At the Wednesday, August 24 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC), Michelle Coote explained why she calls herself the “Crazy Cat Lady” and described her efforts to rescue cats (and dogs) in her area of Rayong. Michelle is originally from Sydney, Australia and after traveling in India, she settled in Thailand. Since August, 2015 she has devoted her life to helping homeless cats and dogs to live better lives.
She began by noting that in her opinion, the stray animal problem in Thailand is a disgrace with a lot of controversy on how to fix the problem. Further, her talk was not to change any one’s view, but rather to raise awareness of the problem by telling her story.
Michelle said that it all started when she moved into a condo in Ban Phe, Rayong, in October 2015. She discovered there were many cats living on the premises; not belonging to any owners and often begging for food outside the units. The first stray she helped was a cat she named Tee Pee followed by the others. It didn’t stop there but led to her also helping beach and street dogs.
In the process, based on her many visits to veterinarians, she learned a lot about the most common diseases affecting homeless cats and dogs and that most can be cured. The primary thing is to control the population by sterilization as relocation doesn’t work. She mentioned how teams from the Soi Dog Foundation based in Phuket came to her area to carry out their TNR operations (Trap, Neuter, and Return) which were very effective.
With the aid of slides, she described the most common diseases encountered with cats and dogs and how they can be cured, often with medicine that is not very expensive such as Cat Flu (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis) and Transmissible Venereal Tumor (dogs).
She described her small sanctuary for homeless animals which now houses about 80 cats and six dogs. She also helps cats and dogs living on the streets in her area and runs a cat and kitten adoption program. Her slides showed many photos of animals she has helped including several showing them before and after treatment.
In conclusion, she mentioned that she experiences many frustrations such as she works nearly all day everyday with no days off or holidays. She has little physical or financial support and it is emotionally, physically and financially draining. So why do it she asked. Because saving lives, ending suffering and giving homeless animals a chance to live a happy and healthy life is very rewarding. Further, she feels it is now her life’s purpose and helping animals makes her happy.
This all costs and she is in need of help, both physical and financially. She invited her audience to visit or, better yet, to volunteer their time to help. To view her presentation on the PCEC’s YouTube Channel, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn0VTH3Jyh4. To learn more, you can visit her Facebook page “Cat Sanctuary Ban Phe”.
After the presentation, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events which was followed by George Wilson conducting the PCEC’s Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand. For more information about the PCEC, visit their website at https://pcec.club.