I have a terribly biased attitude about the Chinese and animal welfare. I am almost ashamed of it but then I tell myself that until now all the evidence that I have seen supports my attitude. I have said it before many times: there are no animal welfare laws in China and there’s a lot of animal abuse. It is shameful.
Yet, I can’t tar all Chinese with the same brush because here we have genuine common sense and sensitivity towards semi-feral cats albeit after some social media pressure was firmly placed upon those who were deciding to get rid of a small colony of cats.
There is a group of cats living in the grounds of a museum in a former Confucian temple in the middle of China. I am sure this is not uncommon. People who blog about the museum on the Chinese version of Facebook, Weibo, prefer to write about the cats rather than the stone monuments at the museum. I am not surprised. They are far more interesting.
Visitors to the museum are plentiful. They like to see the cats. Sometimes they liked to interact with the cats and that includes kids. One child was scratched by a cat. The child’s mother complained to the officials. A stupid thing to do. She should have been more thoughtful and decided that it was her fault. She should have supervised her child better and made sure he either did not try to touch a cat or if he did so to do it in a very cautious and respectful manner.
Because of the complaint the museum officials had decided to trap and “rehome” the cats. I wonder if we can translate “rehome” to mean “kill”. I am not sure.
Bloggers on Weibo pleaded in their thousands to save the cats. They wanted them to be left in peace. Hallelujah. They have seen the light of animal welfare and of respecting feral cats. This makes me very happy and it bodes well for the idea that some day the country will have animal welfare laws.
“Don’t force them out of their homes, they have no fixed abode, that’s awful and they are not to blame,”
“Leave them! They’re part of the beautiful landscape!” (I love this one. Wow!).
The protestors also made the point that cats don’t attack people unless provoked either deliberately or inadvertently. It would appear that the child has mishandled one of the cats.
The online protestation on social media worked and the 18,000 who had shared and liked the posts on this matter celebrated. The museum media officer at the museum was moved, he said, by the number of comments in support of the cats.
Now the management at the museum have asked visitors to not approach the cats. In addition they are to vaccinated, dewormed and neutered/spayed. How about that. It does not get better anywhere in the world in respect of our relationship with feral cats.