Ted at the factory with a worker. The workers took turns to carry him around for fear that other cats would hurt him further.
Arriving at the industrial estate, I was taken aback by the environment. I have never seen this part of Singapore. The living conditions there are very unappealing by Singaporean standards, possibly even revolting. I have a deep love for cats and have always empathized with the neighbourhood strays but when I saw those industrial strays that day, it hit me how sheltered a life we have been living.
|This is Ted's home.|
|Ted's regular meal, if there's any left for him.|
The worker said that there are quite a number of cats living in the factory, many still unsterilized. I followed him into the factory to release Sumi while a fellow worker fetched the injured kitten. I was hardly prepared for what I was about to see when they handed the kitten to me. He was very tiny; probably a few months old but it was hard to tell as he appeared dehydrated and emaciated. What really appalled me was the severity of his eye injury. I could see one of his eyeballs covered in blood and the flesh surrounding it was raw pink. It looked like a case of a very serious infection as his eyeball had already rot away, bearing no resemblance to a normal eyeball at all. My heart sank... This poor little creature must have suffered for quite a while for it to have been reduced to this state.
Ted when he was first rescued. The injury had been a while and sadly, his right eye could not be saved.
Ted on the way to the vet with Cherlyn. He was terrified, malnourished and dehydrated. He hid in a corner of the carrier throughout the car journey.
Immediately, I brought him to the vet to meet Fiona. Throughout the car journey, he curled up in a corner of the carrier and did not move. He stayed so still that there were moments when I actually thought he had died, so I kept checking his breathing to make sure he was still alive. Watching him struggle so silently, I knew he must have been in much pain and discomfort. Dr Ang, the vet on duty, tended to him. I was hoping for the best but the moment she saw his eye, she told us that there was no way it could have been saved. The only way was an operation to remove the infected eyeball. The cause of the infection is unknown. It may have been due to an injury sustained from cat fights or bacterial infection that had been left untreated for some time. Unfortunately, the eye surgery could not be performed immediately as he was too dehydrated and malnourished. We had to put him on drip and wait a couple of days for him to regain his health and strength. Dr Ang confirmed that he is a male and estimated him to be 7 months old, although he looked really small. I named him Ted.
He was malnourished and rather small for his age. He looked like a 5 month old kitten although the Dr estimated him to be about 7 months old.
Brave little Ted after his eye removal.
A couple of days later, Ted was stronger and the surgery was carried out. He was also sterilized in the process. Ted’s eyeball was removed and the hollow socket was stitched up. We have decided not to release Ted back to the streets for fear that he may not survive another attack or accident. With one eye missing, he won't be able to see well or dodge moving vehicles.
In order to control the cat population in this factory, we have started sterilizing them. The workers estimate at least 30 cats! If you would like to help with vet bills for these street cats or Ted, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted has recovered well and needs a home. He is quite a playful kitty and is beginning to behave like how a normal kitten should. He also craves attention by purring a lot, enjoys being cuddled and flopping himself at your feet to rub himself against you. This sweet little boy still has so many years ahead of him, but is yearning for a forever home. Will you please give Ted the loving home that he finally deserves?
Story and photographs by Cherlyn Tan