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Upgrading my bike
There was a old bike that was left in front of my house, a Kuwahara Alley Cat II (Puma). I have tried to find information about it on the internet and have found very little. I am wanting to upgrade the brakes, freewheel, derailers, handlebars, and front fork. How can I find out what parts are compatible without going to a bike shop? I plan to take my time with the upgrades due to limited funds, but I would like to do them myself.

See the pictures I have attached. Thank you for your time.

Brakes - pretty much any cantilever or V-brake should work fine. If you switch to V-brakes, you will need new levers made for use with V-brakes. I would consider just getting some new, good quality pads first. The brake mechanism on the bike isn't that bad unless they're worn out.

Freewheel - you need to figure out if it is freewheel or cassette. Then match the manufacturer and number of gears. Example: shimano 7 speed cassette.

Derailleurs - If it has a shimano drive train now, you can use pretty much any shimano mtn bike derailleurs. No reason to go super high end probably.

Shifters - just have to match the make and gear count of the freewheel/cassette

Handlebars - Any standard mtn bar should work fine

Fork - It looks (but you should verify) that you have a 1" threaded fork. The new fork needs to match that. You also need to get the same length (or slightly longer) steerer tube on the fork. Fork also has to match the wheel size (should be 26") and have posts for cantilever style brakes. You could go to a "threadless" fork, but you would then also have to change headset and stem.

In general - think through a little what you plan to upgrade. It's easy to spend more than you would on a new bike buying lots of individual parts. I'd recommend getting new chain, freewheel/cassette, brake pads, and tires if needed. Get bars and a seat to suit you. A suspension fork will make a big difference, but I wouldn't do it unless you get a half-way decent one. The cheapo ones are worse than a rigid fork (IMHO). Good index shifters will make a big difference too if the ones on there don't shift well. But thumb shifters aren't bad per se.

have fun
Thanks for the great advice, I plan to be very careful with my upgrades. I as I continue to ride more I may have to get a new bike, so there no need to overspend on this one. But I will check out the things you suggested and also visit my local bike shop for help.

What upgrades did you make to your Kuwahara Alley Cat? I have my original Alley Cat that I purchased back in the 80's and have started riding again recently. I wore out the bolt that holds the rear cassette in place and now I need to upgrade the rear wheel, cassette and replace the chain. Other than the seat and tires, it's all original (I even have the original brake pads!).

I'd be interested to see what upgrades you've been successful with.
Ouch! Go and get new brake pads, yours are most probably hard as stone now. This is dangerous for you!
I didn't think about the brake pads needing replacing. Thanks for the advice.
Nice Bike, wish people would leave me nice stuff like that instead candy wrappers and such lol.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
Sure is a nice bike looking bike. Wonder if it's stolen?

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