SINGAPORE - The Tiong Bahru community has rallied around a grey tabby cat yet again after the stray's health took a turn for the worse.
More than $2,000 has been raised on Bob's page on crowdfunding site GiveAsia, which was set up by a resident to help fund the 12-year-old feline's growing medical bills.
It has been suffering from a chronic bladder condition after an accident in 2010 tore its bladder from its urethra and left it with a gaping abdominal wound.
While a series of operations saved Bob's life, which is 64 in human years, its bladder condition worsened about six months ago and residents readily stepped up their care for the feline.
Every evening, about five residents take turns to go out in threes to search for Bob, hold it down and administer a 150ml saline drip to it. The process can take up to 45 minutes, said Eng Hoon Street resident Kelvin Ang, 46.
The drip is needed to ensure Bob is adequately hydrated as it began drinking less water and now suffers from difficulties urinating as a result of a build up of crystals in its bladder, said Mr Ang, a public servant. The treatment has to go on "indefinitely", he added.
Although the Animal Recovery Veterinary Referral Centre gives Bob's medical needs a discount, as it is a stray, Mr Ang estimates its medical supplies and regular vet check-ups over the next two to three years will cost about $5,000 and hopes more people can chip in to help care for it.
About 10 residents are involved in Bob's welfare at the moment. Besides looking after its medical needs, they take Bob into their homes every night so it does not wander around and munch on dried food, which will exacerbate its condition. They also feed it steamed fish and vegetables twice a day.
This is not the first time the community has gone the extra mile for Bob after it appeared at Eng Hoon Street in 2009.
After its accident in 2010, residents and shop owners passed the hat around to help fund the feline's veterinary bills, which ran up to about $20,000.
They raised $16,000, and Bob’s previous vet also gave an $8,000 discount. The remaining $4,000 was used to fund the cat’s subsequent medical bills, but the money has since run out.
Since then, residents have banded together to care for the cat, which has become an "icon" in Eng Hoon Street, said Mr Ang. About five to six households take turns to give Bob its weekly baths, feed it and bring it to the vet.
"He's part of the neighbourhood and brings people together," said Mr Ang, adding that Bob also "knows who needs a bit of company and will give them attention".
"We will care for him as long as he needs our help," he said.
Madam Chan Poh Lin, 66, who works in sales and has been an Eng Hoon Street resident since 1990, said: "We feed strays and after a while, the attachment grows. It becomes a routine and a commitment."
Mr Ang, who moved into the neighbourhood in 2005, said taking care of strays is an "Eng Hoon Street tradition".
"It's an indication of the kindness that exists in the neighbourhood," he added.