Have you ever been embarrassed by the land of your birth? I’m usually fiercely proud of the Philippines, where I lived out the first 20 years of my existence, but can’t help but hang my head in shame when I think of the crimes against animals that happen like clockwork there. Cats in particular are the victims you hear most about: somehow it’s completely normal for someone to round up the latest unplanned kitty litter and drown them or to see street cats missing an eye, leg or tail — mutilated in the name of drunken sport.
Purebred cats are often on a pedestal, so I was amazed and saddened when I learned the story I’m about to share. But now that the worst is over for these kitties, I also want to say that I’m very proud to know people at CARA (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals), a non-profit that tries to do right by the country’s mistreated animals, especially dogs and cats.
When I first learned of CARA a few years ago, I signed up to sponsor a feral tripod cat named Puff. This year, I asked to contribute as an associate member, and have started receiving regular updates through a mailing list, which is where I first saw a thread about the sickly animals at the Pasig Rainforest Park, a local mini zoo. I am publishing portions of it with permission.
“This is really disturbing,” wrote CARA member Tanya Guerrero, linking to a Facebook update she had come across (pictured below). “Who keeps Siamese cats in a zoo? And look at the wound on the neck of the one cat! Can we seize these cats and put them up for adoption? We will easily find homes for them!”
After much deliberation around the best way to legally confiscate the cats, CARA member Eileen Borromeo volunteered to visit the zoo on the sly and take photos. The next day (Feb. 5), she emailed the group the images you see below (first three with text on them).
“The cats are skinny, and yes, the one with the deep wound also seems to have an eye infection,” she wrote. “There was no water in their cage and their poop was just left inside. They were meowing like crazy when I approached them. Hope we can do something ASAP.”
The zoo had a “small mammals” section, which contained only the Siamese cats. Both appeared to be malnourished, and one had an eye infection and deep gash at her neck:
This past Sunday, Tanya emailed us with an update. She had sprung the cats with the help of another volunteer and CARA’s resident cat handler, Joseph (pictured below):
“Today, I went with fellow CARA volunteer Rebecca to the Pasig Rainforest [Park] Zoo to seize the two sickly Siamese cats reported to us last week. The condition of the cats, and their cages, was truly appalling. Dirty cages full of poop and pee, no food or water, and both cats were thin, with mange wounds and one had a bad eye infection. The other animals were in similar situations, dirty cages, no water, sickly-looking.”
“We were first told to come back another day when the bosses were present, but after a very long wait, some phone calls, angry threats (mostly from me!) and paper shuffling we were finally allowed to rescue these cats. We also gave them basic guidelines on how the animals should be cared for and told them we would do follow-up visits to check-up on them. Their excuse was that their Vet quit months ago and that nobody was there to give medical care.”
“They are supposedly in the process of hiring a new vet (the same vet who works for Manila Zoo). For now, the cats are safe and being cared for in St. Gabriel’s Clinic. I felt really bad leaving the horse and other animals behind, but there is only so much we can do. If you live in the area, or are ever there, please visit the place so we can keep tabs on them. It is truly sad and depressing. You can view photos [on our Facebook page].”
I followed up with Tanya to find out where the cats might end up when the clinic had cleared them, and she said that the woman who had alerted CARA to their plight would be the likely adopter. But even if she decided against keeping the cats, their chances of finding a forever home is rather high.
“If it doesn’t push through, we will have a lot of people interested as these are high-profile [purebred] cats,” she wrote. “Sadly, the cats we rescue with breed get a lot of adoption requests compared to the rest.”
We at Catster are wishing these kitties a speedy recovery. With any luck they will find a forever home together.
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