FURRY-LOVING STUDENTS OF the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) banded together to form a pro-animal welfare organization in the College named the San Beda University-Collective Action Towards Strays (SBU-CATS). 

The group, which is “dedicated to the welfare of stray animals in and around the campus,” was accredited by the Office of the Prefect of Student Activities (OPSA) last July 28. 

Yzabella Gayanelo, the President of the organization, shared that the initiative started due to the desire of the founding members to “advocate for animal rights and welfare” within the Bedan community. 

Their Secretary-General, Maria Maxine Bacod, also highlighted the importance of cats and stray animals when it comes to the “mental health” of the Bedan community. 

Angela Faith Kayari, the Vice President for External Affairs of SBU-CATS, also clarified that the organization’s scope and advocacy are “not limited to the cats on campus.” Instead, they will look at the “overall welfare and treatment of stray animals” that are recognized as part of the Bedan community by the student population. 

SBU-CATS plan to implement projects that help with the “integration of the cats on the campus to become more pet-friendly.” The organization is prioritizing vaccination, along with neutering and spaying of the cats to help with their “health and safety-first approach” towards the Bedan community. 

Looking into possible collaborators, Kayari mentioned Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) as their first choice as they also work with Youth For Animals (YFA). 

“When I saw that I said, ‘okay we can have a collaboration with them since they are trying to establish two centralized animal welfares,’ and they started from NU, having said that, we can also expand our connections, not just inside the university but also outside and also like that [with] PAWS,” Kayari explained. 

The organization also plans to implement projects that have already been approved by the administration such as the general cleaning of the common areas of the cats, and installation of water and food stations. Bedans are also invited to the initiative through donation and collaboration. 

The short-term plans of SBU-CATS revolve around the initial operations of the organization. These involve gaining the attention of the Bedan community and leaving a lasting impression. 

“As part of our long-term objective and as members of the community, we aim to give our homeless cats a safer place to live in through eventually opening up adoptions for them to find their foster families that would love and cherish them unconditionally,” Gayanelo said. 

She also added that they will be setting up parameters for the adoption to ensure that “every Bedan animal is accounted for and is well taken care of.” In addition to this, she further adds that it is the organization’s goal to further “educate the public about respecting animal rights in line with R.A. [Republic Act No.] 8485.” 

SBU-CATS has seen overwhelming support from the students and admins of the university. The Executive Board of the organization is looking forward to the participation of their fellow Bedans as well as the upcoming COR week to help “bolster the membership of the organization.” 

(with Mika Isidro) 

Logo courtesy of SBU-CATS


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