Ginger The Cat

This is how we met the ginger cat who was later named Ginger.

He is a young tom that used to wander around a coffee shop in an industrial estate. One day, HOPE’s founder, Fiona was running errands in that area when she came across the friendly stray cat at the coffee shop. Upon closer look, she found a gaping wound on his back near his tail. The wound was quite deep and the raw flesh could be clearly seen. As she was unable to bring the cat to the vet at the time, she asked Cherlyn, our senior volunteer who is experienced in both dog and cat rescues, to take him to the veterinary clinic for treatment. Cherlyn asked me to accompany her, as our volunteers always go out in pairs.

Cherlyn, her friend, Shawn and I arrived there around 7 pm. I alighted from the car first to search for the cat, while there went to park the car.

It took me just a few seconds to spot the ginger cat. A family of six was having dinner at a round table and there he was, rubbing himself against the father’s leg and begging for treats. He did not seem to be in agony (cats have quite a high pain threshold after all), but he was so skinny that I could count all his rib bones from a distance. (It must have been a norm for this little kitty to go without food for days on end, suffering from hunger pangs while he slept in the cold. It is heartbreaking to think of what these strays have to go through every single day.)

I told the family that I needed to take a look at the cat (to make sure that he was the cat that we wanted to rescue) and apologized for disturbing their family dinner. The father told me that they were regular customers at the shop and the cat was often seen hanging around there, eating table scraps given by some kind-hearted customers (who could not help pandering to his whims when he looked at them with his cute, beseeching eyes).

I inched gingerly (no pun intended) towards the ginger cat to take a closer look at him. He was standoffish at first and hissed at me in an attempt to shoo me away. I could feel that he is a really gentle cat though, as the hissing sound that he made was not as loud and fierce as what you would normally hear from his feline counterparts. I squatted down, let him sniff at my hand, and tried to assure him that I meant him no harm. He looked at me somewhat quizzically with his big, round eyes, as if unsure of whether to trust me or not. After a few seconds of hesitation, seemingly made up his mind that we could be friends, he came towards me and allowed me to pat him. My heart melted instantly when he rubbed his cute little head against my palm.

I examined his injury and found that the wound was already filled with pus. To make things worse, it seemed to be covered in black oil. Fortunately the maggots had yet to set in. I tried to ask the customers whether they knew the cause of the injury, but nobody had any idea how it came about.

Ginger's wound which was stained with black oil. Nobody had any idea how it came about.

I grabbed hold of the cat and lifted him up. He started panicking, so I put him down on the floor. I held him tight to prevent him from running away, while stroking his fur and saying whatever words that came to my mind to soothe him. Luckily it worked and he calmed down considerably. Cherlyn and Shawn had not yet come, so I loosened my grip to avoid scaring him further. He broke free and returned to his spot under the table, happily eating what was left of the table scraps given to him. (On hindsight, I realized I had made a mistake in letting him go, because he might have just scooted away and it would be really difficult to recapture him. We were lucky that he didn’t.) Cherlyn finally arrived with the carrier. She emptied a can of cat food onto a piece of newspaper and put it in the carrier to lure the cat in, but he did not take the bait. One of the customers (who was familiar with the cat) helped us capture and put him into the carrier. Cherlyn quickly slammed the door shut behind him and locked it. Realizing he had been captured, he meowed and clawed frantically at the door of the carrier. He literally meowed his way to the vet (he would stop for a short while though when we stroked him under the jaw, or when he was tired). We felt quite sorry as it seemed to be a traumatizing experience to him, despite our good intentions.

At the clinic, the vet examined his wound carefully and told us that she would clean the wound, shave off the fur surrounding the wound and stitch it up as soon as she could. The cat was estimated to be about 2 years old. After the surgery, he was dewormed, vaccinated and sterilized. We named him Ginger.

His wound was stiched up nicely.

Ginger was hospitalized for four days. We initially planned to release him back to where he came from, but seeing how docile and sweet-natured he is, Cherlyn could not bear to carry out the plan as she felt that it would be difficult for him to survive in the harsh outside world. So she decided to board him in the veterinary clinic and pay for the boarding expenses herself until we found him a fosterer or adopter. We sought help from a friend, Francesca, to find a fosterer for Ginger. Thanks to her efforts, a fosterer was found and Ginger is now in the safe hands of a kind fosterer who has had a lot of experience in fostering cats. He is currently resting and recovering well in the foster home. He behaves really well and the fosterer would lavish praises on him when we ask about his well-being.

Although Ginger is safe and sound in the foster home now, this is only a temporary solution as the fosterer will not be able to house him forever. We desperately need to look for an adopter who can give Ginger a forever home. As much as we wish to provide him with the best life could offer, our resources are limited and we have to face the harsh reality sometimes. We don’t want to release him back to the streets again. Are there any kind souls out there who can help dear Ginger? He has a really good temperament and will make a wonderful pet if you could give him a chance at a better life. Please adopt him if you can, or at least share this story with your friends so that Ginger will have higher chances of being adopted.

Ginger is estimated to be about 2 years old, male, sterilized, vaccinated and healthy.

Thank you Cherlyn for helping with Ginger's vet bills.

To adopt Ginger, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg

Written by Wong Tze Ying.