PETALING JAYA: The love for cats and the sedate retirement lifestyle of being on an island has led a 61-year-old American woman to what is now known as Cat Beach, off the Teluk Bahang coast in Penang.
Teviot Fairservis from Connecticut, a state in the north-eastern United States, runs Cat Beach, a sanctuary for our feline friends, that has been in operation for about two years, The Star reported.
A former English teacher, who worked in China, Thailand and Laos for about 10 years prior to her arrival in Malaysia, Fairservis said she used to stay in Langkawi, but moved to Penang in 2014 with her eight cats.
That number has grown however, with her “cat-a-log”, as Fairservis fittingly calls it, showing that there are now 126 cats in the sanctuary.
“I need at least RM125 daily to feed them and about RM20,000 annually for vet care and emergencies. Being a non-profit shelter, I depend on donations but there have been times that I have to use my own money,” she told the local daily.
Fairservis expressed hope that she will be able to find homes for her feline friends. However, she recognises the major task it will be as the numbers grew, with more and more cats just walking in knowing there was food and shelter, and lots of new pals for them too.
“I’ve set up a crowd funding page (gofundme.com/catloversintl) to help raise money for the cats. I also depend on volunteers to help me around the place.
“Using volunteer networking sites like HelpX and Workaway, I’ve hosted volunteers from countries all over the world like Pakistan and Turkey,” The Star quoted her as saying.
Her love for cats started at a very young age as she witnessed the miracle of life.
“I’ve always been an animal lover. When I was about 10, my cat gave birth to a kitten on my bed, and that was a profound moment for me.
“For me, animals are teachers as they’ve taught me about kindness and happiness,” she said, according to The Star.
To help her continue to maintain this cat sanctuary and support her efforts to house some of them, Fairservis is organising a fund-raising concert called A Very Meowy Christmas on Dec 13.
She has already got the support of the Prince of Wales Island International School and the Penang Lights Contemporary Choir, who will be volunteering musicians and singers for the show.
A Very Meowy Christmas will be held at PenangPac in Straits Quay, Tanjong Tokong.
Meanwhile, Fairservis welcomes visitors to Cat Beach, from 11am to 6pm daily.