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Stowaway Cat 'Ni Hao' Goes Home to Redondo

Ni Hao was adopted by a Redondo Beach couple after surviving a two-week journey from China trapped in a cargo container. Check out our photos and video of him and his new family!

Editor's note: This article was originally published Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

After surviving a 6,500-mile journey from China trapped in a cargo container, Ni Hao, the , had just seven more miles to travel Thursday to his new home in Redondo Beach.

Ni Hao, Mandarin for "hello," has been recuperating from his near-death experience for almost two months at the Carson Animal Shelter and was adopted Thursday by Redondo Beach residents Kathleen Shaver and Harvey Hettick.

from a pool of more than 80 applicants from across the country to adopt the famous kitten.

"I promise it is the last box you will be in for a while," Shaver told Ni Hao as she gently placed him in his cat carrier for the journey home. "I promise the rest of your life will be easier than the beginning."

Surrounded by clicking camera shutters and reporters from media outlets across Los Angeles, Ni Hao played up his worldwide fame as he sat in Shaver's arms and let out the occasional meow.

"He is going to upstage the (Democratic) convention," Hettick joked as he looked around at reporters and photographers crammed into a small hallway at the shelter. "He is definitely a famous little guy," said Shaver.

Although Ni Hao happened to land in the entertainment capital of the world and already has a children's book written about him, his new owners said Ni Hao will most likely turn down any movie offers and hopes to stay out of the limelight from now on. 

"I think he is a child star and I think he will go into retirement," Shaver joked. "I think a quiet life at the beach is a reward for his ordeal."

When Ni Hao first arrived at the Carson Animal Shelter in July, he had gone without food and water for more than two weeks and was on the brink of death, shelter staff said. The fact that the kitten survived is what many at the shelter referred to as a miracle.

"We were scared the first couple of days," said Sam Ghobrial, a registered veterinary technician at the shelter. "The cat was very skinny, emaciated, very dehydrated and unable to lift the head up."

As a result of his journey, Ni Hao now walks with a small limp and doctors say he suffers from neurological problems that affect his right eye. However, Shaver and Hettick hope the kitten's heroic journey and the publicity surrounding it will raise more awareness for animal shelters.

"If his story brings attention to everything the shelter, veterinary staff and animal control officers do for thousands of animals, that is what is important," said Shaver. "You have been a good mascot for all the shelter animals that need a home," she said to Ni Hao.

Ni Hao will now be slowly introduced to his new home and will join the couple's two other adopted shelter cats, Zeus and Charlie. The couple said Ni Hao will also pay a visit to the Thursday for further testing and evaluation.

For shelter staff, Ni Hao's adoption was bittersweet as staff had to say goodbye to a kitten that carried such a unique story and won their hearts.

"We have had other international news, but this one is really heartwarming," said Evelina Villa, an outreach assistant with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. "You never hear about a kitty making it across the world."

However, Villa said there is still a silver lining with Ni Hao's adoption.

"In the end, I am kind of glad (the adoption) was local," said Villa. "We can always check up on him."

Nicole Mooradian (Editor) September 07, 2012 at 07:02 AM
He's adorable! Great photos, John!
Liz Spear (Editor) September 07, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Amazing photos, as always, John!
Kathleen Shaver September 07, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Ni Hao has settled in at home, doing great day 2.
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) September 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Thanks for the update, Kathleen! He is absolutely adorable! :) Keep us posted on his progress.
Mary Armenta September 10, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Hi Ni Hao! Best wishes to you and your new family.
SW September 16, 2012 at 06:44 AM
To his new parents: Maybe you could put up a Facebook page for him so we get updates on him and pics . . . :-) Thank you for rescuing this sweet little guy!
Christiane September 17, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Good luck little kitten ! Thank you for him.

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