Stray cats and dogs continue to be a problem in the Philippines. Several groups are willing to help out and do as much as they can to address the issue, as stray animals face danger every day wandering the streets.

One group of animal rescuers is doing their part by hosting a fundraiser for stray animals in need.

Best foot(ball) forward

Pamingming Cup 2019 is a one-day fundraising football tournament organized by Orticats.ph, which aims to conduct a separate spay-and-neuter outreach project in partnership with the Philippine Pet Birth Control Center (PPBCC) Foundation.

Held at the Marikina Sports Complex, Pamingming Cup was participated by several football players and enthusiasts, along with other animal lovers supporting the project. Orticats.ph founder Mina Filamor explained that they chose to hold a football tournament because of their love for the sport.

“Pamingming Cup is our very first project,” said Filamor. “The [money raised] will be donated to the PPBCC, and they will be the one executing the outreach spay-and-neuter project [titled] The 100 Stray Cat Project, Manila, dedicated to the cats of Tondo.”

Putting power in posts

At first, they were just like other online cat lover groups that post pictures of cats on Instagram to brighten up someone else’s day. But they changed the course of their path as they realized how much they could help animals with just a click of a button.

Orticats, coined from the words Ortigas and cats, started when Filamor fed stray cats in Ortigas during her break time from work. These short interactions slowly changed the theme of their Instagram account, which now shares their tragic yet very inspirational stories.

“It wasn’t [part of the plan] to start an organization. It just led to the need to call for help because the cats were adding up and it has already become financially challenging for us to sustain their needs. At the same time, we wanted to find deserving and loving families for the cats we rescue and foster,” said Tina Filamor, Mina’s sister and co-founder of Orticats.ph.

Since May 2018, they rescued and fostered approximately 50 kittens. Most of those who were rescued had survived and had been adopted into loving homes.

“They all have a different rescue story, but one thing they all have in common is that they were all a byproduct of an irresponsible community that is not familiar with a spay-and-neuter procedure, let alone the importance of it,” Mina added.

Why spay and neuter?
1. Companion animals live longer, healthier lives – Spaying prevents uterine infections and cancer, while neutering prevents testicular cancer. The surgical procedure will also protect them from other diseases.
2. It leads to less risky behavior – Sterilized animals have less desire to mate and are therefore less likely to roam. Neutered animals are also calmer and more focused on their human families.
3. It fights stray overpopulation – Every year, millions of cats and dogs suffer as strays due to overpopulation. Spaying and neutering prevents unplanned litters.

Future plans

Orticats.ph looks forward to continuing their first project, Pamingming Cup, and turning it into a long-term project that can be done once or twice a year.

They hope to develop the free spay-and-neuter program as they continue to rescue, foster, and put more cats up for adoption – until there are no more strays who need rescuing.

“Rescuing and fostering are a bittersweet endeavor,” Tina said. “We [have] loved and lost a few of them, but this doesn’t stop us from continuing to rescue.”

“A lot of us [have] the capacity and the resources to help, but not everyone [is willing],” Mina added. “Truth be told, most of the time, it’s those who have nothing who [are] willing to give their everything just to save animals in need.”

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s November 2019 issue.

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