The Cat Lover

September 12, 2010

One thing new Expats experience when they first move to Thailand is how much closer to Nature they find themselves.  The tropics is pulsating with life.  Even in Bangkok there are birds and house lizards and snakes and lots and lots of insects.  If you choose to live up country then you’ll be even closer to Nature.  It is easy to see how the tropics produced the Buddhist teaching that for all of us who are born, we will be subject to growing old, sickness, and death, since we see the complete life cycle here so often.  I for one hope that since I can’t do anything to change the cycle then at least I hope that they come in the right order.

Another thing that happens to us older, retired Expats, is that if you live long enough you will see your friends passing away.  A friend of ours for many years, an old Chiang Mai Hand, just passed away.  Ed Rose lived in Thailand for more than 3 decades.  He taught in Bangkok and then at Chiang Mai University for many years and was well known at the Faculty of Medicine there.  Before that, Ed taught in Vietnam during the war and claims to have been on the 4th to last helicopter to leave the embassy roof.  He also at one time had his own private zoo which contained a number of exotic animals. But I always thought that Ed’s claim to fame was the Chiang Mai Cattery.

Ed and his wife Mali at one time were raising and breeding over 100 pure bred cats, Siamese, Burmese, and Korat breeds.  Before they retired from cat breeding Ed and Mali’s Chiang Mai Cattery became world famous and was well known enough that when Thailand decided to do a series of stamps on Thai cat breeds they went to Ed and Mali for their cat models.

Goodbye my old friend.  You were unique and you lived a good life and one of your own design.  You showed us that living in Thailand can allow us the freedom and opportunity to fulfill many of our dreams.  You lived the life cycle in its correct order.  Thailand was the perfect place for you to do your thing and be happy doing it.  You chose well.  Rest in peace.

Other Stuff

My own cat experiences

As much as Ed loved cats, I myself am having trouble with them.  You see, cats are predators. They are at the top of their food chain.  This is something a neighbor of mine (an Expat) just doesn’t seem to know.  He lets his cats run wild.  And where do they run?  Right to my garden.  All the baby birds in the nests in our trees that we planted specifically to attract them have been killed. The frogs and tree frogs that we love to listen to at night have gone quite.  The beautiful blue throated lizards that used to populate our yard and gave us such pleasure are all gone, and many of our endangered baby tortoises who were born this year, and who we are trying to save from extinction, never made it out of their shells.  The cat got to them first.

Ones first thoughts are to become angry at the cat.  But Ed taught me that that would be wrong. The cat is doing what cats do.  They are beautiful animals and superb predators, and I love the fact that they can never really be owned.  I love the cat.  I do not love its owner. The Expat cat owner needs to realize what kind of a terrorizing impact his animal has on the neighborhood and what the responsibilities of a cat owner are.

I am not going to say anything in this post about his 4 dogs.

Air conditioning

We just had a visitor from back home.  She is a Thai living in America and came back home for a visit. I found it interesting how she suffered from what she felt was oppressive heat. She couldn’t go for more than a few hours and definitely couldn’t sleep without turning on the air conditioning. Right now the temperature is in the mid to high 80s – for us rather cool. I am trying to remember if I were the same when I first returned to Thailand. I think I was. The moral of the story: You will get used to the heat and be able to survive (at least for most of the year) without air conditioning. But the first few months might be a bit difficult.

Thinking of Building?

For a free download of the chapter “Building your Dream House” from my eBook Retired Life in Thailand click here.


On September 11, 2001 my wife and I were having a pleasant evening out with some old Chiang Mai friends. We were on an exploratory trip here to see if we wanted to spend more time in Thailand. While at dinner we got a call from a friend saying that we should get to a TV. That there was a plane crash in New York. We didn’t think much of this at first, not until we got a second phone call.  That is when we rushed to our friends’ house and turned on BBC. As we were taking in the enormity of what had just happened we actually saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center.

I grew up less than half a mile from “Ground Zero”.

We will never forget what we saw and where we were that day.  It was the day the world changed for all of us.

3 Responses to “The Cat Lover”

  1. Hugh, Sorry to hear about your friend. But like you said, he lived a good long life and that is certainly something special to celebrate.

    I’m a cat lover but I believe that cat owners should be held accountable for the daily slaughter (I can’t call it anything else). What the common house cat has done to wildlife around the world is a crying shame.

    Both of my cats are inside animals. Like anyone I’d love to be free of the kitty litter, but it’s not going to happen. Soi dogs in Thailand are savage and I doubt either of my cats would last long. My male Mr Bunt is too stupid (understatement). And while Duvet is a brighter spark, she was not raised around dogs.

    And if the dogs didn’t kill them, the cars or diseases around Thailand would.

    So maybe you’ll get your wish for a catless neighbourhood sooner rather than later…

  2. Snap said

    Hugh, I’m sorry to hear about your friend Ed. I have been a cat lover since I was a kid and have one now. We live on acreage, so there’s lots of wild life for Bundy to catch (murder)…but a belled collar prevents him catching everything, except the blinkin’ snakes.

    Buy some gordy jewelled belled collars (as gifts) and just slip them on when those kitties come calling again 😉

  3. Snap said


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