of the cattery has been kind enough to keep in contact with us throughout this challenging period, sending videos of Maya to us daily. Above is a picture we photographed of Maya in her box of the day we left her in China.
The price to bring Maya back has skyrocketed, as a result of the pandemic and it has now become unaffordable for us, as travel bans have been enforced and most flights have been cancelled.
A month ago, we felt that she didn't stand a chance, and there was no hope for bringing her back.
When we had all but given up hope, just this week, we are happy to report that with the help of a local agent we have finally been given the go-ahead for Maya to travel back to the UK on the 3rd of December. We could not be happier - it is the best Christmas present we could have ever imagined.
The costs have remained high at around £3000, inclusive of the direct flight from Baiyun Airport to London Heathrow, agents fees and customs clearance at both borders.
Unfortunately, at this moment in time, this is far beyond what we can afford, and as a result of COVID-19, we are unable to seek financial help from close family.
That's why we are reaching out to you, the community. With your help, regardless of the donation size, the money we raise will go a long way to securing Maya's future in the UK.
We really can't thank you enough, and we feel hopeful that it won't be too long before she feels the grass beneath her paws for the first time in her life.
Jamie & Vanessa
- Egle Zepkinaite
- Mike Thompson
- Mike Clutterbuck
Fundraising team (2)
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