Abandonment Part II
What is to be done about recalcitrant people who insist on abandoning cats? It's not that they don't know it's wrong, but that they don't care.
We had three volunteers calling over the last two days about the perennial problem of abandonment in their estates all across Singapore. One woman for example has been suspected of abandoning cats for years. The AVA, SPCA, town council, and caregivers have spoken to her. I've spoken to her twice too, and she denies she abandons them but the volunteers in the area recognise the cats as cats in her home which are thrown far afield. What's worse is that she abandons them unsterilised. I've spoken to three separate volunteers who have recognised cats as being her cats which are abandoned in their area.
The volunteers have offered to sterilise the cats, and take them off her hands as long as she does not take any more in, but she refuses every time.
She keeps her doors closed so no one can see the cats, but caregivers in the area see her cats wandering outside at night.
I was talking to Marcus, one of our committee members last night about possibly setting up a wireless web camera connection to monitor the common areas where the cats are currently dumped, but we also need a PC connection and Internet access which may not be available.
Even if we do catch someone red-handed, the person might just turn around and disclaim responsibility. After all, if no one can legally own a cat in an HDB flat, then how do you prove 'ownership'? It makes it that much more difficult. People are likely to just say they were stray cats that they took in to play with and that they then returned to the street - and no one would be able to disprove this.
I spoke to Jolanda about this the other day and we were discussing why people abandon cats. One reason we thought of was that some people take cats off the streets and then when they get tired of them, they just release them back onto the streets again. They may think that the cat is not in a worse position then it was in, but a cat that is kept indoors for months, or even years has lost its territory and its natural instincts. They may have become very people friendly. This makes them easy pickings for pest control or abusers.
Even if they do survive, they add to the number of cats in the colony, threatening the entire colony's existence If people would just think before tossing their cats out.