British ‘mother of cats’ tends to strays at her shelter in Marmaris

British ‘mother of cats’ tends to strays at her shelter in Marmaris

MUĞLA - Doğan News Agency
British ‘mother of cats’ tends to strays at her shelter in Marmaris

Briton Jeannie Thirkill has been taking care of hundreds of stray animals, especially cats, for 22 years in the shelter that she maintains with support of the municipality. DHA photo

Jeannie Thirkill, a Briton known as the “mother of cats” in Muğla’s Marmaris district, has been caring for stray animals for 22 years and has successfully found new families for many animals over the last seven years.

Thirkill brings disabled and blind cats and dogs to the shelter she established in the Aegean province, treats them and works to find homes for them. She currently houses 250 cats, 17 dogs, two donkeys, three rabbits, three turtles, 15 chickens and three roosters and has sent 35 cats and 10 dogs to homes in Europe.

“At first, I sent a three-legged cat to Germany seven years ago and it continued. I have sent 45 animals abroad since then. This year, two blind cats and two three-legged cats along with a three-legged dog were sent to Germany,” she said, adding that a blind and a three-legged cat, a deaf and a blind dog went to the Netherlands while two blind cats went to Belgium.

In touch with animal organizations
Thirkill said she was in touch with international animal organizations that helped provide medication and food for animals in the shelter. She also shared information with them on the situation of disabled animals, she said.

“I have told them these animals need a warm family environment and want to reach families who will be able to take this responsibility,” she said.

In her recent work, Thirkill said she prepared documents for two cats and would send them to England on Jan. 12, benefitting from a new law for animals in the country. “Thanks to the fact the quarantine issue has been made easier in England, I have the chance to send animals there easily from now on,” she said, adding that she had also found a family for two cats who were blind in one eye in Belgium and agreed with a Finnish family to house a three-legged dog. “In this way, five more animals will have a warm family atmosphere.”

Thirkill said there were still disabled cats and dogs in the shelter. “I have three blind cats, two single-eyed cats and three three-legged cats. I am also looking for a family for a three-legged dog and a deaf and blind dog,” she said, adding that she would be very happy if a home could be found for them next year.

“I can care for the healthy ones here,” she said, thanking Armutalan Municipality for continually supporting her. “I spend 100 to 150 euros to send an animal,” Thirkill said. “We organize goodwill sales to cover expenses.”

Turkish people don’t think of future
Thirkill said people in Turkey bought domestic animals for their children without considering the future. “When housing an animal, European families consider their daily life, what arrangements to make when they go to holiday and how much money they will spend. Turks are not the same. They buy an animal because their children want it,” she said, adding that they did not think about whether they would be able to care for the animal for 15 to 20 years.

“When a domestic animal is left on the streets, it runs a very big risk of becoming disabled or dying. First of all, this mistake should not be made,” she said. She said those who took in disabled animals already had a few animals in their home and agreed to adopt because they felt pity for the creatures.