July 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM ET
Ni Hao, the stowaway kitten from Shanghai, meowed for the first time Tuesday morning at the Carson Animal Care Center in California.
“We finally got to hear his voice,” Aaron Reyes, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, told TODAY.com. “It sounds like a sputtering single-engine plane."
The 3-month-old is in stable condition, but still too weak to stand up on his own paws. Shelter workers hope to see him up and walking (albeit gingerly) in the next couple of weeks. After that they’ll move Ni Hao to a local foster home where he can socialize with fellow furry friends.
“It’s much better for him to recover in a home environment,” Reyes said. “It’s just like a human being in a hospital so we’re hoping to move him.”
When Ni Hao first arrived from his 6,500-mile trip, he was breathing shallowly in a limp ball and couldn’t open his eyes. But the severely dehydrated kitten soon responded to fluids and his warm environment, perking up when staff presented him with a small bowl of food to eat. By his fourth day at the center, Ni Hao was rolling around on his own.
"Little by little we're getting there," Reyes said. "We're hoping that under the treatment of our med team and with rest, he'll be able to continue to recover quickly."
Danika Fears is a TODAY.com intern who would like nothing more than to take this little cutie home with her.