Beth Bader has 53 cats under her name at Doctors Beck and Stone. Some of these cats just named after their color, but most of these cats do have beautiful names: Chunping (Peace of spring), Qiuping (Peace of autume), Tianyi (God's will), Chunlai (Spring is coming), Kangle (Healthy and happy), Qimiao (Marvellous), Shunli (Everything goes well).
She has been retired two years ago and lived with her cats together since then. She always brings a strange stray cat to Beck and Stone Chaoyang Park branch at intervals, and ask our doctors to do health check、spay/castration、needed medical treatment without any parsimony. From this interview, we can feel how much energy there could be inside such a tiny body.
(The interview is in English. "B" is Ms. Bader and "V" is interviewer.)
HOW MANY CATS DOES SHE HAVE
Thank you very much! Very appreciate. So here is the first question: How many cats do you have at home actually? This is my private question also.
There are 14 who live in the house, but two of those stay out a lot. There are also three recent departures who come around occasionally to eat, but I think they have joined one of the feral colonies based (in winter) in the underground car park, which maintains a relatively decent temperature.
So the answer to that question is not so simple. All but a few of my cats are allowed out during the day. Most go out for just a few hours. It is pretty safe here. We also have a back garden enclosed with tennis netting for those who are not allowed to roam freely, e.g. due to health conditions. So the number is somewhere between 12 and 17.
So many cats…… Can you remember all the cats’ name? Especially those who are always not at home?
Oh, definitely. I actually worry more about the ones who are not always at home. I look for them every day, and there is one “house-cat” (with health problems so she has to be monitored) and two strays that we take food and water to every day. There are another 7-10 regulars who eat here every day (on the porch) and another approximately 10, mostly feral cats with no interesting at indoor cats, who were spayed/neutered and then released, who come by some days.
We provide six outdoor shelters with warm bedding in winter, but I am not sure how much they are used. Many of the strays ferals prefer the underground garage.
AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING?
those stray cats, do they take their friends here to eat? It’s like “come on I know a place where we can find a lot food”.
Probably! But there are a number of other people in my neighborhood feed homeless cats. I am hoping more people will also spay and neuter the cats, and provide necessary veterinary care. I began paying and neutering in Singapore, where I lived before. With its tropical climate, the feral cat population is huge. I did not have the heart not to feed hungry cats, but I realized that is I fed them and then allowed them to produce kittens, I was just contributing to the problem of too many unwanted cats.
yes sure. So we all admire you because you did the right thing. Actually in China many owners still think it is too cruel to take a part of them away and forbit their natural instincts. But in fact, if you can’t raise more animals, you can’t be responsible for young animals, you should do the right thing. And it’s good for the animal themselves.
It is difficult to trap cats who need veterinary care, either for illness or injury or TNR. I wish there were classes a to make it easier. I certainly do not’ enjoy it. And until recently, it was difficult to find humane traps.
Another issue is finding a veterinary clinic with staff trained to care for feral cats. That is why I was so relieved to find Drs Beck and Stone. I Had had several experiences with cats allowed to escape. I felt terrible - trying to do a good thing, but with the result of a terrified cat in unfamiliar territory.
PEACE IN SPRING
Unbelievably, one found his way back to our porch three days later - at least 2 km away, over dense urban territory. I have no idea how he did it. It is unlikely he would have been there before. I can honestly say that was one of the best days of my life. We named him CongCong, which I understand some people will call a really smart little child.
and now he is one of your cat? or he lives outside just come for food?
Definitely one of my cats! He is probably one of 2 or 3 that I would be most upset to lose. He has the best traits of both dogs and cats - my favorite thing is to take him for walk and he walks at my side the entire time.
who is your favorite cat? Any interesting story between you and his or her?
Wow, that is a tough one. It is so hard to choose, but I suppose honestly my favorite is Chunping. I named him Chunping, spring peace, to symbolize that I hoped he would have a new start in life, after some very hard years. When I moved here 10 years ago he lived, along with two females who looked much like him, in the glasses-in porch of a woman in my neighborhood. She sometimes allowed them out to roam the neighborhood, and they did not look very healthy. Then the woman disappeared - I never did learn what happened. For three years the cats were outside, on their own. They were not well-suited to be stray cats, and it was quite pathetic seeing them try to survive.
At that point I still thought (perhaps accurately) that I already had four cats and taking on more would create over-crowding. And of course I knew there would be an endless stream of cats needing homes but older and not easy to find adopters.
Then, the two females, as well as several other cats I have as feeding, developed Stomatisis peridontitis. This disease was assumed to be incurable and the cats suffer greatly for a long time until they die. I finally managed to catch them and have them euthanized. I realized how tame and sweet these cats were and felt so bad that I had been unable to get them treated. (I since learned from Dr Danny that the disease can be controlled in some cats with specialized treatment). Anyway, for some reason Chunping did not develop the disease. But he spent two more years outside, with horribly matted fur, not neutered and therefore fighting a lot. Finally he almost lost an ear in a fight and spent a month at Drs Beck and Stone getting it repaired. Soon after, I adopted him, the first in a long line. I’ll send you before and after pics.
Chunping before (upper) / after (lower)
Another favorite is Lucky. One Sunday, all day I heard a disturbing sound I could not identify - whether it was a child or a bit or other animal. The sound was muffled but relentless. I looked around and could not see anything, so I tried to ignore it but it did not stop. It was summer so still light at 7:30. I decided I had to figure out what was going on. Finally I realized the sound was from a narrow drainage pipe and a small animal was stuck inside. Using a flashlight I could see two eyes but nothing else. Somehow I managed to get my entire arm into the pipe, and un wedge the creature. It was covered in tar and almost unrecognizable, but appeared to be a 3-4 week old kitten. I mixed canned food with water which she was able to lap up. And I rubbed her belly, as I had read, to help her to urinate and defecate. Lucky is now six years old. Being one of only two cats I have eased from very young kitten hood, she is more like what people usually think of as a house cat than most of my cats, which I consider to be semi-tame or semi-feral. I do of course also have some who were raised by someone else and then list or abandoned, so they are also tame.
Lucky before (upper) / after (lower)
I hope my cat can walk with me also, but she won’t move even a step when come outside
Haha, yes I have a few like that too. But a bigger problem is those that run away and come back many hours later. Or sometimes stay out all night.
CAT PEOPLE OR DOG PEOPLE
yes, a cat is not a dog anyway. oh and, you have raised so many stray cats, but why there isn’t any stray dogs?
That is a very good question. I feel so bad for the stray dogs I see. But we all have to make choices about what we do. I find that dogs’ emotions are so similar to humans that I can’t train and control them in the way you need to train dogs. I think my temperament is not suitable for raising dogs. Many people think cats are aloof and not loyal, but I admire the beauty of their free spirit.
They say many people are dog people or cat people. And while I have enormous sympathy for dogs, I am definitely a cat person. For the record, though of course I like children and feel terrible when they experience misfortune， I am not very good with children either, and I feel fortunate not to have the responsibility of grandchildren. )
omg many chineses young people will wish you could be their mother…
But the cat sometimes will hurt people even their owner because they are defensive.. Will you get mad or sad when some cat hurt you when you just want to take him out for doctors?
I guess I consider cats to be close to wild animals. So it is the human’s responsibility to avoid getting hurt. In the early days with CongCong, he had obviously had some very bad experiences with people. Do, though he wanted to be close to me, occasionally when I picked him up, he bit. I am talking about deep biter down to the bone. He had stopped doing that but one time after living with us for over a year, I picked him up and he bit me. And without thinking I bit him back! That is the only time I have ever punished a cat. Cats do not understand punishment and it only makes them fear you. I felt terrible after I did it. But it may be that, just that time, it was the right thing to Do. That is how mother cats teach their kittens. It was instant, so He made the connection. He has never bitten since then.
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