Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friends of The Animals: From Fear to Love

Friends of The Animals: From Fear to Love

Hi all, it’s time for our fortnightly blog series, “Friends of the Animals”, a collection of blogposts relating animal lovers’ experiences with their pets or their passion for animals. AVA staff, together with animal lovers from the animal welfare groups, are contributing to this blog.

In our latest post, our colleague, Aminah Hassan from the Communication & Corporate Relations Department, shares how she transformed her daughter’s fear of cats to love for felines. Have fun reading!

I must say, in the neighbourhood where we live, the stray cats are a happy bunch. We have so many dedicated cat caregivers around who never fail to feed and care for these cats. My family is very active in helping these caregivers, the unsung heroes of our area who spend their time taking care of all the stray cats around. At times, we help to buy cat food for these unsung heroes for them to feed the cats. We have also brought abandoned cats with skin problems and urine infection to the vet and found them new homes.

While most of us who live in the area help out with the strays around our homes, my 24-year-old daughter used to be a person who runs away from the sight of cats! Well, but that was 4 years ago…

Her fear of cats started in her teenage years when a cat jumped on her in a lift. Since then, whenever she sees a cat, she would run for her life. It got so bad that sometimes, in order to avoid the cats on her way home, she would call one of us to fetch her. This had to stop, and so, one day, I forced her to carry a stray cat in her arms. The cat sat there like an obedient baby. And that was when she wanted a cat of her own. Soon after, we adopted one. We have added two more to the family now!

Let me introduce you to our 3 cats: Cotton (Ragdoll; 4 years old), Princess (Tabby; 5 years old) and Lulu (Flat-nose Persian; 2 years old).

Cotton is such a gentle cat and likes to be around people. Every morning at 5am, she never fails to do her “massage” – pushing in and out her front paws, alternating between her right and left limbs. According to cat experts, this is a sign of contentment and so that’s a good sign because she gets good food, a clean litter box and comfy sleeping place (our velvety soft sofa).

Princess, on the other hand, is an independent and very fussy cat. We adopted her because she was a stray that often visited us. Soon, we fell in love with her and brought her into our home. Because she was once a stray cat, Princess likes to loiter at our door and wait for her favourite owner (my first son) to come home.

Lulu. Oh, Lulu. When we first saw Lulu, it was my daughter’s friend who asked if my daughter (yes, the once scared one) can foster an abandoned kitten for two weeks. She was in such a horrific condition. Eye infection, skin infection and covered in dirt. We thought she was a lost cat but found out it was not so. While waiting for her to be adopted by a new owner, we realised we couldn’t bear to part with her so we took her in. And she is the most vocal, mischievous and funniest cat who likes to disturb the other cats! We can’t scold her because she has the “please-don’t-scold-me” kind of eyes.

Having three cats brought more joy and happiness to our family but it doesn’t come easy. We have to clean the litter box, buy cat food supplies, visit the vet and set aside time to groom and pay attention to our cats. Here are some things to consider before owning a cat:

1. Adopt/Buy?
I would encourage people looking for a pet to adopt. You can go to a pet shelter like SPCA ( The Cat Welfare Society ( is also a good place to start.

2. Are you able to afford a cat?
Cats require food, vet visits, medication, vaccination, cat litter and grooming on a regular basis. So make sure you can pay for these costs. Remember, having a cat is a long term commitment.

3. Are you prepared for your pet’s health challenges?
Cats can get fleas, allergies and other health-related problems that you may face. You have to be emotionally and financially prepared for these challenges.

4. Are you be able to spend time with your cat?
Although cats seem more independent than dogs, if you travel often and don’t have much time for a cat, try not to own one as a cat needs as much attention as a dog.

5. What kind of cat is right for you?
Male or Female? Gentle or Active? For example, Cotton is a gentle and quiet cat while Lulu is very active and vocal cat. They are very different in their personalities. Find out more about a cat’s personality from the pet shelter or fosterer before you adopt.