You excitedly book an exotic vacation months in advance. The days and weeks are spent fantasizing and planning for the memorable adventures to come. Finally, the calming peace of a completely responsibility free vacation settles over you. You check into your hotel, knowing that your immediate future holds endless possibilities. But what lies beneath the surface of your luxurious holiday? What lies outside the gated walls of the resort you are secluded in? For one German vacationing couple in Curacao earlier this year, their travels were interrupted by a very shocking discovery. It was when a young homeless cat showed up one night at their hotel that the vacation turned into something that would change their lives forever.
The stray homeless cat simply walked up to the vacationing couple, essentially choosing them.
That is the way of the cat, isn’t it? And thankfully, for Jutta and Cornelia (Coco), both women fully understood cat! But when you see an animal and you are on vacation in a foreign country, what do you do? The ladies knew they had to do something. The sweet black cat was clearly not feral or afraid of humans.
They began calling the affectionate boy “Marley”.
Jutta and Coco were staying at the Avila Beach Hotel on the southern side of the island of Curacao. With gorgeous weather and breathtaking beaches, millions of people visit the Caribbean paradise each year. I’m sure the hotel is happy to show these visitors the beautiful side of the island. But there is also another side to the life on Curacao.
Homelessness for humans–and animals alike–is as prevalent on the island as it is elsewhere. And for the felines on Curacao, it is a harsh reality. They are hunted nightly by packs of wild dogs and by day, avoid the cruelty of humans. There are those who don’t see animals as living creatures that deserve love, safety and care. They are tossed out on the streets, abused and neglected. Attempts are being made to educate the inhabitants and visitors, but it’s a seemingly uphill battle.
At the hotel, Jutta learned that the hotel staff KNEW of the black cat!
Apparently, it had shown up at the hotel a few days prior. But they weren’t welcoming this guest; they had planned to trap him and “get rid” of him. There was NO way the ladies were going to allow THAT to happen!
They began searching for help on the island. And out of the 160 thousand residents on the island, they were very fortunate to find the purrfect woman to help.
For the hundreds of homeless cats of curacao, there is one woman doing more than her share to save them.
You may have seen our recent story and “Paw It Furward-$5 Friday” fundraising push about the Cats of Curacao. The one woman giving everything she has–and often more–is Mariette Hanssen. This is who Jutta and Cornelia connected with about Marley.
As many of you know, I often get called by tourists, who find cats that are emaciated, kittens that are abandonned and everything in between. I thank God, that people visiting the island, KNOW how to get in touch with me!
We currently have a severe overpopulation on the island. I drive around 24/7 to TNR, educate, help people with cat-related issues, and talk about animal welfare. We discuss the best way to keep the felines happy, talk about defleaing and deworming, common illness in cats and how to best care for them.
So after discussing the possibilities for little Marley, Mariette agreed to go to the hotel to see about catching him. But before she could even get into her car, she received another call. Jutta and Coco had Marley safe in their hotel room.
Thankfully, Marley had no injuries and was just starved for food and affection. A sleek black panther, the young boy was estimated to be about 1.5 years old. However, the ladies knew that he couldn’t stay at the hotel so he left with Mariette that night. For the time being, he would stay at her cat sanctuary and the other 200 Cats of Curacao…literally!
However, Marley never left the minds of the vacationing couple after arriving home.
They knew in their hearts, Marley’s chances of finding a safe, forever home on the island were slim. But what more could they do? Well, fortunately for Marley, their hearts were as big as their amazing ideas!
There was a perfect home that they knew of for him–but it was back in Germany!
Mariette is fully aware of the plight of the homeless animals on Curacao. So when one has a chance to make it out of the poverty stricken life, she is in full support!
Working together, the ladies arranged for Marley to make the journey to his new home. But it wouldn’t be easy or quick. The regulations required Marley to adhere to a 21-day waiting period. During this time, would be fixed, microchipped and receive his vaccinations. Once he was cleared for travel, he’d be off on a new adventure!
Jutta and Cornelia called Mariette almost every day to see how he was and how they could help. They even arranged for Marley to make a “pitstop”. It was going to be a 9.5 hour trip from Curacao to Holland and here, he could recuperate from the flight. He would then be travelling onto his final destination; Germany.
Mariette knows if not for the caring vacationing couple, Marley would not be alive today.
They are total sweethearts and Marley is one of the lucky ones. He would have been put down for sure I thank Jutta and Kornelia for getting in touch with me and for saving him! I have another cat from this hotel currently in my care. She was caught 3 weeks later.
Soon, she will be working on a program in conjunction with some local hotels. As a result, hopefully she can help implement a hotel / working cat program for the island. Because I know I’d be more likely to visit!
Purrhaps more cats can find a one-way ticket to their furever vacation…
So now Marley’s journey is over and he can settle into life. Just recently, Mariette received an email from Jutta with an exciting announcement.
Our Marley is taking part in a summer competition of our local daily newspaper and I am sure he can get one of the prizes!!! It’s on amazing “vacation stories”!
He is doing very well with his new parents Christa & Achim – (in the photo above) – and enjoys summer life in his huge garden.Best wishes to you! Yours, Jutta