Uli Sharbinie of Bodor, Indonesia, is married with 5 children and 3 jobs. He’s a busy man! But his heart is big— so big that he’s always tried to help his local stray cats. Homeless kitties were a problem in Uli’s village, but now, thanks to him, things have drastically improved.
Uli got his love of cats from his grandfather, who brought strays home to care for them. The older man’s kind gestures taught Uli to show compassion and care for animals.
Uli’s journey began when he found a kitty that had been hit by a car and was in critical condition. The man rode his scooter 3 HOURS to a veterinarian, hoping he could save it. The vet had devastating news though, the severely injured cat probably wasn’t going to make it, and the treatment itself was already very costly. Saddened by the horrid reality of financial hardship, Uli refused to give up.
“My friends will pay for this,” he said. “We will save her.”
There were plenty of stray cats in Uli’s village, and this was just one of the many he tried to help. As a caring cat person, Uli just wanted to help the kitties as much as he could, one stray cat at a time.
Uli took the cat’s lives into his own hands, using natural remedies and his heartfelt love. He told his story online on Facebook, never expecting what would happen next.
In 2014, his story reached a woman named Kristen in California. She was fascinated and touched by Uli’s kindness and willingness to help the stray cats. She befriended him online and soon learned his inspiring story. She reached out to some of her friends, and together they developed a plan to help Uli reach success. The women started a GoFundMe to raise donations and got a local animal organization to visit the stray cats Uli was trying to feed and care for.
“The four of us, we decided, no matter what we do, we’re going to do everything we can for Uli,” Kristen told The Dodo.
Soon enough, donations and well wishes came pouring in from across the world. The internet pulled through in a miraculous way; the original cat got his much-needed surgery, and more cats in the village got help and the medical treatment help that they needed, as well.
Uli called the donors his “angels”, and he soon earned the nickname “The Gandhi of Bogor”.
“When he started realizing we were helping him – that he didn’t have to turn them [cats] away anymore or just drop off a piece of fish and some rice in one of the local markets – we encouraged him to bring them home,” Kristen told The Dodo.
Using his knowledge and experience in construction, Uli built a “cat city” out of scrap material. Decorated with paintings of cats, cat-houses with multiple floors, and of course, a couple welcome signs, this makeshift shelter soon became the talk of the village.
Stray cats knew where to find help, and people would bring Uli their unwanted cats instead of dumping them on the street. Uli also found some like-minded volunteers to help with his cat-saving efforts!
Uli genuinely inspired not only his local community but everyone on the Internet that learned of his journey. He is truly an inspiration, and he thanks his great-grandparents who taught him to always help stray animals in need. With the help of his family, friends, and volunteers (and online supporters!), Uli continues to run the cat shelter he started 4 years ago.
Now, the shelter isn’t just used for cats, but also a place to educate children about animals.
“My wife and I are teachers, and we bring out students here to give more space, we are working to a build a 3-story home for the stray cats,” Uli told Love Meow.
It’s so amazing how the world stepped up to help this kindhearted man and his innocent, stray kitties.
Uli keeps his Facebook account active with updates on his shelter, and with loads of pictures of adorable kitties. You can check it out here.
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