Rescued Yishun cats still 'severely malnourished'

They were among the 39 cats rescued from a fourth-storey Housing Board flat in Yishun exactly a month ago.

The four cats were still emaciated and sick when they were released yesterday by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to the Cat Welfare Society (CWS), a non-profit organisation run by volunteers.

The felines, each weighing less than the normal weight of 2kg, were taken to James Tan Veterinary Centre on Whitley Road for assessment and treatment.

CWS committee member Veron Lau said: "We are hoping to get their weight back up and ensure they are healthy before we sterilise and vaccinate them. We want them to go to good homes."

The 39 cats, kept in filthy cages, were removed from a three-room unit at Block 207, Yishun Street 21, on Feb 25. Both AVA and CWS learnt of their plight after residents there complained about "faecal odour" from the unit in September last year.

It was after several attempts that AVA managed to contact the flat owner - a hoarder - and removed the cats, which were already in poor condition.

Twenty-five cats had been released to CWS after being under AVA's care.

"Many were severely malnourished. More than half were below 2kg in weight and were at high risk of organ failure," Ms Lau told The New Paper yesterday.

Unfortunately, three of the 25 died while at the vet's and another four from the 14 that were still at AVA also died.

"The four released to us today were not doing too well so we had to take them to Dr Tan to be looked at," Ms Lau said, adding that the remaining cats left at AVA will be released soon.

Ms Lau said while the kind vets at different practices had given "huge concessions to helping these cats, remedying years of neglect does not come cheaply".

RAISING MONEY

"We are raising $10,000 to continue the care for these cats, but with 10 more being released to us, it looks like we have to raise more money," she said.

Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone found guilty of cruelty to animals, including abandonment, can be jailed up to 18 months, fined up to $15,000, or both.

When asked if the flat owner will be taken to task for his cats, AVA would only say that investigations are still ongoing.


This article was first published on March 25, 2016.
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