I was recently contacted by Paw Pals Animal Rescue (PPAR) and asked if I could lend a hand in getting the word out about their organization to the foreigner community in Shanghai. The animal lover that I am, I’m more than happy to oblige. If you, or anyone you know is a cat lover and wouldn’t mind donating time, money or a warm home; please see the bottom of this post for details on how to get in touch with the group.
PPAR is a Shanghai-based shelter founded in 2007 by a group of individual animal rescuers that did not have a safe place to keep their rescued cats while they looked for people to adopt them. The creation of the shelter allowed the rescuers to help even more animals in need, and has since led to permanent efforts to keep and expand the space, comfort and tranquility of the shelter for all rescued cats and kittens.
The main objective of the group is to help homeless cats in the Shanghai area, providing a midway home for the rescued animals until they are placed in responsible, loving homes. I had a chance to ask Sophia Lin, a senior member of PPAR, a few questions about the organization; here’s what she had to say:
Ryan: Approximately how many cats have been rescued since PPAR was founded, and how many does the group currently shelter?
Sophia: To this date, PPAR has rescued more than 300 homeless kittens and cats. Currently, about 70 cats are waiting for adoption at PPAR.
Ryan: How are the animals usually rescued?
Cats and kittens are rescued in many different ways. Some of them are rescued directly by rescuers affiliated to PPAR while others can be rescued by independent animal rescuers that contact PPAR to board their rescued cats temporarily in the shelter until a loving home is found for them.
These cats and kittens are found abandoned on the street or in a park, hurt or sick, or can be rescued from an animal abuse situation (where rescuers have to negotiate or find a good way to save the animal from further abuse).
In general terms, rescuers will rescue kittens who cannot survive independently, cats who need medical treatment or are affectionate/friendly to human beings.
Ryan: What are the biggest challenges in running the shelter?
Sophia: The biggest challenges are three fold: funding, finding regular volunteers and getting the cats adopted into good safe homes.
We have no sponsors and all the funds to run the shelter come from individual rescuers that pay a basic amount to board their rescued cat at the shelter (300 RMB per cat, monthly), and from senior members of PPAR. Due to the limited resources at PPAR’s disposal, we only have one regular caregiver at the shelter working on weekdays, so the cats are sorely in need of more human contact and socialization.
We would love to have volunteers who are able to come to the shelter regularly to socialize the cats and give them some one-on-one attention. We also need volunteers who can assist us with adoption events.
We need to publicize our adoptable cats/kittens as much as possible so that they can find a responsible loving home in a reasonable time span. Long-term shelter life, regardless of its comfort, can cause big stress in cats as they have to share space with other cats.
Ryan: How can people looking to adopt get in touch with PPAR, or visit the shelter?
Sophia: PPAR shelter is open to visitors every weekend, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. People who want to adopt a cat/kitten from PPAR should contact PPAR through email first. After that a PPAR member will send by e-mail a PDF version of the PPAR adoption requirements. If the interested person understands the responsibility of an adoption and accepts PPAR’s requirements, then PPAR will arrange his/her visit to the shelter and will welcome the person to see, meet and play will all the adoptable cats and kittens.
Ryan: Aside from adoption, are there other ways people can help? Volunteer time or donate money/food/equipment?
Sophia: Yes, aside from adoption, we need all kinds of help from people, including the following:
- Donated funds are used for animal medical care (vaccinations, spay/neuter, medical treatments, etc.) and the daily operation of the PPAR shelter.
- Part-time van (or donated full-time van) to transport animals and/or to help in the rescue of an animal in need.
- Ad space in publications and websites.
- Veterinary medicines and/or services.
- Cat food. Cat litter. Cat scratching posts. Food bowls, litter trays, scoopers. Animal beds/bedding. Pet toys. Towels. Pet brushes.
- Volunteers that speak other languages besides Chinese and English, who can help us to reach out the foreign community within Shanghai.
- Volunteers who can go to the PPAR shelter, to help with cleaning work, groom and pet animals, assist with events, etc.
- Speakers willing to learn about and to go to schools to talk to students/children about PPAR and animal welfare (in English & Chinese languages).
- We need help with translation, proofreading, graphic design, etc. in our website. We also welcome interesting animal stories to enhance our content as well.
- Anyone who can help us to spread the word about animal welfare in their communities and among colleagues, friends, classmates and/or neighbors.
Nonetheless, a person does not necessarily have to be a PPAR volunteer to help animals. Any time you see cruel acts against animals, please intervene, stop the act and advise the person(s) on proper animal care. Tell friends and family members to consider adoption as an alternative to buying pets, as the latter promote the horrible business of puppy/kitten mills and animal cruelty.
It is the responsibility of all of us to lead by example and to keep a pet with love and responsibility. If people can educate their children to care for all animals who share this world with us, then we are helping to create a better future for animals and ourselves.