Cat Welfare Society has just launched a new rescue initiative on Saturday (17 June 2017), a fostering and rescue registry and training programme with cat care kits for 50 first-time fosterers.
Announcing its self-initiated ground-up movement at the 17th CWS Annual General Meeting (AGM), the local animal welfare group will conduct its first Fostering 101 training session in July.
It states that it will subsequently work with organisations like Love Kuching Project and Lucky Haven to offer masterclasses under its Cat Rehabilitation Series.
CWS currently works closely with over 100 fosterers and rescuers through its adoption drive and online adoption board to rehabilitate and rehome cats in need. Last year, more than 300 cats were adopted through its drives and adoption board.
Dealing with over 2400 cases referred to it by Town Councils, various government agencies, estate management and members of the public every year, the Cat Welfare Society often run into the need for helping hands from the wider community when dire situations are uncovered such as litters of kittens in outlying areas of Singapore where sterilisation exercises have not reached, hoarding and neglect situations and abuse.
It also sees many calls for help on social media from people who do not have the knowledge or resources to act, prompting the need for this new initiative.
Through training, providing mentorship, network support and care kits, it aims to address the barriers of entry to new people who want to do more for the vulnerable cats in the midst and expand the community.
It also aims to look for a new location to house a permanent training centre by September 2017 in the hopes of expanding the programme to more new fosterers.
“In essence, we have always been training and mentoring new fosterers. This year alone, our Executive Director Laura, myself and a few other volunteers have handheld around 5 new fosterers who have in turn gone on to help so many more cats. But it was done mostly in an adhoc manner, usually when a situation has already hit and a cat is in dire need.”, says Thenuga Vijakumar, President of the Cat Welfare Society.
She further added, “What we are trying to achieve with this programme is to unlock all the valuable knowledge that currently resides in different people in the community and to find a better way to share this knowledge so that new and potential fosterers can better receive the confidence they need to act in the interest of a cat,”
“There are so many cats that need help and it is often always the same people who respond to them. There are very real barriers of entry to rescue and fostering that deters people from doing more than just posting and sharing about a cat in need on social media. This programme aims to address these barriers of entry such as a lack of knowledge or resources,” Laura Ann Meranda, Executive Director of the Cat Welfare Society adds.
The programme will be supported by its frst corporate sponsor, Silversky. 20 veteran fosterers from the community, some of whom will be assisting in the mentorship of new fosterers will receive a gift hamper of Wellness premium cat food valued at $50 each.
A fundraiser is expected to be launched at the end of June to seek funds for a humane first responder programme that aims to enable more people to be able to respond on the spot to a cat in need promptly and effectively.
Since 2012, the local animal welfare group, which have been running its projects through donations and goodwill of its volunteers, has sterilised more than 21,000 community cats in Singapore.
It has also formalised another sterilisation programme, specifically for pet cats in low-income families since 2016, with more than 1500 cats and close to 200 families assisted.
These sterilisation programmes go hand in hand with its mediation programme where its mediators continue to work closely with Town Councils, AVA, HDB, NEA and NParks to resolve cat issues humanely in all estates in Singapore. It believes that these efforts have directly contributed to the year-on-year decline in AVA’s cat impoundment rate to under 800 cats in 2016.