Avoiding C5 is impossible if one does not want to pass through EDSA. But passing through C5 poses a more painful kind of danger to any animal lover. Seeing helpless, usually days-old kittens abandoned at the center island always breaks any cat lover’s heart.
About a month ago, I rescued a tabby cat from the center island of C5 road in Pasig City, in front of Arcovia City. I have been seeing the tabby cat roaming the center island with a ginger kitten for weeks while I was driving on my way to work in Quezon City. I craned my neck each time I passed by that area, hoping to catch a glimpse of the cat and the kitten. I left food for them as well when the opportunity permitted, given the traffic situation on C5. If traffic is slow-moving, I would park the car at the e-bay (if there’s one or worse, right beside the island) near the cat’s location, turn the hazard lights on, go down, and bring food and water to the cats as fast as I could. If you linger too long in that area, say, five minutes, a tow truck will suddenly arrive with a traffic personnel asking if you are having machine trouble, or worse, a traffic enforcer will ask what you are doing in the area.
During this particular rescue, I initially just wanted to feed the cat but the cat was friendly and hungry, so I quickly grabbed my cat bag from the trunk and asked help from an ambulant vendor to help me get the cat into the bag. It was an easy and successful rescue all done in less than 10 minutes. Did I mention that a tow truck pulled over asking if I was having engine trouble? I didn’t see the ginger kitten then. But days after, I saw the kitten already lifeless under the bushes. My heart was heavy on the way home.
The tabby cat was adopted the day after her rescue! My post on a community Facebook (FB) page had instant fans. I was not aware that the tabby cat was a half-Bengal. This is the fastest adoption I have witnessed so far in my six years of rescuing dogs and cats abandoned along C5 Road.
Pag may lahi, ang bilis maampon pero pag aspin o puspin, maswerte na kung meron din mag-ampon after many weeks. (If the cat has breed, it is easy to find an adopter.)
The half-Bengal cat is now an indoor cat with her adopter, furmama Princess Du. I screen potential adopters before handing over my rescues. I wouldn’t want the cats to end up on the streets again.
In February, 2020, right before the pandemic, I saw another tabby cat lying beside a post under the flyover bridge near SM Aura, Taguig, C5 Road. It was morning and I was on my way to work. Upon spotting the cat, instinct drove me to turn on the hazard lights, stop a few distance from the cat, get my cat bag from the trunk, and thank God, grab the cat uneventfully. Without scaring it away or me getting scratched. That tabby cat had a collar which meant she has an owner BUT was abandoned and left to be another unrecorded road kill.
The rescued cat, Chooby, has been with me for a year now; the heavy dingy collar replaced long ago by a suitable cat collar. She has been spayed as well. She comes home during mealtimes and spends her day on the roof of our neighbor.
Sweet Awra was also rescued from the C5 center island. I spotted her by a curb on the center island near SM Aura two or three years ago. Hence her name. I was on my way home that night. Traffic was very slow and I was able to scoop her to safety before a vehicle could squash her to death. Awra was dirty and had a terrible eye discharge. Some coldhearted person left her at the curb, most likely a motorist, to die.
She stayed with me for only a week. She was too young and her immune system was so weak to fight off worms in her body. The vet said she had feline panleukopenia. She had a seizure right before my eyes. It was a horrible thing to happen to a one-month old kitten. It was heartbreaking that she only had one week to live, to be happy and feel loved.
The most notorious part of the center island where a lot of kittens were found abandoned is near the Lanuza Avenue intersection in Pasig City. Going south, the favorite dumping site is after the traffic lights of Lanuza Avenue intersection, the stretch of center island going to the area of Shell Gas Station. Through the years, I have seen cats roaming the island strip, most probably looking for a way out and looking for food and water. It has been a constant stressor for me every time I spot a cat in that area.
There used to be a family of cats living in a makeshift cage under the mango tree (in front of Shell Gas station) made by a compassionate, cat-loving street sweeper who is called Miss Lucena by folks in the area. The street sweepers eat under that mango tree during their breaks while the cats roam around. I met Lucena Pilande around October to November last year.
Months before this, around June to August, I saw four kittens in the makeshift cage with food scraps. Somebody was feeding them and looking after them. It turned out to be her.
Miss Lucena has rescued many cats from that area and has brought some home. But she can no longer bring the four kittens home as her husband has already complained about the care of cats. A kindhearted cat lover from a cat group helps Miss Lucena buy food and other stuff that the rescues need.
I could not take the four kittens so I took pictures of them and looked for adopters on Facebook. Someone stepped up and was ready to adopt but it was too late. Miss Lucena informed me that some of the kittens got sick while the others were taken by a crazy homeless man who threw them on the street.
Miss Lucena lost her job as a street sweeper last year. The makeshift cage she made has been dismantled.
Last November 2020, she and I must have made quite a sight at the center island, looking for a white cat. It was rainy season so I worried more since the cat had no shelter in that area. It was an unsuccessful rescue.
But a lot of kittens have been rescued. Cee Cee (from C5 Pasig). Mutya (ng Pasig). Amy (Taguig center island) cat. Kalayaan cat (island of Kalayaan intersection in Makati and C5). Lincoln dog (center island near The Heritage Park in Taguig). They are just some of my rescues along the stretch of C5 road particularly in Pasig City and Taguig Some have died. Some are still with me. Some have been adopted by loving furparents and are now enjoying a warm, forever home.
More cats and kittens
It is now 2021. A lot has changed in our world but the situation in parts of C5 in Pasig and Taguig are still the same. Cats and kittens are still abandoned in that area. Rescuers like me still scramble to get them out of there, posting them on social media for adoption. Irresponsible pet owners still abound. Our hearts get broken. This cycle will not end unless more people choose be responsible pet owners.
First, take good care of your pets. Have them vaccinated so they do not get sick. Most owners who surrendered or abandoned their pets said they did not have money for vetting. One who has no money for proper care of a pet should not own one.
Second, have your cats and dogs neutered or spayed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted kittens or pups. Local government units have schedules for “kapon.” Please ask the office of the city vet for the schedule.
Third, never abandon your pet. It is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act 8485) or AWA. Law enforcers must implement the AWA and ensure violators are charged and punished.
There are movements and calls from animal welfare groups to have a more updated, realistic and powerful AWA. There are house bills filed in Congress to revise the present AWA.
As a pet owner and animal lover, you too can break the cycle of mistreatment, abandonment, and neglected cases of cats and dogs; the overcrowding in animal pounds which leads to euthanasia (put to sleep) to decongest; road kills of strays along highways, roads and expressways.
Please do whatever you can to help promote animal welfare in your own home, your own street, your own barangay, your own city. Write your local barangay officials. Better yet, write your mayor regarding animal welfare concerns. Any of these acts helps save a life. Let us be the voice for the voiceless creatures.
For now, I have to figure out a way to get the white cat I spotted at the center island fronting Petron Station in Pasig City.
About the author: Pam is an animal welfare advocate who rescues abandoned cats at the C5 center island. Four of her dogs are rescues while most of her cats are rescues as well. A lot of people mistake her for a vet or doctor for animals but she is actually a doctor for children.
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