Hearts for the homeless

These compassionate fosterers have chosen to open their hearts and homes to needy furkids, despite knowing that their furry wards won't stay forever.
By Gillian Lim
Published on Wednesday, 08 February 2017

Robin Chee, 55, assistant chief information officer
Pele Lim, 50, dance director

  • Benny, 12, Persian-Bengal
  • Plokoon, 8, Persian-Bengal
  • Akemi, 2, local
  • Aimi, 1 month, local
  • Aiko, 1 month, local

In their 20 years of paw-renthood and a year plus of fostering kittens, the Chees had never seen adult cats as malnourished and underweight as Benny and Plokoon. These two Persian-Bengals were hoarded together with 37 other cats in a fourth-storey HDB flat in Yishun. When Benny and Plokoon were rescued by Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and taken in by Pele and Robin 11 months ago, Benny was starved of human contact while Plokoon was very timid, constantly crouching low with his stubbed tail tucked in—bolting at any sudden sound or movement.

Despite the challenges, the couple didn’t give up. They also fostered Akemi, Aimi and Aiko two months ago, bringing their total count of foster cats to five. Pele shares more.

Before you started fostering, did you have any furkids of your own?
Yes! Our very first pet was a female Siamese cross, Bat, which was adopted in 1997. That same year, we took in Rob, a Persian-local cross. Bat passed on eight years ago, and Rob six years ago. Through the years, we’ve kept hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits, koi, and caterpillars as well.  We have no more cats of our own now, but we still have our chinchillas, koi, and our family dog, Samson. 

What made you open your home again after your own pets passed away?
Our household became an empty nest but we just couldn’t bear to fill their spots for years. Eventually, we missed that furry touch and when our financial situation improved, we felt it was time to give back to society by fostering unwanted animals in the hope that they would be adopted.

What about Akemi, Aimi and Aiko? What are their stories?
Mummy Akemi was a feral cat living in an industrial area. She was heavily pregnant when rescued by the nearby cat feeders. She gave birth to three kittens, one of which has been adopted.

This is an excerpt from an article in our People & their Pets column. For the full story, flip to pg 42 of our Feb-Mar 2017 issue!