Archive for the ‘Cat People’ Category

The Mewsers voted unanimously to give me the time to write this report. I know I’m supposed to be working on my book rather than blogging, but they agreed that this story is too important not to post. After I ramble on a bit, you can read an email from a contact I made in China about what the government decided to do to clean up Beijing for the Olympics. Officially, stray cats became an ‘image issue’. Puzzling, isn’t it? And apparently feeding stray cats in China is a subversive activity.

My Chinese contact wanted to remain anonymous and sent a detailed reply to my email even though my blog was blocked on this person’s computer.

A couple of weeks ago, I was so innocent. I began researching ‘cats in China’ stories before the Olympics thinking that it would be an interesting sidebar to all the Olympic hoopla. Right away though my research turned up horrifying accounts of cat cleansings in Beijing. Actually, you’d be hard-pressed to find much positive information for cats in China.

One of the main stories I read was in London’s DailyMail called “Olympics clean-up Chinese style: Inside Beijings shocking death camp for cats” by Simon Perry. It was a shocking, disturbing account. I wanted to report on this, but I did not want to simply regurgitate someone else’s news story and pass it off as true in the same way I don’t forward hysterical emails without checking Snopes.com.

I wanted to do some more research, but when I read the cryptic note at the end of Mr. Perry’s article indicating that his sources had to remain anonymous, I was wary as to whether to proceed with what could be a dangerous investigation into the back alleys of Beijing.

But the Mewsers are dauntless and intrepid reporters and they encouraged me to follow through, especially in such matters involving their brother and sister cats. It has taken several weeks to confirm this story, but you can read for yourself an account directly from someone who has personally observed this activity in Beijing.

Note: I must say that after watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics with its display of breathtaking beauty and artistry intricately woven together with off-the-charts technology, it made it even harder to juxtaposition what goes on behind the scenes in China.

The very public Olympics display and the secretive cat cleansings seem to illustrate the two opposing faces of China better than anything I can think of. If the Chinese want to change their image with the world, then they must understand that brutal removal and extermination of innocent cats in the name of ‘housecleaning’, makes no sense and only further damages their image. I would encourage an ‘official’ reconsideration of this senseless and shameful activity.

The Olympic cat cleansing stories have been circulating since March, 2008 but here is the latest update from the email I received this last week from China:

Thanks for your mail to me. Sorry for keeping your waiting, as I have been quite busy recently to care of several sick cats at same time.
Sharing with you for the below information:
As Olympic is coming, Beijing Government doesn’t take action on behave of themselves, but they seems delivered oral brief to street’s manangement to clean up stray cats in each community. 
The street’s management asked the catching cats team of government to take the cats off without any notice to any of the cats feeders. They have sent the cats to the shelter of government, put them for a while ( within 15 days) if no body adopt them, they will put down the cats ( They don’t have any ways of telling people to adopt the cats, even they locate in very far and rural place which are not easy to find ) or they will send the cats for experimental purpose.
Attached pls find two photos of two animal shelters in Beijing, one is for Chaoyang district, one is for Haidian district ( without any notice at the door/entrance ).
The above mentioned actions were happened in early July:pls see the below quoted mail which I sent to other cat friend: 
Here in the city there have been several catching stray cats accident happening in early July, there are several catching cats actions happened all over the city, focusing in Chaoyang district, which is the Nestle stadium located.
Such campaign hasn’t get any media coverage before hand, so that we haven’t know anything till the happening. They just want to do secretely and no body can stop them in advance.
 So far we know there are the below places in the city has happened the accident:
1.In Huayan li area ( near Nestle stadium ). July 04: more than 10 cats were taken away by the catching cat team of government, now the cats are being kept in Chaoyang Animal Shelter,  the feeders and other cat friends will go to ask back of them tommorrow.
2. No 35 North Garden Road, Haidian district ( near nestle stadium), belongs to army, July 04. around 18 cats were taken away by the soldiers. More than 30 soldiers with big sticks in hands, beaten and drove the cats into cages, and taken them to Chaoyang animal shelter, all the cats are being fed by an old lady over 70 year old, she is too old to stop the action from soldier, only asked back two cats from the catching. she is feeling so sad, as she feeds them each day, and most of the cats are friendly.
3. At least  other two communities around Nestle stadium had same accident in recent days.
In FengTai District, 北京装甲兵工程学院, July 03: over 20 cats were beaten to death. 
For the first two accidents are both happened around my place, so that I know they are true.
Some people who hate animal borrow this opportunity to hurt cats, there was another accident happened in An Hua Li July 27, the street management blocked the cat holes with cement + metal net with welding, cat lovers tried to open it, but second day the holes were blocked again. cats are inside and crying over day and night,,
There is a news link about it:
All are not so positive to stray cats in Beijing… 
When forward my message, please omit my name and address.

And that is the very sad state of affairs for Chinese cats.

Comments welcomed. 


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Thought I’d take a peek around at what life is like in China for felines. In doing so, I discovered the horror stories about cat culling to rid the city of its strays before the Olympics. I am doing some further investigations into this horrifying situation before going to ‘print’ here at the Newsroom.

Along the way, during my search, I discovered Scarlett Zhang who founded Beijing Cats in 2001 and has rescued and re-homed over 100 cats since starting her work.

Her website, Beijing Cat has videos and slide shows of the cats up for adoption. She makes it easy to become a Guardian Angel and sponser one of her cats. Or you can adopt while you’re at the Olympics and rescue one of Beijing Cats to bring back home with you. Her link to PetTravel, provides a wealth of information about traveling anywhere in the world, by car, train, or air, with your pet.

Scarlett’s cats seeking adoption are healthy, dewormed, neutered and vaccinated. They are also friendly, with sweet personalities, and suitable for adoption. She says:

If you are kind and responsible, have a stable income and can make a long-term commitment to bringing a new member into your family forever (including bringing him or her back to your home country if/when you leave China), then there are many wonderful cats here waiting for your love!

The grim reality of the government sponsored cat shelters, which was posted on her video page from what looks like a cell phone, provides a wakeup call to help Scarlett, however you are able, in her efforts with Beijing Cats.

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Shelley Thayer recently spent seven grueling months in the Nevada desert where she and dozens of others worked to save 800 cats found starving in a remote compound. (The photo here shows her with Beignet, a poodle she rescued after Hurricane Katrina.)

Thayer works for the Best Friends Animal Society, headquartered on 30,000 acres in Angel Canyon, just outside Kanub, Utah. Best Friends operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals. It provides adoption, sterilization and educational programs.

Thayer’s job takes her to emergency animal rescues around the country in what they call the rapid response effort.

“My role is different in each rescue,” said Thayer. “It can range from training volunteers, setting up dog and cat runs and triage centers to administrative work and animal care.”

Typically she will travel to a rescue, spend whatever time it takes to see it through, then have a few weeks off before the next phone call.

This most recent cat rescue has been dubbed “The Great Kitty Rescue” and is being called the largest successful cat rescue in American history. Thayer said it was heartbreaking to see 800 sick and terrified cats that were so desperate for food and water they were trying to dig under the electrified wooden fence that held them.

Yet, she said there also were many success stories, and although 79 cats didn’t make it, nearly all of the remaining cats have found homes.

“It was a case of a hoarding situation,” Thayer said. “It was a very tough rescue, the temperatures could be 120 degrees during the day and into the teens at night. The cats walked on inches of feces and many of them were emaciated and hard to find because they were clearly fearful of people.”

All but 250 cats were adopted and those have found temporary shelter at Best Friends, where they are undergoing rehabilitation so they will be adoptable.

“They’re at a training school and many have gone from fearful to lap cats. This is new work and we never dreamed we would be doing this,” said Thayer.

Thayer began her career as an animal rescuer two years ago when she left her home in California for New Orleans to help with rescue efforts for the pets left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

It was an experience that changed her life.

“I told my husband I would be gone two weeks,” said Thayer, who was working in marketing at the time. “Then two weeks turned into four, which turned into six and five months later I came home. Best Friends asked me to stay while I was there and hired me to stay until we pulled out.”

After New Orleans, she found herself in Reno, Nev., where a hoarder had 1,600 rabbits living in squalor in her backyard. Although many couldn’t be saved, rescuers found homes for the remainder. Five hundred found a new home at the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary in Whittaker.

Best Friends also stepped in to take 22 of Michael Vick’s dogs. The former NFL football star was sent to prison late last year for running a dog fighting operation.

“These dogs are now in rehabilitation and those that were once cowering in the corner are now playing,” said Thayer.

Thayer, who is in the process of moving closer to Best Friends headquarters, said she has found her dream job.

“The only detriment is that it takes me away from my own pets,” said Thayer, who is the owner of a Katrina dog and six cats.

The fact that she’s saving animals from horrific situations helps keep the animal lover from getting depressed by what she encounters.

“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she said. “I just try to find the positive in every negative situation.”

Best Friends operates through memberships and donations. Memberships are $25 a year and include a subscription to their magazine Best Friends, a general-interest animal magazine. For more information, visit the Web site at www.bestfriends.org.

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The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is an incredible place where dedicated volunteers have been working since 1994 to create a sanctuary for Rome’s abandoned cats. Here’s the introduction from their Roman Cats website. “Here at Torre Argentina our feline friends (which now number approximately 250) have found respite from the chaos and traffic amongst the oldest temples in Rome (400-300 BC). Volunteers from different countries, who created the shelter, work here seven days a week. You can take a look at our ‘history’ section about the origin of our sanctuary, or learn more about the ‘work’ we do here at Torre Argentina. Or…just look around and before you leave don’t forget to visit our CatShop…every item we sell is helping a cat in need! Thank you for visiting the Roman cats.”

To help, you can ‘adopt at a distance’ to help these cats. They also have some very nice products, including jewelry, books, a t-shirt and calendar that help support their efforts.

This was a definite add on my Global Cat map.  which placemarks extraordinary stories of news and stories of cats and their humans around the world.

Wikipedia’s entry of Largo di Torre Argentina which is a square in Rome that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey’s Theater, has a section specifically about the Cat Sanctuary. Tours are given daily.

Visit the Cat Sanctuary website at: http://www.romancats.com/index_eng.php

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Nine Lives Greece

Cats in Greece don’t have such an easy life. They are not kept as pets like we are here, so there’s a lot of strays there. It looks like these humans are doing a good job of helping out my fellow felines.

This is from a group in Greece called “Nine Lives Greece”. They have been included on my Global Cat Map. 

“We are a group of volunteers who take care of a 90-strong colony of cats that live in two adjacent parks in central Athens. The cats are dumped there when their owners go on holidays, move house, have babies, get divorced or simply get bored of their pets. The cats are in danger, mainly from dogs, but also from fast cars on the surrounding roads, poisoning and other cruelties.

We feed the cats every morning with a combination of tinned and dry catfood. So that no new kittens are born there, and for the health of the existing cats, we neuter/spay every new cat that gets dumped, and we also provide medical treatment for cats that are ill or injured.
   The happiest part of our work is when we find good homes for our cats. We try especially hard to rehome the kittens, which would not otherwise survive. We are always looking for responsible homes – foster or permanent – where our cats can live with the love, care and security they deserve.”
Read more about this volunteer group in Greece.

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