There were many reasons to celebrate the past few days, including Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year. Cat lovers, are puzzled and dismayed over the disappearance of the cat community at One Bonifacio High Street Park adjacent to the Shangri-La The Fort hotel. Apparently, the hotel’s management ordered pest control company, PestBusters Philippines, to “relocate” the cats in the area.
In a Facebook post, netizen and cat lover Marcelle John Marcellino shared his sentiments on the hotel’s action.
“This was once a place of beauty teaming with life, warmth, and the welcome allure of our community [of] cats, bringing new energy and keeping the rat population at bay. Now, all that is left is dead, inorganic cement and a drab landscape devoid of life, devoid of energy, devoid of love,” said a certain Lucy M. in a forwarded message to Marcelino.
The post also revealed that cats were taken away at night.
“I really hope that these cats are in a much safer place than where they were. They were friends and family to thousands of people at the BGC community,” Marcelino added in an endnote.
Following the public outrage and a flood of one-star rating at the hotel’s Facebook page, the Shangri-La management clarified in a statement that 23 cats were involved, as opposed to 38 reported earlier by a netizen. They also insisted that no cats have been killed nor harmed in the course of relocation. A total of 12 cats were adopted by hotel employees, while the remaining 11 were relocated in the residential areas on Ilaya Street and Anastacio Street in Taguig City.
As of 1:00 p.m. today, volunteers of CARA are yet to find any of the BGC cats in the areas mentioned by Shangri-La. A second search will be done in the early evening in case the cats appear at sundown. You can volunteer in the search efforts, too, as CARA needs more people for the cats.
Cats of BGC, which is composed of BGC residents and office workers, also confirmed in an official statement posted on Facebook that they have met with the Shangri-La management, together with CARA, on what step to take moving forward.
“The good news is, moving forward, the Shangri-La management has offered to help us promote awareness for the adoption of our cats. Their willingness to lend a hand in our efforts to find homes for the cats is something we appreciate,” the group wrote. CARA is hoping that the incident can serve as a lesson to everyone. After all, cats and humans have co-existed harmoniously in Ortigas, University of Santo Tomas, TechnoHub, De La Salle University, and Ateneo.
As of writing, Marcelino’s post has already earned more than 19,000 reactions and has been shared over 10,000 times. Netizens are now rallying to have the cats returned to the park that served as their home for years.
Photo by Marcelle John Marcelino