Inspirational Beings team interviews Singapore based animal rights activist Ms. Lily Low who is an embodiment of strength and courage.
Where she rescues abandoned and stray cats to look after and she nurses them back to health.
Lily has dedicated her life to the cause of cats in Singapore for over 20 years. Lily rescues the orphaned and unwanted, the sick and the injured, and cares for them in her cat shelter.
Lily, please tell us about your journey
It was an unexpected journey which I did not plan or maybe I was one of the chosen one by Almighty for this missionary work. I gave up my corporate life to devote myself in animal work. Despite not being a "cat lover", I took care of first rescued cat 21 years ago and it was so satisfying experience that one became two, and soon I had around 80 cats in a three-rooms flat in Tampines, where I lived with my brother. I started pawning my personal items for cash to feed these cats.
After receiving complaints about keeping the cats there, I moved and eventually wound up in basement of a shop house. We spent 13 years there before moved to the current location in June 2018 when the government wanted the land back for redevelopment.
When I started this mission, for months I went without foods for consecutive 2 days just to make sure all rescued cats were cared for.
I am 50 years old now and have 180 cats. Sometimes I survive on one meal a day get by with the support of my family, friends and donations from other animal lovers, who learn about my private cat shelter through social media and my Facebook page.
Challenges in carrying this mission and how did you handle them?
Leaving corporate job and choosing to be a guardian to abandoned cats was not easy. It not only hampered my finances but also adversely affected my personal relationships.
It took many years for my family to accept what I'm doing. When my late mother used to come to see where I was spending my days, she was heartbroken but slowly my family finally started supporting me and started providing me a small allowance a few years ago. My elder sister, who lives in Malaysia, started doing rescue work there as well.
Although things are a little better now, even today, carrying this mission of taking care of 180 + cats is challenging for me. I struggle to feed them and to pay for their medical expenses.
How do you handle this mission? What keeps you going in your tough times?
Besides helping to re-home rescued kittens, I also take care of older cats as many of which have trouble finding new homes as most people prefer kittens.
I start each day in the shelter before the sun is up, disinfecting the cats' living quarters for hours, cleaning their drinking bowls and making sure they are fed and healthy. In the afternoons, I cycle out to a nearby supermarket to buy supplies. "When rescuers ask me for help, I try not to turn them down although it's more work for me as my priority is the safety of the cats. But now due to time commitment towards these 180 cats and visits to clinics for my rescued cats, its difficult to accommodate requests.
The form of cat food, litter, and money to pay for rent and the vet's bills. This can amount to around $ 10,000 in total on monthly basis.
"Sometimes donations for the foods do not come in. Many times, I owe my supplier up to $4,000 just for dry food,"
When I receive food donations, I acknowledge the donors on our social media page.
"That's how people come to know about us, trust us and help us in different ways,"
Feeling of I am making a difference for the 180 cats that I am able to save. At least they have a safe haven with is my real motivation and this feeling keeps me going despite handling challenges. Many donors and institutes are now supporting us.
What is your message to the society?
I hope that what I do will inspire others and all the pet owners will be guided to be responsible and take care of their pets like they would take care of their beloved family members. People should care and save other lives. It is fulfilling and inexpressible feeling.
Ms. Low has no regrets about the life she has chosen for herself. She intends to run the shelter for as long as she can.
You can reach Ms. Lily Low on https://www.facebook.com/LilyLowShelter/
This article is supported by
Manav Mangal Smart School, Zirakpur, India
5th Grade Student.