It’s been five days since the news about the Cats of BGC and Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila circulated on social media. But as of this posting, everyone is still in the dark as to where the cats are. And more importantly, if they are, as Shangri-La’s management said, just ‘relocated’ and are safe and sound.
Daily Snout reached out to Cats of BGC, the group of volunteers who are taking care of the cats living around the Shang area, on Sunday, February 18. According to the group, the Shangri-La at the Fort management has informed them about the locations where the cats were taken. However, they are still verifying this information.
“We are aiming to provide proof that we’ve found our missing cats the next time we update so we could avoid making false claims or creating short-lived joy,” said the Cats of BGC group in a Facebook message sent to Daily Snout.
Last February 14, a Facebook post by user Pilar Trigo Bonnin (now deleted) about Shangri-La at the Fort commissioning PestBusters Philippines, a pest management company, to ‘relocate’ the cats living around the area reached the animal welfare community.
According to another post by Marcelle John Marcelino, PestBusters conducted the ‘relocation’ during the dead of night while everyone was asleep.
“Sadly, the first animals that were taken were the kittens nursing at the bookstop…
Even their milk bottles, feeding bowls, food and vitamins, everything was gone…”
As you can see, these are not just any stray cats. They are known as the Cats of BGC and are under the care of animal volunteers. Most of them have been vaccinated, spayed, and neutered by CARA Welfare Philippines. In other words, these are perfectly healthy cats with guardians who are feeding them daily and are actively working to get them adopted.
The Cats of BGC are even considered as ‘celebrities’ which explains the public outcry that sent Shangri-La at the Fort’s Facebook rating plunging down to 2 stars. This is after animal lovers called for Facebook users to nudge the hotel by giving them 1-star reviews.
On February 16, Shangri-La posted a statement on their Facebook page denying the allegations that the cats were harmed and even claiming that some of the cats were adopted by their employees though no proof has been shown. The hotel also mentioned that they initiated a meeting with representatives from the Cats of BGC group and CARA Welfare Philippines to mitigate the situation.
The groups confirm that a meeting has indeed happened between them and the Shangri-La management but the statement posted on the Facebook page of Cats of BGC couldn’t seem to assuage the anger and growing concern of the public. What happened to the cats? Why can’t Shangri-La or PestBusters tell us these two locations within Taguig that they are saying? Will there be complaints filed against the two companies for mishandling the situation?
If it turns out that the cats were harmed or killed by PestBusters, the pest management company and Shangri-La at the Fort have clearly violated section 6 of the Animal Welfare Act of 1998: It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.
We are one with all the animal lovers who are praying for the safety of the Cats of BGC and are eagerly waiting for positive updates. For now, be on the lookout for cats with tipped ears (a universal sign that a cat has been spayed/neutered), they might just be one of the missing BGC cats. You can also drop by BGC to feed those still remaining. You can also help other animals in need by supporting, donating, or volunteering at a local animal shelter.
Main photo above by facebook.com/bgccatsph