Forgoing meals to feed stray cats

A cat’s best friend: Loo feeding some of the cats at her home in Jelutong, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Whenever septuagenarian Sally Loo thinks about the stray cats suffering in the streets, her heart aches for them.

But this compassionate 70-year-old doesn’t simply stand by idly; she takes action by rescuing sick and dying felines.

“I can’t just walk by and not do anything. Over the past 10 years, I have taken in countless cats in need, nursing them back to health.

‘’Currently, I have 30 felines living with me as my companions in my rented Jelutong flat.

“They are my life as they bring me immense joy but I wish I could give them a better living environment.

‘’I would like them to have a larger place to run and roam as I find my flat to be a bit cramped but I make do with what I have,” she said in an interview.

Loo, who used to work as a waitress, said there are times when money runs low and that she would have to skip a meal or two or eat cheaper meals so her cats would not go hungry.

“I do not mind eating less as long as my cats are fed. The cost of cat food alone amounts to some RM1,200.

‘’In addition, I have to set aside RM850 for my flat rental and other expenses, totalling about RM3,000 per month.

“I’m not fond of soliciting donations unless I have substantial surgery costs.

“I prefer to sustain my funds through selling used items at the Lorong Kulit flea market (off Jalan Datuk Keramat) on weekends,” she said.

Loo considers herself an independent rescuer, unaffiliated with any organisation and to fund her noble cause, she sells used items such as clothes, electrical goods and shoes at the flea market.

“I have a son who gives me a few hundred ringgit a month. I also have a daughter but she has a family of her own, so she is unable to help me out much,’’ she said.

She firmly believes that all cats are worth saving although it can be financially challenging, particularly when some require surgical procedures.

“Many local veterinarians waive their consultation fees when I bring in sick cats, which is a great help.

‘’However, I still have to bear the cost of medications,” Loo said.

She added that most of her customers are foreign workers and that her best-selling items are usually T-shirts.

‘’But I can usually sell anything in good condition,” she said, adding that she also needs used newspapers and floor absorption pads for the paralysed cats.

Loo said she has a white kitten with heterochromia – a captivating combination of blue and yellow eyes – which she is willing to give to a loving home.

But above all, what she truly needs is a larger space for her cats to play and run freely.

She hopes that someone will come forward to offer her a bigger place either for free or at a nominal rental fee.

Loo also thanked the Spay Adopt Manage Assist (Sama) Society for helping with her veterinary bills when they became too much for her to handle.

Those interested in adopting a cat or donating used items can reach her at 016-420 0963.

Sama is a non-governmental organisation conducting a “trap, neuter and release” programme for stray cats and dogs in Penang.

For more information on the NGO, visit their Facebook page at mibextid=ZbWKwL.

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