You know how sometimes you’re in a kopitiam enjoying your meal and out of nowhere you see an adorable doggo or catto staring at you? Then after giving them a little bit of what’s on your plate they just hang around you or even nuzzle at your leg begging for pats and scratchies?
And in comes the thought of “Should I take it home and give this cat/dog all the love it deserves?” Followed by a consideration if you would be able to commit to fostering and caring for the pet in the foreseeable future.
Making the decision to adopt or foster pets is no easy one. And personally, I find that it requires one to have a character of boldness and accountability to make this selfless commitment. At Petchef, we have our very own pet rescuer and I was shocked to learn that she once had up to 29 cats in her care!
“I’m just a girl who’s been passionate about animals for as long as I can remember.”
Meet Sherlynn. She’s our very own Pet Happiness Manager who rescued her very first cat from the streets when she was only 8 years old. And no it wasn’t just a helplessly adorable kitten, but rather it was a pregnant cat.
She shared that her family had instilled in her that helping and adopting is better than buying a pet.
Hence, growing up, she would feed the strays in the neighbourhood and let some of them live on the porch. She even had taken care of up to 14 cats at once as a kid!
But her family’s love for pets goes beyond cats. Her dad actually used to supply horses for the movie Anna and The King (yes, it’s a 1999 film that was shot in Malaysia and starred Chow Yun-fat as King Mongkut). Therefore as she grew up around all sorts of animals such as cows, goats, horses, chickens and ducks that lived in a family owned ranch. It’s no wonder that she naturally grew to love animals.
Sherlynn shared that she was so obsessed with animals from a very young age, she initially wanted to become a veterinarian for exotic or farm animals. She had also volunteered at SPCA when she was 15 years old.
However, after working as a vet assistant after completing her SPM and working on creating awareness for the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) conservation projects, she had a new found passion towards zoology.
How 1 Cat Became 29 Cats
Besides fostering numerous cats after the first mama cat, Sherlynn had rescued and adopted 3 cats of her own over the last 4 years. They’re named Loki, Luna, and Teddy. Here they are and aren’t they just adorable! 😍
From working as a vet assistant, she learnt and gained experience in handling animal welfare. Coupled with her heart and passion towards the strays in her neighbourhood, her aunt offered her the opportunity to help foster some cats.
As her aunt runs her own foster and adoption project, Sherlynn’s focus then shifted from helping strays to not go hungry, to caring for them with the intention of getting them to a better home.
Currently they don’t have a proper base to foster these cats, but they do have a small group of people taking in strays and caring for them until they are well enough to be adopted. They look for adopters and new homes by putting the rehabilitated cats up online on Petfinder and via personal referrals.
An Insight Into Animal Fostering
“I’ve survived on very little sleep when I was doing all this, especially because there were abandoned kittens that the surrogate mums wouldn’t take in.”
If you own a furkid or two at home, you would probably know that it comes with a fairshare of time, energy and monetary commitment. Much like having human kids.
So at this point, you must be wondering what it’s like to care for a large number of cats.
In terms of monthly expenditure, Sherlynn’s aunt would sponsor the medical bills but they do try to keep it below RM5k by limiting the total number of cats in her care.
Hence for most months where they had less than 20 cats under their care, the bills would amount to about RM3k. Here’s a rough breakdown of the estimated costs:
- Food and litter, RM900+
- Medical bills (including the complete cycle of vaccinations, neutering and medical attention), RM200-400 per cat
Sherlynn also shared that she used to have to wake up before 5am just to feed and clean the spaces the cats were living in. By 8am she’ll head back to bed till 12pm for a little cat nap. Just before leaving for work, she would then feed the cats again. On days that she had morning shifts, her cousin would stay over to help care for the cats.
Judging from the amount of care and commitment Sherlynn and her family has given to the cats, I guess you could say that the love for animals is deeply ingrained in this family.
Meow-ving Onwards and Forwards
Besides running a mini shelter for cats from home on her own, Sherlynn also had to “adult” aka commit to a full-time job. Thus came the difficult decision to part with all her furbabies rather than risking neglecting them or her job.
But worry not, they’re now being taken good care by her cousin who’s also taken over her aunt’s fostering project. Up to date Sherlynn shared that he’s got 21 cats in his care now.
However, her passion towards rescuing strays and giving them a better life has not stopped just yet. She still aspires to help reduce the population of strays by having an animal shelter with sufficient man-power to care for and cook fresh meals for the animals. Simply because she believes that we do not have enough animal shelters in Malaysia.
If you’d like to have a pet cat, remember that there are so many kittens and adult cats who are desperate for a new family. They may not always be purebreds but they are just as cute and deserving of love. Head on over to Petfinder or @pusat_jagaan_kucing on Instagram to look for your new family member.
Also do remember that a bit of research goes a long way. Such as caring for a new kitten, cat-safe fruits, dog-safe human foods, reading your pups poop and even giving them the right nutrition at the right ages.
But if you’re a pet lover who is unable to have a furkid at home, you could also volunteer to help out at these animal shelters. Besides scrubbing and cleaning floors, you’ll probably also get to interact with the animals which is basically a win-win situation for all 😉