When animals are too adorable or too cute for your life, don’t you wish you could adopt them all? Laureen Velasco is just one of them.
Uploading this photo in De La Salle University’s PUSA (Professors for the Upliftment of Society’s Animals) Facebook page, she briefly shared:
#RescueAtLeastOne#BeKindToAnimals #NeuterSpay I’ve never posted a photo of my own rescues & adopted cats at home because this is the DLSU PUSA page. But some PUSApporters requested for me to post this photo of some of my cats at home during feeding. Well, almost half of them are Lasallian cats as well, who I adopted. They are fed 3x/day, & each one of them has a bowl. And that is their yaya in blue!
There are only about 30 here. I have 65+ cats. The kittens & timid ones eat inside the house. A few are fed in their own cat nook. The neighbors’ cats & a few “semi-adopted” skittish strays are waiting outside the gate. I couldn’t take a photo of all of them in one frame.
It’s a riot thrice a day. And it feels like we’re running a restaurant with all those food bowls to wash. The chores & the expenses are not a joke! The advocacy is not for the fainthearted! But the joy is immeasurable! There are many rescuers overwhelmed like I am because there are so many needing help out there, & so many cruel, apathetic, & unkind humans to rescue them from. If only every home would rescue at least one. If only humans were not unkind to so many strays!
“My love for cats started in 2011 when my niece was given a Persian kitten,” Velasco shares to WHEN IN MANILA. “I never knew cats can be so adorable. In 2013, while studying at Sophia University, Tokyo; I stumbled upon so many information on animal cruelty & the horrible things humans do to animals. I promised myself I would do something about the stray animals when I got back to Manila.”
Velasco started rescuing in 2014; and launched her Trap/Neuter/Spay program in the same year in her community. She started feeding the stray cats in De La Salle University where she teaches philosophy and Japanese studies.
“Some of my adopted adult cats were strays I had neutered/spayed, but didn’t have the heart to return because they were malnourished or sick, or they themselves decided to stay.
In 2015, the cat lovers thought we could start a program to care for the campus cats. My colleagues & I decided to speak with Bro Michael Broughton, Vice Pres for Lasallian Mission, to explain our advocacy & to ask for permission to help the campus cats. That started the ‘catvocacy’ at DLSU until the official guidelines on animals on campus were finally drafted & approved after several deliberations by various sectors in the university. These guidelines were approved in the Chancellor’s Council.”
Velasco with Laureen the cat at DLSU’s Velasco Bldg
The “catvocacy” turned into an organization called PUSA (Professors for the Upliftment of Society’s Animals) where Velasco also manages the public Facebook group.
“I upload adoption pleas & do the screening myself. I entertain, train, & coordinate with all the volunteers or “PUSApporters” who help with feeding. All communications go through me. I usually bring home also small kittens on campus, if they don’t get adopted right away.”
Dr. Lane Chua (Vice Chancellor for External Relations). Her husband is also a committed cat lover and rescuer as well!
Dr. Elaine Tolentino (International Studies Dept., DLSU PUSA Core Member)
Bro. Michael Broughton, FSC (Vice President for Lasallian Mission)
Dr. Jeane Peracullo (Chairperson, Philosophy Dept; DLSU PUSA Core Member)
Dr Guadalupe Salanga (Psychology Dept; DLSU PUSA core member)
Velasco with Dr. Robert Roleda (Chancellor, DLSU), and Dr. Lane Chua-Garcia (Vice Chancellor for External Relations and Internationalization Office; Psychology Dept faculty)
So how many cats did Velasco rescue since then? She believed to have owned as 70+ rescues “at one time”, and shares that she just lost several due to a viral infection. Surprisingly, despite the huge presence of cats in her home, Velasco is actually asthmatic, including her cat rescuer niece and her cats’ Yaya. She jokes that her cats “take her breath away”.
“I have personally rescued/adopted around a total of 130 already. Then, we have about 65 campus cats also to care for & fund.”