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She lived on the streets of Singapore and survived by instinct and determination. Her area, the Bugis district, used to be full of shops but was slated for renovation starting in 1995. This presented a very big problem for Missy and the other stray cats.
The shop owners that used to feed the cats were being forced to move out. Every building was torn down, street by street, to make way for a huge new tourist complex. Missy and the other cats were forced to migrate again and again as each street was leveled. Their final refuge was a lonely hedge bush standing amongst the rubble of construction. Hence the name "Hedge Cats" of Singapore.
No help or compassion for the homeless cats came from the Singapore government. This wealthy little nation is spending billions on tourist attractions, but not one Singapore dollar goes to the humane society, spay neuter programs, or care and feeding programs for displaced, homeless animals.
About February of 1996, a kind citizen of Singapore, Louise, started bringing food for the stray cats in the Bugis area. Immensely to her credit, Louise spayed and neutered dozens of them over the next year and a half. During this time she came across our little Tortoiseshell cat and named her Missy. She fed the cats on her way to work every morning, but couldn't spend a lot of time "socializing" them. Missy remained wild and would never let Louise touch her. However, Missy knew her name and would come shooting out from under the hedge when Louise called her.
The hedge is where Janalee Faucher, an American expatriate, found Missy along with a number of other cats in March of this year (1997). Janalee was not aware of Louise at this time and did not meet her until some time later. Our little "Tortie" must have been destined to have her name, because Janalee by coincidence started calling her Missy as well!
Janalee began feeding the cats and looking for adoptive homes to take them in and care for them. She was appalled by the lack of compassion for homeless animals by the local government and tried to get help from officials, but was unsuccessful. This inspired Janalee to create a web site to try and gain international support for the cause.
In the meantime, the Hedge Cats were being killed off one by one. Whether they were being run over by cars or being beaten to death is uncertain. But by June, 1997 there were only 4 left and Missy was one of them. Missy is the oldest of the group and also the mother of two of the other survivors.
The time was drawing near when Janalee would have to depart Singapore and she couldn't bear the thought of leaving the surviving cats to die violently in the streets. Through pleas on the Internet she and others managed to get several people interested in bringing the "Singapore Four" to North America for adoption. In the U.S., two concerned animal lovers, Aleta and Susie, stepped in to help Janalee with their own web sites and network of people. Enough money was raised to fly all four cats to homes in the U.S. and Canada. Many wonderful, caring people donated time and money to this effort.
The next hurdle was finding good homes willing to adopt the four cats. By July, it was plain that nobody would want a crabby, scraggly looking, beat up Tortie like Missy (sorry Missy!) and Janalee was getting very worried. At this time PetRescue.Com contacted Aleta and offered to take all of the cats that they could not find homes for. We were full to the rafters with rescued cats at the time, but how could we turn our backs on this international effort?
Missy was offered to us and we gladly accepted her. As some people might say, "The rest is history." Missy is living here with us now and we love her very much. What a happy ending to the story of a little momcat who survived against incredible odds!
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The fight for humane treatment of homeless animals in Singapore is just beginning. Pressure must be brought to bear on that government to do the right thing. Please visit the following sites to see how you can help in this effort.