Mother cat Shuri was a shy, yet resourceful, cat living on the streets of Da Nang, Vietnam. Our team was impressed she was able to survive for so long in an area where cat theft is rampant.
For some time Shuri was fed by a young boy and each day he noticed Shuri 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 boy was feeding a family of black cats, a delicacy in Vietnam called "Little Tiger." Black cats are often targeted for their perceived medical properties and it didn't take long until his phone began ringing off the hook with many people pressuring him to sell the cats.
Fortunately for Shuri and her babies, the boy kept her location a secret.
He grew more anxious, however, 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. Without hesitation, we brought the family under our care. When we went to pick them up, the kittens stared up at our team of rescuers and Shuri was very scared because she had spent most of her young life avoiding humans.
Upon the family's arrival at PAWS for Compassion, our local partner charity, the team discovered the kittens were about 3-4 weeks old. The kittens were given the names Monkey, Emerald, Satcha, Ruby, and Saffre. Mom was named Shuri.
When the cats grew old enough, we provided them with much needed medical treatment, including vaccinations, deworming, and sterilization. At four months old, kittens Satcha and Monkey were adopted to a loving family! The remaining kittens are about six months old and we're happy to report that they have since grown into their personalities, proving to be quite mischievous.
Since black cats in this region can be adopted for the wrong reasons, their adoption screening process is very strict. Our team is taking appropriate precautions to adopt them into the best possible homes.
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 and their meat, bones, and organs are sold for medicine and tonics. Local Facebook and website pages advertise black cat products for health and wellness, as seen below.
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 strives to dispel myths about cat meat, deterring 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.