KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Stray cats at the National Museum may end up in the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) pound if they are not adopted soon.
A museum volunteer guide, who only wanted to be identified as Caroline, said, so far, 13 have been adopted, while 11 more are still available for adoption.
“All cats that are ready for adoption have been cleaned and neutered.
“There are more that I am trying to rescue, but it takes time as these are stray cats and they are defensive,” she told Malay Mail at the museum compound.
However, Caroline said she was alarmed when DBKL officers recently arrived with cages to round-up the stray cats at the museum.
Despite her explaining to the DBKL officers that the cats have been cleaned and neutered, three of the cats were sent to the City Hall animal pound in Cheras.
Caroline, a German national, said the worry started before Christmas, when the DBKL officers conducted an inspection of the museum area.
“When I saw that, my husband and I quickly gathered most of the strays and took them home. What a Christmas we had.
“But last week, so happened I was here, and suddenly, I saw DBKL trucks arriving at the museum compound.
“I told them that the cats were all mine. But they proceeded anyway and caught three of the strays,” she said.
Caroline managed to take a photo of the three cats which were caught by the DBKL officers in order for her to “bail” them out later.
“I went later to the DBKL pound in Cheras to bail the stray cats out.
“The DBKL pound is not a place for any animal. The conditions are terrible. It’s exactly what you read about in news reports,” she added.
Caroline was referring to a letter published in Malaysiakini in 2009, where a reader cited visuals aired on TV3’s 360 Degree programme in which a hidden camera showed a DBKL pound worker dragging a dying dog by its neck with a loop.
The reader claimed that matters were made worse as the ‘execution’ was watched by another terrified dog that was next to be put down.
The reader also cited that two people who had brought the matter to the attention of the television station claimed that the dogs’ necks were fractured and cats were drowned or clobbered to death at the pound.
“Have you been to the pound? You should go and have a look. It is really bad,” said Caroline.
Since the last visit by DBKL, Caroline has managed to negotiate with the authorities to allow her more time to find adopters for the stray cats.
News spread quickly on social media platforms as friends helped her highlight the plight of the cats that are in need of a permanent home.
A Twitter post, for example, written by a user with the handle ‘Yang Brohormat’, which gained 9,700 retweets, read: “Cute cats at the National Museum may be euthanised by DBKL if nobody adopts them by Friday. All have been neutered and cleaned.”
“Some of them are not well, some are injured and have to be treated before they can be adopted.
“I just hope that DBKL will understand and will not come anytime soon to take the stray cats away. I just need some time to treat the cats and find them adopters,” Caroline said.
She hopes the museum will work with her or pet shelters like SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Selangor on a long-term solution to help contain the situation at the museum.
“Did you know that in Turkey, one of the shopping malls allowed strays to sleep in its compound?
“Why can’t something similar be done here?” she asked.
Caroline was referring to an incident where, after a snowstorm, a mall located in the Bakirkoy neighbourhood of Istanbul, opened its doors to homeless dogs so that they would not have to spend the night in freezing temperatures. This was reported by CNN Turkey three years ago.
It was reported in The New York Times last October that in June 2004, the Turkish government passed a law requiring local governments to rehabilitate street animals rather than kill them.
“I do not wish to be doing this forever. But all I want is for people to treat these stray cats humanely.
“One day, I too will have to return to my home country. I hope that someone can manage the situation of stray cats here when the time comes,” she said.
Over the past three years, Caroline and her husband have been looking after over 60 stray cats at the National Museum, out of which 35 have been neutered.