Walking in the streets of Bangkok, one can’t help but notice that there are always cats around! For cat lovers, they might make us late to work because we’re too busy trying to pet them. But despite how adorable they can be, the street cat population in Bangkok has only continued to grow, and many will say it’s at an alarming rate.
In this inspiring interview, we sit down with Janice Koehler, the driving force behind Project Lumpi, a cat Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) initiative in Bangkok, Thailand. Janice shares the touching story of how her journey into cat rescue began and why TNR is crucial for the welfare of street cats. She also sheds light on the innovative darting method, the importance of ear-tipping as a visual marker, and the various components that make up Project Lumpi. Join us as we delve into the world of feline rescue with Janice Koehler.
Hi, my name is Janice Koehler and I am from Project Lumpi.
I actually started rescuing back in Singapore. This all started because of our very first cat. It’s quite a funny incident because the name of our project is Project Lumpi and since we are in Thailand, everybody is associating it with Lumpini Park. And every time I say that it actually has nothing to do with Lumpini Park.
Lumpi was actually the name of our first cat that we, unfortunately, lost at a very young age because he got sick. Then after he passed away, it was not very easy for us. That’s the time, I started seeing street cats, and that’s the time that also my passion for bettering the life of street cats either by TNR which is trap, neuter, and return, and rehoming, started. It’s all way back in Singapore.
TNR or trap, neuter, and return, is actually the most humane way to control the population of the strays. In the rescue industry, there is a very famous phrase, which is “we cannot rehome all the strays or not all strays are rehomeable.” There are a few reasons for that. Resources and some other strays or some other cats simply prefer to be outside. So, if we at least manage to control their population by TNR, then we can give them a better living condition. That’s why, for what we do here in Bangkok, there is just really huge number of strays. TNR, as we see at Project Lumpi, is the best way to help the strays out there.
The darting method is actually blowing a pipe on the cat. So, this is not the traditional trapping where we use the trap cages. Some cats are simply very smart and they will take the food from the trap, but not trigger the lever to snap it, and hence we are not able to catch them the traditional way. So when we say darting, this is basically putting them to sleep. And the way to use a pipe, you blow on them and you catch them in a way.
Ear-tipping is a universal marker for the strays. For rescuers like us to be able easily to identify the cats that are already neutered and the cats that need neutering itself. So, universally accepted is the left ear. So, we cut the ear a little bit. So, it will not distort the ear itself, but enough for rescuers to see that the cat is already tipped or not.
So, even though we can’t communicate all the time with other rescuers, it’s kind like of unspoken language to say that “hey, this cat is neutered already. And it can just live a happy life on the streets.”
It’s very important for us because there are tons of street cats, and there are tons of black cats and calicos and all the same patterns. So, if we can easily identify them, which is very possible by just ear tipping, then the way to be able to trap them and help them, to identify the neutered and unneutered is gonna be easier, rather than to be confused of which one is neutered or unneutered.
No, it’s not gonna hurt them because number one, ear tipping is done while they are still under anesthetics. It’s done at the same time during neutering. It’s going to heal very fast as well, the same with neutering. So, it’s perfectly safe and definitely, we can assure it’s not gonna hurt the cat.
Project Lumpi, actually, we have 4 pillars. We do a lot of TNR. TNR is trap, neuter, and return, where we have volunteers who are helping us during the trapping session.
We have daily responsible feeding. For this one, we have locals, who are actually taking good care of mostly TNR cats. They are the ones also monitoring us for the cats that still need neutering. So, we can make sure the population is maintained all the time.
We do have foster systems. It’s another way of volunteering for Project Lumpi. Whereas our rescued kittens are brought to their house and they train them to be socialized. They prepare them for rehoming to make sure that we find them a good home.
Medical part of it is, we work with a few vets around that is affordable for us and whenever we can, we do rescues of the injured cats as well.
Normally, for the volunteering itself, like I mentioned, we do need volunteers for trap, neuter, and return, or TNR, and for fostering. So, whenever we have rescues or we have TNR events, I always go to Facebook pages to announce what kind of volunteering opportunities we have. They can simply send us a message and then we will take it from there.
So, that’s how we gather this amazing group of volunteers. That would be the same for fostering as well. It doesn’t matter whether you have experience or not, we are always very hands-on and we are always very happy to teach whatever we can.
We normally do big TNRs, that would mean to say between 20-30 cats in one goal at least once a month. But aside from the big group, we also do small groups between 3-6 cats where we take specifically for our affordable clinics.
Project Lumpi is run 100% by volunteers and we do need all the help that we can get. We have expenses with TNR. We have expenses with daily responsible feeding and rescuing kittens. All of this are actually supported only and mainly by donations, by people that have the same heart and they wanting to help, and yes, we do need the donations.
Project Lumpi we are very active on Instagram and Facebook page also.
Yes, so for anyone who actually having heartsalike, or those people who think the same that we should try to improve the lives of the strays out there. Project Lumpi is a platform. It’s a community of volunteers of people who are really just wanting to help.
So, if you are one of those that really want to help better the lives of the strays, you can come to us. We are going to welcome you very warmly. And we can work together in rescuing the kittens, the cats. Most especially when it comes to controlling the population which is TNR itself.
Through Project Lumpi, Janice and her team of volunteers are making a significant impact on the lives of these vulnerable friends, advocating for TNR as the humane way to control stray populations. The use of visual markers like ear-tipping helps streamline their efforts, ensuring that neutered cats can live happily on the streets.
If you share her passion for bettering the lives of stray cats, consider reaching out to Project Lumpi on their active social media channels! Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these furry friends and promote a more compassionate world for all creatures.
MyFriend would like to thank Janice and Project Lumpi for welcoming us and educating us on the rescue community here in Bangkok. Most importantly, for letting us see, first hand, of what it truly means to help these furry friends who are not fortunate enough to have a loving home. We hope that these efforts will have a positive impact on the Bangkok’s stray cat population, and create a lasting paw print that will sure make their lives happier and healthier!
MyFriend wants to support initiatives that seek to better the lives of every furry friend. Are you curious about who else we might be introducing you to next? Stay tuned for next week’s Meet MyFriends!
💙 Meet MyFriends! is here to take you all to get to know new friends! Whether it’s fellow parents, business owners, or professionals in the field, pet lovers get to hear all the wholesome stories they have to offer!
🐶🐱 MyFriend, your pet’s app. Where pet parents can find all services and content to take better care of their best friends!