In light of International Women’s Day (8th March 2018), The Pet’s Couture will showcase a month long feature of our everyday unsung heroines of the pet’s society, who have worked relentlessly in ensuring pets welfare in Singapore.
This week, we have Camellia Binte Abd Gani (36) who spearheads Love Kuching Outreach Project, to bring smiles to patients, students and young adults with special needs by conducting Cat Therapy Sessions.
Camellia posing with one of the therapy cats. The Outreach project aims to bring smiles to people from all walks of life.
The Pet’s Couture : Could you tell us more about the history and mission of the Love Kuching Outreach Project?
Camellia : Love Kuching Project is a community-based cat rescued group. Our missions includes rescue of cats in need (rehabilitation of cats at risk such as injured or critically ill stray), adoption of pet cats (providing adoption opportunities for the cats we rescue and rehabilitate and raising awareness of pet adoption) and sharing and informing to better educate the public on cats as companion animals.
The group was set up in 2009 and it was known as Ubi Kuching Project by partners Elaine Chiam and Andy Koh. The group was set up to rescue cats that were in the Ubi neighbourhood.
Camellia and her team bringing smiles where ever they go.
The Pets Couture : That is a handful of work required. What gave you the drive to volunteer and spearhead this project?
Camellia : This dates back to a time when I did volunteering in an animal hospital in Melbourne ,while doing my degree in Melbourne. I found joy and wanted to continue this effort back in Singapore. In 2013, I decided to volunteer for the good cause. As I love cats, I decided to volunteer with an animal shelter group and while doing my research, I chanced upon Love Kuching Project. In that same year, the president of the group wanted to start an Outreach Programme (Cat Therapy), and I took up the opportunity to take charge of the programme. Despite the monumental task given, cat therapy do make a lot of people smile, including the clients, staff and nurses. That gives me the drive and motivation to spread this meaningful cause.
The Pet’s Couture : To the uninitiated, cat therapy is something that is unheard of. Could you enlighten us on the procedures that are needed to ensure that the cats are qualified to be therapy cats?
Camellia : Unlike dogs, cats can’t be trained to be therapy cats. The criteria boils down to a few things. First, the cat has to remain calm and relaxed when they are outdoors (to loud noises) or in the presence of humans and other felines. Second, they need to be comfortable wearing harnesses and being on leash. Lastly, and more importantly, they have to be vaccinated and in good health.
All the cats involved in the project are vaccinated and in good health.
The Pet’s Couture : That’s a different paradigm altogether. From this interview, we can really tell you love doing this. Could you tell us any defining moments in doing this?
Camellia : There are a lot of happy moments working in this project. When volunteers become our own family, seeing our clients smile at the end of the session, and telling me that they are looking forward to see us again for the next session, that is definitely one of the best moments.
Camellia mentions that being able to witness smiles from her clients is one of the driving factor of why she continues to volunteer for this cause.
The Pet’s Couture : We hope you will continue doing good for the pet’s society. If you had superpowers for a day, what would you like to accomplish?
Camellia : If I have superpowers, I will rescue all the stray cats and dogs in the world, get them sterilized and give them a home so that there will not be strays on the streets. This is not just for the strays but also for all the great humans who have been working hard to feed and look after the strays. All animals deserve a home, and they should be treated as family and not just as pets.
What to know more about the Love Kuching Project? Head over to learn more about the organisation.
Special thanks to -
Camellia Binte Abd Gani