Some people are handpicked to help animals in need. They find themselves drawn to the hopeless, the injured, and the orphaned and are equipped to aid these poor, suffering animals.
Many of those same people join organizations designed to create a network of aid and assistance for these poor creatures and others just happen to be in the right place at the right time. In December of 2016, in the Thai province of Phetchaburi, a family who had previously found themselves nursing a sick and abandoned animal back to health, once again happened upon a tiny, shivering orphan in front of their home…
The Thai family in question already had some experience in helping injured animals, so it seemed like fate had intervened once more when they walked out into their front yard and happened upon a tiny little ball of feline fluff, shivering in the cold street. The poor creature had been sprawled out in the road, helpless and alone. But where was its mother?
Calling for Aid
The poor thing couldn’t have been more than a few days old, and unfortunately, the family’s experience was not enough to warrant caring for a kitten that size. They knew it was time to call in the experts. They made the call, and soon agents from the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand came to the house…
The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand is an organization established 15 years ago to help stem the tide of slow destruction facing Thailand’s natural wildlife. Ultimately, their aim is to help liberate wild animals that have been kept in captivity and educate members of their community about animal conservation. They also help by providing on-site veterinary care for animals in Thailand.
A Few Hours Old
One of the WFFT agents picked up the tiny kitten, who was cold to the touch, and soon realized just how small and fragile the poor thing was. It was much less than one day old, and the little guy had only come into the world mere hours before. Before they could proceed with any of their other plans, they had to ask the family if they knew anything more about the kitten’s mother…
For one thing, neither the rescuers nor the family could find the mother anywhere. This was odd because the kitten’s mother had been a previous rescue of the family’s some years before. The cat had been so grateful for her release that she regularly visited the family that brought her up to say hi. Perhaps the baby was hers?
After all, the cat had never forgotten the good deed the family had done. She’d been a frequent visitor to their home. Then the father of the family remembered, the cat had been there just a day earlier, and if he recalled correctly, she had been carrying a little extra weight…
Moving the Litter
It was possible that the cat had birthed the kittens in the family’s yard, where she felt safe, but then decided to move them to a more secret location just in case. If that was the case, she might have dropped the poor little guy on her way across the street and decided just to leave him to make sure the rest of her helpless litter was ok.
They assumed that the mother cat lived in a nearby rice paddy field, but WFFT couldn’t find her there either. Time was running slim. Baby kittens that old are highly dependent on their mother’s milk and protection. Without his mother, the little kitty would surely perish. Perhaps they still had some time, though. The team decided to try and draw the baby’s mother back to the scene…
Wait For Mom
At first, the family and the WFFT put the baby kitten outside in a box. It was their hope that the mother cat might come back for the kitten but was afraid to with so many people around. They placed the tiny kitty in the box and went inside for a bit. After a few hours, though, there was no sign of the mother cat. The WFFT would have to take the kitten with them and nurse him at their facility.
No More Time
The little feline was in desperate need of help. Cold and hungry for some of Mother’s milk. One of the rescuers continued to cuddle up to the little kitten, making sure to give it all the warmth it needed. It was then, as he snuggled the tiny kitten that he realized something unusual: this was no normal alley cat…
Not Your Average Cat
It was soon determined that the tiny, newborn kitten was a baby fishing cat: a species of wild feline found all throughout Southeast Asia. It now made perfect sense that the mother had been found and was living in a rice paddy field, as these wildcats live in and around swamps, lakes, rivers, and other small waterways.
The rescuers transported little “Simba” to the WFFT veterinary clinic. He was in need of serious intensive care and his only chance for survival was to be fed and placed under strict supervision. He would remain under round-the-clock care from the vet team, but things weren’t looking good…
The kitten had survived the night. The vets had placed him in a special incubator that would help mimic the warmth of his mother. The little fighter was eating and was finally staying warm, but the team was still on pins and needles. He was now two days old and hanging on for dear life, meowing all the way.
A Fate Uncertain
Unfortunately, Simba was so young and so small, that the vet team couldn’t make any assertions as to his surviving for even a third day. The family who found him had done all they could to try and save the little guy, but it might have already been too late. He might have been exposed to the elements for too long beforehand….
Poor Little Guy
Tragically, despite all the efforts of WFFT and the family, little Simba died a little more than a day later. He passed away at 3:00 am on his fourth day of life. The vets had done everything they could, but poor little Simba had been away from his mother for too long.
They posted Simba’s story and rescue to the WFFT Facebook page and website. The poor kitten’s tale grabbed the attention of thousands of followers. Many were heartbroken to hear about little Simba’s passing but applauded the team for caring so well for him in his last hours. Simba’s death is not in vain, however…
Despite the fact that the population of Southeast Asian fishing cats has been declining slowly over the past few years, organizations like WFFT are doing everything they can to preserve this vulnerable species. The main threat to these poor animals is directly the result of human population growth which can lead to habitat decimation.
Poachers also make up a significant factor in the vulnerability of the amazing semi-aquatic felines. In Thailand alone, there is an 84 percent mortality rate for fishing cats due to poachers, habitat destruction, and overfishing of the felines’ food sources. Simba’s rescue and the posting about him have brought the fishing cat back into the spotlight for a bit…
WFFT wrote that “The fishing cat faces a high risk of extinction throughout its range and is thought to be amongst the most vulnerable of the small and medium-sized cats in Southeast Asia…” In the age of information, it’s internet-savvy organizations like WFFT that can help make the most difference by spreading the word just as much as they spread the love.
All They Could
And while it’s sad that little Simba didn’t get the happy ending he deserved, his death will not be in vain. His mother’s rescue by the Thai family and his subsequent rescue by the WFFT prove that people still care a great deal about the environment and are willing to help their fellow living things when they see them in need.