Studying abroad is not an easy thing to confront with, accordingly, some international students may raise pets in their foreign study. It is true that animal companionship brings many love and happiness, however, what will you do when you finish the degree and back to your own countries?
Leave them in the street, seek for someone to raise them, or bring them back home with you? Careful consideration is inevitable before deciding to own a pet.
Wirth, studying the abandoned pets in Australia including dog and feline in 2016, concludes that the primary reason for animal abandonment is people moving house based on the statistic from RSPCA. More brutal truth from RSPCA Annual Report in 2016 – 2017 shows 1431 abandoned pets had received by the organisation while most of them were dogs and cats, accounted 60% and 24.5% respectively (figure 1).
Two years ago, one Chinese student just abandoned the dog in the street. Dana McCauley published it, ‘one Chinese student abandoned the dog in the Sydney street because of the graduation and returning to China’, on news.com.au.
Adoption area in Pet Stock
“International students are not encouraged to adopt a pet due to a short period study,” says Nina Wang in Pet Stock located in the Zetland.
Pet Stock Assist is an adoption organisation for people to raise and donate money to help homeless pets.
“We have cats waiting for a new home with love and patience. But…I assume that students may not have enough time to take good care of them. It’s not an easy thing but a permanent pledge.”
"It’s not an easy thing but a permanent pledge."
In Pet Stock, there is an activity room for those cats waiting for adoption, situated at the entrance (figure 2).
Instead of adopting cats, Nina encourages students to come to shop and have fun with them.
“We do welcome students come by and play with Shelly, a shy girl, needs more love and care. You see (point to the cage), she always hides in her small and safe place, where you hardly see her,” says Nina (figure 3).
“Many students are living in the Zetland, and I even know some of them. Yeah, they come here to buy some pets food. They look nice. Hope they can always be good to their pets.”
Eric Zhang, a postgraduate majoring in Architecture at the University of Sydney, lives in the Zetland. He is indignant at dumping the dog in the street.
“It is so inhuman to do it. I can’t image how he can do such thing!” Eric says.
“I will never let my Mocha (kitten) to suffer such kind of experience. If I go back to China, definitely I will bring her with me, back to my hometown.”
Credit: Wenwen Bai (2018).
Mocha, is a four-month-old kitten that Eric adopted her from Purrlanet Meow, a not-for-profit organisation (figure 4).
“My girlfriend and I always want to raise a cat here. Certainly, we will have a long time staying here because we are going to find jobs and try to gain the permanent visa,” says Eric.
They meet Mocha by chance. Eric considers it is the destiny to have Mocha.
“We encountered Becky through Sydney Today (Chinese mobile application providing variety service) that she published an advertisement seeking for someone to freely adopt baby cats, given birth by a stray feline.”
Eric says if they miss the advertisement, they may be still at the first stage, thinking of raising what kind of feline.
“Some international students want to raise a kitten from my adoption organisation, but normally I refuse these students due to their future schedule, back to China or moving to other places,” Becky Chan says, one of the organisers of Purrlanet Meow.
“I will first chat with them for a while and consider their character, then decide to let them raise kittens or not. You know, students are not that reliable for owning a cat in their abroad study, studying here and going there.”
Becky shows she is not willing to give cats to students, on account of uncertainty. She is so worried about people adopting cats in a short-term and abandoning them on the street again.
“I believe in Eric. He is a caring people. Mocha with him will be all good.” Becky says.
The emergence of the organisation, Purrlanet Meow, is motivated by “Aunt Cat”, Mary, a Chinese woman aged 57, adopted many feral cats in Sydney (figure 5).
There are over 30 cats in Mary’s house that most of them are adult or old cats while some cats are disabled, accordingly, no one wants to adopt them.
Mary found these cats in many places, in bins, in streets, in the backyard of restaurants.
“Luckily, I have no child so that no one cares me how much money I spend on these poor cats.” says Mary with a smile, “They also bring love and company to me.”
Though over thousands of dollars spent on cats’ rescue, Mary still tries her best to help more of them.
Becky was so touched by Mary, and then, she decided to establish an organisation for rescuing stray cats as well as instructing people how to care for pets.
Credit: Wenwen Bai (2018).
Consequently, Purrlanet Meow, the first charity operated by Chinese in Australia was registered on 25 May 2018. It is a nonprofit organisation with the goals of stray cats’ rescue, foster care, medical help, stray cats adoption and ‘cloud adoption’ (raising pets online through donation).
So far, the organisation has reached over 100 Chinese people within WeChat. Becky will notify every newcomer in the WeChat group that what should they do after the adoption.
“I will ask them must do the vaccinations and microchip and track them how is the procedure,” Becky says, “Yes, it is hard for me to follow every adopter but it is necessary.”
“It is much stricter than people adopt pets from RSPCA. They need check people’s visa to ensure whether people are able to raise or not.” Becky expresses that there is a long way to learn and to make the organisation successful.
She also indicates that international students are welcome to do foster care, looking after cats for a time, or to be volunteers in their rescue station.
“People always say cats are independent animal that although you give them love, they may not appreciate you or even ignore you. However, it is wrong,” says Becky.
“Do you know the Japanese animation? The cat returns. Cats will return you, with warmth, company and love.”
"Cats will return you, with warmth, company and love."
Pets are all adorable, but pet owners must follow the regulation and should treat their lovely friends carefully and responsibly.
The law protects all animal in Australia, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, that Cruelty to the animal will be punished.
Please call 1300 cruelty to RSPCA to report the unappropriated behaviour on pets.