The 4 main tenets of our work in Love Kuching Project by The Water Dish and our 4 main fund-raising needs.
About Love Kuching Project
We used to be named Ubi Kuching Project. In May 2010 we partnered with corporate sponsor The Water Dish and are now known as Love Kuching Project by The Water Dish. We are a group of residents in the estate of Ubi, Singapore that banded together to promote the following:
1. Responsible pet ownership
2. Stray cat management through sterilisation
3. Rescue of animals in need such as the sick, orphaned or abandoned
4. Pet adoption
We are co-owned by our corporate sponsor, The Water Dish, an online pet store.
Responsible pet ownership
We believe that animal welfare is enhanced through educating pet owners. This is the reason why we believe in sharing pet care tips, promoting healthy diets for animals, promoting sterilisation of pet cats and dogs. In serving humans who are pet owners, we are serving animals. We do this through talking to the prospective adopters on how to care for their new pets, conversing with other pet owners with meet in our community, writing about pet care tips on our blog to share with our readers.
One of our unique selling points (USP) is that we focus on the positive aspects of pet ownership. By telling the wonderful stories of each animal in our care, as well as the fun, enjoyable aspects of pet ownership, we propagate a feel-good vibe, which in turn benefits the animals in the care of our human readers.
We also believe in building good relationships with humans, not just with animals. By building relationships with the human pet owners, we are paying-it-forward and benefiting the animals they will meet in their circles of influence, be they strays or pets.
Stray cat management
In Ubi, long before Ubi Kuching Project was formed, there have been kind neighbours who feed the stray cats in Ubi daily, as well as sponsor and arrange for stray cats to be sterilised. Each section in Ubi is managed by different carers whom we call cat-patrons, and the sections are known as cat-zones in Ubi. We currently have 5 zones in Ubi that are autonomously managed by these cat-patrons. Love Kuching Project as an entity renders help to the cat-patrons of these zones by offering to help trap stray cats for sterilisation, raising additional external funds for sterilisation to alleviate the cat-patrons, helping to rescue cats in each cat-zone that are in need such as those needing veterinary attention, young kittens and nursing mothers. In this way, we complete the stray cat management cycle (see Fig. 1 below). We are also often called upon by residents of other neighbouring estate to organise sterilisation and rescue programmes to activitate the stray cat management cycle in estates beyond Ubi.
Figure 1- Stray Cat Management Cycle
We often rescue animals beyond our estate of Ubi. This is done through our own networks of independent animal rescuers. Apart from strays that are young, sick or abandoned, or at the risk of being culled by pest-control, we also provide a shelter for re-homing pets. Our volunteers’ foster homes give an alternative to owners that may otherwise have to surrender their pets to SPCA. Thus, we also re-home pet cats and dogs that can no longer stay with their owners. We also intervene in households that have irresponsibly planned to abandon their pets, to ensure that the animals go to better homes.
Animal rescue in Love Kuching Project is carried out in structured steps. Because our resources are limited, we cannot rescue every animal, thus, we carry out with is known as triage in our mode of rescue. We focus our resources on animals that can be saved and re-homed successfully. Animals that are deemed fit to continue surviving as strays will not be taken in. We also do not focus our resources on animals that are in too serious a condition for us to help due to lack of funding or severe illness and injury – in cases such as these, allowing SPCA to intervene in euthanasia may well be an even better option for the animal.
Because our boarding resources are limited, we have to rely on our volunteers to help foster and care for animals in our custody, as well as on the public to contribute financially through cash donations or donations-in-kind. The Water Dish sponsors cat food monthly towards boarding cat in our custody.
Also, we can only rescue as far as our boarding resources will allow, our belief being that we should only rescue what we can sustainably manage. We try to shelter all rescues, but there will be some we simply cannot manage and thus will have to surrender to SPCA.
Our boarding costs are at $3 per day per cat.
Most of the animals we rescue, we follow with rehabilitation and thereafter release or re-home. See Fig. 2 below.
Figure 2 – Rescue – Rehabiliate – Re-home – Release
Another one of our USPs is that we believe in rehabilitation of animals before re-homing. This means that we toilet-train the animals if they were strays, bottle-feed and thereafter wean them off milk if they were orphans, socialise them through human interaction, as well as provide a good environment such as toys for them to be emotionally well – this is to ensure they will become good house pets when they are adopted.
We also rehabilitate strays that need time off the streets to recover from stress and illness. Examples include heavily pregnant cats, female cats post-sterilisation, strays that have been sent to the vet and need a place to recover before going back to their territory. These animals may not be able to be re-homed, thus, they will be released in their original territory or in Ubi if no adopters step forward.
While in our care, the cats are fed with premium, grain-free foods and are groomed regularly. They will be given medication when they are ill or taken to our vet.
Our main networks used for re-homing is through online advertising anchored by our blog. In our re-homing adverts we believe in capturing the stories of the animals in order to reach out to the human heart. A good story invites humans to emotionally invest in our work.
We screen our adopters by making sure that entire families are involved in the adoption process. We also have a written adoption agreement and use photographic evidence to ensure that the adopters are accountable for the animals’ welfare. We also invite adopters to send us pictures and updates on the adopted pet and publish these updates on our blog.
On our blog and through our interaction with members of the community we advocate for pet adoption rather than buying pets. This is because we believe that breeding pets for sale is often inhumane because breeding farms are often places of animal abuse, and that pet sales prevents rescued animals from being adopted.
Fundraising for Love Kuching Project
In Love Kuching Project, we have financial needs for 4 main tenets of our work:
1. Seed-funding, which goes towards raising awareness of our work as well as provides capital for more fund-raising
2. Veterinary funding, which acts as a fund we can tap into when we need to provide urgent veterinary attention to animals we rescue
3. Boarding funding, which goes towards the food for the animals that are boarding at Angels Pet Shop
4. Sterilisation funding, which goes towards stray cats that have no sponsor for sterilisation
Fundraising and raising awareness for our work go hand-in-hand. This is because donors and sponsors only give towards causes they feel and believe to be worthwhile and of integrity. Apart from raising awareness of our work in responsible pet ownership, stray cat management through sterilisation, animal rescue and pet adoption, we also need to be accountable to our public. This means representing Kuching Project in a legally responsible way as well as being transparent in our accounting of our income and expenses to the public. Our expenses concur with the ethical rule that no more than 30% of our expenditure goes towards operations and administration, and that minimum of 70% of expenditure goes directly to the animals in the form of pet supplies, sterilisation costs and veterinary expenses.