Oct 2, 2018

Remember last February when Shangri-La at the Fort in BGC was accused of getting pest exterminators to take away the beloved BGC cats?

It seems like the furry felines of BGC are once again threatened, this time by the good ol’ folks of Two Serendra. Netizen Carla Bianca Dado described the grim situation in a Facebook post, explaining that the admins of the condo have banned residents from feeding the stray cats around the area. If caught, they can pay from P1,000 to up to P10,000, as well as be suspended of their privileges for a month.

That’s an incredibly exorbitant fine for just feeding the cat. It’s almost as if the management views cat feeding as a serious crime when it so obviously is not. Dado even points out that people who are caught littering or smoking aren’t even punished like this, so what gives?

Cats of Manila also posted a sign that the management at Two Serendra put up cautioning passersby from feeding the cats. The sign makes it seem as if the cats are being regularly fed and thus may be harmed by “spontaneous feeding,” but the page points out that the old volunteers are no longer allowed to feed the cats. “So if residents of #Serendra are no longer allowed to feed the cats, then who is?”

What’s becoming clearer and clearer is that Two Serendra is getting rid of the cats by starving them away.

What’s going on, BGC?

I went to one of the rescue searches headed by animal rights group CARA Welfare Philippines for the Shangri-La cats (I am not a member of CARA myself, but a friend was), and it was disheartening going from lead to lead under the scorching sun and not finding any of the cats at all. It’s even more disheartening knowing that after doing so much work for those cats (looking for them, trying to educate the Shangri-La admin about how exterminating cats and/or relocating them won’t fix things), something like this could happen nearby so soon after.

I can understand why a residential area will be wary of stray animals. Their residents might be allergic to them. Some animals carry diseases. It’s understandable for a place to try to keep their residents safe, but protecting your residents doesn’t give you a pass to harm animals. The admin can say all they want about how cat overpopulation and rabies are big problems in the area, but as CARA points out in their statement on the matter, “removing the cats and starving them” won’t actually solve anything.

Leila de Lima weighed in on the controversy from her jail cell in Camp Crame. (Let that sink in. This situation is so awful that a woman unfairly imprisoned by the government had to have her say.) She succinctly points out the ethical issues with Two Serendra’s decision to ban cat feeding, writing, “It may sound strange to some, but there is something inherently inhuman about forcing people to ignore their instinct to care for other creatures who are weak, helpless and in need of care.”

What happens when a green building shoos their cats away?

I used to dorm back when I was still in college. The dormitory I stayed in was known for being green (there were plants and trees everywhere), and the cats there liked milling about the gazebo and outside our rooms. However, the admin decided to crack down on the resident felines during my last year there for some reason. Cats that were considered dorm fixtures started disappearing. A litter that my friends and I were looking after one day went missing.

Soon after, rats started appearing in the dorm. Undeterred by predators, the big, giant rodents started appearing where the cats once roamed through. I was planning on staying in my dorm after graduation as I figured out what I wanted to do next, but I called it quits when I hung out in our gazebo and came face to face with a gray rat the size of a three-month-old kitten.

When cats leave, the rats start a’coming, Two Serendra. You might want to rethink your decision to starve the cats if you’re committed to your green spaces.


Featured photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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TAGS: animal rights bgc CARA Welfare Philippines cats cats of manila two serendra