Dispatch from Crame No. 391: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on some BGC complexes banning residents and employees from feeding stray cats


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I was alarmed and dismayed when I read about alleged circulars issued by the management of posh condominium complexes in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) prohibiting residents and employees from feeding stray cats, and even going so far as to impose penalties for “violations” thereof.

It may sound strange to some, but there is something inherently inhuman about forcing people to ignore their instinct to care for other creatures who are weak, helpless and in need of care.

There is something utterly dehumanizing – and, if I may say so, monstrous – about punishing people because they harbor altruistic and unselfish emotions, such as the basic instinct to feed a starving creature.

It is possible that the strong objections I immediately felt when I read the news about such circular is because I have, in the last 583 days, grown fond of my own stray cats here in the PNP Custodial Center. I have always considered myself a dog-lover, but under these trying circumstances, I have found a new love and passion for protecting the stray cats that have adopted me as their “human,” as much as I have adopted them as my constant companions.

They have different personalities, but they are all the same in that they understand friendship and companionship, much like a human would. They understand that I feed them because I care for them and, in turn, they are amiable, playful and, more often than not, obedient. In their own way, they are also caring towards me. They seem to sense when I need company, and when I would prefer to be alone as I work, read or write. One particular cat, whom I call “Blackie” – who proudly wears the many battle scars earned from surviving the harsh life of stray – is even fiercely protective.

The bond between humans and God’s other creatures is an innate one.

Therefore, I deem it unnatural and, in fact, dangerous to foster such a hostile attitude towards stray cats. They will be condemned to a slow death by starvation and neglect, not because nobody wants to help and feed them, but because those who are inclined to are threatened with punishment.
In a world that is moving ever nearer towards apathy, cultivating this level of heartlessness is the last thing we need.
I wonder if the reason for the proposed ban and penalty is based on considerations of what would be most convenient for the management. Perhaps they think that starving out the cats will result in them dying out and eliminating a “problem” for the management. But sometimes what is “convenient” is the opposite of what is “right”. Especially if convenience comes at the price of a life – even the life of a creature as small as that of a stray cat.

After all, what defines the kind of human beings we are is how well we treat even the smallest of God’s creatures. ###

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