What does a happy Malaysian cat look like? You might find an answer at the Dreamcatcher Traveler’s Refuge Hostel in the heart of George Town, Penang, the “food capital” of Malaysia.
Why are we writing about Malaysia today? Simply because we just started our month-long backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. We just recently left Kathmandu (30 April) after 9 life-changing months and had to send our Yoda home where his favorite Auntie is taking care of him while we travel (read about traveling with a cat on a plane here).
Little did we know that on this first week of travel we would already meet two cats with a very special story. We decided it was too good not to seize this opportunity to share our discoveries. Maybe it’s just the beginning, but we hope to bring you more of those incredible stories of these “cats of the world.” Sit down, relax and enjoy 🙂
We stayed at the Dreamcatcher hostel for a few nights and had the chance to meet these 2 amazing little beasts during our stay. Their names are Neko (“cat” in Japanese) and Kecik (“small” in Malaysian) [pictured left to right].
Their story begins 4 years ago when Naz, the c0-owner of Dreamcatchers adopted lucky Neko from an animal shelter in Langkawi, a small island on the north east coast of Malaysia where she used to live and work.
Neko was found in a shelter where Naz volunteered. It was love at first sight! Neko was so active and lively that it wasn’t long until Naz decided to give him a new home. At barely 10 weeks old, this little beast was already irresistible!
Little did Naz know that this kitty would become a “high maintenance” cat, as she likes to call him 🙂 Indeed, in 2013, he fell twice from their 3rd floor apartment trying to catch birds, unaware he did not have wings himself. Despite these terrifying encounters with near-death, Neko miraculously survived; however, he continues to require special care. There is one thing Neko kept from one of his falls: his unique diamond-shaped pupil.
When Naz adopted Neko, she was already the owner of another cat named Belon. Those two quickly became inseparable, but when Belon passed away, little Neko became severely depressed. Shortly after, Neko started to scratch and lose all of his fur next to his tail and began rapidly losing a lot of weight. He also developed urinary problems: he was peeing everywhere except in his litter box. He was even peeing on Naz’s bed and on her at night! He was really sick and Naz was expecting the worse…
However, one day, a small white stray cat came into the hostel and saved Neko from his depression. He was hungry, exhausted, and flea ridden. The two bonded right away; kissing and greeting each other at first sight. Naz gave him a well-needed bath and tried convincing her partner, Renee, that having another cat wouldn’t cause any problems. Ultimately, when Naz and Renee saw how happy those two were together, they decided it was time for Neko to have a new friend. And that’s how Kecik was adopted!
Neko and Kecik now rule the house and are the center of attention of anyone who spends a night in the hostel. While Kecik enjoys hunting and jumping everywhere, Neko loves his quiet moments where he can freely roam around and roll on the floor of this 100 year-old building.
Did you know that Malaysian cats have really diverse types of tails: short, no tail, or even curly? Yep, it’s true! We even saw a few on our travels. What is not true, however, is the myth that Malaysian’s cut off cat’s tails and eat ’em for dinner! That is a silly rumor in order to explain the reason for these cats having such bizarre shapes and styles of tails! But, nope, in fact, it’s au naturel! 🙂
We highly recommend any traveler and cat-lover to go visit Neko, Kecik, Naz, and Renee at the Dreamcatchers Traveler’s Refuge! Please don’t hesitate to ask us more details about our experience there or about our time in Malaysia! Thanks for reading!
Support Neko and Kecik, go “like” Dreamcatcher’s facebook page!