EMAIL INTERVIEW WITH LING MAY CHOO, A CAT RESCUER
We are always very respectful of the work done by cat rescuers. Their passion, dedication and absolute love for cats have often left us speechless and we are very sure that we are not the only ones. We had the great opportunity to interview one such rescuer, Ling May Choo, via email to gain a further insight into the good work done by them. May Choo is a volunteer with the Cat Welfare Society and helps to mediate in the neighbourhood where she resides. May Choo is also involved in the care of cats living on the St John's Island. She helps to appeal for cat food donation and oversees the welfare of the cats living on the island.
Above picture: Milk, a 3 months old boy. His eyelids are not fully developed so he will require daily cleaning of his eyes. Milk has been adopted just before the publication of this article. Awesome!
8Paws: How did you get started doing rescue work for cats?
Maychoo: It started in 2003 when SARs hit Singapore. The comm cats which my late mother and myself were taking care of were culled by the authorities. Overnight, we lost our comm cats because of a disease which was not caused by felines. It hit me so hard that these poor furkids were voiceless and could not defend for themselves. They have always been the victims.of humans abuse.
8Paws: What do you exactly do when you rescue a cat?
Maychoo: Rescuing a cat involves a process that we follow through. For example, if the cat rescued is injured, it has to be sent to vet for the necessary treatment. Thereafter, plans must be made if the cat can no longer be returned back to the community due to health reasons. I will have to appeal for fosterers and/or adopters who have the necessary experience to look after the cat. Strict screening of the foster or adopter will be conducted to ensure cat is safe under their care. There will also be constant follow up with the adopter/fosterer.
Above: Cleo and Max, approx 5 months old. Playful but friendly. Max will need a bit of time to warm up.
8Paws: Currently, how many cats are you fostering and/or rescuing?
Maychoo: Currently, i am fostering 8 cats. These cats are from complaint cases from AVA and Cat Welfare Society which i help to mediate. The cases include suspected abandonment, being in a high risk area of being culled, cat owners not able to cope due to over population of unsterilised cats and cats that were at risk of being removed from their household.
8Paws: What is the most memorable rescue cat that you have encountered?
Maychoo: Ha. All are memorable! Ok, one of the.most memorable rescue cat was the ginger cat who was left behind after the owner moved out. Being an ex home cat, he was very lost and stayed on the upper floors of the block where his owner used to stay. However, the neighbours lodged a complaint of his presence. Mediators tried to find a solution for him but the authorities were determined to have him culled. I was alerted and i offered to foster him untill he gets adopted. He was such a lovely boy and I simply could not understand why the ex owner was so heartless to abandon him! Finally, his potential.adopters came and they fell in love with him. After assessing the new home is cat proof, the cat was rehomed to a lovely couple. We named him Mickey. Mickey even appeared in the Singapore Kindness Movement! From an abandoned cat to a pampered home cat living in a 2 story home! It was just so satisfying and all the effort to save him was just so worth it!
8Paws: How do your family and friends feel about your rescue work?
Maychoo: My late mum was always supportive and we used to be the mother - daughter team helping the voiceless furkids. My spouse gives me his support too and is very understanding towards the fact that i spend most of my time on the cats besides work. Most of my friends know my passion in my rescue work and show their support at times by helping me in fund raising activity or by contributing financially.
Above: Aiden, approx 4 - 5 months old friendly boy. A victim of a fall from heights and was bailed out from SPCA. He has since fully recovered.
8Paws: What are some of the challenges that you face in your work with cats?
Maychoo:. Top of the list is to make the cat owners understand why meshing of windows is very important. Some owners are just too stubborn to make their home cat proof for the safety of their cats. Another challenge is to persuade cat owners to keep their cats indoors and not to let their cats roam even along the corridors as this may result in cat defecation outside neighbours' units or in worse cases, the roaming cats may end up being abused by strangers or get hit by a vehicle. Lastly, getting the owners to sterilise their cats is proving a challenge as well.
8Paws: Did you ever feel like giving up before?
Maychoo: Never. I do get burnt out at times and when that happens, i will step back and take a short break before starting again. I cant give up. The cats need us to help them.
8Paws: What drives you to continue your rescue work?
Maychoo: I will keep doing it for the injured cats who subsequently recovered and the abandoned cats that eventually got rehomed to good loving homes. You know that you have made a difference in their lives and that there are more out there on the streets waiting for help.
Left: Alena, one year old tortie girl. She is a very laid back and lovely lap cat.
8Paws: How can the public help?
Maychoo: If you are unable to adopt, you can offer to foster. If you can't foster, offer help in terms of monetry contributions to the vet bills of injured cats that rescuers will chalk up. If you spot an injured cat, try to send it to vet and not just help only when circumstances permit you to do so. The rescue circle is very small and it is very common to see the usual group of rescuers step forward to help and they can be stretched, especially financially.
Above: Heiboi, approx 1 - 2 year old boy. Super friendly with humans, but not so with other cats. Can only go to a single household family. Sterilised and vaccinated.
8Paws: Lastly, what have you learnt in your rescue work?
Maychoo: 13 yrs of rescue work has taught me that the 4 legged furbabies will always be man's best friends. They will never betray or despise you but instead, they will be forever grateful even to the slightest help rendered to them. On a lighter note, rescue work is indeed addictive that one simply cannot stop once you step in ya! Lol!
LIM MAY CHOO
Cat lover and activist. Pictured with John, approx 12 years young and FIV postive. Was abandoned and found with a severe case of jaundice but had since recovered. Prefers to be a household with only one or two cats.
Editors' Note: All the cats pictured in this article are available for adoption. If you have a space in your heart and home for one of this beautiful cats, kindly email May Choo at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short introduction of yourself and your household.