Cat lovers feline fine in Việt Nam

January 29, 2023 - 09:04
As living standards have risen, the Vietnamese have taken to keeping more breeds of cats from overseas, many of which cost a lot and require much care.

By Lê Hương

Cats have a long time been a close friend to humans. Besides being house pets, cats have been long raised by Vietnamese people to rid their homes of rats and mice.

Over time, as living standards have risen, the Vietnamese have taken to keeping more breeds of cats from overseas, many of which cost a lot and require much care.

Trần Lê Phương Linh, a student, who is raising two Maine Coon cats, says she is preparing to open a cattery breeding the cats.

“This is the biggest indoor cat genre in the world,” she tells Việt Nam News. “A mature one can reach 14 kg. They are like dogs and very energetic. They are close to people and understand owners well, like dogs.”

Linh was extremely excited when she first started raising the cats.

“When I just send them to the spa for a few hours, I felt the house was so empty without them,” she says.

She says she cares for the cats like they were her own children, and skips school to take them to the doctor if they are sick.

More and more imported cats are being raised in Vietnamese families. Photo courtesy of Lê Duy Anh

“Raising a cat is like raising a child,” she says. “I don’t have to pay school fees for him, but it requires a big sum of money to take care of a cat properly.”

Lê Đức Lộc, another cat lover, who is raising a sphinx cat he bought from Russia, says he takes great care of the hairless cats.

“Sphinx cats do not moult like other cats,” he says. “They have only down, which gathers more in the ears and tail. We must pay more attention to their skin, food and temperature as they do not have hair to protect their body.”

Phạm Văn Trường is the owner of a British shorthair that won the highest prize in the Best 1 Ring Kittens at the WCF International Cat Show held in Hà Nội in November 2022, and says he has received much in return from caring for the cat.

Lê Đức Lộc (second from left) joins a cat show last year in Hà Nội with his friends. Photo courtesy of Lê Đức Lộc

“They are adorable and very close to people,” he says. “Their chubby bodies make us think of the famous Doraemon robot cat in the Japanese animated series. When I return home exhausted from work, they just greet me and rub their soft hair on me, I forget all my tiredness and hold them in my hands.”

Many Vietnamese cat lovers have now gathered in communities to share their experiences.

There are various clubs including Vietnam Feline Club and Saigon Cat Club in HCM City, the Vietnam Felinology Alliance (VFA), the Vietnam Cat Association, and many more.

Lê Duy Anh, chairman of the VFA, advises people who are going to raise cats and pure bred cats in particular, to join as many offline meetings of cat lovers as possible, as they can learn experience from others.

“Such meetings are useful for them as they can save much time to understand the risks they may cope with in the future to better take care of their cats,” he says.

Lê Duy Anh poses for a photo with one of his cats. Photo courtesy of Lê Duy Anh

According to Lê Mai Hạnh, deputy director of Save Vietnam Wildlife, many people have also mistakenly kept wild cats, as they have very beautiful fur.

“People cannot raise wild cats as they are among animals need to be protected by Vietnamese law under the CITES treaty,” she says. “Our NGO is trying its best to enhance knowledge of Vietnamese people, especially the young, of protecting wild animals, not only wild cats.”

Hạnh says she hopes that through various events, she can transmit a message to protecting biodiversity.

“The wild cats are on the verge of extinction as more and more people tend to collect them to raise as pets or kill them to get the beautiful fur,” she says. VNS