‘Paw­ing’ it for­ward

It’s not your ev­ery­day chow.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By ANGELIN YEOH star2@thes­tar.com.my

MOST of us could get away with feed­ing our pets store­bought food, but not cat owner Cyn­thia Lee. The 31-year-old re­called how her cat de­vel­oped an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to store-bought food. She also has another cat whom she de­scribes as “a picky eater”.

“She would rather starve her­self than eat the food I gave her. When both my cats started los­ing weight, I turned to a friend for ad­vice,” said Lee.

Lee’s friend Wong Pui Yee, 33, gave her some use­ful ad­vice which made a whole lot of dif­fer­ence to her cats’ lives.

“She sug­gested that I cook for them!” It might sound lu­di­crous to you but Lee gave it a try. Then she no­ticed that her cats were eat­ing bet­ter. “More im­por­tantly, they looked healthier.”

Later, the sim­ple ad­vice mor­phed into a small, home-based pet ser­vice called Sit & Stay. Lee and part­ners Wong and Rachel Ng, 41, now take or­ders for home-cooked pet food. Their busi­ness took off in Septem­ber this year.

“The food we pre­pare con­sists of an­i­mal pro­teins and veg­eta­bles. Cur­rently, the main sources of pro­tein are chicken and beef,” said Ng.

There are four items on the menu: Chunky Bee-liv­ers, Beefy­li­cious, Clucky Good­ness and Rus­tic Coun­try Chicken Stew. Each item comes in 250-500g packs priced be­tween RM5.50 and RM13.50 each. Ac­cord­ing to Lee, they all taste as good as they sound.

“We tested the food our­selves be­fore feed­ing it to our pets. It’s made with hu­man-grade in­gre­di­ents and fresh veg­eta­bles, and we don’t add any preser­va­tives to it. So our food is safe for cats and dogs,” said Lee.

The home-cooked pet food takes about a cou­ple of days to pre­pare, and can last for a month frozen.

The Sit & Stay trio also de­cided to bring the good­ness of their pet food to an­i­mal shel­ters in the Klang Val­ley. They launched a Stray Day pro­gramme where cus­tomers could pur­chase ex­tra food for char­ity.

“Our cus­tomers can have a look at our menu, make a se­lec­tion and then pay us. At the end of the month, we’ll make the trip to the cho­sen shel­ter and make the dona­tion de­liv­ery to them,” said Lee.

Re­cently, Lee and Ng made a trip to meet Mary Tan of Best Friends Dog Res­cue. The 57-year-old in­de­pen­dent dog res­cuer re­ceived 19.5kg of dog food from Sit & Stay.

“I was very happy for the dogs when Pui Yee con­tacted me,” said Tan.

Tan de­scribed her­self as “a very low-pro­file dog res­cuer” and said that she doesn’t use so­cial me­dia to ask for do­na­tions.

“If I res­cue an in­jured dog, I’d take it to the vet and al­low time to heal it. I’m do­ing this on my own ini­tia­tive and mostly self-funded.”

Ng ex­plained why they pre­fer to work with in­de­pen­dent an­i­mal res­cuers – “It’s sim­ply be­cause they don’t get a lot of at­ten­tion from big cor­po­ra­tions,” she said. Pre­vi­ously, they also do­nated Sit & Stay food to Malaysian Dogs De­serve Bet­ter.

The hour-long jour­ney to Tan’s dog shel­ter was worth it as Ng and Lee could see how their labour of love was ben­e­fit­ing pets and where their pet food is go­ing. Ng added they also main­tain a close re­la­tion­ship with their buy­ers.

“We re­port to them how many kilo­grams of food we’ve de­liv­ered and share pic­tures too,” said Ng.

Cus­tomers can be sure that Sit & Stay means se­ri­ous busi­ness as they take the time to get to know var­i­ous in­de­pen­dent an­i­mal res­cuers in the Klang Val­ley. Though the set-up is new, Lee is op­ti­mistic about Sit & Stay’s prospects.

“We hope to be able to ex­tend our do­na­tions out­side of the Klang Val­ley but, at the mo­ment, we don’t have the re­sources and man­power yet. We would def­i­nitely work to­wards that,” said Ng.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Sit & Stay, visit www.face­book.com/ sit­staysit­stay. For Christ­mas, Sit & Stay has in­tro­duced Santa’s Sup­per (duck meat) and Ru­dolph’s Recipes (lamb). Each box (400g meat­cakes) is priced at RM17.90. For ev­ery pur­chase of a Christ­mas food item, Sit & Stay will do­nate RM1 to their med­i­cal re­source fund for an­i­mals with spe­cial needs.

Good stuff: rachel Ng (left) and cyn­thia Lee (cen­tre) pre­sent­ing in­de­pen­dent dog res­cuer mary Tan (also be­low) with 19.5kg of home­cooked dog food. above: Sit & Stay has four de­lec­ta­ble flavours in their home-cooked pet food range. They use fresh and high­qual­ity in­gre­di­ents and no preser­va­tives.

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