How Mr. Lucky got lucky

Written by on September 4, 2012 in Asia, Blog, Expat Life, Thailand, Travel - 57 Comments

I have a bleeding heart. If you know me, you know this.

And, on my third day in Chiang Mai, this bleeding little heart is tested.

“Hi,” a couple says, walking up quietly to the large crop of desks inside the Elephant Nature Park office. “We found a kitten and wanted to let you know … it’s down the street … it doesn’t look good. Do you want to go and get it and bring it back here?”

I try to mind my own business as I sit on the other side of the desk, but when I hear the words “kitten” and “doesn’t look good” my ears immediately perk up.

“Oh noooo,” says Patty, who runs the office. “That’s not good.”


“Diana, you go with them and see where the kitten is ka,” she says to me.


Charged with the task, I leave my laptop and follow the couple down the street, crossing over the moat which surrounds the old city of Chiang Mai and through Thaepae Gate.

“We saw it and tried to give it milk, but it just sat huddled in a corner, not moving much,” the girl says.

When we come to the kitten, my heart breaks.

Under a metal bench of some sort, I see him. Squatting down. Oh-so thin. Shaking. His orange and white fur is a shade of gray from the pollution. His leg looks a bit deformed. His one eye is cloudy.

My heart breaks.

“I … I … don’t know what to do,” I tell them. What am I supposed to do? Take him back to the office? “Let me call Patty.”

So, I get her on my phone and she tells me to call the park and the volunteer who runs the dog shelter. On the phone with her, I nearly burst into tears.

“We can’t save every street cat in Chiang Mai,” she explains, but I can hear it in her voice.ย Don’t give up … yet.

Then, I fight for the little guy.

“He just looks so scared. So sick. We can’t take him?”

“Well … look at him with me,” she says, quickly succumbing to my desperation at saving the sickly creature.

I scoop him up in my hand, report to her that he has pink gums, no fleas, a big belly.

“OK … what you can do … if you want … is take him to the vet and see what is wrong with him. You will have to pay for it. Then, if he is OK, I think we can take him up at the park.”

My heart thumps happy.

I leave the couple and scoop his tiny, shaking body into my arms and nuzzle him in my neck as I head back to the office, trying desperately to shield him from the puttering tuk tuks, the thick humidity and the smell of diesel fume that winds its way up my nose.

I try to get a red bus to the vet, but instead, one of the staffers tells me she can take me on her motorbike.

I freeze with fear. I’m scared to death of motorbikes, even though I have been on them before. Here, in Thailand, where you have to always be mindful of getting knicked by one, the idea of holding a kitty and clinging to someone driving sends me into a near panic.

“Don’t worry,” she says to me soothingly. “I will drive good. I promise.”

So, I put the kitten in a cardboard box and hop on the back of her motorbike.

“It is OK if I hold on to you?” I ask, voice shaky.

“Yes, of course.”

And then, we are off into traffic. I try to move as little as possible. At red lights, I peer into the box and talk sweetly to the kitten who has ceased his little meows and traded them for hisses.

“I know, I know,” I whisper to him, wishing with all the world that he will calm down.

When we arrive to the vet, they peel the box from my arms and take him into a room where they examine him.

Mr. Lucky at the vet

Just rescued from the street, Mr. Lucky heads to the vet’s office.

“He very sick,” the vets says once she is done. “He need lot of medicine.”

“What’s wrong with him?” I ask.

“Don’t know, but we do test to see. He stay overnight. Expensive.”

I’ve come this far.

“Do what you have to do,” I say, feeling myself give in to this little life I am trying desperately to save.

She does one blood test as I stand in the doorway, watching him cower on the metal table.

“Oh no, it no look good,” she says, furrowing her brow and casting a sympathetic glance in my direction. “He has parvo. Very sick. May not live.”

I stand there. I can feel the tears coming. I can feel them wanting to leak out of my eyes in front of these strangers. Although it has been less than an hour since he entered my life, he’s already touched it.

I don’t want him to die.

“What do you need to do?”

“He stay overnight for a few night, we give him medicine and get him to eat soft food,” she says.

“I can’t spend the money on him unless I know he has a chance at life,” I explain, wanting her to know if his chances are slim that he will make it, I cannot afford to pay the bill.

“He may make it, depend on immune system,” she says.

I hand over my credit card and let them swipe it. ย It’s not nearly as expensive as a vet in America, but it is pricey for someone who has just moved to Thailand and found a street cat.

“What his name?” She asks me before I leave.

“I don’t know,” I say, not wanting to name him and get attached to this little puff of cat.

“He Mr. Lucky,” she says. “Mr. Lucky because you found him.”

That night, she calls to report to me his condition. “He poo poo a little. He eat a little. He take medicine. Call you tomorrow night unless he get worse.”

The next night, she calls me to report that he is getting better slowly.

And, the night after, I head to the vet to go and see him.

“He would have died had you not found him,” she says as I stroke his little body in my arms. “He very sick. Mom and brothers and sisters probably dead. He would have died in days if not treated. Mr. Lucky? He very lucky.”

Mr. Lucky stays a few more nights at the vet and is then taken up to Elephant Nature Park to finish the de-worming (because he has that, too) and finish his treatment for parvo.

Mr. Lucky slowly gets better.

Still so tiny and fitting into the palm of my hand.

When I head to the park a few days later, the first thing I do is go and see him. He’s quarantined and when I step inside the room, my heart melts.

“Mr. Lucky,” says the volunteer who took him in, “Look who is here to see you.”

From under newspapers, he pokes his little head out and meows. Then, he is in my arms again, purring.

His belly is still a bit swollen from the worms, but he looks a million times better than he did when I first rescued him.

“Hey little guy,” I whisper to him, nuzzling his little body in my face. “You look so good.”

We snuggle for a few minutes before I put him back into his cage and I disinfect myself so as not to get the other animals at the park sick.

Mr. Lucky is an adorable sleeping cat

A little purr machine, and then Mr. Lucky passes out in my arms.

A week later, I head to see him again. This time, he is out of quarantine and hanging in a cage. He mews when he sees me and then, as soon as he is in my arms, crawls up to my neck and tucks his tiny body there, softly purring.

I walk away from his cage and find a secluded spot on a bench. We sit together for 30 minutes. A wave of happy rushes over me as he lays on me.

I saved a life. And, now I get to see this little Mr. Lucky live out his other eight lives. Entirely Lucky.

And now, more than six weeks after being treated and healthy, this is how cute the little playful guy is:

Mr. Lucky hangs out with Mom D

Six weeks after being found …

A portait of the cat, Mr. Lucky

He strikes a mean pose, eh?

About the Author

Diana Edelman is an avid traveler who recently spent four years living as an expat. Most notably, Diana spent nearly three yearsย in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked with Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about the realities of elephant tourism. Currently based in Las Vegas, Diana works in many industries as a publicist, social media expert, content creator and journalist. The co-founder of the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, Diana has spoken at conferences about travel blogging and responsible tourism.

57 Comments on " How Mr. Lucky got lucky "

  1. Susan @ Travel Junkette September 4, 2012 at 12:57 am · Reply

    Aww, he’s SO cute! What a special story.. congrats on your new family member!

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 1:21 am · Reply

      Thank you! He is super cute. Sadly, he does not live with me in the city. His home is Elephant Nature Park. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Nicole September 4, 2012 at 3:48 am · Reply

    Aww, I melted too.
    Good on you for rescuing him D. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:20 pm · Reply

      Thank you. I love that little guy.

  3. Sebastian @ September 4, 2012 at 3:51 am · Reply

    Good Job Dโ€ฆ You have a very good heart! Too bad I’m not living in BKK anymore would have loved to visit you at ENP!

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm · Reply

      Thanks! You will just have to come back over at some point!

  4. Emily in Chile September 4, 2012 at 11:02 am · Reply

    What a cutie! There are lots of street dogs in Santiago, and sadly I can’t adopt them all, but the ones I have helped just make me so happy. I hope Mr. Lucky makes you happy for many years to come!

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:19 pm · Reply

      It is so hard not to rescue every single animal I see. But, I am so happy I was able to make a difference in this little guy’s life.

  5. Federico September 4, 2012 at 11:37 am · Reply

    The difference between photo 2 and the last one is astonishing. You must be proud of yourself!

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm · Reply

      I am glad I was able to take him to the vet and then have him receive additional care at the park. If it wasn’t for the initial vet and the amazing vet and staff at the park, he would not have made it. He has come along way! I love watching him turn more and more into a kitty.

  6. Juno September 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm · Reply

    Awwww, I’m so glad you fought for this little guy. Look at the face! He knows what to do infront of the camera. ๐Ÿ™‚ He looks healthy. Good job D!

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm · Reply

      Me, too! It just broke my heart when I saw him that first time. Wanted to give him his best chance at life.

  7. Gina September 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm · Reply

    Such a cutie! And what a cuddly little guy. I have two cats and this story totally warmed my heart. I’m so glad Mr. Lucky was saved and is happy now.

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm · Reply

      He is such a little muffin! I adore him. Whenever I go to the park, I try to spend at least 20 minutes with him just snuggling him and taking him to a little area where we can sit and enjoy the jungle setting.

  8. Ayngelina September 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm · Reply

    Diana just when I think you have an unbelievable volume for kindness you show me you can take it one step farther.

    • Diana September 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm · Reply

      Aww, thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Abby September 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm · Reply

    YOU HAVE A NEW CAT!!! I don’t care where he “lives.” What a little studmuffin!! I know that not only are you a bleeding heart, you have a special place in your heart for cats. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm · Reply

      Ha ha!

  10. Tawny- Captain and Clark September 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm · Reply

    Oh, I’m a puddle of mush. I, too, have such a bleeding heart. On two separate occasions we found day-old kittens in Korea. We bottle fed them, cleaned them, kept them warm, but on both occasions it was too late. I’m so happy you found and saved this little guy. He looks so healthy now and looks like a cute, little rascal! Be sure to keep those pictures coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm · Reply

      Awww, I’m so sorry. You two did your best though, and at least for that little amount of time, the kittens knew they were loved. Mr. Lucky is super cute and sweet now. More pics to come, of course!

  11. lem September 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm · Reply

    Mr Lucky certainly got lucky when he met you!

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm · Reply

      It makes me so happy to know that I was able to save a little life and now he has a chance at living happily …

  12. Raymond @ Man On The Lam September 6, 2012 at 7:15 am · Reply

    Diana, cat or caterpillar, they’re ALL lucky to meet YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Kent @ NVR September 6, 2012 at 7:54 am · Reply

    Confession – both Caanan and I are suckers for cats. We want regular updates!

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm · Reply

      No problem at all! Or, perhaps you can come to Thailand and see him for yourself!! I spent time with him the past two days: he is doing awesome. Super playful and cuddly! He purrs like a little motor.

  14. Giselle and Cody September 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm · Reply

    He is stunning D!! He looks much better now than when we saw him a few weeks ago. He looked like a little gremlin…..hehehe
    See what love can do ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Oh, and we’re sure there was a “kaaa” in there somewhere when Patti was speaking…….lol
    Looking forward to visiting him again soon!! And you as well!

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm · Reply

      He did look like a little gremlin!! Can’t wait for you two to come home!! <3

  15. Sky September 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm · Reply

    So glad to hear that he made it and all is well! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm · Reply

      Me,too! He turned into such a handsome little boy!

  16. Erica September 8, 2012 at 6:35 am · Reply

    Oh man. This is why Mexico was so hard for me. There were such mangy dogs everywhere and I wanted to save every single one. I’m surprised I didn’t head home with a small horde.

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm · Reply

      Ha! Wait until you get to Thailand! Pretty sure you’ll be adopting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Edna September 8, 2012 at 6:44 am · Reply

    What a difference between the photos of when you found him, and six weeks later. You’ve got a huge heart!

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm · Reply

      Thank you! I love that little guy so much! Whenever I go to the park, I make sure to carve out some D and Mr. Lucky time!

  18. Hogga September 10, 2012 at 10:04 am · Reply

    Heart of gold!

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm · Reply

      Thanks, babe!

  19. Ana September 11, 2012 at 3:46 am · Reply

    Mr Lucky indeed. You should get a kindness medal for saving him ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:54 pm · Reply

      Aww, thank you so much!

  20. Pete September 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm · Reply

    That last photo, priceless!!

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm · Reply

      Thank you! I think he is just so adorable!

  21. Christy September 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm · Reply

    Sooo cute! I’m glad you have a litte kitty friend in Thailand. We rescued a kitten that found it’s way to our doorstep. Skin and bones when we found her. She is still alive and now lives with my aunt who treats her like a queen and thanks me every day for rescuing her.

    • Diana September 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm · Reply

      Awww! So cute! I have so many animals at the office and the park … just wish I could have one at my place.

  22. Ava Apollo September 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm · Reply

    Love it. All of my animals have been rescues, too. Feels so much better that way.

    • Diana September 17, 2012 at 7:29 am · Reply

      I can’t wait to get a pet here!!

  23. Britany September 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm · Reply

    That’s so incredibly sweet of you to take him in and nurse him back to health. He is certainly one lucky little guy!

    • Diana October 1, 2012 at 6:22 am · Reply

      Love that little muffin heaps and heaps!

  24. Victoria September 19, 2012 at 6:35 am · Reply

    Oh wow, he is so cute. This post literally had me in tears! It’s wonderful you could take him in.

    • Diana October 1, 2012 at 6:21 am · Reply

      I love that little guy so much. I hope he is able to have a beautiful and amazing life.

  25. suzin September 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm · Reply

    thats just a awesome story, hes adorable and very very lucky!

    • Diana October 1, 2012 at 6:21 am · Reply

      He got lucky again yesterday. A dog attacked him, nearly got his neck. But, apparently, he is going to be ok. Will go and see him tomorrow. That is two of his nine lives in a matter of months. He is such a little cute and sweet thing though, I want the very best for him.

  26. James InAZ October 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm · Reply

    I hope there is a special place in heaven for people that aid helpless creatures. I love a story with a happy ending. Good on ya!

    • Diana October 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm · Reply

      Thank you <3 Poor guy, last week a dog attacked him. He's healing well though. Love that little guy so much!

  27. Lawrence Michaels September 11, 2013 at 10:17 am · Reply

    Mr. Lucky is very photogenic once you take him out of the Vet.

    • Diana September 20, 2013 at 1:02 am · Reply

      Ha ha, yes, he is!!

  28. Grace @ Green Global Travel January 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm · Reply

    Ah what a lovely story! I’m so glad you were there to fight for little Mr. Lucky.

    • Diana January 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm · Reply

      Thank you! I’m still fighting for the little guy. Trying to bring him and his best friend over to the EU in a few months so we can be together again!

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