By Johnson CHAN Man Long
“Meow!” Chu Poh Poh heard a sound behind a stack of cardboards. She slowly moved, pushing the stack aside, and found a grey kitten lying down on all fours. The kitten’s fur was wet; it might have been hiding from the rain that was pouring a couple of minutes ago. Chu Poh Poh smiled. It had been a long time since she had seen such a cute kitten. The kitten, however, looked a little scared.
“Don’t be scared, little kitten! I am very nice!” She gently stroked the kitten’s back. After stroking a couple of times, she noticed something red on her finger. “Oh no! You are bleeding!” She turned around to her trolley and found a bottle of water she had picked up from the rubbish bin two blocks down. She twisted off the cap and poured water onto the kitten. The kitten meowed loudly. “Oh, but we must wash your wound! Or else you will get infected!”
The kitten seemed a bit calmer after a while. Chu Poh Poh decided to sit down beside the kitten to take a rest. After all, the stack of cardboards would not go away, and she would need the cardboard to dry before taking it to the recycling shop. She picked up the kitten and held it to her lap. Its warmth reminded her of her own daughter, born on a cold evening exactly sixty three years ago. No one could forget the warmth of the baby in the freezing cold. She held onto the kitten with a smile.
The kitten meowed and meowed. “Oh you must be hungry!” She seemed to understand the kitten’s needs. She put the kitten down and got up herself. Her joints cracked as she made her way to her trolley. She pushed aside several bags before she got her hands on her treasure.
“See, kitten? I’m going to give you one of my lap cheung! I dried it myself! I think you’ll like it!” She untied the knot of the plastic bag, ripped a small piece of the sausage with her wrinkly hands. Then carefully, she tied the double knot, setting the bag back into the trolley before sitting down again beside the kitten. Her joints cracked once more as she held the bit of sausage out to the kitten.
The kitten sniffed it, then began to munch on it. Chu Poh Poh smiled. No one bought her lap cheung, but the kitten knew what was truly delicious.
“Ah Poh! You cannot feed the kitten lap cheung!” A girl’s voice interrupted the scene. Chu Poh Poh looked up and saw a couple looking down at her and the kitten. They both wore blue shirts and shorts. The girl bent her knees and grabbed the kitten. She held the kitten up.
“Who are you?” Chu Poh Poh asked.
“We are volunteers from the Homeless Animal Association. We are going to help this kitten to find a new home,” the girl replied. The man took the piece of sausage away and threw it into the rubbish bin. The girl took out some pellets from her bag and fed them to the kitten.
“What’s that thing you are feeding the kitten?” Chu Poh Poh asked.
“Cat food. It’s made in America, especially made for weak kittens,” the girl answered.
“Is it expensive?” Chu Poh Poh picked up one of the pellets and studied it. She put it into her mouth, but she had no teeth to crack it. She spat it back out.
“Yes! It is the best kind of pellet!” the girl replied.
“You will take good care of the kitten?” Chu Poh Poh asked.
“Of course we will. It’s our job.” The man’s voice was very reassuring. Chu Poh Poh nodded in approval.
“Next time, don’t feed cats with lap cheung, okay? You will make them sick!” the girl told Chu Poh Poh as she put the kitten into her prepared cage. The kitten meowed. Chu Poh Poh nodded in agreement.
“Call us if you find other cats,” the man handed Chu Poh Poh his card. Then they left with the kitten.
Chu Poh Poh looked at the card. It had some lines that she did not understand. It also had some numbers. But she had no phone. Never mind.
“Very nice people!” she muttered to herself as she threw the card onto the stack of cardboards. She went back to the rubbish bin to pick up her lap cheung. Then she dragged the stack onto her trolley and began to make her way to the recycling plant. She visualised a bowl of warm, white rice she could buy with the money she made today. It would be perfect for her lap cheung.