In the spirit of #adoptdontshop, we are going to feature a series of beautiful stories of rescued dogs and cats, as well as rescuer communities!
Today we have a very special team, Allergic Rescuers KL, a group of friends who came together to rescue, foster and re-home cats. Here is their story!
What inspired all of you to start Allergic Rescuers KL?
In early 2018, my partner nearly tripped over a tiny kitten when he was on his way to a meeting; she was sitting in a puddle and she put one paw on his shoe, as if asking him to take her with him. He told her if she were still there after his meeting, he’d take her back, and picked her up and hid her amongst some shrubbery so she was protected from the rain.
Thankfully, she was still there when he was done, so he brought her home.
We named her Cleo and I started doing a ton of research on health concerns, vets, what to feed her, how to keep her stimulated indoors, how the standards of cat care have changed so much since I had a cat as a kid, etc., but also started noticing cats in need of help everywhere. So I thought maybe since I have some extra time, I would start looking after a few other cats. It’s been more than a few since then, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that Cleo still rules our home, and us.
All of our teammates have a different story in terms of how they got involved, but I think in the end, our intention and motivation are all from the same place:
We’d like to see less suffering of street cats (and dogs), as they also didn’t ask to be born into these circumstances.
How do you juggle between your personal lives and being a prominent rescue team?
It’s a question that all of us constantly struggle with, to be honest!
We all have our own ways to unwind, destress, and stay grounded but it’s really easier said than done. Personally, I’ve been trying mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, and just generally trying to remind myself of everything we have to be grateful for.
And along the journey, we’ve really met such amazing, inspirational people who are just as committed as we are to reducing suffering and choosing to adopt and provide loving and responsible forever homes for the cats they adopt.
What was something that you did not expect to do as a rescuer?
I think being a rescuer actually is not too dissimilar from starting a small start-up business… that doesn’t make any money.
Before becoming a rescuer, I thought the most important thing would be dealing with the cats, but in reality, a lot of our time is also devoted to:
- Taking lots of photographs and videos of the cats for adoption purposes
- Learning how to use social media effectively to cast a wider net
- Crafting educational messages and daily posts
It’s been a really interesting way to learn new skills and connect with strangers online too!
The best thing that came out from your rescuing journey / fondest or most memorable moment throughout this journey
The best feeling is when we see cats that we rescued in dire straits get adopted by a loving, responsible home where they’re loved unconditionally and will never have to worry about being alone, cold, hungry, or be without access to medical care.
We’ve had some truly amazing adopters over the past few years, and when we see how some of these cats hit the jackpot and how much they’re loved, it’s the best feeling ever!
What is something that you'd like more people to know about the life behind being rescuers?
I think the most important thing people don’t realise is that anyone can do what we’re doing!
None of us have degrees in animal rescue (not even close!) or even work in a similar industry. We are nobodies that just decided to take action for that cat right in front of us. But if we can do this with full-time jobs, so can you! We hear that a lot, when people think that they can’t rescue this kitten because I’m working, because I’m allergic, because I have another cat. And we say to them, “Yes, we are in the same boat as you!”
So try not to overthink it, and remember, if a cat looks sick, the first step is the vet, and then you can figure it out from there. At least get the cat to the vet, then start taking photos and putting them on social media to get the word out. Anyone can fundraise too - these days with crowdfunding on platforms like Kitafund or SimplyGiving, it’s become a lot easier to ask for help within the cat-loving community too!
If you want to help out your local animal rescue organisation, sharing posts to get the word out about their work is a super easy and free thing anyone can do. If not, donate supplies or funds - vet bills are endless for rescuers. Fostering, especially for a longer-term case or a sick cat or shy cat is always very helpful too.
If you’re in a good place to make a 15-20 year commitment towards a new furry family member, then adopt! Maybe you can even consider adopting an overlooked cat, like the one with FIV or FeLV (often with good indoor living, there aren’t even symptoms) or the senior one who needs a quiet retirement home or even the hospice cat who doesn’t have long left, but deserves love and dignity for their remaining days.
Can you share any of your current fundraising efforts that you'd like us to spread the word about?
We recently had a very successful fundraiser for a cat called Shane, who was rescued with a bloody mouth and so many things going on in and around his mouth that he wasn’t even able to eat.
But thanks to the community coming together, we were able to get Shane emergency oral surgery done, and he’s recovering so well!
To support the Allergic Rescuers KL team, do donate to their SimplyGiving page.
Is there anything additional that the pet community can do to help rescuers?
a) Please spay and neuter your own cat
People often say that they want their cat to have a litter and they plan on keeping all the kittens. But what is the value of creating more life when other kittens are dying on the streets and in shelters waiting for homes?
There’s so much more value in adopting lives that already exist and are suffering, rather than creating more life. Plus, spaying and neutering ensures healthier lives for your cat, less roaming (hormones make them roam to find mates) and getting lost, less fights/injuries, less spraying/marking, and no unwanted litters of kittens!
b) If you find a cat in need, take action and get them to the vet!
There is no rescue organisation in Malaysia that will send an emergency rescue mobile around when you call it in. That doesn’t exist here. Most active rescuers are people, just like you. So, when you contact them for help, do understand that rescuers can’t just snap their fingers and make their problems go away.
Getting cats adopted means vetting, good photos, time to advertise, all of which takes a lot of time, money, space. It’s not their job to take in all the stray cats; more often than not, they’re also relying on their own resources and time to help out cats in need.
We love this story and would love to hear more from our community too. If you know of beautiful stories from rescuers or adopters, or are one yourself, reach out to us and share your story!