By Nadia Jumri
IPOH (Bernama) -- Every weekend, Nazirah Abd Rahman would dress up as a clown and go out in public with a small blackboard.
On the board is written: ‘Ambil belon dan derma seikhlas hari untuk bantu kucing jalan. Tq.’ (Take a balloon and donate to help save stray cats. Thank you.)
The 42-year-old beauty consultant whose clown persona takes on the name ‘Mama Pinky’ has been taking care of about 50 stray cats since four years ago.
To raise funds for their care, she would travel on her motorcycle from her home in Batu Gajah to the Konda Kondi Café at Jalan Sultan Idris Shah here on weekends and public holidays and perform as Mama Pinky.
She would be at the corner of the café at 9pm, dressed in a pink clown outfit and in clown makeup, fingers deftly twisting balloons into the shapes of animals, flowers and hearts. Those watching her work would be entertained by her mischievous grin and quirky demeanour.
Some patrons, amused by her clown act and moved by her cause, would donate. Others, however, think nothing of taking a balloon without giving anything in return.
Nazirah, however, took it all in stride. She needed every single cent raised from the gig as she would have to spend about RM400-RM500 a month to feed her cats as well as the other strays she finds in Ipoh.
FOR THE LOVE OF ANIMALS
No matter how late it gets and despite living over 20km away, Nazirah would make it a point to visit the Pinji market every night to feed the stray cats and dogs there.
“I am worried that if I don’t drop by, the animals would just be waiting there, expecting me to come around,” she said, adding that she would fork out additional money to send sick animals to the veterinary clinics in Ipoh.
Nazirah said that her three sons Muhd Nur Zikry Azamuddin, 23, Muhd Nur Aqil Naqimuddin, 22, and Muhd Nur Danial Hafizuddin, 20, were all also taught to love and care for animals.
“My children would help me bring any of our ill cats to the veterinarian if I am at work. If they find sick or injured stray cats, they would bring the animals back for treatment and if the animals were found dead, they would help bury them,” she said.
Nazirah’s devotion for the cause has her travelling to different parts of the state and even country to save sickly cats that would not have otherwise survived on their own.
One of it was a male ginger cat she named Tabah.
“I found him roaming around Ipoh Parade, dirty, smelly and with a nasty infection in his right leg. I took him to the veterinarian and he ended up having his leg amputated,” she recalled.
Nazirah spent a considerable sum on Tabah's treatment fees but was happy that the feline survived and led an active life after his surgery. However, he died of leukaemia in November last year.
While grieving Tabah’s death, she read about a kitten in the care of the Veterinary Services Department in Cheras that had lost its two forelegs in an accident involving a forklift.
“I decided to head down there and adopt it,” she said, adding that she also adopted another sickly cat in Seberang Perai that was abandoned by its owner at the Bukit Minyak Veterinary Office in Penang.
PETS ARE FAMILY
Nazirah said society should treat stray animals with compassion as the latter depended on human beings for food and shelter.
“And when we have pets, we need to treat them like they are part of the family, not an animal we rear (for food or entertainment). We need to take care of them until the end of their lives and bring them for treatment when they get ill,” she said.
She urged the public to not dump their pet cats in the streets when they tire of the animals.
“These animals are used to having someone provide them with love, food and shelter. When we leave them at the markets or eateries, we put them in grave danger as they would have the same expectations from irked or uncompassionate strangers.”
Translated by Sakina Mohamed