Mother cat Shuri was a shy, yet cunning, timid, yet resourceful cat living on the streets of Da Nang, Vietnam. Our team was impressed she was able to survive for so long in a tough environment where cat theft is rampant.
For some time Shuri was fed by a local and each day, he noticed Shuri was getting bigger and bigger. One day, much to his surprise, he discovered that she had five kittens.
It didn't take long until the feeder received an anonymous call asking about the cats. The caller wanted to know if he would sell the cats to be used for traditional medicine.
Word spread that the man was feeding a family of black cats, black cat being a particular delicacy in Vietnam. His phone began ringing off the hook and many people began pressuring him to sell the cats.
Fortunately for Shuri and her babies, the man kept her location a secret.
Shuri's feeder grew more anxious that thieves would steal the black cat family and sell them to a local black cat trader. Afraid of the danger the cat family was in, the man called our outreach team to see if we could help.
This concerned citizen was in the local market when she overhead a discussion with a woman who was fed up with her pet dog, who would later become known as Bobby. According to the owner, Bobby was behaving poorly and damaging a lot of things, causing her a lot of frustration, time and money. The owner was then heard telling her companion she was going to sell him to a meat trader for misbehaving. Sadly, this is not an uncommon solution for pet owners who grow irritated by their pets. Many dogs have been subjected to a cruel end, facing a painful fate for behaving in a way they never understood to be wrong.
But thankfully, Bobby's luck was going to change. The concerned citizen was so shocked and upset by what she heard, she immediately intervened. Luckily, the citizen persuaded the owner to allow her to spare Bobby's life, offering to take the dog off her hands. The owner agreed. Our rescuer then brought Bobby to our partner charity in a tuk- tuk (a three- wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi.) Once safely in the hands of caregivers at Saving Pagoda Animals, a program funded by FOUR PAWS, Bobby was immediately given love and veterinary treatment, including vaccinations and was dewormed.
Black cats are in very high demand in the Vietnamese cat meat trade; they don't survive long on the streets. They are sold at a premium for medicinal properties, their meat, bones, and organs are sold for medicine and tonics. Local Facebook and website pages advertise black cat products for health and wellness.
"I can't believe someone would want to sell him into such a terrible fate for just being a normal, naughty pup. He is such a sweet boy. That's why our program is designed to educate local community members and empower them to stand up against the dog meat trade. We are so glad a local person did just this and brought us Bobby before it was too late."
Dr. Katherine Polak, Head of Stray Animal Care Southeast Asia
What is FOUR PAWS doing?
As part of our Cats Matter Too program in Central Vietnam, we provide rescue, medical care, and sterilization services for cats in need. In Vietnam particularly, the cat meat trade is a huge issue. Thieves capture millions of cats to sell for the increasingly popular dish, "Little Tiger." Cats are then stolen and killed in barbaric ways, often by drowning. Our program with local groups Vietnam Cat Welfare and PAWS for Compassion focuses on dispelling myths about cat meat, helping deter people from buying into the cat meat trade and helping to keep cats safe from unscrupulous thieves.
But FOUR PAWS is not just active in Vietnam. Our team is working actively in Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand to help bring an end to the dog and cat meat trade and save more precious lives like Shuri's.