Keen to take care of injured cats? Get the right training

To get more people to care for injured, sick or homeless cats, the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) yesterday launched its first cat fostering training programme to train and equip volunteers.

It will be providing customised cat-care kits for 50 first-time fosterers as part of its 18th birthday celebrations.

The kits include items such as a Beginner's Guide To Fostering; access to a library of donated items such as cages, carriers and litter boxes; priority access to donated items like cat food and medication; and free vaccination for the first 100 cats.

Under the programme, those who want to foster injured, sick, or abandoned cats by taking them home and caring for them until they are adopted, will be given tools and training to do so.

"CWS handles 2,400 cases yearly, referred to us by town councils, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), the Housing Board and members of the public," CWS executive director Laura Ann Meranda told The Sunday Times yesterday.

"So far, we have heavily relied on our network of fosterers that we have worked with for many years as well as those we connect with through social media. Those with experience are often already taking on too many cats. Others may have the passion but lack the knowledge."

The programme seeks to change that. Fostering a cat costs about $100 a month for basic cat care, and can go up to $300 or more if the cats have illnesses, Ms Meranda said.

CWS currently works with more than 100 fostering volunteers and rescuers through its adoption drive and online adoption board to rehabilitate and rehome cats in need. More than 300 cats were adopted last year through such means.

CWS has sterilised more than 21,000 community cats in Singapore since 2012, and believes its efforts with various government agencies have contributed to reducing AVA's cat impoundment rate to under 800 cats last year.

The figure was 958 in 2015 and 1,127 in 2014, according to AVA's annual reports.

"What we are trying to achieve with this programme is to unlock all the valuable knowledge that currently resides in different people in the community and to find a better way to share this knowledge so that new and potential fosterers can better receive the confidence they need to act in the interests of a cat," said CWS president Thenuga Vijakumar.

Those who sign up will be paired with a mentor and encouraged to attend the training sessions, which will begin next month and be held once every two months.

To sign up, visit www.catwelfare. org/fosteracat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 18, 2017, with the headline 'Keen to take care of injured cats? Get the right training'. Print Edition | Subscribe