Volunteers and the cats at PPAR

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.

Cats resting in the afternoon 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.

PPAR volunteer with her favourite cat

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:

  1. Donated funds are used for animal medical care (vaccinations, spay/neuter, medical treatments, etc.) and the daily operation of the PPAR shelter.
  2. Part-time van (or donated full-time van) to transport animals and/or to help in the rescue of an animal in need.
  3. Ad space in publications and websites.
  4. Veterinary medicines and/or services.
  5. Cat food. Cat litter. Cat scratching posts. Food bowls, litter trays, scoopers. Animal beds/bedding. Pet toys. Towels. Pet brushes.
  6. Volunteers that speak other languages besides Chinese and English, who can help us to reach out the foreign community within Shanghai.
  7. Volunteers who can go to the PPAR shelter, to help with cleaning work, groom and pet animals, assist with events, etc.
  8. Speakers willing to learn about and to go to schools to talk to students/children about PPAR and animal welfare (in English & Chinese languages).
  9. We need help with translation, proofreading, graphic design, etc. in our website. We also welcome interesting animal stories to enhance our content as well.
  10. 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.

Contact PPAR

Contact: Ms. Sophia Lin
E-mail: yelin28@hotmail.com
Address: PPAR Shelter, Jinping Road, Minhang District, Shanghai
Phone: 86-21-5480-1699
Website: http://bbs.movshow.com/forum-204-1.html (Chinese)


  1. Certainly one of the many problems that animal rescue groups face is the fact that many people prefers to buy “pure breed” pets instead of giving a second chance to an animal that has suffered abandonment/neglect/abuse. I hate the idea of buying pets … and the puppy mills are the worst!

  2. Hello Ryan!
    I truly want to thank you publicly for all your support to PPAR. Many cats and kittens are waiting to find good homes, and I am sure this article will help to spread the word about them.
    All the best!

  3. I have been volunteering at PPAR during the week and enjoy it so much. It is a very loving, caring home for the cats. I play with them to aid them in their socialization and make them more adoptable. I have some friends who are also volunteering which makes me feel good that I’m helping. I wish I could do more especially in getting donations to them in the form of food, kitty litter, hair ball preventer, old towels/rags and even a specific cage they need. If anyone knows how I could help them with getting these items, please reply back to this site.

    • Hello Suzanne!
      My name is Alejandra and I am a volunteer for PPAR too.
      It is great to hear that you are enjoying helping the cats and kittens. Too bad that we have not had the chance to meet yet in person. Hopefully soon!!!
      Best regards!

      • Hi Alejandra,
        I hope to meet you sometime also. My friends and I volunteer usually on Tuesday in the afternoon. I have been telling ladies who are members of the American Women’s Club of Shanghai about PPAR and received an encouraging response. Many ladies are very interested in volunteering there. Since many of the ladies return to their home country for some of the summer, there may not be a lot of participation as compared to other parts of the year. In the fall, I hope to become very involved with PPAR along with my friends with helping with donations and other support. I’m very excited about what the fall could bring as far as helping them.
        See you hopefully in a few months if not earlier!

  4. Dear Suzanne,
    How are you?
    Your news about help from the ladies of the American Women’s Club of Shanghai are wonderful! I am very happy to hear that more and more people will be helping PPAR!
    I have to tell you that tonight I asked Sophia Lin for your e-mail address, so soon I will send you message.
    On Sunday May 27th there will be an adoption day organized by the Pet Union Forum and several cats from PPAR will be attending this event … I will send you the flyer by e-mail and all the info.
    All the best!
    See you soon!!!

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  8. hi everyone
    im only in shanghai for few more days but today saw the bad conditions the animals were held at the cricket market in shanghai and it won’t leave my mind, especially one adult cat, a british short hair tabby (same i got back home and love to death!) with the saddest look you have ever seen 🙁
    ive been looking on the internet for things i could do to help and found this
    so,my question, is there anything i can do? to help that cat (there are also several kittens in small cages) or the PPAR?
    thank you for a quick response

    best regards

    • Dear Milena,
      How are you?
      My name is Alejandra Vasquez, and I am a volunteer of PPAR. I totally understand your concern and stress about the situation of the cats and kittens that are for sale in the cricket market. Sadly in China still there is no law against animal cruelty or strict regulation against puppy mills. Consequently, nobody can call the police in cases of animal abuse and/or cruelty because there is no law … and sadly in most cases also the police does not care unless they are forced by strong social pressure to do something.
      Most animal rescue groups in Shanghai have to deal with this “lawless” situation and try to educate people about not buying pets … as it is the only way to solve the problem “in the long run”.
      The downside is that “in the short run” animals like the one you saw suffer very miserable lives and people with no sensitivity towards animal suffering just profit from them.
      As the situation is now … if you buy those cats to save them, then tomorrow there will be new ones enduring the same suffering than the previous ones. So, at the end, by buying them the core problem just gets perpetuated.
      Please, if you need to contact PPAR use the following:

      Website: http://www.pparshanghai.com/

      Email: ppar_sh@163.com

      Weibo: http://weibo.com/ppar

      Wechat: PPAR_sh

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  11. Good morning,
    I’m Paola from Italy currently staying in Shanghai to study Chinese.
    I would not like to bother as I have read the situation with homeless pets in Shanghai is not one of the best.
    But my conscience is telling me I must try at least.
    I study at SISU University and almost everyday I meet a cat in very very bad conditions always mewing when he sees people passing by…it seems it is asking for help.
    Well I would have already done all my best for this cat if I were in my country. Here, I do not know what to do.
    He needs a vet and I do not have a cage where to put it. But this is not a problem at all. Once it is in the cage I have been told no taxi drivers would carry me to a vet with a cat.
    And to what vet? Second, I am here temporarily and I have no possibility to take the cat home with me. Where to leave it? Sure he needs a warm place to live 🙁
    I know, I am asking for the moon….
    Any suggestions is highly appreciated.
    Many thanks

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