NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
BUDDHIST temples are visited not only by people but also animals, and the most frequent visitor tends to be cats. With an air of entitlement, cats have often been photographed even resting on the statues of deities like it's the most normal thing for them to do.
Just look at some of these photos:
Cats, of course, love to chill and the serenity that envelopes the temple must be something that appeal to them. It is said that Buddhist monks also love to have cats around when they are on zen mode because the cat's purr help them meditate.
Four years ago, famous novelist Paulo Coelho wrote in his blog about the story of a great Zen Buddhist master from the Mayu Kagi monastery who had a companion cat that joined him during meditation classes. When the master died, his disciple honored his memory by allowing the cat to continue attending the Zen Buddhist classes. Coelho narrated that this unique situation at the Mayu Kagi monastery became the talk of the town and, soon, other temples also welcomed cats in their meditation classes. As the story goes, when the original zen cat died, monks replaced it with another cat because by then, everyone believes that cats bring positive energy and promote increase human concentration.
This Japanese story provides a colorful narrative to back up cats' predilection for Buddhas and temples. It may or may not be true, but one thing is sure: cats can never pass up a chance for a good lap to sleep on, even if it's a 60-foot concrete sitting Buddha. – AJB
By ALMA J. BUELVA
PURINA Petcare Philippines, a business unit of Nestlé, is fueling a Facebook-based project to promote the local breed of cats, many of which are neglected and homeless.
Pusang Pinoy or Puspins they are called, Philippines' version of (British) moggies are currently basking in the limelight after Purina created an online stage for them to shine. PuspinsofMeownila is a Facebook-driven project of Purina's local team that highlights the beauty and fine quality of Puspins.
PuspinsofMeownila entries like these four photos above celebrate the beauty and fine qualities of local cats. (Photos from Purina Philippines)
Until recently, the Puspin used to go by a derogatory nickname “Pusakal”, short for Pusang Kalye, as many of them are strays. The fact that it has been given a more dignified name is proof that many people appreciate Puspins and for good reason.
PuspinsofMeownila lets anyone share stories and photos of their Puspins on Purina's official Facebook page to inspire more people to take Puspins as pets. The combined use of images and stories creates a compelling narrative, made more valuable by supporting comments from like-minded individuals.
Through PuspinsofMeownila, more people will hopefully see that the native kitties can be as adorable as purebred cats. PuspinsofMeownila is a valuable publicity tool for the many Puspins that are wandering the streets and languishing in shelters, all hoping to be soon adopted into loving homes.
“PuspinsofMeownila is designed to help increase Puspin adoptions, give these cats a 'voice' and show that they are also very lovable,” said Joshua Frederick P. Alarkon of Purina Petcare Philippines.
Although Facebook is the project's platform of choice, PuspinsofMeownila inevitably found its way in the photo-sharing application Instagram, where proud Puspin owners share their photos using the official hashtag #PuspinsofMeownila.
From June to November 2015, Purina received over 2,000 entries from Puspin owners, all declaring their love and gratitude for their low-maintenance Puspin that's every inch a good cat.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE cats have moved in to Katipunan! Uchi No Neko (The Cat House) has officially opened the doors to its cafe and 9-suite cat hotel on a generous 200-square-meter space right in the middle of the busy school and restaurant row.
The seventh cat cafe in Metro Manila, Uchi No Neko tries to top the usual amenities and offerings one would expect from a cat cafe by having a full-service kitchen, floor-to-ceiling cat suites, a cattery, a separate events and ala carte area, and a shifting schedule for its cats.
For P300, one can commune with cats, mostly rescued puspins, for two hours. The cover charge comes with a full cat-themed bento meal, drink and desert.
Uchi No Neko's cats came from the business partners or individual rescuers and organizations like the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART). As resident cafe cats, they get to enjoy about 100 meters of catwalk above the cafe and play area. The cats can romp around the artificial turf or in the screened outdoor garden where they can watch cars and people pass by.
Unless still very young, the cats have been either neutered or spayed and are vaccinated against common health threats. Some have one of their ears clipped as an indication that they have been fixed.
As members of the Uchi No Neko family, the cats enjoy their own quiet, air-conditioned cattery away from the public's eye. They “work” in batches of 14 or more for at least two hours at the cafe before the staff dutifully take them back to the cattery and then reintroduce another batch of cats to play with customers.
Visitors to Uchi No Neko should get a kick out of the cat-inspired bento meals, pastries and coffees. The kitty onigiri, spam musubi and beef teriyaki are just some of the choices available daily. To make the cat-themed dining complete, Uchi No Neko has customized cat-shape tables and chairs.
The interiors, walls, décor and everyday objects all have something “catly” to tie them all up into a haven for cat lovers.
Uchi No Neko's architectural design and execution were done by Ms. Ali Dalisay. But the creative brain behind this new enterprise is Cha Lacsamana who designed the furniture and also hand painted some of the intricate murals with her friends. It is perhaps the artist in her that inspired her to offer Uchi No Neko's upper floor as a gallery for cat artwork from different artists. She currently hosts the limited works of Geneva David, the young lady who paints cats by the dots to help her raise her own clowder of puspins.
Next to the events and ala carte area is the 9-suite air-conditioned cat hotel which charges P450 a night per cat. Guests must provide food and litter for their own cats. People can check-in at least 3 cats in one suite. Uchi No Neko's staff will look after the guest cats 24 hours.
The view from the street doesn't give much justice to the beautiful interior and exciting experience that Uchi No Neko hold. One must step inside to see that this is a thoughtful cat cafe with elevated standards for the good of the cats and guests alike. If you are a cat lover, Uchi No Neko should be your next pitstop.
* Mookkie, the smart pet feeder with AI technology