Chapter 2: There’s Mice, Let Me Borrow Your Cat for a Bit
Most of Xiao Guo’s customers were people from Chu Hua University. In fact, doing business with teachers and students from the university wasn’t very easy, as issues with the food safety and quality were most likely to be found there.
Even the people who spent all day stuck in a laboratory facing research data and equipment would go out to have some fun when they had the time. For example, they would take the mass transit to a snack alley to buy some hot dry noodles with chili oil. Then, they would bring the noodles back to the laboratory and examine them to see if there was Sudan Red G in the chili oil, aflatoxin in the sesame paste, excessive amounts of E. Coli, and so on.
As a result, doing business with college teachers and students required both a good reputation and a high quality guarantee.
But because of this, after the good reputation of Xiao Guo’s store arose, its popularity grew and money accûmulated, resulting in the surrounded storefronts closing down. Then, merging his brother’s pet clinic and his own pet store resulted in the establishment of the “Just Like This” pet center.
This was the understanding Zheng Tan had of Xiao Guo. In short, he felt that Xiao Guo was decent, had brains, knew how to earn a quick buck, and also didn’t have bad intentions. To say the least, he treated animals very well.
After Xiao Guo had left, the Jiao family did not mention anything about the cat food ad. After dinner, Jiao Yuan and Gu You Zi went to their rooms to do homework, and Mama Jiao went with her friends to learn how to dance at the gym.
Zheng Tan went into the master bedroom. After entering, he closed the door, jumped up, and then pushed the lock to lock it. Inside the room, Papa Jiao was already sitting at the desk, waiting for him.
As far as Zheng Tan’s series of actions after entering, Papa Jiao had long gotten used to them, so he didn’t even look up and waited until after Zheng Tan had jumped onto the desk before he closed the folder.
“Today Xiao Guo came over to talk about the canned cat food ads. I didn’t immediately give him a reply yet to see what you thought,” Papa Jiao said as he placed a docûment in front of Zheng Tan.
Written on the docûment was everything that Xiao Guo had mentioned about the canned cat food ads, as well as the main points from the discussion between Papa Jiao and Xiao Guo about the follow-up situation and benefits if it happened.
Zheng Tan read through the docûment briefly. Xiao Guo apparently produced his own brand of cat food that was bought by many households with cats on campus. It was cheap, convenient, and, most importantly, passed quality standards. Originally, Xiao Guo had prepared to promote the product early on, but due to an episode of “SARS,” he was forced to delay it. Now that he had managed to recover with great difficulty, he had been preparing to restart his plan. Because the pet center was established, however, the amount of cash he had on hand was scarce. As a result, Xiao Guo was even more anxious to use this brand of cat food to recover his funds.
Although there were rarely any TV commercials in China for pet food, Zheng Tan only became aware of the demand for pet food after coming here. Furthermore, there were many potential customers. In the wake of economic development, the rhythm of city life became more and more rapid. There was not even enough time for people to take care of themselves, so even if they wanted to raise a cat, they would still need to think carefully about how to provide for it.
Zheng Tan had resigned himself to do it. Even though he didn’t have much skill in economics in his previous life or even now, he still believed that if this matter was done well, they could earn quite a bit. Zheng Tan didn’t eat cat food. Instead, he ate the same food as the Jiao family. Ever since he had become a cat, the one thing he was glad about was that his stomach was more valiant. Moreover, it wasn’t certain that he would need to eat the cat food in the commercial.
Speaking seriously, acting in a short commercial wasn’t really a big deal for him. After all, it was only a pet food commercial. If things went according to what was written, the commercial would be aired online. If the commercial was a success, then there would definitely be a follow up.
The first commercial was to be relatively simple, as it was just to test the waters. Zheng Tan knew why Xiao Guo had selected him. Money was tight, so if he could save, he would. While the foreign film 《Cats & Dogs》 had wasted several tons of food, Xiao Guo’s small scale test commercial would still use up some food, but not to that extent. Of course, this was the only situation when looking at other cats; Zheng Tan was completely different.
As Zheng Tan was looking at the docûments, pondering the pros and cons, Papa Jiao spoke up. “You don’t need to immediately reply. I had told Xiao Guo that we’ll reply in three days.”
Hearing that he had three days to think it over, he didn’t worry about it. Considering his current identity, he really had a lot of things to think about.
As Zheng Tan set down the docûments, he heard a knock on the door. It wasn’t the bedroom door, but the main entrance.
Papa Jiao got up and went to open it. Zheng Tan didn’t follow him, however, and only pricked up his ears to listen to the discussion in the living room.
Based on the voice, it should be the computer nerd from across the street. Since both of his parents were teachers, he could be considered the dependant of a teaching family. This guy practically spent all day in his room and would often wear t-shirts with Starcraft, Spider-man, Star Wars……and even Sponge Bob on them. He would wash his clothes once a week, even in the summer. Who knew if his piled up clothes would grow mushrooms then.
Listening to the voices, apparently he was somewhat embarrassed. Zheng Tan jumped off the desk and went to the entrance to take a look. The other person was holding a boxed lunch in one hand, while scratching his head with the other.
“Brother Jiao, I would like to a borrow your cat for a bit. The mice are about to breed on my side. I even bought mouse traps, but I still couldn’t catch them. These past few days, I have been worried to death. Whenever is convenient… ah… could you… that is, lend me your cat?”
Zheng Tan viewed the guy in contempt. He remembered that just a few months ago that guy was boasting to Jiao Yuan that his home didn’t even have half a mouse. The result was that on the next day, Zheng Tan heard a howl that the internet wire had been chewed through. He had tried using the sticky mouse trap, the normal mouse trap, and basically everything else excluding mouse poison. Zheng Tan wondered, could it be possible that the IQ of the mice on the campus was higher than the rest?
When Zheng Tan thought about it, however, he hadn’t caught any mice since becoming a cat, as the Jiao family’s home did not have a single mouse. Zheng Tan wasn’t sure if this was because of his presence or not, but if they wanted him to go catch a mouse now, he really wouldn’t know where to start. Not because of fear, as Zheng Tan used to catch mice to scare his female classmates in middle school, but a cat and a person aren’t the same, after all.
Zheng Tan lowered his head and looked at his claws, to express his worries.
On the other side Papa Jiao exchanged a few words with their neighbor and then closed the door. Returning inside, he waved over Zheng Tan, “Can you catch mice?”
Zheng Tan was silent, not moving.
After a long time, Zheng Tan heard Papa Jiao order: “Go, give it a try.”
Try? Try what? How am I supposed to try? Zheng Tan was rather unconvinced.
Papa Jiao grabbed his keys, carried a tote bag, and informed Jiao Yuan before he called Zheng Tan to head out.
Zheng Tan rode on Papa Jiao’s small electric scooter as they left the eastern residence. Seeing the familiar path, Zheng Tan more or less realized in his heart where their destination was. However, how was he going to try? Zheng Tan’s heart was unsure. His strength compared to that of a normal cat’s was stronger. In fact, Zheng Tan felt that his strength could grow even more. After a year and half, perhaps his strength would be close to that of a young adult.
However, having great strength did not mean he was capable of catching mice. Because he never really like cats, he had never paid attention to them, which meant that he didn’t know how normal cats went about this.
While thinking, the electric scooter arrived at their destination——Chu Hua University, College of Life Sciences.
Being an associate professor at the college of life sciences, besides returning home for meals, Papa Jiao spent most of his days here.
After parking the electric scooter, Mr. Jiao shook out the tote bag. Zheng Tan’s mouth twitched, and he jumped into it. The science building wasn’t a place that a cat could just walk around as they wished, so it wouldn’t be good for them to be caught.
Then, Associate Professor Jiao, holding the cat-filled bag, entered the building through the main entrance, calmly greeting the people who passed by. He walked until he reached the stairs where there weren’t any people, as most had gotten used to riding the elevator.
Zheng Tan stuck his head out and looked around. Even at 7p.m., there were still many people in the life science building, and all the research labs still had lights on. Zheng Tan was even able to look through the staircase window and see the bright UV sterilization lamps in the sterilization room on the other side.
Recalling the first time Jiao Yuan had brought him here, Zheng Tan had been very nervous. But after a few times, Zheng Tan became accustomed to it. He had even rejoiced multiple times that the family members who adopted him weren’t some crazy scientists (Frankenstein).
Papa Jiao’s office was an independent office on the second floor. He was one of the few associate professors at Chu Hua University to have his own independent office in the life science building, and sometimes when Mama Jiao was too busy, Jiao Yuan and them would come here to do homework or take an afternoon nap. Occasionally, Zheng Tan would come along, but each time, he did so sneakily. He would either hide inside a backpack or in people’s clothes.
Papa Jiao entered the office, grabbed a key, and then brought Zheng Tan to the fourth floor. This side of the fourth floor didn’t have many people, and even Zheng Tan hadn’t been here before.
Papa Jiao’s footsteps rang through the peaceful hallways. The corridor light was bright, and Zheng Tan could see the number plates on the doors in the hallway.
No wonder there was no one around. This side was mostly storage rooms for equipment, medicine, and other goods. But……
Zheng Tan sniffed, and he could smell the scent of some kind of animal.
Mr. Jiao went to the room at the far end of the hall and stopped, pulling out his key to open the door.
As soon as the door opened, squeak squeak squeak sounds echoed all around.
On one side of the room were a few empty cages and a few containers for feeding white mice, and a few small experiment counters and shelves had been placed near the door.
Papa Jiao turned on the lights and placed the bag on a lab counter before he spoke to Zheng Tan: “You just wait here for a bit. Don’t run around, and you can’t touch the research materials. There’s a lot of medicine here.”
After he finished speaking, Papa Jiao took some lab clothes from the closet and put them on along with a pair of gloves from the drawer. He then entered another room, and not long after, he returned with a cage of five little white mice.