GEORGE TOWN: On the north-western part of the island is Cat Beach where more than 120 felines roam freely off the Teluk Bahang coast.
Run by animal lover Teviot Fairservis, an American from Connecticut, the “no kill” cat sanctuary has been in operation for almost two years.
“Cat Beach was set up in late 2014, a few years after I moved to Penang from Langkawi with my eight cats.
Fairservis, 61, who prefers to be called TV, said her eventual aim was to home all the cats but it was not easy as more cats kept coming to Cat Beach and at last count, she had 126 in her “cat-a-log”.
“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.
“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,” she said.
Fairservis said before coming to Malaysia, she taught English in China, Thailand and Laos for about a decade.
“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, adding that the cats were free roaming and only caged if they were sick.
On Dec 13, Cat Beach will organise a fund-raising concert entitled “A Very Meowy Christmas!” featuring musicians from the Prince of Wales Island International School and the Penang Lights Contemporary Choir among others at the Penangpac in Straits Quay, Tanjong Tokong.
For more information, visit their Facebook page (facebook.com/catbeachpenang) or catbeachpenang.com
The public can also visit Cat Beach (11am to 6pm daily) for coffee and cakes.