During a monsoon storm in Jomtien Thailand, two kittens find themselves in grave danger as their mother hid them in some dry abandoned water tanks that were now filling slowly with rain water. Upon hearing their cries, my neighbour came over for help, so we did. Before commenting, please read the answers below:
- We got them out of danger and let them go so we could concentrate on finding and saving as many of the four kittens as we could. Ask yourself what would you do if you come across an accident, where a schoolbus is sinking into a lake, do you rescue as many kids as you can, or do you save just one, turn away, and take the lucky one to McDonalds for an ice cream? They were in the tanks for a long time, as it had been raining for hours before my neighbour heard them.
- We had to do it carefully, and safely so as not to injure the kittens, or ourselves. The two rescued from the tanks scampered away, while we searched around neighbourhood yards and other tanks for the other missing two, not shown in the video. We didn't find them anywhere and thought they had drown, but they all appeared the next day reunited with Momma.
- We did not keep them. Domesticating cats here would make them an easy meal for the pythons and street Soi dogs. Lots of families house cats go missing regularly. Their best chance for survival here, is to let them be wild, wary, and not have human contact. However, they now sometimes eat out of our hand, and we leave them food regularly.
- There are basically no animal shelters here to take these kittens to, and the kittens were still happily nursing from their mother. It would be really sad to take them away from their Momma so early. They are healthy, and did not need to go to a vet unlike the millions of other stray dogs and cats running wild here. Some have diseases, infections, parasites, and some are limping from being hit by vehicles. They all have to fend off predators, fight, and look for food. Sometimes, kind people leave food for them, but there are still so many in bad shape. I am sometimes gone for weeks at a time, so can't take in a pet.
- Holding a kitten by the scruff of the neck is the safest way to carry them, just like their mothers do. Instinctively, they become calm, don't squirm, bite, claw or push away with their feet risking a fall. Although cute and cuddly, they are naturally agile, land on their feet, good climbers, and tougher than you think. You should not carry an adult cat like that though, as they are too heavy.
- Yes, this is Monsoon season for about 4 months of the year. It floods like this, and sometimes a lot more, about 10 times in a year. It is HOT, about 30-35C (85-95F). The kittens were not cold, just very wet, been through a bad ordeal, and just wanted to get away from the tanks and from us.
- In floods everywhere in the world, it is dangerous to walk around in the floodwater. Here, there are live wires, thousands of cats and dogs doing their business, and as most of the sewage systems overflow, you can imagine the risk of infection. Stepping into a hole or something sharp is a big danger. Everything stinks and you have to shower well, and wash your clothes and footwear well with bleach every time if you wade into it. Recently another foreigner here died from an infection in only 4 days after a small cut on his foot.
- The old water tanks are part of the property which is rented. They can't be touched or removed, and the landlord won't pay for it. Foreigners can't own a house in Thailand. However, after this flood, we dug down and removed the drain plugs from the tanks so they don't fill up anymore.
- My neighbour Brett, is more spry, and weighs half as much as me, therefore the right guy to go climb in for the kittens! He is an excellent fine artist, with his work shown in galleries around the world and private collections. An injury to his hands would be devastating for him, so he had to be very careful. The easel, paintings, canvas, and dog sculptures you see in the water are from some of his work: http://brettnealstudio.com/portfolio/
- After the flood, all four kittens were doing fine nursing with Momma, and are fun to watch playing hide and seek with each other hanging around the yard. We left out food for them to find, and they have safe dry places to sleep, take their cat naps, and are safe from predators as they grow daily. Here is the link to the updated video showing the kittens reunited with Momma at the end:
-Most recent update: They have grown a lot, are able to hunt and find food themselves. Momma stopped nursing them and chases them away every time they came near. The pretty one with the blue eyes was taken in by someone as a pet, 2 have moved on within the neighborhood, and one of the light colored ones still hangs around the house and yard as we keep putting food out.
Thanks for watching!
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