Elton, Malaysian local kitten, meets the kindest tourists

This is a must-read, folks!

It was on 17th April 2023 that Ms Thea Haynes, a tourist from Europe, first wrote to me seeking help for a little stray kitten whom she had found in Kota Bharu while travelling there.

Thea was hoping that would be some way that an animal organisation in Kota Bharu could take in the kitten and look after him.

17th April 2023


Yesterday I found a thin, sick kitten alone in Kota Bharu. I took him back to my hotel, he has eaten and drank, last night and this morning. I would love to keep him but unfortunately I am travelling in Asia with my backpack for a long time and he can’t travel with me. I am desperate to find him help, somewhere where someone will look after him and find him a home. But I can’t find anywhere in Kota Bharu. The phone numbers for the SPCA don’t work and I can’t find any other animal shelter. 
I found myanimalcare online and saw all the amazing work you do for stray animals.
Do you know of anyone who can help? Or anyone who wants a kitten? He is an adorable, beautiful, friendly, loving kitten. He just needs a good home. 
Please, please help me, 
Thank you, 


We responded and connected Thea to a friend in Kota Bharu, Ms Amy Kok, hoping that she could help Elton find a home as we did not know anyone else in Kota Bharu. According to Ms Amy, there are no animal shelters there.

Sadly, no one could take the kitten.

But this did not stop Thea from going the extra mile to help Elton.

18th April 2023

Hello Kah Yein, 
Thank you so much for your reply.
We searched everywhere online for shelters, adoption centres, refuges but apparently they are practically inexistent in Kelantan. The SPCA supposedly has a centre here but none of the numbers work….
We took him to the vet yesterday: 
– he is 3-4 months old
– he has been flea treated and dewormed
– he is healthy apart from a little flu which I am currently treating with antibiotics, probiotics and vitamins so he will soon be perfectly healthy
He is the most affectionate and lovely cat. He deserves a loving home. 
Here is my Malaysian phone number <removed>.
However, unfortunately I don’t speak Malay so maybe it would be easier for your friend to contact me via WhatsApp/message, unless they speak English. Is it someone who would like to adopt him or someone who has a refuge? 

Thank you again so much for your help, I truly appreciate your kindness. 

Kind regards, 

Since Thea was still in Kota Bharu, we checked with Ms Amy but she said she could not find him a home. So we sent Thea the various online adoption portals so that she could try those to find a home for the stray kitten. We did explain that it has been very difficult to get animals adopted post-pandemic with our country’s rising inflation rate and poor economy.

24th April 2023

Hello Kah Yein,

No, unfortunately Amy never reached out to me after I emailed her back with my contact details. 
We desperately searched for someone to adopt him for a week, ringing vets, refuges and adoption sites.
However, the kitten, now named Elton, has stolen our hearts and after you told us of the difficulties of adoption here in Malaysia after the pandemic/inflation etc., and after having no luck whatsoever in our search, we decided that we just couldn’t bear the idea of leaving him in a refuge where he may wait years for an adoption that may never come. We saved him and it is our responsibility now to make sure that he feels safe and is never abandoned again. So we made the decision to take him back to France. My sister lives in Paris and she has fallen in love with him too, so she is going to adopt him and give him the loving home he deserves. 
It is a complicated, expensive process but thankfully our friends and family are going to help us finance it. 
Elton is now microchipped and will be vaccinated against rabies tomorrow. Hopefully in 21 days he will then be able to travel. I will fly with him to Paris, drop him off at my sisters and get him settled and then fly back to Malaysia where my partner will wait so that we can then continue our travels through Asia. 
We have just arrived in Penang – one of the only places where we could find a hotel that would accept him in our room – on the night bus. He is an angel and is very much looking forward to his new adventures. 
Thank you so much for your help and I hope that all the animals in your care also find the loving homes that all creatures, great and small, deserve. 
Kind regards, 


Tell me, is Thea not one of the kindest persons you have ever encountered?

Thank you so, so much, Thea and family! You have set a great example for all of us to follow.

I am personally so very deeply inspired and humbled by this statement:

We saved him and it is our responsibility now to make sure that he feels safe and is never abandoned again.

May you be blessed manifold for your amazing compassion, Thea and family.

More from Thea when I asked permission to share her incredible story on the blog:

Of course! We are delighted to do anything we can do to inspire others to rescue. I will send you some photos when we have checked into our hotel. 

I also just wanted to share with you another story I encountered in my search. 
I was so desperate to find someone for Elton that I ended up just asking random people in the street if they knew anyone who wanted to adopt and I ended up meeting Ong. She is a wonderful lady living in Kota Bharu who who has very little money but the little that her husband gives her each month she gives to her friend who feeds and cares for 30 cats. She took me to visit her. This lady cares for cats with kittens, sick cats, cats who have been hit by cars and generally just the homeless, hungry kitties that need someone. She has no income and relies on donations of cat food and litter. Ong herself feeds all the cats in the neighbourhood twice a day. Her husband doesn’t know that she spends her money on helping these animals and would be very angry if he did. As soon as she manages to save a little on the side, she spays a cat and she has managed to spay 5 so far. These two incredible women, who help so many defenseless creatures while having so little for themselves, restored my faith in humanity. Once we have finished travelling and are back in France I would like to try to raise some money that would enable Ong to spay more cats. 
I’ll send those pictures over today, thank you again for you help, and for everything you do for the animals here in Malaysia. People like you, Ong, the lady with 30 cats, are true heroes. 
Kindest regards,

We informed Thea that Ms Ong is most welcome to apply for our neutering aid.

27th April 2023
Here are a few photos of Elton when we found him, so that you can see the evolution from desperate sick baby, to healthy playful little thing. 
Thanks again for all your support, it meant a lot, Elton is now vaccinated against rabies and we are preparing his travel to Europe. 

Have a great life in Gay Paris, Elton!!

Thank you so, so, so much, Ms Thea Haynes and family!  You are all an epitome of kindness!

This, is compassion in action.

We wish you a safe flight with Elton back to Paris and back here again to continue your tour of our country, Thea!

Please share this story widely and spread the message of kindness, especially to neighbourhood chat groups!