Animal Welfare, Our Affair
April 01, 2013

What a weekend.

On Friday, I came across a Facebook post about a litter of six newborn kittens abandoned in front of a vet. They were left in a box with their mother nowhere in sight; helpless, and aimlessly looking for comfort. The poster was looking for a mother cat to nurse the kittens. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard of such a request, but the first time I was able to help.

The next morning, we brought our foster cat Tanjung over to the little guys and by noon, their rescuers managed to get her to breastfeed them all. Tanjung had actually just finished nursing her own litter of four and was still lactating. We brought her home two months ago after she’d just given birth at a nearby Restoran Tanjung. The mother cat before her was called Speedmart. Go figure.

So in total Tanjung has now nursed 10 cats in two months. This lady deserves an island vacation once she’s done.

On Saturday afternoon, I was at the vet to send our own cat for a check-up. Not too far from the waiting area, was a dog staring into space, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings. Which was rare. Dogs usually see me as a fire hydrant. They have the urge to bark at me incessantly, and give me a golden shower.

But not this one. He was like Napoleon Dynamite.

I soon learned that he’s an aging dog and was losing his sight from it. And he was there not because his owner sent him for treatment, but because the he was left inside a box with a hole for breathing in front of the vet.

A hole for breathing? How about an a-hole of an owner.

A local temple will be taking the poor fellow in soon.

On Sunday, at an empty shophouse nearby, I stumbled upon a family of three -- a mother and two kittens. The look on their eyes was one of fear, panic, distress, and anxiety; trying to squeeze as tightly possible with each other. Which could only mean one thing: they’d never been outdoors, and had just been dumped in the middle of nowhere. Looks like someone conveniently decided to not have pets anymore.

I’d just come back from the vet to have the mother spayed and kittens de-wormed at this point of writing.

As I was saying... what a weekend.

And what I had gone through was probably just a fraction of what the real rescuers out there do. I’m talking people who actually look for ailing animals and open their homes or create new spaces to provide them food, shelter and medication while they find them a new home. These people do all they can to source funding and support to ensure that animals out there get the care they need.

Nevertheless, these people can do so much. In a perfect world, everyone does their part. Pet owners spay and neuter their pets to control the population. The public intuitively show love to stray cats and dogs whenever they cross paths. And animal abusers are sentenced for castration without anesthetics.

But we live in a world where more money is spent on political flags than animal welfare. So let’s do what we can with our God-given mind to protect these defenseless creatures. That’s what we’re here for anyway.

I’m not trying to shove ideas into anyone’s throat. I’m just pleading ourselves to care a bit more. It’s not an overnight thing. I’ve never had this much awareness before. Heck I couldn’t even get near a cat once. But that’s no excuse to not change. We don’t have to snuggle cats to show we care. In fact, they hate that. I have the scars to prove.

Support animal welfare groups. Donate. Feed the strays. And teach our kids to do the same.

The little that we do means the world to them.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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