After she finishes her chores at night, she checks her supply of cat food which she bought with her salary as a house helper.
Then she puts some cat food in an eco bag, goes down to the lobby of the building, and walks around the Ortigas area to feed the stray cats.
Teresita “Cita” H. Rodico, 62 years old, does this every night.
Dolly Angeles Puruganan, a woman in her late 50s who had a heart surgery six years ago, also feeds the cats around the area.
Dolly has helped have rescued cats treated for an illness or injury, and has fostered many recovering cats.
Dolly usually meets Cita at her condo and the two women walk around Metrowalk and the streets around their building, calling the cats by the names they gave them. The cats approach the women when they are called by their names.
They also feed “new” cats in the area.
Just a few days ago, they met again at the area and fed the cats. They felt so sad that a lot of cats were so hungry.
“Wala ng nagpapakain sa mga pusa dahil sa lockdown,“ Dolly said.
The offices were closed and only a few humans were in the area. The cats gobbled up the food. It looked like their evening food from Cita and Dolly was the cats’ first meal for the day.
This made the two women more worried for the cats. How will the cats survive the one-month lockdown?
The women decided to continue feeding the cats. Virus or no virus, these two women will find a way for the stray cats to have at least one meal a day— their evening meal. Despite the danger, they will find time to keep as many cats nourished.
Dolly has always been a cat lover.
“My love affair with cats started when I was a kid. Frequent vacations in Ilocos Norte meant I get to play with over 20 cats of my grandmother,” Dolly said.
“In 2007, I cared for three cats in the office. I cried a river when one died. In the same year, I brought home a rescued kitten I named Cookie. I had to lie to my mother. I told her I would only foster the cat. After a few months, she realized I actually adopted the cat,” Dolly said.
In 2014, Dolly had a heart surgery.
“I was scared to go under the knife. But I was more scared that no one will take care of my cat if I die. After surgery, I was bedridden for two months. Depression hit me. I would wake up every hour every night crying. My cat helped me recover. Cookie could sense something was wrong. Cookie would lie down beside me when he sees me crying. It was so comforting,” Dolly recalled.
It was at this time that Dolly discovered and joined the cat lovers’ group Cats of Ortigas whose members feed stray cats in the area, and even rescue injured cats, find adopters for the stray cats, and have them spayed or neutered.
“Feeding the cats there was therapy for me,” Dolly said.
It was in Ortigas where Dolly met Cita who feeds many cats there. After this, they often fed the cats together.
“Cita spends most of her salary on cat food. She is a true cat lover,” Dolly said.
There were also many instances when Cita would knock on Dolly’s door and would tell her about a cat who needs help.
“Cita would also prod me to adopt. If I did what she wanted, I would have a hundred cats by now, “ Dolly said.
Cita feeds till midnight, shared Dolly whose heart condition stops her from feeding the cats every night.
Knowing Cita feeds the cats every night as long as she has cat food comforts Dolly.
However, Cita can only buy a limited amount of cat food with her salary. There are more hungry cats at this time and less humans feeding them. Dolly and Cita fear Cita’s supply of cat food may not be enough to feed the cats every night.
Dolly hopes some cat lovers in the area will also feed the cats, donate some food to Cita who feeds the cats regularly, and help Cats of Ortigas continue to help the strays through feeding, looking for adopters, and having the cats spayed and neutered.
To help Cita feed the stray cats every night, please contact her at +639321828871.
To help Cats of Ortigas, please go to their Facebook group page. DC