eLianxi: WAB High School Student Makes a Difference

By: ellie_holte | Published: November 13th, 2009

“If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.” -Jane Goodall

Charlotte is a young woman who intends to make a difference. As a grade 11 student at WAB, she has discovered ways to incorporate her passion to help with her interest in learning.

For her grade 10 personal project, “Stray Cats in Beijing,” Charlotte wrote a booklet in English with information about how people can help stray cats. She speaks from experience; she has been working on her own initiative to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return stray cats since 2004. She learned through her research that if these cats were left to roam without being neutered, they continue to reproduce, creating more homeless kittens. If the cats can be helped, they can live out their lives without adding to the homeless cat population.

Charlotte became interested in the plight of the stray cats she would see in her own neighborhood and throughout the city. She decided to begin with a colony that lived near her home. She looked at ideas and programs that others were using and then developed her own plan.

Recently, through the Transition to Work program at WAB, Charlotte had the chance to learn about the field of veterinary medicine through a work experience opportunity at the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) here in Beijing. Through the program, students are matched with occupational interests and In Charlotte's case, working with animals is not simply a hobby but a potential career choice as well.

Her interest in helping animals has continued to blossom through her work at the center. She has been able to observe the veterinarians perform many types of procedures, including surgery. While she has completed her formal work experience, she continues to work at ICVS, “I like the way they work with animals, the people are very nice - it is a good place,” said Charlotte.

Her family has been extremely supportive of her dedication to aid these cats and have provided the financial backing for the costs involved. However, in the last several months, Charlotte has begun to work towards finding other ways to fund the neutering and vaccination fees. She makes and sells key chains and mobile phone hangers, which can be purchased at ICVS. 100% of the profit stays in the clinic to pay for the treatment of stray cats only. She also created a website -, where she offers a way for the public to sponsor a cat through donations. The cost to help a cat, for vaccinations, blood test, surgery and 3-5 day stay at the clinic is 500-600 RMB depending on whether the cat is male or female.

ICVS has asked Charlotte to offer a workshop at the center for people interested in helping stray cats. The title of her presentation is, “Trap-Neuter-Return: Effectively Managing Stray Cats.” The flyer advertising the workshop offers, “Meet Charlotte L., a cat care provider that has successfully managed TNR programs in Beijing since 2004. Charlotte is the author of “Stray Cats in Beijing” – an introduction to TNR and the founder of,” a Beijing-based TNR initiative. Her workshop is scheduled for Saturday, November 14 from 11:00am-12:00pm at ICVS. For further information, please email, or visit their website at

If you are interested in helping to support Charlotte's project, visit her website at

Faye Cowin, World of Work coordinator at WAB said, “This truly is a significant contribution to society and Charlotte is to be congratulated on the major difference she is making.”

Südwestpresse 29. Juli 2010 - Praktikum beim Katzenschutz

Katzenschutz Donzdorf

Donzdorf - Ende April erhielt der Vorsitzende des Katzenschutzes Donzdorf, Carl Giese, eine ungewöhnliche Anfrage nach einem Praktikumsplatz - aus Peking. Charlotte Landwehr, 19 Jahre jung und kurz vor ihrem Schulabschluss lebt seit ihrem ersten Lebensjahr in Peking, weil ihr Vater dort für die Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) arbeitet. Beim Katzenschutz ist sie gelandet durch persönliche Kontakte der Familie nach Süßen. Sie engagiert sich seit 2004 für den Tierschutz, insbesondere für herrenlose Katzen, von denen es in China Millionen gibt. Charlotte hat im Frühjahr 2009 als Jahresarbeit in der Schule die erste englisch- und chinesischsprachige Broschüre über EKF (Einfangen, Kastrieren, Freilassen) geschrieben. Zudem hat sie dazu Vorträge gehalten. Durch das Vermitteln von Patenschaften und den Verkauf selbst gefertigter Schlüsselanhänger und Handyanhänger konnte sie Kastrationsaktionen für viele Tiere finanzieren, so eine Mitteilung. Seit dem Frühjahr 2008 arbeitet sie samstags und in ihren Ferien ehrenamtlich in einer Tierklinik, wo sie praktische Erfahrungen sammelte. Um dieses Wissen zu erweitern, arbeitete sie in den vergangenen drei Wochen engagiert bei der Pflege im Katzenschutz mit, wobei sich mit den Tierheimmitarbeitern ein fruchtbarer Meinungsaustausch entwickelte. Beim tränenreichen Abschied gab es das dicke Versprechen, weiterhin einen guten Kontakt zu pflegen.


The Cat Whisperer

                    Source: Global Times [November 26 2009]

Charlotte Landwehr and her cat colony - By Yin Yeping

Every night, when the city falls into the shadows of twilight, a girl of brown hair and blue eyes can be found sitting in the middle of seven or eight homeless cats, serving them dinner as she has done thousands of times before. These strays, which won't allow anyone else to approach them, are clearly at ease with her.

This is Charlotte Landwehr's cat colony in the Sanlitun Diplomatic Compound. Charlotte (Charly, for short) is from Germany, but she has spent most of her childhood in China with her family, and attends the Western Academy of Beijing. For over fi ve years, she has taken care of the capital's stray cats.

"They all know Charlotte. When she whistles, all the cats gather together, although they won't recognize any other's whistle, not even mine," said Andreas Landwehr with a smile. Charlotte's father and mother, Birka, have always been strong supporters of their daughter's outreach to strays. "Unlike many other girls, she doesn't buy CDs or fancy clothes, but chooses to spend most of her pocket money on helping those cats, " he said. Sometimes, she can even communicate with the cats in German and English. "But they prefer German," Charlotte laughed. "She spends so much time on those cats, that we even call her 'the cat whisperer,'" Andreas said.

Her ongoing efforts date back to 2004, when Charlotte happened across an online news article about problems caused by an overpopulation of stray cats at a local embassy. With more cats being trapped, tortured and killed on the streets, Charlotte decided to do something different to save these strays.

Do it differently

"Before the trap and return program started in the world, the way the people tried to manage the population of stray cats was called 'trap and kill,'" Mary Peng, the manager of the International Center for Veterinary Medicine (ICVS), explained to the Global Times. Trapping and killing cats does not address the source of the problem, which is that homeless cats are not neutered and therefore regularly give birth to more kittens.

Instead of killing homeless cats, Charlotte gains their trust before bringing them to the animal hospital for sterilization and vaccination against rabies and feline distemper. "Since people in other countries like America do this for helping stray cats, we in China can do the same," Charlotte said.

When Charlotte first raised her plan with her parents, they objected. "In the beginning, they thought it was too dangerous for me," she said. But when an American woman proposed to pay for neutering the cats if Charlotte could catch them, her parents came around to the idea of trapping, neutering and releasing each cat to help control the population problem.

Leoni's story

In the beginning, Charlotte simply fed the cats, but as more gathered, her relationship with the strays developed as well.

Of these cats, Charlotte was particularly fond of a female she named Leoni. After a year of feeding the compound cats, Leoni became pregnant and soon birthed six lovely kittens. All was well, until one awful day when Charlotte found Leoni fretting over one of her litter, which had been horribly wounded by another animal.

"Another kitten only had a head nearby," said Charlotte. "The kitten's body was probably eaten by some other animals." The rest of the kittens were never found and almost certainly died. While Leoni was slightly injured, her only remaining kitten had a severe wound to her neck; Charlotte paid nearly 6,000 yuan for the kitten's treatment.

After so much suffering, this kitten's story is particularly close to Charlotte's heart. She named her Mona, because she felt she was just as beautiful as the Mona Lisa. Not long after Mona's recovery, a Swiss-German family adopted her and brought her home with them when they left China. "From that time on, I started thinking about how over population can be a problem… they end up fighting, and also they are not vaccinated," Charlotte said. "You can take care of seven cats, but you can't take care of hundreds and thousands of them."

Animal hospital assistance

Knowing that her own e. orts were a drop in the pond, Charlotte approached a local animal hospital for help.

"A couple of years ago, Charly wrote an e-mail to us saying that she was helping stray cats in her community," Mary said. "She told me her fears that somebody may come and take them away for reasons of public health and sanitation." Mary suggested Charlotte put collars on the cats so that people might identify them as family-owned pets, to some extent keeping them from harm.

The escalation of the stray cat problem

In Charlotte's home country of Germany, few cats wander the streets. Andreas explained that laws regarding the abandonment or mistreatment of pets are well established, and violators are severely punished. However, China has had a long-established problem with strays. One recent trigger for the rising stray cat population was the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis of 2003, when a rumor circulated that cats could carry and spread the disease. Huge numbers of cats were abandoned as a result. Eventually, people learned that cats did not transmit SARS, but the damage was already done.

Cats can reproduce up to four times in a year, so neutering strays, particularly in urban areas, is essential. When a stray cat is neutered, the vet typically will "tip" (cut a small piece off of) the cat's ears, as once the cat is released back into the environment there are no external signs to show it has already been neutered. Through her proactive trap-neuter-release program, "Charlotte is actually protecting people in the community from being threatened by sickness from stray cats," Mary said.

Over the course of her work, the amount of money Charlotte has spent has become as countless as the number of cats she has saved. "It's hard to tell really," Andreas told the Global Times. "It must be thousands of yuan already." That has never stopped Charlotte's family from supporting her; their perspective is the same as hers. "If I look at my colony now, it was worth paying all that money," she said. "They are all very healthy and look like big fat house cats rather than stray cats. The key thing is they are no longer in danger."

The challenges

Charlotte's efforts have received response in her compound, where people who see her feeding the cats may contribute 20 to 50 kuai in support. She has also made beaded accessories, like key chains and mobile phone charms, which are given as a memento to people who donate money for neutering strays.

"The problem is I cannot help every single cat, so that's why I am trying to persuade more people to come and take care of these cats," said Charlotte. "I cannot do it alone!"

Residents from other compounds and near her school have also sought Charlotte's help to deal with colonies of stray cats, which she has done. In doing so, she has stabilized the size of the colonies, and the cats are healthier and fight less frequently.

The current colony population hovers at seven to eight cats, and there are always more who need adopting. If you want to adopt one of Charlotte's cats, please visit her website:

How to help

1. Sponsor a cat: After you donate money to sponsor a cat, Charly will keep you regularly informed about the cat's care and condition. She'll also provide sponsors with photographs of the cats they sponsor.

In appreciation for your help, you will also receive a key chain and a mobile phone charm.

2. You can also offer donations in exchange for mobile phone charms and key chains. All money from these donations goes to the treatment of stray cats.

3. Last but not least, adopt a cat! They are all vaccinated, with official docu-mentation. You may contact Charlotte by e-mail ( to tell her who you are and why you want to adopt a cat. You can also do this by visiting the website of ICVS: www. Remember, if you adopt a cat, you should be prepared to take it with you when you leave China.


Culture shock for pets

Global Times Published: 2016-2-29

Dogs and cats moving to another country also face adjustment issues

Experts say animals usually have difficulties blending into the new environment during the first months after they get to a foreign country. Photo: IC

Kublai Khan, a three-year-old Beijing-born and raised terrier mix, moved to Germany from Beijing a week ago, with his owner Ernest Thornton. And like expected, the dog has shown a few cultural adjustment issues since arriving in the new country.

"Kublai Khan weighs around 10 kilograms, but Germans usually raise large dogs like Labradors and greyhounds, so they are much bigger than Kublai Khan, and they can be rough when they play, so he becomes shy," Thornton said.

"He either hides behind me or lays on the ground and shows his belly," Thornton laughed.

Another adjustment issue Kublai Khan showed is unfamiliarity with his new neighborhood.

"He runs around and smells everything for a long time everyday. I can't let him out of my sight for one second in case he runs away," Thornton said.

Mary Peng, CEO of the International Center for Veterinary Services, said that like people, pets moving to another country face adjustment issues with new food, water and their neighborhoods. This is even more obvious in cats, since they are more sensitive and less dependent on their owners, so the owner can't always soothe them.

The general adjustment issues for pets, according to Peng, include jet lag. During the first couple of months, pets might still live according to the rhythms of their old time zone.

Pets also have a hard time getting used to their new environment. There are many unfamiliar objects, scents and sounds in their new homes. This can cause pets to become overexcited or tired.

Charlotte Landwehr, who moved to Berlin a year ago with her cat Bella, said that during the first two months, Belle acted anxiously and skittishly toward strangers. Every time the doorbell rang, Bella would jump or hide under the bed.

Peng said in those cases, the owners should give the pets some time to get used to the new environment, and expect the animals to get excited or hide.

In some cases, cultural adjustment issues lead to tragic incidents. Peng said that she has seen many indoor and outdoor pets get lost or hurt in an accident in their new countries.

"The traffic in Beijing is pretty slow, normally 30 miles an hour. However, in European countries, the cars go as fast as 60 miles an hour. Some of my clients had tragic incidents because their pets are not familiar with their new environment," Peng said.

Landwehr did a pretty good job helping Bella to get used to the new neighborhood.

Bella was an indoor cat in Beijing, but in Germany, since they have a yard and the neighborhood is quiet, Landwehr decided to let Belle go outside.

"I didn't just let her go outside immediately, I leash trained her for three months to show her the yard and the new environment. When I let her off the leash, she would run 100 to 300 meters and return. Then I let her off the leash and opened the door to let her out," Landwehr said.

Another common adjustment issue for pets is food. Bella, for example, had this problem. Bella didn't eat most kinds of food in Germany. The food she ate caused her to vomit and have diarrhea.

The problem lasted for 9 months, until Landwehr changed her diet to high meat with no grain.

"The food adjustment issue can be very dangerous for pets. If they don't eat for a long time, they might get liver problems and die," Peng said.

"I suggest owners bring some of their old food to the new country, and mix the old food with new food at first to let pets get used to it," she said.


Donate - Please add „Charly‘s Cats“