How to Properly Rescue a Cat

It isn’t as simple as calling an animal welfare group and asking them to take a stray in.

So you’re on your way to work, and you see a pitiful-looking cat that’s starving, sick, or worse, gravely injured. If you really want to help the poor creature, it isn’t enough to take a photo and email it to an animal welfare group with the subject “please help!”

Animal rights groups like PAWS and CARA aren’t government-funded agencies like the ones you see on TV—they have a limited number of volunteers who hold down day jobs just like you. And more often than not, PAWS’ shelter is too full to accommodate any more animals (CARA does not operate an animal shelter). What’s more, PAWS only has one service van, and with Manila’s insane traffic, they won’t be able to immediately send someone to your area.

As the first person to spot an injured cat, you are in the best position to help your feline friend. Here’s what you can do:

  • According to PAWS, the very first thing you should do is coordinate with the people around (vendors, traffic enforcers, residents etc.) to get the cat out of harm’s way. Try to avoid touching the cat with bare hands, unless you can cover its head with a towel or piece of cloth to keep it from biting you. They suggest sliding a large piece of cardboard underneath the cat, so that you can drag it off the road.

  • If the cat is stuck in a tree, a creek, or some other difficult-to-reach place, call the Bureau of Fire Protection for help at (632) 263-4339. On the off chance that they refuse to help you, report them to the Philippine Animal Rescue Team.

  • If you aren’t comfortable handling the cat yourself, you can call PAWS for assistance. Take note that they will ask you to wait for their volunteer to arrive, accompany the volunteer to the vet, and foster the cat after it is released from the hospital. This means not only feeding the cat, but cleaning its wounds and administering medications.

  • If you have the time and resources, take the cat to the nearest vet for emergency treatment. Call PAWS at (632) 475-1688 so that they can ask the vet to either treat the animal as a charity case, or arrange to pay the vet using PAWS funds. Again, be prepared to foster the cat once it is released from the hospital.

  • If you can’t take the cat to the vet and need to get to an appointment, call PAWS so that they can look for a volunteer to rescue the animal. Make sure to tell people in the area (vendors, guards, traffic enforcers, residents, etc) that you have contacted PAWS. Ask them if they can keep an eye on the cat until PAWS arrives, then get their mobile numbers and give their contact info to PAWS. Leave some food and water for the cat before you go.
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Angelica Gutierrez
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