Met a stray cat that needs rescue? Go to our website to submit a Rescue Request
Adopted a pet through us? Update us with stories and pictures of your pet!
Want to adopt a cat from us? Here's how!
Come volunteer to clean the foster space and play with kitties!
Wish to give to Love Kuching Project? Deposit to our DBS Current Account 027-905975-3


Monday, October 23, 2017

#lovecatsgivelove by joining us as a volunteer!

"I needed something to call my own, I was dedicating too much time to just professional practice and school and needed something more personal to feel more fulfilled." Jialin, HR Volunteer and Foster Care Volunteer


#lovecatsgivelove

All of us at LKP want you to join us in giving love back because we love cats - through becoming a volunteer with portfolio just like us! We have a volunteer family here that we feel really connected to and want to tell you all about it so you would consider taking that step just like we all did.






In this blog post, we will share with you: what we are looking for, the teams in which we are organised within LKP, the portfolios we take up and a simple description of them, and how you can apply to become a volunteer.

We also have an informal recruitment open house on Sunday 29 October at 4pm, before one of our volunteer parties, held at our place in Joo Chiat (yes, see kitties!) especially for those of you interested in joining us as a volunteer. We have never done this before, so yes it is a big step for us too. Because we are a small and closed-admission shelter, we only ever have visits from volunteers, as well as donors and rescuers if they make an appointment - we only have 390sq ft of space including the human bathroom!

We want those of you considering volunteering with us to come and take a look, get the big picture and the details, before committing to a relationship with us and the cats we love. Our boss Elaine, as well as a few other volunteers, will give you "the grand tour" and answer your questions, no matter how many. Afterwards, you are also invited to join us for our volunteer party at the rooftop at 6pm - meet the people you may be working alongside, feel the vibe, eat some free food. You can register your interest for the open house (and get our secret address) by sending an email - see info below.

(Note: this blog post is not a recruitment post for ad hoc volunteering - you can join us for that anytime you are able through filling in this form.)


What we are looking for in a volunteer

Someone who is:
  • Open to learning new stuff
  • Seeking personal growth and meaning through volunteering
  • Works well in teams
  • Cares about humans, too - not just cats
  • Able to commit to the schedule requirements (as per the portfolio you are applying for)
Yep, that's mostly it! Apart from some of the portfolios below that state required technical or professional skills and knowledge, what we really care about can really be distilled down to attitude and availability. We are willing to teach you all we know.




Our Teams and Portfolios

We are currently arranged into 8 teams and are recruiting for all of them. Each team may have more than one portfolio. The teams and portfolios are described below.


The Foster Care Team is primarily looking for Foster Care Volunteers to commit to a once-weekly shift at nights from Monday to Saturday and afternoons for Sundays, on a fixed day every week. There is also a day shift from Monday to Saturday, for administering medication. The day shift Foster Care Volunteers also: top up cat food if necessary, do basic cleaning of the cattery, and clear poop from litterboxes. Day shifts are weekly on at least one day from Monday to Saturday


Foster Care Volunteers are bread-and-butter of Love Kuching Project; they look after the sick or injured stray cats or kittens in the cattery by providing their clinical treatments and medications, nutrition and supplements, cleanliness needs of their cat suites and litterboxes. These skills and knowledge bases will require initial training sessions, and continual learning and development.



The Rescue Team follows up with the Rescue Requests that the public submits to us via our website, which feeds to the team's Slack channels. The processes for managing Rescue Requests are carried out on tech platforms such as Trello which, like Slack, is available both on mobile and desktop. 


Rescue Volunteers need to contact these rescuers as and when they can after viewing the Rescue Requests; the liaison work is done remotely during free times the volunteers are able. Liaison with the rescuers is for finding out more details about the cats, ascertain whether the cases are the kind we take in, and if not, advise the rescuers on other options. Sometimes the cats need to put on a waiting list first, but either way, Rescue Volunteers will assist in the admission process to our cattery, as well as the discharge if applicable, at times convenient for both the volunteer and the rescuer, such as after work hours or on weekends as and when needed. 


The team is also looking for ERF Volunteers: our Emergency Rescue Fund (ERF) is available for rescuers who cannot afford to pay for the vet fees, but are able to foster the stray cat in their own home after the vet visit, or there is someone available from our Foster Network. ERF Volunteers meet the rescuers at our partner vet - The Animal Clinic at Telok Kurau - and decide on the diagnostic tests and treatment options, as presented by the vet. You will need to be free during opening hours of the clinic: Mondays to Fridays morning till night, Saturday till 5pm, preferably also during some daytime slots in the week in case of emergency cases. You should have some basic understanding of veterinary care for cats, that will be necessary for deciding how to spend the donors' funds to yield the greatest benefit for the cat without any unnecessary costs that do not add value to the care of the cat.



"I want to do whatever I can to help as many cats as I can for as long as I can." Esther, Assistant Foster Care Manager (Admin)



The Outreach Team handles our animal-assisted activity i.e. cat therapy programme where we bring the love of cats to humans that need it. The team requires Outreach Volunteers who have schedules allowing free weekday timeslots for cat therapy sessions, as many VWOs and organisations often require our service during weekdays and not just weekends, where we already have support of ad hoc volunteers. The team also showcases the therapy cats during pet events that LKP gets invited to, and these are often on weekends. You need not have your own cat to be assessed for suitability for therapy, nor even have a cat at all (yet!) as you can assist in handling kittens awaiting adoption at our cattery - we need a minimum 1:1 ratio of humans to cats during therapy sessions.

We are also looking to expand the Outreach team next year by adding another programme that also involves using the love of cats to benefit humans. We don't have all the finer details yet, but it is about mentoring and facilitating service-learning in young people doing a volunteer attachment with LKP. You can either assist in helping to research and develop this new programme, administrating it with the partner organisations and the volunteers involved, or be one of the mentors - for which you should preferably have a weekday daytime slot available weekly. Enquire more about this through emailing Elaine at elaine@lovekuchingproject.org



The Operations Team, or soon to be renamed as the FLOAT team next year encompassing the following portfolios: Facilities Management, Legal, Operations, Accounting and Admin, and Tech.


Two of the portfolios are new:

Facilities Management Volunteers are required to be in charge of the maintenance of our cattery's general facilities (e.g. aircon, air purifier filters, plumbing, fridge, fish tank and so on) through scheduling or even doing hands-on servicing and repairs. You will need to be at the cattery when vendors/contractors you schedule maintainence work for are on site, as well as for the ad hoc repair work. You should be pretty handy with maintaining indoor residential facilities and appliances.

The Legal portfolio is not about pro bono legal services, but you should know how to research statutes online and draft up simple agreements. We need this portfolio because we are ramping up our corporate governance in preparation for moving from registered society to registered charity status in 2019. This work is mostly remote, with some team meetings scheduled based on team members' availability.


Existing portfolios the team is recruiting for:

Accounting Volunteers, who need basic knowledge of financial statements such as income and expenditure. Familiarity with IRAS regulations on registered societies and charities will be a plus. You will be using the accounting software Xero. The work is a combination of remote work and work from the cattery where the files are.

Admin Volunteers are people who deal with filing, paperwork - both actual and virtual paper, processes that keep us "business-as-usual" You may also need to help input data to help the Accounting Volunteers as well as assist in administration of operational processes with the Tech Volunteers. This as well as the filing work requires time spent at the cattery once every 2 weeks at a time and day you are able to make it.


Tech Volunteers, for helping us move completely onto tech platforms, beyond just email and Slack assistance. This is to improve productivity in every team and among teams. This enables volunteers to do their job more easily, with less frustration but greater result, especially since time is extra-scarce for a volunteer-workforce. This work is mostly remote, with some team meetings scheduled according to every attendees' convenience.






The HR Team (that's us putting up this blog post!) is named "Human Resources" instead of "Volunteer Management" which is more commonly used in voluntary organisations, because we value the humans in LKP as much as the cats we serve, and see them as more than just volunteers - they are family to us. The HR team's purpose is to build and protect our LKP family culture, because it is unique and special for us. HR Volunteers take care of recruitment of volunteers, and integration of new volunteers; performance management to help volunteers know what they are doing well, very well, or need to improve in; learning and development administration support for all the teams; and care for the humans in LKP through organising events for the volunteers, giving volunteers appreciation gifts, encouraging self-care and care for one another through our #volliecare Slack channel and soon to come, a newsletter. Work is mostly done remotely, with occasional team meetings that are scheduled according to the team members' availability. We also have a nice boss, by the way...




"The vibe is different here... people are engaged, involved... open, relatable, fun and not intimidating."  Joh Ju, Events Manager




The Events Management Team plans, manages and carries out all external events in our calendar. These events include those that are solely planned by LKP, e.g. Tea With Cats at the cattery; pet events that we get invited to, where we have a booth to showcase our therapy cats and do some fundraising; also events in which we collaborate with other organisations. The Events Management Volunteer in charge of a specific event in the calendar needs to anchor the conceptualisation of the event theme and programme and plan for all aspects of the event, such that the other team members know how to assist the lead volunteer. Other aspects include: liaison with vendors and sourcing for corporate sponsors if applicable, coordinating with Marketing for the social media campaign for the event, preparing the logistics necessary. You also need to take charge of the transport of logistics to and from the event location if it is not held at LKP, ensure venue set up and be the point person for liaison with vendors, external organisers and other partners, and with LKP volunteers who may be helping out during the event itself. These events are normally held during weekends. You should have some experience with events management, either through your work or in your previous volunteering and CCA experiences.

We are also looking for a team manager for the EM team, as our current moves to a different portfolio next year. This is our first time recruiting for a managerial portfolio externally. You will be expected to perform the job of an Events Manager Volunteer in part, as well as be in charge of team management. All the volunteer managers are part of our Vanguard team, which is the support network and platform for leadership development. Vanguard meetings take place on the first Saturday of every month



The Fundraising Team handles the posting of fundraising appeals online, engagement with donors (saying "Thank you cat angel!") and is the liaison for merchandise partners that wish to donate to us. These are our three main income streams that we have developed alongside the LKP brand, with online appeals yielding the highest return. We want to scale up our efforts in these three areas, but it depends on how many Fundraising Volunteers we have, as the work is fundamentally people-centred. You will need to do writing of online appeals to post via blog and social media, manage fundraising campaigns, write and send out thank you emails, texts, and cards to our donors alongside their receipt (not tax-deductible) if they request it, as well as acknowledge receipt of their gifts. For merchandise partnerships, you will have to assist in reposting the merchants' campaigns for us onto our own social media channels. The work is mostly remote.

The Marketing Team
 has two portfolios: Content Creation, and Multimedia Production, and the team serves to manage the LKP brand. Content Creation Volunteers do so by writing blog, web and social media stories, and are also involved in engagement with our existing online audience, and in growing this audience. You need to be good at writing, and work is a combination of remote work as well as attending events and programmes for 'live' social media reporting. Multimedia Production Volunteers need to be proficient in one of the following mediums: design for both print and web, videography, and photography. You will be required to create works for various campaigns, which is a also a combination of both remote work and attendance at events, programmes or being at the cattery. For both portfolios, as Marketing Volunteers you will be from time to time designated as Campaign Manager for various projects and events both within the team and in collaboration with other teams. 






Interested?

To apply for any one or more of the above portfolios, write an email to humans@lovekuchingproject.org with the following information:


  • Self-intro: Are you working, or studying, or both? What is your area of work/study? Do you have experience with pets or volunteering, and how were those experiences? Tell us all about who you are, we want to know you!
  • Strengths: What are you good at? These can be both technical or professional skills or innate strengths that may or may not seem related to the portfolio you are applying for. We believe that everyone has their own unique combination of strengths. Describe them to us.
  • Interests: Which portfolio/s are you interested in? And tell us why, too. Apart from the LKP portfolios described above, tell us about other things that interest you too. These may be what you are interested in learning, or area you wish to grow in personally or professionally, or simply your hobbies.
  • Passions: Why volunteering, why LKP, and why now? What drives you? What do you believe in? How does LKP's work relate to your own personal beliefs? What are your personal thoughts regarding animal welfare and social causes? In LKP, we believe that the portfolio you take on, whether it exists already or needs to be created for you, should be something you are deeply passionate about doing.
  • Schedule/availability: Are you able to commit to volunteering in the portfolio you are interested in, in terms of your time? We do not want your volunteer work to overshadow your health and your family and loved ones, but LKP commitment comes closely below those priorities.
  • Portfolio-specific requirements (if any), that you fulfill.
After the initial email conversation, you may be required to do an online video chat via Google Hangouts/Skype.

If you wish to come for this Sunday's recruitment open house, indicate your interest in the email too!

Oh by the way, tell all your cat-loving cats about this. We gotta catch 'em all. Share! Retweet! Favourite! Repost! Thank you!








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 via Polypet
Please email fundraising [at] lovekuchingproject.org after giving.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Debut: Three Kittens from Kallang

Our latest three debutants were discovered, motherless, in the carpark of Kallang theatre when they were just five days old in end May. Their rescuer kept them warm and passed them to our foster care volunteer on the same day, who hand-raised them at home until the cattery’s kitten suite freed up in September. You’ve seen glimpses of them at our events, you may even have held them or given them a stroke or two. Now they are ready to meet the world and join their forever families!

Ida

Ida is very affectionate and just wants to cuddle up on your face. Of the three, she is the most dependent on human contact, and when she wishes to be picked up and cuddled, she will tell you so very loudly. She loves having her face cupped in your hands while you rub her cheeks gently, and will purr endlessly when you do that. This little debutante really knows the spa life is where it’s at.


Ida’s favourite sort of toy is the kind she can kick around and chase on the floor. She once leapt off some furniture onto the top of a door and had to ask for help getting down, then did it all over again. That said, she is generally well-behaved, which (for a kitten) is saying a lot!


She took some time to get used to the cattery, but Poe helped her along by smacking her once or twice, which shook the foster-homesickness right out of her. Ida gets along well with older cats as she submits easily. She would do well in a household with doting humans who can give her the attention she craves.

Edith

Edith was the first of her litter to toddle beyond her fosterer’s room while her siblings were still stumbling around in the early phases of kittenhood. Her curiosity has certainly led to things being knocked over and kittens being stuck in small spaces! Edith would do well with a playmate to indulge her playfighting habit and keep her out of trouble. This cheeky adventurer had a funny habit of running away with the kitchen sponge and her fosterer had to hide it in various spots to thwart her sponge thievery.

But Edith knows how to love as hard as she plays. Like her sister, she loves to snuggle. Her signature move which makes all the humans swoon is kneading and suckling in your shirt, then softly meowing at you and curling up to sleep under your chin with her purr motor running. She is aware of her charms and will be generously unfazed if you bury your face in her soft tummy fur. 


Edith's charm and moxie is sure to turn the most skeptical of housemates into cat lovers. Just make sure to give her plenty of playtime and hide your kitchen sponges and you'll be rewarded with a purring scarf with a Zorro mask. Very fetching.

Miles



Our final debutant is technically a kitten but has been described as “a tiny old man.” He likes looking out the window, rolling around in sunbeams, and curling up next to or on near someone’s butt. He’s very chill…except when you get between him and his food. Miles loves his food. Once, Miles sniffed out an unattended packet of sample kibble and he munched through a cloth bag and plastic packaging just to get to it.


The most independent of the bunch, Miles will wander over for a cuddle or snooze and walk away when he’s done with laptime. But when his kitten side emerges, his favourite toys are feather toys that he can jump to chase. This mellow fellow with an old soul would do well in a laidback household where he can get an equal balance of personal time, playtime, and snuggletime.


All three love being cuddled and held, and have been socialised to get along with other cats. They have good appetites and will sometimes follow humans around for a bit of attention or to see what you're up to. Other times, they will be found sleeping in a pile of gently breathing kitten bellies. If you’re really lucky, once in a while all three will squeeze onto your lap and gaze at you while you talk, looking for all the world like they only have eyes for you.

These debutants are looking for forever families who will love and care for them as they grow into the cats they were meant to become. They have been dewormed and vaccinated and are well-socialised for home life.
Interested adopters should read and follow our adoption guidelines. If Diana thinks you could be a good fit, she will arrange an audience between you and the debutant/s so you can check each other out. (As we are all volunteers with day jobs on top of shelter work, we ask for your patience if we take a few days to respond.)

Can’t adopt? Please consider donating and sharing our donation appeals. As a tiny non-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 send us canned food or pine litter through Polypet.

You can also volunteer with us! Sign up for a one-time play/clean shift, or email humans [at] lovekuchingproject.org for more on volunteering with one of our teams.


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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

[Adopt] 5 kittens in a basket


By Halima

Once again, we seem to have more than a handful of kittens with us at the cattery or with fosterers and 5 of them are ready for adoption!

Let’s meet them!

The 3 P(ea)s in a Pod - Poppy, Pudding and Puddles

Three tiny black kittens were found covered in grass and mud after a downpour, near Tan Tock Seng. They were probably just a few days old seeing how their eyes are still closed and they had no teeth just yet.

As they needed to be fed every two hours and continuous care, they were taken in by one of our regular fosterer till they are weaned and their immune system is stronger.

Once they were weaned, and could eat wet food independently, they were brought back to the cattery to be socialized.

[clockwise] Poppy, Pudding and Puddles all owning the chair at the cattery.

Puddles and Pudding are snuuglebugs and would love a cuddle or two.

Poppy is the more adventures of the trio, and also first to get to the food!

Me love playtime!

[Poppy] Being a meowdel is hard work, I am starting to feel sleepy. [Pudding] Eyes bright, chin up, man i look good!

Their stay at the cattery wasn’t always smooth sailing with Pudding and Puddles contracting an infection and needing a short stay at the vet.

After that, they started sporting cuts at the eye area which we suspect came from roughousing with the other kitten at the cattery, Damai.

With regular care and medication, the cuts soon healed up and we were so excited at the thought of them heading to their forever homes. However, we found diarrhoea in their litter boxes!

Kittens who grew up without their mother’s milk have weaker immune system and this makes them susceptible to sickness.

After all the ups and downs, they are all in the pink of health now. Having been dewormed and vaccinated, they finally received the green light for adoption!


Next up, Damai!

Damai came to us when he was approximately a month old presenting with a flat rib cage, which worried the volunteers as they were not quite sure how to handle him.

Adopt me……*stares deep into your soul*

But, Damai doesn’t seem to be too bothered by this and is as high energy as any kitten can be. He is also a cuddlebug who has a very loud purr and will fall asleep in your arms too!

Time for a kittynap to recharge those batteries zzZzZzzzZZ!

But it isn’t long till he is up and about on his next big adventure.



Unfortunately, Damai also contracted the same infection as Puddles and Pudding and while he was at the vet, charmed them too.

You can’t run away from me!

He is now well and back to his speedster self, dashing around the cattery and playing with the other kittens.

If you are looking for a high energy cuddle bug, Damai might just be the one for you.

You know you love me!

Last but definitely not the least, we have Oscar from City Square Mall.
Can you please take my best side?

He was found without a mother and due to his young age, he too had to stay with fosterers.

We advocate fostering for young kittens as in the crucial first months of their lives, home-fostered kittens get more care and aren't housed near our other sick cats also have better chances of growing up healthy.

After he was all grown up, he came over to stay at the cattery and to be socialized.

I think Imma just stay up here for a bit, the floor is too full of crazy kittens.

While he loves humans, and would climb onto your shoulders and nuzzle your hair, he wasn’t too keen on being around other kittens and would hiss at them.

Hold me, hug me, feed me, love me…….

Now he generally gets along with the kittens but sometimes he prefers to ignore them.

Who are you?! (Oscar meeting his new cage-mate, PJ)

If you’re interested in adopting any of the kittens, please read the 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.

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 marketing, 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.


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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

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.


Interested?
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.





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