A few months ago we went to Wat Doi Tam to help the monks with the ever-growing cat problem. At that time we removed 17 cats for sterilisation and 6 cats for medical care. We left about 6 pregnant cats there, and plenty of food for them. This visit we wanted to pick up the kittens, and trap the mothers before they have the chance to get pregnant again. A cat can be ready to mate again just weeks after her kittens are born. It’s a small window of opportunity for us to pick them up and get them sterilised.
Some kittens came willingly, lured by the smell of tasty fish.. others were a little more reluctant, and a few others found such secure hiding places, we will have to call back and try to take them by surprise next week. We left some fish for the nursing mothers.
We picked up 20 kittens in all. Most are between 6 to 8 weeks old. Two, a brother and sister are about 5 months old, perfect timing for sterilisation.
Seventeen kittens were taken to a foster carer in the city. The carer has spacious cages where the kittens will be socialised, vaccinated and in a few weeks, put up for adoption. Three red tabbies, (the brother and sister) and a three month old (who was not happy with us at all!) were taken to our shelter at Doi Saket. The older two will be vaccinated, sterilised and returned to the temple. The monk is keen to have them back. The three month old will be vaccinated and socialised and we’ll make a plan for him later, maybe return him too, once he’s sterilised.
On our next visit, once we’re sure we have all the kittens, we’ll trap the mommy cats for sterilisation. We’ll decide later whether to return them or keep them at our shelter, available for adoption. It’s a good result for us, even though we ended up with far more kittens than expected!
It’s not our policy to simply remove huge numbers of kittens from temples. We only did so in this instance because we had reason to believe their lives were in immediate danger.
Life at this remote temple has been pretty hard for the cats. Some we removed were malnourished and sick. The cats we do return will have the chance of a healthier life now. We’re now dropping cat food off regularly. Most of the monks here really love their cats and take good care of them. They’re very happy we’ve been able to help sort out the problem.
It’s sad that due to the Thai practice of dumping unwanted kittens and puppies in temples, monks often find themselves completely overwhelmed with cats and dogs. We have no doubt that cat life here will be infinitely better in the future.
Here are some more of the gorgeous kittens waiting to start new lives.. can you take two..or more!?
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