When police carried out a drug raid on a suspected dealer in eastern Thailand on March 15, officers expected to find a house full of narcotics and possibly guns. But instead there were several furry friends: six pedigree cats worth thousands of dollars.
Five were Scottish Folds, the sixth a Bengal. After the police put the animals into cages and placed them in a shelter, the valuable breeds were then put up for auction.
A particularly enthusiastic cat lover had been following the case closely since the news broke. Nutch Prasopsin, the founder of “Kingdom Of Tigers,” a Facebook group with over 3 million followers, first heard about the felines on social media. She decided to try and give them a home.
Nutch Prasopsin with a Bengal cat purchased at police auction. Photo: Courtesy of Nutch Prasopsin
“I think everyone has a heart of kindness they can find inside with a pet,” Nutch told VICE World News. “A pet can heal even [the drug dealers] dark side, especially a cat, everyone can calm down with a cat.”
She explained that they were found with premium food nearby and that the suspected network must have had no problems affording the high-end pet chow.
“Drug dealer money,” she said with a laugh.
One of Nutch Prasopsin's cats. Photo: Courtesy of Nutch Prasopsin
Bengal cats have tiger-like streaks while Scottish folds are notable for their folded ears, though controversy has surrounded their breeding in the past.
The case has generated buzz in Thailand, where some objected to them being sold at auction, Reuters reported. But a member of the regional narcotics board said it was important they be auctioned off together since they were familiar with each other.
Nutch needed help raising the funds to adopt the cats in the police-led auction. With assistance from her loyal followers, she raised the 100,000 Thai baht ($3,186) needed to bid on the animals last week.
It’s not the first time Nutch has tried to rescue cats that were confiscated by authorities. Three months earlier, she attempted to adopt some cats that belonged to an arms dealer after police seized the animals. But she said they quickly found homes elsewhere.
Nutch said despite the fact that all the six new cats were fed well by their previous owner, she was worried about their mental health after being suddenly moved to a shelter, then to an unfamiliar new home. She said they are now being taken care of along with her 20 other cats.
“Because they are in a new place. We have to take care of their mental health first,” she said.