Cat lovers, where y’all at?! Whether its at the pasar malam, your favourite food stall, a bus stop or even at schools, there’s no denying that you here their little meows everywhere. Honestly, we aren’t complaining! Well, we’re not complaining about the cats, at least. Malaysia has a cat population of about 795,000 cats as of 2018, with numbers steadily growing each year. Meaning, we’ve easily got a million kitty cats on our hands, and we’re talking about strays and pets here. So if we’re not complaining about the cats themselves, what are we complaining about? We’ll tell you.
Let’s start off with pet cats. As pet owners, it is our responsibility to take care of our cats. Having a pet is fun, without a doubt. It’s also a huge responsibility though. Having a pet is not just giving about snuggles and playtime. Having a pet means taking responsibility of a another living being’s life. Food, water, hygiene, health and so much more is our responsibility to provide for our little furbabies. Most of this stuff can be done pretty easily but it never hurts to consult a veterinarian when it comes to them, especially since suitable types of food, shampoo and medication can differ according to breed, age and general well-being. For instance, for kittens that are newly off mother’s milk (they breastfeed for about 8-10 weeks), give them soft solid food or kibble. Also, neuter yur kitties! This will prevent them from multiplying quicker than you can blink! As much as we love the little guys, we can all agree that we do NOT need a cat-overpopulation. Cats are sentient beings. So we should take some time out of our day to spend with our cat. Tossing around a yarn ball, dangling a fish toy or even just giving them scritches to show our kitties we love them can make a difference. We understand that in these trying times, having a pet can be a bit of a strain to the wallet. So we advise you to think long and hard before making the decision to welcome a cat-or any pet, for that matter- into your home. Do not abandon your pets. Leaving a domesticated animal out in the open is not only irresponsible but also cruel as these sweet creatures do not have what it takes to survive on their own after having their every need attended to by a human.
Now, as for the strays. These furry friends are a familiar sight in public spaces, especially at mamaks. Sadly, there are some sad, soulless beings that choose to experiment on the felines. From kicking them to chasing them out with brooms to even throwing fire crackers at them, strays are often subjected to cruelty with the excuse of “I hate cats” or even worse, “Its reaction was hilarious! Did you see the way it jumped?” These animals are NOT our playthings! Leave them alone if you don’t like them. It isn’t all bad though. Often times, kind passers by see them and feed them with suitable scraps of food. To those of you who want to do something to help these little guys out, we’ve made a list of things you can do apart from feeding them:
- If you can bring the little one into your home, that would be great. However, be sure to keep them away from your children and pets (if you have any), until you are certain they are healthy.
- Take the cat to a vet. God knows how long it has been out and about, which means it could be infected with illnesses or be wounded from fights or abuse.
- Call your local animal shelter. They may be able to take the cat in and help it find a furever home. However, if you prefer to keep the little one for yourself or if the shelter is unable to take it in, get guidance from the shelter. Ask the important questions like how to care for a cat of that age, breed, health condition etc.
- Add the cat into the ‘found’ lists. The cat you found could have easily been abandoned or a run-away cat. If it was abandoned, authorities can take action in the irresponsible owner and put the cat up for adoption if you are not looking to care for it yourself. If it were a run-away cat, someone is probably looking for their missing feline. Putting your foundling on that list can help the owner to reunite with their furkid.
- Report. As mentioned earlier, strays are often subjected to abuse. More often than not, there is a distinction between cat-fight wounds and wounds of abuse, which is why a trip to the vet is important. Also be sure to report of any abandoned cats you happen to cross paths with.
Cats are everywhere. Sometimes, they just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Treat them with love instead of shoo-ing them away with brooms or using them for your entertainment. If you have cats yourself, go cuddle the little guys and show them you love them.
Finally, we want to reiterate that these precious animals are NOT toys. Treat them with kindness and take your responsibility of them seriously.