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The Cat Lady of Sri Lanka

UPDATE: The Cat Lady of Sri Lanka - 29th January 2008

The situation has deteriorated for the Cat Lady. Hostilities with the neighbours has escalated. We have heard today that they have now brought more rubble and sand and closed a small entrance where the Cat Lady was squeezing her way in and out from. She is now completely enclosed in.

We have arranged for people to take her food and supplies, but these visitors are now being threatened and chased away by the neighbours who have become very jealous that this poor lady is being helped by outsiders.

Because of the situation, a leading Human Rights Lawyer was called in and she visited the Cat Lady but was also threatened by the neighbours. She will be taking up her cause and has warned the neighbours that if any harm should befall the Cat Lady, she will take action against them. She will be speaking to other lawyers about the case. It seems the police do not want to assist and the Cat Lady is afraid of being evicted if they become involved.

We have explored renting a place for the Cat Lady, but due to the stigma attached to her skin condition Vitiligo, few people would be willing to rent to her. The Lawyer is looking into the possibility of renting some land and a small dwelling nearby and if this is possible, we will fund this arrangement.

Meanwhile there are three Land Monitors in the enclosed area endangering the lives of her animals. Two flea and tick ridden pups were taken by the lawyer-both were unwell with possible tick fever, and were taken to the vets. We have no further news to date about them. People dump animals near the Cat Lady and these 2 pups were recently found by her.

Before recent events, we have started to neuter/spay some of the cats with the funds raised, but the Cat Lady is worried about leaving her animals because of the Land Monitors, so we have sent further funds for a large cage for the cats to protect them from the predators. Funds have also been sent for a full health check for the Cat Lady as well as clothes, food and other supplies.

A pair of Wellington boots are also on their way to Sri Lanka for the Cat Lady as she has requested these because her feet are swollen and sore from walking in the polluted water.

The situation is now desperate and we still do not have enough funds for a refuge and clinic.

The Cat Lady has stated that she will only be happy living with us as she feels she will always be victimised in a society that has shunned her.

Be assured we are doing our utmost to help her in the meantime although the situation is extremely difficult. We are pleased that a top Human Rights Lawyer is now involved in the case. However, we urgently require funds to enable us to continue helping this desperate lady.

Please continue to support the Cat Lady of Sri Lanka, having given so much herself, surely we can help give her a future living in safety with her children and animals.

Take care, Paul.



by Kim Cooling-Animal SOS Sri Lanka
December 31st 2007 com/watch? v=qvIQ9EFDM_ k
She once lived in a grand apartment with servants and a driver, but her husband, who is a respected vet in Sri Lanka, had a roving eye and abandoned her and their two children for someone else.

He gave them no money, and unable to make ends meet, the children were taken to an orphanage. With mounting debts the home was repossessed and the woman was evicted and had some of her possessions thrown over a wall at the back of her former home.

Beyond that wall there is a polluted stream, like a running sewer, and this is where the woman made her new home�. a squalid slum surrounded by rancid garbage.

In her time of need her family, her friends and her neighbours had cruelly abandoned her. She had lost everything- her home, her husband, her children and her dignity.

But this tragic 41 year old woman shunned by humanity, has the love and companionship of her animal friends-40 cats and a loyal dog. They live with her on the bank of the polluted stream and every day the woman dutifully begs for scraps from hotels for her beloved pets. Unlike humans, animals do not judge you, or abandon you when your luck is down. Their love is unconditional - a virtue we humans lack.
Sri Lanka has an abysmal record in animal welfare and the sheer scale of animal suffering and animal cruelty, particularly with the stray cats and dogs is evident wherever you go. Pets also suffer miserable lives. Many are chained or caged and few are treated as loved companions. When we heard about the Cat Lady, we were eager to meet her and help her. In a place where few will ever care for the life of a mere animal, we were truly inspired by her warm heart and compassion.
When we arrived at the cat lady�s home across the putrid, mosquito ridden stream, she came to meet us. She looked older than her 41 years and was wearing dirty clothes. She was not concerned about her own health and squalid living conditions. Strangely, she seemed resigned to her fate. But, she was concerned about her pets and keeping them as healthy as she could, with no funds.
Surprisingly, most of the cats appeared in good health, a credit to the care she was providing under such harsh conditions. We gave her supplies of cat food, wormers, treated some of the cats for ear infections, and applied tick and flea treatments. We also gave the 40 cats and her dog a feast of a lifetime, tinned fish-a whole bucket full! As we placed the fish on the ground, the woman rushed across the stream to collect some plates. She insisted that her cats only ate from plates �only the best for her pets! It was an amazing sight with her cats swimming across the bank to get to the food. We also gave the cats some milk.
This exceptional lady, who suffers from respiratory problems due to her harsh life and living conditions, touched our hearts and we emptied our purses to give her enough funds to care for herself and her beloved animals for some weeks to come.

As we spoke to her, neighbours came out to watch with disdain. They have threatened to kill her cats and every day they cruelly harass her.

These were once her former friends, but  now they were threatening her beloved animals, her only companions, her only friends. To add to the horror a large land monitor-a reptile, like a large lizard, and fierce carnivore that can grow up to 3 metres in length, frequents the area and has eaten kittens and puppies living with the cat lady. On one occasion the lady chased the predator who had a puppy in it�s mouth in a desperate attempt to save the animal. She was slashed across her face by the reptiles tail as she fought to save the terrified puppy from being eaten. The puppy survived but the cat lady sustained injuries to her face which were left untreated.
Our organisation-Animal SOS Sri Lanka, will continue to support the Cat Lady of Sri Lanka, and when we achieve our goal of securing enough funds to obtain a base for our animal welfare work in Sri Lanka, we will ask her to come to live with us, along with her children and pets. She will assist us in our endeavours to provide hope for the animals in Sri Lanka and be part of leaving them a legacy for the future.
When you are involved with animal welfare, many people ask-�What about the people?� and�.�why do you expect poor people to care for animals when they have so little themselves?�

The Cat lady of Sri Lanka provides these answers. Compassion can not be bought... it is embedded in your heart. When human companionships are lost, animals are still there for us. They always will be and that is why they are so special. It is a unique bond that few in this world will ever understand. For their loyalty and devotion to us humans, we owe them a duty of care. They deserve nothing less.

Kim Cooling
President - Animal SOS Sri Lanka

An update on the cat lady- neighbours have now blocked the area across to where the cat lady lives with tons of rubble. It was the area where we were feeding her cats. They have done this to block her in and to spare them the sight of seeing this desperate lady and her animals. Time is running out for this tragic lady and we have yet to raise enough funds to buy the land and house we saw during our trip.

If you are able to help the Cat Lady and give her hope for 2008 please DONATE

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