Niligaw. Tinapon sa river.
Cats went missing. Some humans reportedly took them, then brought them to undisclosed places.
They also learned about other ways to “dispose” of the stray cats they were feeding from posts of cat haters in social media. The cat haters talked about about hanging the cats, poisoning them, or throwing them elsewhere.
To keep the cats safe, four women banded together to fight the cat haters.
Porsha Rhia Lai, Brenda Francisco Basas, Kai Talavera and Hannah Mandi formed the group Cats of Manila Rivercity Residences ( Cats of MRR), together with other residents. They feed stray cats, have injured or sick cats treated by vets, and have them spayed or neutered so the number or cats in their community will not multiply.
Cat rehabilitation and adoption
It was very cold that night of November 14. A raspy meow was heard coming from one of the community cages beside a tower inside the condo premises.
A palm-sized dirty white kitten with swollen ears and bloated tummy was in pain, trying to find comfort and warmth beside the cages.
Porsha contained the severely emaciated kitten, cleaned him, and gave him food and water. The next day, the kitten was brought to the clinic. He weighed only 0.8 kllograms. The vet diagnosed him to have scabies, a skin problem that can be passed to humans. He was injected with Ivomec every week for four weeks to deworm him.
They named him Yuri. He was only eight months old.
He gained weight (now 2 kilograms) after only a month as he is fed good food. His hair turned out to be a beautiful, shiny white coat after four weeks of regular cleaning.
Their efforts paid off as Yuri was adopted by MRR resident Clar Sumile Sanson.
“Yuri is now a happy kitty living in a home with toys to play, an area to freely run and climb, and a family to call his own,” said Porsha.
Tamtam, like Yuri, is a stray cat in the MRR premises.
Recently, he was seen with blood on his face while he was in his favorite spot where he sleeps after feeding.
Hannah, who checks the cats at noon time, approached him and saw his face was swollen and he had open wounds. Tamtam was contained in the community cage and his wounds were cleaned. When he did not eat for 24 hours, the volunteers brought him to the Santa Ana Animal Health Clinic.
“The attending vet said the such wounds and swelling were not from the usual cat fight. Most probably, Tamtam's face was hit by a hard object.” Porsha said.
This is so saddening and infuriating at the same time as Tamtam is not an aggressive cat. “He has a very laid back personality. His daily routine includes sleeping, eating and some vocalization exercises before he sleeps again. Tamtam is a sweet cat and shows his appreciation by rolling on the ground while purring,” Porsha said.
After almost a week of confinement, Tamtam returned to MRR.
“No more swollen face and the wounds are healed. While Tamtam has already recovered and back on his daily routine, the investigation of the incident is still in progress,” Porsha said.
Working with the board of directors
Yuri and Tamtam are just two of about 70 cats who are always in danger of being hurt by cat haters in the area.
The Cats of MRR sought the assistance of the board of directors (BOD) of MRR. to protect the poor, homeless cats, and because they believe that preventing unwanted kitten births will help decrease the number of cats who will be hurt.
“Thankfully they were supportive as they recognize that cats are part of the community ecosystem, “ Porsha said.
Brenda and Kai brought up the idea to write the BOD to seek help for their project to help the cats.
“We convinced the board of directors (BOD) of the advantage of TNVR. Since there was an issue about cats being thrown out, and yet new cats would come in, they were convinced that neutering and spaying cats are the real solution, “ Brenda said.
After a talk with Rochelle Nisay of the BOD, the board decided that the cats in MRR will no longer be considered as stray cats but will be treated as MRR community cats. Cats of MRR, meanwhile, will be responsible for the feeding, cleaning of feeding areas, and enforcement of rules from the BOD.
The BOD also donated cages for the project. These were put in areas where residents feed the stray cats.
“By promoting awareness, transparency, TNVR, with support from the Admin, Housekeeping and Security, more residents have stepped up and have shown care for the MRR Cats as part of our community,” Brenda said.
After only four months, 26 of about 70 cats in the community have been spayed or neutered.
They have also had six adult cats (George, Kitkit, Nana, Puma, Mickey, Uling) and five kittens (Ivy, Chocnut, Nuggets, Blackie, Yuri) adopted.
Initially, Porsha, Brenda, Kai and Hannah paid for the spaying and neutering of cats.
“From our own savings. But lately, we've been receiving donations and sponsorships from other residents. Hopefully, in the future, we can have fundraising activities to defray costs for spay/neuter, food and medical bills,” Porsha said.
At least two cats are brought to the clinic for spaying or neutering weekly.
Feeding The cats are fed twice a day.
Hannah said they feed morning and evening "since most of the volunteers work in the office. For those working at home, they feed the young weaning kittens and rehabilitated cats at noon as well. There are designated feeding areas to consolidate the cats. These feeding areas are cleaned at least once a day.”
“Our condo admin donated to us initial supplies such as cages, litterbox, food bowls to establish designated feeding areas. Volunteers also take rounds to check the feeding areas and the cats. Our Housekeeping and Security are a big help to look after the cats. They even play with them.,” Porsha said.
Brenda said the feeding areas were chosen in such a way that residents near the cats can feed them and to make sure that feeding areas are cleaned to avoid complaints from other residents.
Fighting cat haters
Brenda and Hannah said they filed a complaint against those who posted in social media about poisoning, hanging or throwing out cats from the premises before the barangay.
Fortunately, barangay 880 officials are also cat lovers and cat parents who said they will never tolerate abuse and maltreatment of cats.
“These (cat hate statements in social media) make us feel so mad but whenever we feel so angry, we just focus on the cats and caring for them, “ Brenda said.
While there are haters, Brenda said there are more supporters of their work to help the cats. This support helps keep the cats safe and thus, they are very thankful to these residents, she said.
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