The Surin Elephant Diaries – Crazy Cat Ladies


It is true that you cannot escape destiny. Despite the fact that we are living in an elephant village with roaming packs of dogs, Kiera and I have managed to become the caretakers of two itty bitty kittens. I mean, teeny tiny; the smallest I’ve ever handled. And I’ve handled a lot of felines in my day. One friend recently traveled with me for three weeks and described his overall trip as “cat intensive.” To that I replied, “You’re welcome. Cats are awesome.”

I said it—cats are awesome. I am proof that you can be both a cat and a dog person; let your mind reconcile that thought for a moment. When Kiera asked if it was OK to have three kittens (who were dumped at the Surin Project) stay on our deck my answer was a simple, “Duh.”  Yes, I still say “duh;” it’s so versatile.

The task of caring for such tiny creatures is quite arduous as their immune systems are not developed enough to survive much hardship. Thankfully our veterinarian friend Jenny (not from the block, although I suppose she does live on a block somewhere) passed on a plethora of knowledge to Kiera during her second stint at Lanta Animal Welfare. And so, Kiera knew exactly how to approach the situation: “I need milk replacer, eye drops, ear drops, syringes, cotton balls, and Skittles. Lots of Skittles.” The girl knows her strengths.


The kittens had arrived dehydrated, underfed, and potentially sick. For the past four days, feedings have taken place every 3-4 hours (even through the night). We sadly lost one on the second morning of our efforts, but are happy to report that the other two seem to be on the up-and-up. Yesterday we named them Singha and Leo, both Thai beers. Kiera says that now that they have names they’re not allowed to die. That works for me. Our fingers are crossed that they will continue to grow stronger each day and begin to look less like wet baby bats. Look at these little creatures— who wouldn’t laugh at the sight of this feline-ish thing? Someone who hates the miracle of life, that’s who. Go Singha and Leo… GO! And stay away from the elephants; they’re probably scared of you and your huge amount of mass.



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    • Mom on April 24, 2013 at 9:43 am
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    This reminds me of Chester’s story – and they’re even orange. Who gets them when you leave?

  1. I think they’re even smaller than Chester and his siblings, if you can believe that! They’ll be passed on to fellow volunteers. We’re going to miss them!

  2. Ali, thank you so much for an awesome job you did! It’s amazing. I featured the story on our blog here:
    Do you know anything about the kittens? How are they going now, have Singha and Leo survived?
    Thank you and Kiera again for your awesome hearts!
    xx Natalie

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