KANGAR: The name Bustana Kucing may not ring a bell to many, but it is actually the largest cat sanctuary in Malaysia.
Located in Perlis, it houses some 1,500 rescued cats.
The 14 full-time staff members and 35 volunteers of Bustana Kucing are trained to spot abandoned cats with ailments and quickly move them to the sick ward in the sanctuary to be diligently nursed back to good health.
Nursing felines with kittens, on the other hand, is done within the peaceful confines of a separate section.
This is how the public-private partnership in Bustana Kucing is run.
The operation first began with businessman Mohd Taufik Md Zain and wife Noor Azlina Abu Bakar, both 55, at the helm.
They did not have the heart to see cats being abandoned, hence they began rescuing them.
At one point, they had over 100 cats in their home in Taman Harmoni here. Eventually, their efforts caught the attention of Perlis State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) general manager Norsiake Kassim.
Seeing the altruistic sense of having a full-fledged cat shelter in Perlis, Norsiake allocated space for Mohd Taufik to shelter stray cats at the state-owned Perlis Snake and Reptile Farm in Sungai Batu Pahat here. That was in 2015.
Mohd Taufik’s efforts to rescue stray cats was later shared by long-time cat lovers Dr Thomas Jong and wife.
“We provide shelter for these rescued stray cats and those abandoned by their owners,” Mohd Taufik said.
Other than help from Perlis SEDC, Bustana Kucing also receives assistance from Kangar MP Amin Ahmad, who allocates funds for Bustana Kucing to buy cages and necessities.
Mohd Taufik said Bustana Kucing subsequently entered into an understanding with the Kangar Municipal Council to take in stray cats rescued by the council’s workers.
As for the name of the shelter, Mohd Taufik said bustana is the Arabic word for park.
He said Bustana Kucing’s team members are trained to treat sick cats, courtesy of a veterinarian from Jitra.
Bustana Kucing operates purely on funds donated by cat lovers throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and even Europe.
“We need about RM21,500 for our staff allowances and RM5,300 for medication monthly. We spend about RM600 daily to feed the cats.
“We sincerely hope the public will continuously support our efforts to save the strays from irresponsible people and provide them with shelter, food and love,” he said.
He added that cat lovers are welcome to adopt cats from Bustana Kucing.
They only need to choose the cat, fill up some forms, donate some money or cat food to the centre before bringing the cat home.