NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia is offering up to P50,000 reward for information that could help find the person or group that killed innocent cats from Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.
On Jan. 13, a dozen community cats from the posh village went missing and some were found dead, apparently from unnatural causes. In a circular released by the village management, one cat was reported to have died from chemical burns after paint thinner was poured over him.
The community cats in Dasmariñas Village have been spayed and neutered through CARA Welfare's Trap-Neuter-Return program and are fed by residents of the village. Before the cats' disappearance and deaths, a note was found saying: “You stop feeding cats. Our village is no cat sanctuary. Or else...”
The management and security of Dasmariñas Village are looking into the barbaric series of crimes against the cats, but so far no suspects have been identified.
"It's imperative that any community faced with a violent act such as the vicious killing of the community cats of Dasmariñas Village take measures to find the culprit or culprits and bring them to justice," says PETA Asia Vice President for International Operations Jason Baker. "Animal abusers are a danger to everyone: They take their issues out on whomever is available to them, human or nonhuman, and must be caught before they act again. We're appealing to anyone with information about those responsible for these cruel crimes to come forward now so that the perpetrator or perpetrators can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
PETA hopes to bring the person or persons responsible for the cats' deaths and disappearances to justice. Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a penalty of up to P250,000 and three years imprisonment under the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 as amended by Republic Act No. 10631.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the PETA Asia hotline at 0999-888-7382.
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
MANILA's potentially first cat café has received mixed reactions online both from those who support and oppose its concept. But the intrepid man behind it is not about to wave a white flag.
Excitement over Velvet Friends Cat Cafe, a would-be personal venture of Chito Aclon, was doused by strong opposition from a number of local cat rescuers and sympathizers who questioned Aclon's preference for purebred cats and kittens. Their main argument: raising awareness on the plight of native cats (Puspins), many of which are homeless, should be a local cat cafe's ideal focus. They also weighed in heavily on how Aclon should not sell his purebred's kittens for profit. Doing so, they argued, would reduce his cat cafe into a cattery or kitten mill that puts profit before animal welfare.
Literally a “cat fight” broke out between the two camps in defense of felines – puspins and otherwise.
One commenter who used the alias “kurochan” wrote: “Cat cafe is a really nice place to go to. I know because I've been to lots of them in Singapore and Thailand. There is nothing wrong with it. But how Mr. Aclon has described it seems like he's doing it mostly for business. And that's the sore point of this whole thing.”
Others are even more incensed to the point of questioning Aclon's knowledge of cats and his character.
As one “Tim” wrote: “I hope that he hasn't bought the cats yet. I fear for the welfare of the cats under his "care", if all he can think of is putting up a "Cat Starbucks".”
And from a certain “Charlie”: “Shameful. Another ____ out to make a profit on animals. Only in da (the) filipins (Philippines), where its own people spit on their own local breed of cats and dogs starving and dying on the streets and pounds while purebreds are worshiped. You couldn't come up with an original idea so you took somebody else's and then ____ it up. I curse you and your business and I hope you fall flat on your face and go broke.”
To which “Leala” replied: “It's not if his business fails, it's WHEN his business fails.”
Then, as if putting out fire with gasoline, an “Abby” who looks forward to Aclon's cat cafe opening posted: “If you people are worried about those stray cats why don't you just adopt them yourselves or better yet make your own cat café with all the stray cats in Manila! For me I just love the idea of having a cat café with pure breed cats from different places around the world and for someone to spend money just to make his dream come true is really admirable.”
After days of heated and “catty” arguments on what Aclon should and should not do, the embattled overseas foreign worker finally posted a lengthy message addressing those who lashed out on him and those who rallied around his idea of a cat café.
“So much accusations had been thrown even though the hobby-business is not up yet. I do not discriminate Puspins, they are part of Filipino lives and...are irreplaceable,” said Aclon.
But he also wrote about his fascination for purebred cats and how he longed to have and share them with others.
“Why don't you let me share that fascination and love of cats, especially the purebred ones, to Filipinos who are not even aware that they exist? I don't beg for your support, I just want you to understand that sharing these beautiful cats along with beautiful DSHs (domestic shorthairs) is not a crime,” Aclon said.
He also defended his right to have kittens from his purebred cats if he chooses to.
“If I have kittens on the café playing in the corner for people to appreciate, is there something wrong with that—give joy to people?...If my hobby-business can make someone happy why would you be unhappy about it?,” Aclon asked.
“My cat café is not a pet shop. If we get kittens, they would be kept in an enclosed space for protection. A customer might want to buy one, but most likely we would want to keep our kittens with us. The notion of breeding and exploiting is far from my mind as others would think. That is never the objective of my hobby-business,” he told MetroPets.
CAT OUT OF THE BAG
All things considered, Aclon also told MetroPets that he would still try to open Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Bonifacio Global City.
He promises to train his future employees on proper cat care and how to distinguish the different breeds of cats so they could intelligently answer clients' questions, if any. He also said they will sign an official partnership with a veterinarian who would regularly check on the cats. An experienced cat groomer will also be hired, Aclon added.
In addition, Aclon said they are tentatively working on a “cat school” partnership with a leading manufacturer of cat food to help further raise public awareness about cats.
He said his cat café will make sure it has all documents required by the government. The café will feature a general restaurant area, cat “haven”, cat loo area, and a cat hotel where customers can leave their own cats for a minimum hourly charge while they visit the café's ambassador cats. In addition, Velvet Friends Cat Cafe will have a separate menu for visiting cats
As for Puspins, Aclon said they will be showcased as well as long as they prove to be healthy enough and that the big purebred cats won't bully them.
“I consulted many cat experts here in Singapore and they explained to me the “bully factor". One of them told me that when a cat is bullied and becomes stressed, its immune system deteriorates and becomes susceptible to viruses. On the other hand, local cats tend to have stronger immune system and may not easily show signs of having communicable disease that might affect the imported cats that are still acclimatizing to their new environment,” he said.
The target store opening date may take a little longer if construction is to begin April. But once it's ready, Velvet Friends Cat Cafe will be open during mall hours. An entrance fee to the cat haven is tentatively set at P290 for adults, P240 for students, and P190 for seniors and children aged 10 years old and below.
“I am thrilled to share my dream, however difficult, to those who wish to experience the company of purebred cats. This cat café is for them most of all,” said Chito.
Needless to say, everyone is welcome...well, maybe except the dog.
* Claws out! Cat lovers fight over this Starbucks mug