December 31, 2004

Her compassion shows

Ms Lee Siew Ying, 52
Billings clerk and founder of Metta Cattery


STEP into Metta Cattery and the number of cats in the compound overwhelms you.

There are some 120 cats wandering around, and some recuperating, in the shelter about the size of a three-room flat. Some dogs take turns barking at each other outside.

It is at this little sanctuary for unwanted animals at Pasir Ris that cattery founder Ms Lee Siew Ying spends her time after work every day, and on weekends, despite the heat, the small enclosure and her asthma.

She rarely leaves before midnight.

Whatever you think of her actions, her commitment is undeniable.

As she walked this reporter around during a recent interview, she affectionately called out to each of the cats by name, telling of how she found them or how they were taken to the cattery by their former owners.

She has also gone beyond just looking after cats – the shelter now has 13 dogs, including three shih tzus found at a canine breeder’s farm in Pasir Ris, with their fur gone and their bodies crawling with maggots.

“They’re doing much better now after the 3 1/2 weeks with us. They’ve started to gain some weight,” Ms Lee told Streats.

Ms Lee, a billings administrator at a Pasir Ris clinic, started the shelter in 2000 when she moved from a terrace house to an HDB flat and could no longer keep all the strays she had.

It takes nearly $4,000 to run the cattery each month, excluding vet fees.

The cattery, which is not a registered society, depends on donations-in-kind and a small group of volunteers, who help with the website ( and feed and clean the animals.

Lee’s 22-year-old son also helps out, taking the animals to the vet for vaccinations and sterilisations.

Ms Lee Siew Ying, 52, 开发单据的书记和建立爱心猫之家。
她除了照顾这些猫儿以外 - 现在还有13只狗,包括在巴西立狗繁殖场寻获,三只毛发已经脱落和身上有无数蛆的shih tzus品种狗.
现在它们和我们在一起3 个半星期了,复原情况良好,体重也开始增加.”李女士告诉Streats.