Hà Nội's 'catwoman' houses abandoned felines

May 28, 2023 - 10:33
Nguyễn Thúy Hải, nickednamed 'Catwoman', has found happiness in her life alongside the cats she cares for as if they were her own children.
CAT LADY: Nguyễn Thúy Hải has been rescuing hundreds of abandoned felines in Hà Nội over the past 24 years. VNS Photo Minh Phương

By Minh Phương

HÀ NỘI – Having rescued hundreds of felines in the capital city over the past two decades, it should come as no surprise that Nguyễn Thúy Hải is nickednamed 'Catwoman'.

Despite living in a small apartment, Hải currently shares her space with 29 cats. Her love for these creatures is clear for all to see; she has sacrificed the only bedroom in her flat for their comfort.

“I've always considered cats good friends, but I started keeping this big family about 24 years ago after seeing a number of abandoned, injured or ill-treated cats," she said.

“The amount of cats I have saved is huge, so it's hard to remember the exact number. But I think a few hundred.”

Hải has a special way of naming the cats, choosing names that reflect their unique characteristics. Each animal leaves their own mark in her memory.

“Every cat coming to my house in an extremely pitiful situation. I remember a cat named Khoang,” Hải said.

FELINE FINE: Khoang is saved from paralysis, she now can walk and run. VNS Photo Minh Phương

“One afternoon, two children brought a cat in a cloth bag to my house. They heard people say that only I could save the cat. I couldn't refuse the two kids. I saved the cat from paralysis, and now Khoang can walk. She can't walk like a normal cat, but I’m delighted that she can move around. She has lived here with me for seven years.”

Hải's efforts in rescuing cats have touched the lives of hundreds of felines, each with their own heartbreaking stories.

Whether they are lost or abandoned, Hải makes it her mission to reunite them with their owners or find them new homes. Those injured will receive proper medical care, and if no one comes back to bring them home, she provides a home for them.

“If a cat is beautiful, clean and healthy, no one will let it down. People only abandon it when it's sick and almost impossible to live with. They don't want to waste their time and money, so they just abandon them," she said.

Hải's dedication to cats goes beyond providing them with a home; she devotes all her time to their wellbeing. She has not been able to arrange a holiday for herself or leave the house often, as the cats need her constant care.

DEDI-CAT-ED: Hải's dedication to the cats goes beyond providing them with a home; she devotes all her time to their wellbeing. VNS Photo Nhật Hồng

Her days begin early, as she prepares meals and medicines for all the cats. Every day, the felines are nourished with porridge supplemented with vitamins to ensure their health.

“I always wake up at 7am to prepare meals and medicine for all the cats. First I have to clean where they live, then I mix the porridge and feed the cats that can't feed themselves," Hải said.

“To take care of all 29, the work goes on until about 2pm. Then I can rest for a while until their afternoon treat. In the evening, I feed them around 10. Three meals a day is enough to keep them healthy.”

Hải has found happiness in her life alongside the cats she cares for as if they were her own children. She hopes that pet owners will become more responsible, and understanding of the commitment and care required in raising them.

“I will continue rescuing and caring for these cats while I still have the health and strength. But I hope that there is a kind-hearted person out there willing to adopt them and give them a happy life," she said.

“I just want to say that if you raise cats, you must give them a safe life, and be loving and responsible." – VNS