If you’ve been to the Neko no Niwa on Boat Quay as I have, you’ll have met their 13 beautiful, friendly cats. Identifying these cats were a big job for the proprietors – they didn’t want to get 13 random felines and assume they would get along.
Last weekend the cat café revealed that seven of their cats had actually come from the same fosterer:
Not much is known of this fosterer, as she prefers to keep a low profile. Throughout my Facebook chat conversation with Vivi, a volunteer who helps with cat care, she is referred to as ‘The Auntie’. The location of the cat foster home is also kept under wraps, so as to prevent people from abandoning their pets there.
For at least the past 30 years Auntie has spent time and energy rescuing cats in Singapore, caring for them and finding them good families. She mostly pays for the cats' food, care and vet bills out of her own savings. Despite being over 70 years of age, she spends all day caring for her own cats, rescued cats and community cats. She currently has about 50 to 60 cats in search of homes.
Vivi, a senior research assistant in Neurology, met Auntie completely by chance, but ended up rescuing a cat with her. The cat, named Dwayne, had been found wandering and starving. They brought her – yes, despite the male name, Dwayne turned out to be female – to the vet where it was discovered that her teeth had decayed from neglect.
Vivi now volunteers regularly to help Auntie care for the cats. “I realised her adopters are just friends of friends, word of mouth. I suggested starting a Facebook page and she was okay with it,” she said. “So here I am, now I am their social media manager.”
The hope is that a social media page like Feline Forever Home SG will help Auntie’s rescued cats find good homes, but they aren’t planning to let their precious felines go to just anyone. Potential adopters are required to first meet the cat, then have someone from the group inspect their home to make sure it’s properly “catified”. An inspection of sorts will also be carried out after the cat has been in the home for some time, so as to make sure that it has been properly cared for. Cats who have been mistreated will be taken away.
The page has only been up for a week, and although Vivi has received a number of queries, not all of them were serious. “We have had a couple of serious adopters - you can tell right away who they are. They ask questions about cat welfare,” she said.
There aren’t huge ambitions for the Facebook page, but for Vivi the greatest sign of success would be connecting people with the right cat for them.
For first-time cat owners, she recommends getting an older cat: “If you're a first time cat owner, older cats are also more chill, and easier to get along with - some people might find handling kittens a bit too much work for them, even if they've had adult cats before. You also know their personalities when the cats are older. You know what you're getting.”
For those uncertain about cat care, Feline Forever Home SG is also happy to give advice on food and cat-proofing homes. Despite the cost of running a shelter for so many cats, they aren’t interested in money.
“Make it clear we don't want donations,” Vivi said to me. “We just want loving homes for our cats.”
Meet some of Feline Forever Home SG's cats:
Feline Forever Home SG can also be found on Instagram.