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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

[Volunteer] Recruitment: Executive Assistant

About volunteering in LKP
In Love Kuching we always have ad hoc volunteering opportunities such as play/clean volunteering. However the dynamo of the organisation is really our team of long-term volunteers whom we call volunteers with portfolio (yes, we took the idea from government!) Our organisation is structured like many others: division of labour into various departments, such as front-line work e.g. Foster Care, and back-end corporate services such as Marketing.

Yes! We volunteer to be slaves to these cuties...

About the Executive Assistant role
We are always looking to recruit more talent into our fold. This post is about our need to recruit another Executive Assistant. We presently have only one EA, and now need another as we continually expand our work.

Image credit: dreamstime.com

What does an Executive Assistant do? The work is somewhat like that of the secretaries to CEOs or Chief of Staff to US presidents: a combination of administration and coordination of strategic projects and processes, that are necessary to improve the productivity of our work for the cats we serve.

You will be assisting a member of the senior management, in the portfolios they are serving in. Our current Executive Assistant is attached to Diana who is managing Foster Care and Operations. You will be attached to our president Elaine Chiam, who is presently involved in senior management portfolios such as leadership development; she is also hoping to immerse in other portfolios such as fundraising when we can successfully recruit a new Executive Assistant.

Requirements for the role of Executive Assistant
You will be someone who has either interest in or experience with management functions such as coordinating projects, programmes and processes. You could be someone who works in such a role in your day job, or someone who studies or enjoys learning about nonprofit management.

As an Executive Assistant, you are a natural achiever, someone who makes great ideas happen from concept to completion. You are a doer. You enjoy making new things happen for the cause of animal welfare. Some of these are big tasks, but there will be humble errands too. You love to help others achieve their goals, not just your own. Our first Executive Assistant, Yishu, sees himself as a minion to cat minions.

In LKP, everyone pitches in

Because you will be helping Elaine in taking care of the leaders of LKP — the core people who do the most work in the organisation — you are inclined towards improving leadership capacities. You not only want to serve cats, you also want to show your appreciation for those who volunteer to serve cats. You want to help them achieve more by enacting new practices that can boost their skills, make their work more efficient, and motivate them continually for the long haul.

You do not have to commit to a roster; work will either be done on your own or in meetings with that you help to arrange. A lot of work will be done via direct messages and emails.

Requirements for all LKP volunteers with portfolio
Your mindset is what we recruit from. We want people who are initiated: you will always take responsibility to do what is required of you, and even more. You are also someone loyal to the LKP brand: how and who we rescue, how we spread awareness through programmes like cat therapy. We love people who are positive, who radiate energy and commitment. You won't be too afraid of failing, and are open to hearing constructive feedback. You are teachable, and willing to learn and grow in your strengths.

It is about the attitude, not your qualifications

What you will gain as an LKP volunteer with portfolio
Many volunteers say that LKP is their second home, their safe place, where they can relieve the stresses of daily life. This is what we want for you too. LKP is a fun, loving, and diverse family of cat lovers who are positive thinking and full of energy.

Happy crazy cat-loving LKP family

What you will learn as an Executive Assistant
Apart from the team managers, the Executive Assistant role is the only one that gives you the most face-time to learn from the best folks in Love Kuching. You will be coached as you work, and mentored in your personal development goals. Also, you will have a direct role in making great things happen for not only LKP, but the landscape of the animal welfare group sector.

If you think you might be our new Executive Assistant, write an email to elaine@lovekuchingproject.org and tell Elaine your interests, your educational qualifications, your work and/or volunteering experiences, your passions. Ask any questions you would like about this recruitment if you need to.

If you know someone who fits this description, send them this recruitment post and matchmake us please!

[Volunteer] I did it once, I did it twice and I’ll do it again.

by Suryati

It was a late Saturday afternoon when I arrived at the designated spot as requested. I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first time. All I knew was that I wanted to be a part of it.
Sounds like a cheesy mystery novel but that was how I felt the first time I arrived at LKP’s shelter as an ad-hoc volunteer for the play/ clean session.  Most of its resident kitties were out that day for an event. There were only 3 cats left at the shelter – 2 adults (Poe and Bo) and a newly-rescued kitten (Emily). The shelter was much calmer than usual.
On that day, I was the only ad-hoc volunteer and altogether there were 5 of us. I started by acquainting myself with the cats there. Poe is a timid adult Tuxedo who was a bit fearful of my presence. Bo, who had health concerns, preferred to be left alone. And Emily captured my heart. She is very “manja” with everyone and ever-so-ready to cuddle with the volunteers.

Once the meet-and-greet the cats was completed, I set about helping with the chores. Having had cats for the past 20 years (I’m currently a cat-mom to a 15-year old cat diva at home), I am familiar with cleaning up after them. I started with cleaning the cages and wiping them clean. Then making sure that they have clean drinking water (my cat diva has trained me to a point where I have to give her water fresh from the tap each time she wants to drink).
In between the cleaning, I was also playing with Emily and observing Poe and Bo. What I saw Bo did made me laugh out loud. While all the volunteers were busy with the chores, Bo quietly crept out of his opened cage and on to the floor using a step stool. He walked stealthily to a cushioned cat bed that was placed on a book shelf and made himself comfortable. What he didn’t realise was that the flower pattern on the bed was so incongruous to the grumpy expression on his face!

My treat for the day was to have Emily curled in my lap once the cleaning was done. She stepped on to my lap (I was sitting on the step stool), turned a few times to find a comfortable position, curled into a ball and promptly fell asleep.   
I enjoyed myself so much at LKP’s play/ clean session that I signed up for it again. There were more cats at the shelter this time. I was greeted at the door by Aiko (one of the kittens that I’ve read a lot about on LKP’s Facebook and whom I wanted to meet). He was waiting for me behind the closed door, sniffing and circling my ankles when I entered the shelter and then urging me to play with him.

There were also 4 other kittens at the shelter – 3 black kittens (I could not tell them apart) and a white and brown playful kitty called Damai. Cleaning up is not so straightforward when you have 4 little balls of energetic fluff zipping around the floor and being interested in the broom and dustpan. They were curious about everything that the volunteers were doing.
The highlight of this second play/clean session for me was when I was cleaning the kittens’ eyes and ears. My philosophy for cleaning a cat’s eyes and ears is to make it as enjoyable as possible for the cat. That way, it becomes a win-win situation for the cat and owner – the cat will look forward to cleaning his/ her eyes and ears, the owner does not have to chase the cat around the house to do this. I applied this philosophy on the kittens at the shelter.
With the help of another ad-hoc volunteer, we started cleaning Damai’s eyes and ears first. Damai was quite boisterous and took some time to settle down. After several gentle ear massages, he sat quietly on the table, started purring and submitted willingly to my care. Next in line was one of the black kittens which, showed the same behaviour as well.  
However, the second black kitten didn’t quite behave in that manner. First, he struggled more and didn’t want to stay still. We finally managed to get him stretched out (on his own accord) on the table and started to clean his eyes. When that was completed, I started cleaning his ears with a gentle massage. His eyes soon closed and in the next minute his head flopped down on to the table. His body became limp.
The other volunteer and I looked at each other. We weren’t quite sure what just happened. We nudged his limp body but there was no response even though he was still breathing. Both of us decided to gently lift our hands off his body to see whether there was a reaction. Still no movement. He remained motionless. We called his name a few times. He still did not move or acknowledge us.
Suddenly, after the third time we called his name, he sat up and shook his head twice. He blinked blearily at us. He had fallen asleep while having his ears cleaned! (This had never happened to me before!) It was hilarious and had the volunteers burst out laughing.

I’m definitely volunteering again at LKP for another play/clean session.
[Update: Bo has crossed the rainbow bridge and I am glad that he is no longer in pain. I’ll always remember him seated with nonchalance on that flower cat bed. Emily has since been adopted and found her furrrever home. Hurrah!]
To sign up for a play/clean session, you can check out lovekuchingproject.org/volunteer.php
Reasons why you should sign up for the play/ clean session:  
  • You love cats but can’t keep them due to some constraints.
    Example: a family member may be allergic cats; your mom makes you choose –  either you stay (and the cat goes) or you go (and the cat stays)!
  • You love cats but have a busy schedule, and can’t commit to the responsibility of keeping a cat.
  • You want to volunteer and do your part in taking care of the cat community in Singapore but you can’t commit to a regular schedule.
  • You are not a cat person but you are interested to get to know them better.
  • You just want to play with the cats.

Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our Love Kuching Project DBS Current Account 027-905975-3 or via credit card.
Donate food or litter to us at charity rates with free delivery via Pawfection
Please email fundraising [at] lovekuchingproject.org after giving.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Sunday, February 19, 2017

[Adopt] Aiko and Aimi from Toh Guan estate

Aiko and Aimi were rescued from Toh Guan industrial estate. We were up to our ears in kittens in November, but the area is very dangerous for cats and we just about managed to take them in with the help of a #FosNet fosterer.  The mother cat, who was named Akemi (meaning bright beauty in Japanese), was in the process of moving her litter of newborns from her birthing nest in a warehouse to a warm spot under a truck when the truck drove off. One kitten was taken in by the truck driver and two were left behind in a shuttered warehouse, but soon rescued by Akemi with the intervention of a human rescuer. Akemi was soon trapped by the rescuer so that she could nurse and raise the remaining two kittens, who were named Aimi and Aiko by their fosterer.

Akemi is terrified of humans

Tiny Aiko

Tiny Aimi

The kittens were so little that their umbilical cords hadn’t even fallen off yet. Thankfully, Akemi accepted them and they benefited from the nutrition and antibodies in their mother’s milk. She also taught them cat skills like grooming, using the litter box properly, and playing well with other cats. Akemi remained extremely feral and terrified of humans, and preferred to stay hidden in her carrier with scary hisses and claws out when humans came into the room. Fortunately her kittens took well to humans and explored their surroundings bravely, even interacting reasonably well with their fosterer’s dog. Akemi was spayed and released after she had weaned her kittens.

Aimi at 3 weeks

Aiko is the chubbier tabby boy, and his name means love child. He loves to play tag and tackle his sister. He learned from his mom to hiss at the foster dog, but that bad habit it slowly fading. Aimi, whose name means beauty, is a tortioseshell kitty with a sweet temperament to match her name. She was the first to explore her surroundings and go up to meet her foster humans. Both kittens and their mom suffered from bouts of ear mites and fleas, which were treated with Revolution, medicated baths, as well as cedar oil, which worked particularly well.

Aiko at 1 month-old
Both kittens are well socialised and love to tumble and play together. As kittens, they would need a good deal of daily play time, and so would ideally be adopted together or into a house with other playful cats. But they are generally well-behaved and make also the cutest chirping noises. Both are extremely loving kittens who love to keep humans company, offering non-stop purrs and lots of headbutts. They love human contact, snuggling up to humans for petting and cuddles. You can see more of them in this video, made by their fosterer. (Plokoon, the ginger adult cat seen playing with Aiko at 2:55, is a foster cat for Cat Welfare Society too). 

Aiko and Aimi were even featured in the most recent edition of Pets Magazine (Feb/Mar 2017)! You can see a preview of that article here, and read the full story on pages 42-43 in the magazine. 

Their fosterer and Akemi have been through a lot raising Aimi and Aiko from wee newborns to healthy, strong, three month-old kittens. They are now on a diet of raw meat and goat’s milk and have been dewormed and given their first round of vaccinations. It’s time for them to go to their forever home!

If you’re interested in adopting one or both of them, please read the info on the adoption page carefully. Besides these two, special needs kitten Wobbles is still up for adoptionSend your responses to the questionnaire and indicate which kitten/s you are interested in visiting to Diana at adopt@lovekuchingproject.org. She will screen your responses and contact you for a visit if you are suitable. 

Can’t adopt? Please consider donating and sharing our donation appeals. As a tiny, not-for-profit shelter, we rely on donations and volunteers in order to keep rescuing and rehabilitating community cats that need help. Rent and medical bills are high and any amount helps.
You can also volunteer with us! We need more volunteers in communications, outreach and events, and our main work, foster care (weekly shifts doing shelter maintenance and clinical care for the cats). If you want to help with outreach (i.e. cat therapy!), email outreach@lovekuchingproject.org. If you can't commit to regular volunteering but still want to help, try the ad hoc clean/play shifts.

Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our Love Kuching Project DBS Current Account 027-905975-3 or via credit card.
Donate food or litter to us at charity rates with free delivery via Pawfection
Please email fundraising [at] lovekuchingproject.org after giving.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

[Adopt] Seven kittens in search of forever homes

If you don't adopt these kittens, they'll become Echo's posse and together they will be unstoppable.
[The info on Wobbles has been updated as of 3 February. The other kittens in this post have been adopted.]

It’s that time of the season when we have kittens coming out of our ears and they’re all looking for good forever homes! Right now we are fostering twelve fourteen kittens in total and four are looking for homes.

Wobbles came first. She was rescued from a drain in Sims Drive in early October. She was extremely wobbly and hid in her litter box a lot. Her shakiness was probably due to an infection she contracted after her early kittenhood, and she was treated with strong antibiotics, which helped her condition a lot. Despite this, she had no problem with cuddles, and purred when you pet her. When let out of the cage initially, she preferred hiding in corners and under the cages. Slowly she started playing on her own with a mousey on the cat tree and a ball on a track, and we incorporated playtime into her rehabilitation to help her gain muscle tone. The arrival of the Star Wars kittens brought out more of the play in her and she started playing and chasing them out in the open. She grew to love the cat tree and looked up to the former boss cat like Echo is her leader. 

In mid-December, Wobbles had a relapse and almost didn't make it. She was hospitalised first at our regular vet clinic The Animal Clinic (Katong) and later at Mt Pleasant. After strong antibiotics and some liver medication, she turned around and started to stand up. She has since been fostered by three different volunteers and has rehabilitated well. She was too weak to stand at first but with care and physiotherapy she regained the muscle strength she lost when she relapsed, but now walks around with a crooked but determined gait.

At 6 months old, Wobbles has grown into a confident but sweet-tempered little lady with a cute round muzzle and expressive, gold-green eyes. She is playful, and loves head and butt rubs. She still wobbles somewhat and is not always graceful; she'll tumble occasionally when she jumps about but will get right back up. Home fostering has also brought out the extreme cuddlebug in her! She is happily a lap cat and will sleep in your arms or the crook of your neck. She will also tolerate belly rubs when she is in the mood. Her food-motivatedness is useful for encouraging her to use her muscles. 

Since her relapse, Wobbles has had small spasms suggesting that her neuro issues will remain over the course of her life. The last relapse may also have damaged her hearing, and her fosterer noticed that she has had some mood swings possibly related to her spasms. She may always be a little wobbly, but that’s what makes her special. As long as she does not climb to a high place without a route down, she’ll be okay. She gets along fine with other cats and humans, including children, and will do fine in either a solo or multi-cat household, and has gotten along well with adult female cats especially.

Wobbles is looking for someone who will understand that she is a special needs cat. Her neuro issues may continue to affect her both in daily life and in sickness. She may need extra medical attention if her condition changes, although at present it only affects the stability of her walking and possibly her moods. Getting adopted is essential to her quality of life: she has adapted well to life in a home and it is too risky for her to return to a shelter full of sick cats as vets have not isolated the factors (if any) that trigger relapses. Wobbles has been fighting hard to live since she was a small kitten, and her life expectancy may well be shorter than normal cats, but a forever home would ensure that she lives a good and happy life. 

[Adopted] The next kitten to arrive was Dot. Dot was found at a busy traffic junction with no mother in sight. She was in good health when found, albeit a little hungry. She was fostered by a Foster Care volunteer and developed a good appetite, which persists now: she purrs when she thinks she will get food!

Dot is a feisty little kitten who likes to think she's the boss. She's very playful and quick, especially if there is food around. She has a very cute little meow that she uses liberally, and at times very loudly. She loves to climb, and will climb everything from pants legs to cat trees to furniture. Once she's tired herself out she will settle down for a purry cuddle with you and loves the occasional tummy rub. 

This elegant black kitty with a tiny tuft of white on her chest has always taken well to humans and interacts well with her host cat, sometimes purring when she sees him. She fares less well with the kittens at the shelter as she is not used to their energy, but as she already has experience in a multi-cat household she will likely be fine with other cats.

[Adopted] Soon after, we received Pi and Po, two jet-black kittens who were rescued from a carpark in Pasir Panjang. The sister Pi has a longer tail and whiskers while her brother Po has a shorter tail and whiskers. They were fostered by an Outreach volunteer and had a therapy cat for a foster sister because we like to start socialising the kitties for greatness when they are young. They took turns getting sick because their tiny kitten immune systems were weak without their mother’s milk, but they soon recovered with some medical attention.

Recently they’ve come to the cattery. They were wary of the other kittens when they first got to the cattery, but warmed up quickly due to their gregarious personalities. Po especially seems to get along well with kittens whereas Pi prefers older cats. Due to their sociability, they would thrive in multi-cat households. Both love to wrestle with each other and the older cats around them.

These two look like they will grow into the perfect companions, draped over an inviting lap or amusing the humans at the other end of the cat toy. They sure know how to deploy their green eyes to good effect!
Even though they are active kittens, they also crave human attention, and will seek it out by following humans around. They can be held and they will purr if you pick them up as they’re getting sleepy. They cuddle each other to sleep too, and it will melt your heart.

[Adopted] Then came the Star Wars kittens, Kylo, Kenobi and Leia. They were rescued from the Kembangan area where one of the ginger brothers was stuck on a roof! Rescuers got him down and fostered all of them before turning them over to wreak havoc on our cattery. 

Kylo is the ringleader with a corkscrew tail. 

Kenobi is the second-in-command rabble-rouser with a kinky tail. 

Leia is the grey tabby who does love to play (since she’s a kitten) but also is more independent and dare we say, calmer.

All three are intrepid explorers and climb all over the place, meowing loudly for food and chasing each other around. The ginger boys will growl when eating and playing, and are also quite food aggressive. Leia's slightly quieter than her brothers, although she has a certain fascination with the broom. When they’ve finally had enough playtime, they become cuddly, seeking out humans to sit near them. Head and chin rubs will turn on their near-constant purr motor. All three can be picked up for cuddles and will fall asleep in your arms.

Kylo likes to perch on shoulders

The Star Wars trio are curious about adult cats like Ah Niu and Echo, and have even warmed the cockles of Echo’s heart enough to warrant some grooming. They would do well in multi-cat households where they can interact and play with other cats. Single-cat owners would need to ensure adequate playtime.

Po chills out with the ginger brothers Kylo (L) and Kenobi (R)
By now, all the kittens are fed wet food (Addiction brushtail with supplements) twice a day and given dry food (Taste of the Wild kibble) to graze on. They have been dewormed, vaccinated, litter-trained, and socialised. Now it’s time for them to go from the cattery to their forever homes!

Cats are a lifetime commitment, but kittens especially need adequate attention and playtime each day! 
If you'd like to adopt any of the kittens, please read info on the adoption page carefully. Send your responses to the questionnaire and indicate which kitten/s you are interested in visiting to Diana at adopt@lovekuchingproject.org. She will screen your responses and contact you for a visit if you are suitable. 

Outreach boss and Ekiden race leader Cam with the Star Wars trio
If you love cats but cannot adopt, please consider donating and sharing our donation appeals like the Ekiden fundraiser. As a tiny, not-for-profit shelter, we rely on donations and volunteers in order to keep rescuing and rehabilitating community cats that need help. Rent and medical bills are high and any amount helps.

Echo eyes our dwindling vet fund nervously
You can also volunteer with us! We need more volunteers in communications, outreach and events, and our main work, foster care (weekly shifts doing shelter maintenance and clinical care for the cats). If you want to help with outreach (i.e. cat therapy!), email outreach@lovekuchingproject.org. If you can't commit to regular volunteering but still want to help, try the ad hoc clean/play shifts.

Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our Love Kuching Project DBS Current Account 027-905975-3.
Donate food or litter to us at charity rates with free delivery via Pawfection
Please email fundraising [at] lovekuchingproject.org after giving.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram