A few weeks ago while talking to an older co-worker of E’s over dinner we heard about a pet bazaar. This man is a company owner who has lived in Kyrgyzstan for years, who speaks no Russian or English, who always seems to be at home five floors below, yet somehow knows all the secret places of the city. E had been looking for fish, and a small glass aquarium to fill with underwater foliage. For half a year we had been casually discussing getting a partner for Peter, who grows stranger and more un-cat-like with each passing day.
So several days after word was mentioned we all piled in and drove to the messy area of town just south of the western corner of the Osh Bazaar. There, hidden between industrial soviet buildings and a small, dusty vegetable market, behind market stalls that look like they haven’t been cleaned out for half a century, is the weekend “pet bazaar”.
I still don’t know where people in Bishkek get their pets (maybe, like cars, they import them from abroad?). For on Sunday afternoon this place had half a dozen cars with puppies and young dogs panting in the open trunks under certification (sometimes) from the Kyrgyzstan Kennel Club, two or three wire cages full of kittens (packed so tightly they looked like carpet), three of four pet shop stalls, and a token prize chicken. Half legit, half not. And a dissapointment if you’ve been to any of China’s mile-long pet bazaars (or just the wet markets around Guangzhou – three years ago my local market had live fish, live chickens, frogs, turtles, alligators and dogs…though for eating instead).
It’s pretty small, and certainly not a tourist draw like the livestock market outside Kashgar (which, to be honest, is also pretty boring if you’ve been to a 4-H event or county fair in the US). But… on our second visit, the following week, we did find an adorble little kitten with a sweet temperment and tortised coat. Peter took some time to adjust, but now Little Cat has made her home on our sofa…and our legs… and our bed…and lumped against Peter. If you do plan to buy a cat there though – be careful. Our Little Cat is fine, but a lot of the kittens had possibly diseased eyes.