Taiwanese people love animals, and they’ll do their best to care for stray cats and dogs. Most of the stray animals are well-fed and relatively healthy. Having said that, stray animals encounter all kinds of dangers; speeding vehicles, lack of proper nutrition, diseases, flees, and other issues.
Adopting animals is encouraged, and there are plenty of pounds where you can find your new best friend. Though most people prefer specific “Cute” breeds from pet stores, stray animals need you help too.
Having said that, what happens when you spot a stray animal on the street? What steps can you take? Out of sheer luck, I had my chance to answer this question for myself, as me and my girlfriend spotted an abandoned kitty under a car.
After several attempts (and some random strangers help) to lure her out of the car, and hoping the owner of the car doesn’t start driving with her inside, we managed to capture her with a net.
Grabbed some food, fed her, and put her in a pet carrier cage with some towels while deciding our next move.
Thankfully, I already had a carrier cage because of our other furry friend that lives with us. Stray animals can potentially carry all kinds of diseases; rabies, flees, worms, and all kinds of mites. Luckily for us, this kitty, though malnourished and stinky, was relatively healthy.
Here’s a picture of her when we first rescued her:
She was quite scared, initially, but it didn’t take long for her to warm up to us. We got a litter box and she used it in a matter of minutes, purring happily.
When you rescue a stray cat, naturally it needs a check up as soon as possible. Chances are you don’t want a cat full of flees and other stuff living in your house with you.
We took the kitty to the same veterinarian we took our rabbit, and he did a quick check, as well as rubbing some anti-flee and worm medicine into her skin. She was 1.33 kilos. Most vets can run through the list of check-ups stray kitties require.
Here’s the link to the vet we went to, his English is good too.
The great thing about vets in Taiwan is they often have contracts with adoption or rescue agencies, so when they treat a stray cat or dog the fees are much lower than usual. We paid 500 NT, I think, for the check up and medicine. Neutering and spaying is cheaper too (cheaper than a rabbit!). There are also plenty of vets, so there’s no problem finding someone to care for your kitty.
But our vet visits aren’t over, of course. She still needs shots and other treatment. She’s only five months old (what the vet said) and still quite skinny from being on the streets. With time, I’m sure she’ll develop into a beautiful and healthy cat. Now we just need to comfort our rabbit, who voices his disapproval by angrily stomping under the couch.
Update: We’re done all the mandatory vaccines. There are different sets, but it’s usually between 2000 – 3000 for the important ones.
All cats need their vaccinations, especially against rabies.
A few days and one bath later:
And she has a name! Coco the Kitten.
It’s been about a week since she’s been with us, and the scratches on my hands and arms are proof that she’s back to being a naughty kitty.
She and our bun take turns running free, as they haven’t fully bonded yet. But instead of stomping in his cage, our rabbit has now learned to ignore the kitty, even when she creeps up on him. He doesn’t seem scared at all anymore.
They hang out together happily now, but Coco takes pleasure in randomly scaring Bun. Hopefully he doesn’t have a heart attack.
And of course you can’t say that you’re a cat-owner unless you constantly upload pictures on Instagram!
Adopting Cats in Taiwan as a Foreigner:
I reader asked me a question about adopting cats in Taiwan as a foreigner, so I thought I would update this post with more information.
As it turns out, officially adopting through an agency like a shelter is quite difficult as a foreigner. I’m not sure the exact requirements, but you do need to have a local ID, I don’t think an ARC will make the cut.
They’re quite strict because they want the animals to have permanent homes, and there are fines too. For example, you need to get them vaccinated for rabies every year, and if you don’t, you’ll be fined. Obviously it’s hard to fine foreigners that will likely leave the country, so a local ID is needed.
But all hope is not lost. You can still adopt a cat through friends. Here is one local Facebook group where you can adopt cats. Just make sure to get them vaccinated, at least the mandatory ones. Keep in mind, it would help if you have a local Taiwanese friend to help with the details and communication. Overall though, if you find a kitten on the street, there’s no rule saying that can’t bring it home.
And, if you plan to leave Taiwan, flying with a pet can be a bit of a hassle, and an expensive one at that. Make sure you know what you’re getting into. Be responsible!
One year later:
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That’s it for today. Say Hello to Coco the Kitten!
Our new staff member.
Leave a comment if you have any questions about rescuing or adopting animals in Taiwan.