NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
THE disappearance this week of a significant number of cats from a protected colony that inhabit a public park in Bonifacio Global City near a major five-star hotel has enraged cat lovers in the country who are sending a firestorm of criticisms directed to the Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila for apparently instigating it.
MetroPets is yet to hear from the hotel's public relations executive contacted to comment on the matter. However, the hotel has issued a second statement to clarify what transpired and the next steps it would take. Here's a photo of the statement dated February 18:
The new statement comes on the heels of mounting pressure from cat lovers who have taken to social media to denounce the relocation of the BGC cats. At the very least, it offered information on where the cats were taken -- Ilaya Street and Anastacio Street in Taguig City. Vigilant followers of this news, however, pointed out that no such streets exist in Taguig and that said street names don't appear on Google Map or even in Uber's system. But if these two streets are really in Taguig, the Shangri-La at the Fort's latest statement didn't offer an explanation why these residential areas were deemed ideal relocation sites for the cats. It is also not clear if permissions from the local government or even the barangay were sought or if the residents were informed that 11 cats were to be left in their neighborhood.
The hotel management also stated that they would help rescue and return the cats back to the BGC park. Again, some were not pleased by this promise, pointing that only animals that were in danger or put at risk need rescuing.
Meanwhile, cat lovers continue to cry out for justice on behalf of the beloved cats whose removal from the park was reportedly done by Pest Busters Philippines which was hired by the premier hotel before Valentine's Day.
People who frequent the High Street Park to commune with the cats quickly noted their absence, so they took to social media to sound the alarm. On February 15, the key people behind the Facebook page Cats of BGC met with the management of Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila to discuss what happened to the cats. The next day, February 16, both parties posted their respective statements.
The Cats of BGC noted that although they were personally outraged by the incident, “Shangri-La (at the Fort, Manila) has seen the error in their ways and offered their support in promoting awareness” towards cat adoption. The statement called it “good news” and that there's reason to hope that the incident “can serve as a lesson to everyone, and finally stop the misconception that removing even the friendly, fit and fixed free-roamers can keep an area cat-free.”
For its part, Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila posted in its Facebook page a 95-word statement to basically say that the cats have been relocated and are well. Here's the original statement:
Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila
February 16 at 7:00pm ·
Last February 14, 2018, we received inquiries on social media regarding the cats from the park beside the hotel. We would like to assure everyone that no harm has been done to the cats that have been relocated. In fact, more than half of them have been adopted by hotel employees. The others were relocated to two locations within Taguig. The hotel management has met with CARA Welfare Philippines and Cats of BGC last February 15, 2018 and discussed a long-term cooperation to ensure the welfare of the cats at the adjacent High Street park.
The statement, however, proved to be another disaster as it only raised more questions and observations highly critical of the hotel's action against the helpless cats.
People have repeatedly demanded for the hotel to reveal the two locations where Pest Busters allegedly brought the cats. They also want the hotel employees who supposedly adopted some of the cats to prove it by posting photos of their new pets. So far, the hotel management has offered the exact locations but no hotel employee has come forward to prove that he or she has adopted one of the missing cats of BGC.
Still unsatisfied by the second statement from Shangri-La at the Fort, cat lovers continue to post their views on the matter in the Cats of BGC page and in closed Facebook groups for cat lovers. More importantly, they are flooding with negative comments the hotel's Facebook page and related travel portals. They are also hitting hard the social media accounts of Pest Busters Philippines for apparently violating provisions of the country's Animal Welfare Act.
In a new twist, some people who left blistering comments on the hotel's page said their posts have been tagged as spam and subsequently been deleted. Others claimed they started experiencing being locked out of their Facebook accounts or blocked to visit the hotel's page after they decried animal abuse. -- METROPETS
A NEW case of animal cruelty was recently filmed and uploaded on Facebook by the perpetrators, and then was shared by a concerned citizen last Feb. 12. It showed a teenage boy who repeatedly stoned and then peed on a tiny kitten until it died.
The video, which lasted almost two minutes, was shared by a certain Nina Scarlet who identified the kitten's killer as Raymark Lansangan who was wearing a school uniform when the incident happened. In the video, another school boy was seen squatting near the kitten while another person hidden from view took the video.
After much prodding from Facebook users, Nina identified the two other persons in the video as Benedic Daquioag and the one who filmed the ghastly act as Dharyl Rivera. She said Lansangan is from Antipolo, Rizal.
In the video, Lansangan hurled rocks and pissed on a crying, bloodied kitten until it died. All along, Lansangan was laughing while his companions did nothing to stop him. At one point, both his companions warned him that he could go to jail if the video becomes viral, but that didn't stop them from what they're doing.
The video immediately created a social media firestorm with hundreds of animal lovers deploring the savage way the kitten was killed. Curses and threats were directed to all those party to the slaying, while others shared the link with animal welfare groups and media outlets, demanding justice for the young cat. Others threaten to report the students to their school for disciplinary action.
Nina said she knows those people in the video who, she added, cut classes that day.
At one point, Dharyl Rivera who allegedly took the video joined the long thread of messages in Facebook and said this:
He also issued this threat to the reporter:
As of this posting, comments from animal lovers continue to pour in at different Facebook groups, all asking for one thing: justice for the “Antipolo kitty”. (AJB, MetroPets)
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.
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