Shanghai gets a ‘purrfect’ place for stray cats


A one-of-a-kind sanctuary opened in Shanghai recently, marking a major breakthrough in efforts by local organisations to control the city's stray animal population.

The Stray Cat Management Centre and Stray Animal Education Demonstration Base in Pudong New Area's Laogang town is a 20,000-square-metre haven that comes with an 800-square-meter Cat Island where the pets are ready for adoption.

A venture in which several social organisations are involved, including the Shanghai Yicai Flying Foundation and Pudong New Area Cohesion Foundation, the facility also offers public welfare activities and educational programmes that aim to help the public learn more about topics such as feeding stray animals, disease prevention and control among them, and basic knowledge of the trap-neuter-release (TNR) procedure.

Zha Zhenliang, manager of the stray cat management programme, said TNR is an essential element of cat rescue, as well as an important part of the community management of the animal.

He explains that cats become tamer after they are neutered and that in turn reduces the likelihood of them being abused by humans.

The brainchild of Zha, the base generates revenue through its small zoo and camping site and is also backed by funds from the Shanghai Yicai Flying Foundation and the Shanghai Pudong New Area Cohesion Foundation.

Anyone can bring stray cats they find to the base.

Shanghai gets a ‘purrfect’ place for stray cats

All stray animals are subjected to a seven-day quarantine and a series of examinations before they are released in Cat Island, a zone specifically designed for felines that is surrounded by a river.

The base, which has a dozen staff members and volunteers, will be able to accommodate thousands of stray cats. Presently, it has more than 70 cats that have been vaccinated, neutered, and given the necessary care to become adoptable.

Zha notes that there were nearly 270,000 stray cats in Shanghai last year, and this figure is expected to grow exponentially if control measures are not taken.

He explains that cats are exceptionally fecund and can have dozens of kittens every year.

As such, the new base will be pivotal to efforts of controlling the stray cat population, which has in recent years grown rapidly.

However, the base alone will not be enough to solve the problem. Concerted efforts to convince the public to adopt instead of buying cats, as well as TNR need to be maintained, he added.

Many initiatives to control the population of stray cats in Shanghai have been implemented in recent years.

At the end of 2020, Shanghai Public Service Foundation for Volunteers launched the first surgical vehicle for the sterilisation of stray cats.

Apart from cats, the base also has an area specially reserved for retired police dogs that are available for adoption, which will be determined by a lottery system.

However, the facility does not accept stray dogs and their current population is far lower than that of stray cats, Zha said.

China Daily

Asia News Network