For the love of cats
Cat lovers from all walks of life do their part to care for the strays on the streets.
Photographs by Djohan Shahrin
Stray cats, a dime a dozen in Malaysia, often end up on the streets after being dumped by their owners.
Azhar, an e-hailing driver, is also an avowed cat lover and spends part of his salary every month buying pet food to feed the cats he comes across on the roads.
He can spend about RM100 every two or three days, buying food for strays.
He also visits the strays that hang around the rest stops along the Latar Expressway.
Some have grown so accustomed to his visits that they can recognise the sound of his motorcycle approaching.
Azhar distributes the food on paper plates or serviettes.
This is his routine every day, unless he is sick and cannot make his regular trips. He has been doing this since the movement control order in March 2020.
While strays are sometimes hesitant and defensive, most are familiar with Azhar and gladly allow themselves to be carried.
Two kittens slowly emerge from the drain where they were hiding prior to his arrival.
At another stop, a mother cat and her kittens lap up the food left for them by Azhar.
Sometimes, the cats he comes across are in need of medical attention. Unable to bring them home due to a lack of space, he sometimes takes them to a friend who, like him, is a cat lover.
His friend, Lisa, keeps many cats at her home which functions as a kind of transit centre for animals that are unwell.
Even those that have recovered often stay on.
Lisa administers a dose of medicine to a kitten that has picked up a cough.
She uses a syringe to feed the cat its medication.
Lisa demonstrates how to feed a cat medication in pill form without hurting the animal.
Lisa sees the time spent with the cats as a form of therapy. She presently has about 100 animals which she allows to roam free within the compound for a period of time each day before returning them to their cages.
Vet and fellow cat lover Salehatul Khuzaimah Mohamad Ali also does her part to help stray cats, vaccinating them and volunteering her services at the Malaysia Animal Association.
She administers a dose of vaccine to a stray cat with the help of her assistant.
After giving them their vaccine shots, Khuzaimah and her assistant bring the animals to a quarantine area where sick cats are kept separate from healthy ones.
A cat with an eye infection gazes out through the bars of its cage.
Another young cat at Khuzaimah's clinic suffers from a cold and eye infection as well.
Khuzaimah and her assistants prepare to operate on a cat at the clinic.
They work carefully, spaying the cat so that it will not continue to breed and give rise to more strays on the roads.
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