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Thenuga Vijakumar | Women of Power 2022

Thenuga Vijakumar

President of Cat Welfare Society

The Cat Welfare Society (CWS) was formed in 1999 with a mission to end the inhumane culling of community felines and create a humane society where community and pet cats are responsibly cared for. It does so by conducting sterilisation to curb unsustainable population increase, engaging the community to resolve cat-related feedback, as well as advocating and educating on responsible cat caregiving and ownership.

Since its inception, CWS has helped sterilise more than 45,000 community and pet cats. The woman leading the organisation’s various programmes is its president Thenuga Vijakumar, who, by day, manages stakeholders and new businesses as a manager at conglomerate Adani Global.

The success of CWS benefits more than the animals; it also impacts humans. “The ability to arrest population growth in a humane way ensures more resources for each cat,” she asserts. “What many don’t realise is that we are helping the community of caregivers and pet cat owners and through them, all the cats that they care for,” she says.

“We take empowering others very seriously,” Thenuga continues. “We do not simply step into a situation and resolve the problem. We engage and educate the public and stakeholders on the root causes of the issue and employ methodology that treats the cause, not just the visible symptoms. These stakeholders then take this knowledge and apply it to similar situations, allowing our work to multiply manifold. More people helping and chipping in is more lives helped.”

Thenuga is currently in the eighth year of her presidency at CWS. Culling has plummeted, but her work is far from done.
“I learnt that making in-roads to animal welfare and creating changes in mindset cannot be accomplished overnight or even in the short term. One has to constantly chip away at the issue to make change,” she says. “For the foreseeable future, I’m working towards the legalisation of pet cat ownership in HDBs, the legitimisation of responsible caregiving through a nationwide programme, and the mandatory implementation of humane management measures across Singapore.”

Thenuga wears the Hublot Big Bang Unico Titanium White 42mm

Photography: Bryan Foong/BF Studio; Art Direction: Audrey Chan; Hair: Ann Lin/Athens Salon; Makeup: Wee Ming, using Dior Beauty