Thursday, June 30, 2005

Marcus and Michelle manning the exhibition. Posted by Hello

Matching t-shirts and matching smiles too! Posted by Hello

British Council & Community Fair

First day of my leave, though I ended up working in the morning. I also went by to the British Council to drop off the shirts for Neil Gaiman to sign - it's fortress city. I couldn't drive my car in obviously because they had all these No entry signs and when I stopped just outside, I couldn't leave my car there. I was trying to catch the eye of the guards with no luck, but the minute I stepped out of the car, they quickly sprinted up to tell me I couldn't park. I didn't think they'd appreciate me throwing the shirts over like a frisbee! :)

I dropped by also to see Marcus and Michelle at the exhibition this afternoon. It's really great that SMU has something like a community fair to encourage students to be active volunteers.

Marcus and Michelle are also going to be interviewed tonight for Urban magazine next week. We've actually been interviewed for several of the articles because it's a pet issue so that should be interesting!

I also emailed one of the MPs because one of our volunteers had been having some problems this morning. I was pleasantly surprised that she emailed so quickly - let's hope we can work together to solve the problem.


Today one of the town councils called because they wanted to know about a messy area where the cats were being kept by the feeder. I told them that these were community cats, and not kept in any area. The town council officer then told me that one of the feeders had taken over two storerooms and installed her cats inside without permission and had even locked it up! Yesterday she had asked me to call the town council and when I called they asked me about a meeting which I had no information about!

I tried to find out from the feeder why she didn't tell me this information, she said she didn't think it was important. Then she said she didn't think anyone knew about the holding room so there was no need to tell me. She kept saying she was trying to save her cats.

Her motives were undoubtedly good, but the most important thing you need to inculcate with the town council is a relationship of trust. If you ruin that, they will not want to work with you - which means more cats will die. They will not call you if there are problems because you are deemed untrustworthy. If you need the Society to help speak with the town council, you need to give us ALL the relevant information about your estate - size of cat population you feed, how many sterilised, whether you feed in a clean manner, etc. Tell us the truth - don't sugar coat the details. It's always better to be upfront, so we can see what needs to be done about the situation (for example, do more sterilisations, stop taking over storerooms!) rather then tell a lie which doesn't help at all.

As I explained to the feeder, it's like a trial. If you don't give us all the information, we can't represent you properly.

To know TNR is to love TNR

Well sort of :)

However it is really important to understand WHY we do TNR. I had a conversation with a volunteer last night because her Member of Parliament (MP) came into her area. Curiously, her MP told her that keeping a single cat in her flat is fine, because it's not a large number. It goes to show that the MPs really don't know much about cats, community cats and home pets - so it's all of our jobs to educate them.

Due to certain factors (a woman hoarding, then dumping cats in the area), the population there is rising and the town council wants to remove the cats. Unfortunately the volunteer said she didn't know what to say, so she told the MP that it was important to sterilise, which is good, but she couldn't explain why we need to sterilise. Remember knowledge is your best tool - you need to understand why TNR works. If you can't convince yourself, then how will it work to convince others?

For example, a lot of people will think that if you remove the cats in the area, it will mean there are no more cats. Seems logical doesn't it? Put yourself in the town councils shoes. Take ten cats away, and you have zero cats in the neighbourhood. So why leave the cats? You'll have no more cat related complaints and everyone's happy.

Here's the big But - it doesn't work that way. Due to the vacuum effect, new cats are going to keep moving in. They in turn will proliferate and there will be more and more cats. If you leave just one breeding pair, they and their offspring will produce 324 cats in two years. Pest control does not have the manpower, patience or time to stay there every night to trap the cats (nor would the town councils have the money to pay them if they did) but volunteers do. For example, last night Jolanda shared that she spent a full year - a few hours every single night - trying to trap one of the last elusive females in her colony.

Even if you can't use the terminology of TNR, share your own experience - let the officers know about what you have found in your colony. Volunteers are the best ambassadors for TNR because they have seen it work. For example, fewer or no kittens born, cats are healthier, etc. If it isn't working for some reason, then again the volunteer is the best person to explain why that is - is it because people are dumping? Then it's time to ask the town council for help to tackle the problem.

Remember, doing TNR is really important, but understanding WHY we do TNR is equally important. If called upon, you can change peoples' mindsets by explaining why we use TNR. Many people are ignorant, not cruel, and are looking for a better solution - we all know that solution is TNR, so give this great solution to them and explain why it is the best thing we as a community can do for our cats. You may be called upon to explain TNR at short notice - so take a leaf from the Boy Scouts' book, always be prepared and arm yourself with the necessary knowledge.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cute, sick little kitten Posted by Hello

Learning to trap - hands-on! Posted by Hello

Temple TNR

I just got back from the temple meeting. Jolanda and I spoke to them about TNR and Jolanda did a fantastic demonstration! She was confident, gave practical tips and helped everyone to understand why TNR was important and how to go about doing it. It was fantastic to see such an enthusiastic group - and a fairly large one. They've borrowed four traps and are going to start doing TNR soon. It's always great to see people all fired up to do TNR - it can seem daunting, but at the same time, you can see how they're excited to start. One lady said, "This is going to be fun"!

Thanks to Vegancat for coming along and being really helpful, especially from a Buddhist standpoint and sharing his knowledge and for organising this!

There was also a kitten that was found and was sick. It's co-ordination is bad which made some suspect a neurological disorder, but it has so much care and love. It seemed to have perked up too!

Interesting mural right in the middle of an industrial estate where we are doing the printing of our book. Posted by Hello

Cat Book and envelopes

Our VP and I spent the afternoon bringing the "Real Singapore Cat" to the printers. They'll give us a quote and a final layout in a few days and then we'll be on our way to getting it printed which will be great! Then we tried to get our GIRO envelopes printed - we went to the envelope manufacturers recommended by Singapore Post, but none of them seemed to have it. We also went to a normal printer, but apparently you need some special software to do a barcode.

Jolanda and I are off to the temple tonight to share our experience with TNR. We're excited about this - one of the few places that just said, we're ready to do TNR, no need to even convince us!

Happy cat sunning herself! Posted by Hello

TNR video Part II

Jolanda and I met with the people from Rainforest Productions who are kindly offering to help with the video. However, it will cost because we're thinking of roughly breaking it up into different sections - one section will be on Trapping and how it's done, another section will tentatively be on the benefits of sterilisation and why it's important to sterilise. A third section may be on the difference between a managed and unmanaged colony. The cost will include the cost of making copies as well - this will make it possible for us to give the video out to as many people as possible. There's so much to cover, but really it's only going to be say a 5 minute video.

We had cats sitting in on the meeting which was lovely. The lovely white cat in the photo had been declawed and his behaviour was so defensive - anytime another cat came by, he would hiss and spit even when the cat wasn't doing anything. He was found all dirty and scared hiding under cars because his previous owners must have dumped him. He also didn't like it when you touched him anywhere below the waist. We already know declawing is evvvvvillll (as written about in our current issue of the newsletter as well) but it really leaves the cats vulnerable and thus defensive.

I love meetings where there are cats present - though it makes it harder to concentrate I must add. This poor cat was declawed and then dumped - he's now been adopted into a loving home. Posted by Hello

Neil Gaiman

The British Council called and they're going to ask him to sign something for the Society! The nice lady I spoke to is also feeding some cats in her condominium so we're now speaking about starting up a proper cat management programme there.

Video and adopters

Jolanda and I are going to meet one of our old committee members this morning. She is a freelance producer and we're hoping to get her help to do a TNR video. She's kindly offered to donate her services, but any editing costs which she has to pay someone else for we'll need to pay. We're thinking of a very simple TNR video just to show how it's done and hopefully when the volunteers on our website are done, people will be able to just download it from there. One of the Filipino delegates has already been in touch to ask if we had a TNR video and I directed her to Alley Cat Allies fantastic video.

Someone returned a cat to our adoption team this morning. As the original foster cannot take it back for various reasons, one of our volunteers arranged for it to be placed somewhere for the time being. This adopter had fallen in love with the cat and said he really liked it. He lived alone and all went well, until it turned out his mother (who doesn't live with him) didn't like to see the cat when she was visiting. We suggested putting the cat in a room when his mother visited (not possible according to him as his mother likes to go into all the rooms), or trying different solutions, but he decided to return the cat, despite the fact that he said it was a lovely cat.

He called one of the adoption team yesterday evening and asked that she pick up the cat last night. Normally, adopters are asked to return the cat themselves, but the volunteer agreed to pick it up. The adopter then asked that the cat be picked up on Thursday, which the volunteer could not do, so he agreed to the pickup this morning, but the cat had to be picked up by 8 am as he was going to work. So one bleary eyed volunteer went down this morning - only to find the adopter not even dressed yet! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Notice the cat photos on the keyboard!  Posted by Hello

The inside of the infobus where the discussion is held. Posted by Hello

You have to love an office which has cool decorations like this!  Posted by Hello

Habbo Hotel

I just came back from meeting the Habbo Hotel people - one of whom has a blog I read regularly (yes it is a cat blog!). It was quite fun and I got to try out a trial session with a group of the children and young people in the hotel at the time. The questions they asked were very telling - one kept asking about germs, others had not heard about sterilisation. It was interesting that the whole group (who were not specially picked but just happened to be around) all liked animals. The questions ranged from the serious to the really bizarre - ie cats must be allowed to roam because it's like marriage. Alrighhhhty....

I'll be doing an actual session on 13th July for two hours but the questions do come quick and fast. Plus it has this interesting word filter that doesn't allow words like 'cut' and 'lick' so you have to come up with alternatives!

Jolanda kindly agreed to go to the warehouse for me, which was good so I could spend more time learning the ropes!

Just came back from a meeting with the Habbo Hotel people. Here's a screen shot. The school teacher looking avatar is me - I need a better haircut! Posted by Hello

A-packing we will go!

Off to the warehouse then to learn about the Habbo Hotel. Lillian is sick so fundraising meeting has been called off.

PETA employees charged with animal cruelty - Pet Health -

PETA employees charged with animal cruelty - Pet Health -

The state of animal welfare in Singapore

RS1 English

Funny - I was surfing the Cats in the News Blog and found this!


Two incidents today and yesterday made me think about the perceptions people have of volunteers. A woman wrote in yesterday to say she was unhappy with the way another woman treated her and she mistakenly thought that the latter was a CWS volunteer. I know the woman in question and she's not a volunteer, but she runs a small rescue operation of her own. The person who emailed had tried to call but could not get the other woman over the weekend, so because she was in the neighbourhood she drove over to donate some food and to ask to view the cats. The woman who owned the house was, according to the complainant, rude to her. The complainant ended off by saying that it was early in the evening and she didn't understand why the woman would not let her in.

Now while I can see that the woman who owned the house could perhaps have been more polite about it (and of course I'm only hearing one side of the story), I also did write back to the complainant to say that I hoped she understood this woman was a volunteer. She is doing it out of her own time and money and out of her own house. She of course has a right to let anyone she wants in - and keep anyone out. People book appointments to see the dentist, to get their hair cut, to see someone for a business meeting - so why not to view a cat for adoption? The complainant was upset that the woman did not pick up the phone, but again, she's not doing this as a business and is not obligated to do so. For example, if you ring your doctor and can't get through, would you turn up at night at their house and ask to see the doctor? Putting yourself in woman's shoes, it's as if you work for say the PUB and someone comes to your house and says their tap is out of water so you better let them in so they can get some from you. Of course on top of all of this, these people doing rescue work aren't being paid for it - they're in fact expending money to do it!

Someone who writes in quite frequently also dropped me an email to say that someone had complained about the Society on another message board and said someone had been rude to her on the phone a few years ago and hence she'll never join CWS. Of course this is entirely her perogative, but again while she said she got the number from the vet, CWS has never had an official phone line except for our 7000 CATSNIP number so I have no idea whom she spoke to or when. She mentioned the person she spoke to had said that she was a volunteer and could not come and trap the cat for her and that they could loan a cat trap to her. She complained that this was not being helpful and she had to rely on herself as a result. Again, I cannot comment on what was said as I wasn't there, but the person allegedly from CWS, was a volunteer - *drumroll please* and exactly like the complainant. I know the early CWS volunteers learnt everything about TNR from scratch - they didn't have anyone to teach them - and they were out at all hours trying to get the cats.

People have asked why we don't have a phone line - and the reason is that when we did, we got inundated by calls and without someone to pick up the phone all day, we wouldn't be able to get to all those calls anyway. Plus we don't pick up cats - that's not what we do and what the vast majority of calls are about. My number is pretty much public knowledge - and I have to turn it off after work. I used to leave it on all day and it drove me insane - I used to hear the phone ringing even when it wasn't.

Picture this :- It's Saturday night at a friend's and he's cooked a lovely home-cooked dinner and the phone rings. It's a feeder who is calling to tell me she's upset about her dog who died two years ago and she starts crying - so of course I have to talk to her. Meanwhile, dinner is getting cold, and my friend literally starts banging his head against the table in faux-desperation. I end up talking to her for at least twenty minutes (this same woman will later on call me and ask me to post bail for her after she got into a fight but that's another story).

Christmas Eve a few years ago - I'm at lunch with friends and a feeder calls three times to ask the same question - how soon she's going to get reimbursed. I've already answered her question and explained it as best as I can, but she keeps calling back. Both these incidents happened while I was still volunteering as far as I can recall.

Not to mention the people who like to call or page you at 1 am or 5 am - one of our personal bests was the lady who called one of our committee members at 3 am.

It can be exhausting - you need to be positive, give advice and sometimes play counsellor which can be very draining. Plus you need to do it for a lot of people - I think people sometimes think they are the only ones calling, but they're really not.

So now my phone is off when I'm not working - and I'm almost over feeling guilty about it :)

Shirts, packing & online avatars!

Josephine and Lillian met with the t-shirt supplier and he now has to give us one batch of shirts free because basically he messed up the sizing. They have terrible quality control - different sizes, strange gradations in the sizing. I'm sending down our shirts to our old supplier today because Josephine spoke with him and he may be able to get us the baby tees we wanted!

Also have to go to the warehouse to pack for the SMU exhibition this week. I had a rather strange conversation with this woman whose daughter wrote in to volunteer - except the daughter (who is working) wrote in under her mother's name. Her mother said she thinks her daughter is trying to keep her busy as she loves cats, but the mother had no idea about the exhibition, nor about what sterilisation is. I explained it to her and suggested perhaps she can help manage the cats in her estate.

I'll also be going down to meet the people from Habbo Hotel, which runs an online virtual world for teenagers and they incorporate educational talks into this. Being quite an addict of the SIMS, this should be quite interesting.

Tonight I'll also be meeting with the fundraising team. We're trying to get another sub-committee started up - unfortunately, the last one didn't work out because the volunteers kept missing meetings!

I was going through my material from Asia for Animals this morning - this is the feral cat awareness ribbon done by Alley Cat Allies.  Posted by Hello

Monday, June 27, 2005

Giving up Kitty

You know how some people tell you it's killing them, literally tearing their heart out but they have to give their cat away, even though it's like a member of the family? Now, some people honestly have no other choice for some reason, but some people like the guy who emailed today wants to give up the cat because the rental flat they're in is too small.

It always makes me wonder. These are people who will tell you how much the cat means to them, and how they can't bear to let the cat go. Then don't. If your flat was too small for your family, you'd either make do, or get a bigger flat. I don't see them dropping their children or spouses off because the flat isn't big enough (and of course they shouldn't). I honestly prefer people who just come right out and say, I'm irresponsible, I don't want my cat anymore. Let's not waste everyone's time by pretending it's so upsetting, because if it was, this person wouldn't be giving up their cat (or cats).

It is further grating to me in this case, because the person deliberately bred the cats. They didn't even have the excuse of ignorance.

Working together

I'm going to emphasise again that it's really really really important to work together with the town councils. While some town councils are very difficult, and some officers are impossible to work with, unfortunately some feeders are the same. I do make a distinction between feeders and volunteers or caregivers - the latter are responsible and manage the cats, the former just feed. If there is a cat complaint for example, it's always helpful if the volunteer can help to take a look if it is in the vicinity. I'm always amazed that some feeders will refuse to go to the next block, or a block five minutes away to help to see what the problem is. Take one of the feeders I spoke to today - she's in an area where if there is a complaint, no one is much interested in taking a look even if it's just the block across the road. The excuse is that everyone's busy, or that it's not their block and hence not their responsibility. It could really save a cat's life. One volunteer I remember from a while ago said that as the cats in that block weren't her cats, so she wasn't going to go and look.

The sad thing is - a lot of these complaints can be easily solved or looked into, but the feeders there don't want to help. Sadly, I know of one pretty co-operative town council for example, which has pretty irresponsible feeders who are not interested in helping to solve complaints. Instead they just blame the town council. In other areas, we have great volunteers and not supportive town councils. I wish I could kind of use my magic wand and zap them around so that the good volunteers and town council are in the same area!

Cute cat of the day - I took this photo last week when we were viewing the cats in the colony. This cat was dumped and is now part of the caregiver's colony. Posted by Hello

Spay Day at new clinic

One of the vet who wrote in to volunteer to host Spay Day at her clinic has said one of the vet nurses at the clinic is also offering to come in and help too! So we have a vet nurse! Thank goodness.

I am going on leave later on this week though so will just probably drop in, but won't stay the whole day.

TNR at temple

Thanks to Vegancat's help and influence, one of the large temples is going to do TNR on the cats on their compound. Jolanda and I will be going down Wednesday night to speak to them about it. It's wonderful that they've decided to embrace TNR! A big thanks to Vegancat!

Community Cats

Siew Kah, who often comments on this board dropped me a very interesting email the other day. At Asia for Animals, they mentioned that in a lot of Asian countries, they look at their cats and dogs as strays (animals not looked after by anyone) and a separate group of community animals - ie animals looked after in temples, public places, etc but who also live on the streets/out in the open.

Siew Kah mentioned that we should consider using these terms in Singapore and I think it's an excellent idea. The cats ARE part of our community after all and are being looked after by someone. Many of these cats have lived in our communities for years. It certainly bestows a sense of belonging as well. So community cats I think it should be!

Friday, June 24, 2005

With some of the attendees at the gala dinner. Posted by Hello

Fundraising workshop

I went back this afternoon for the fundraising workshop - the morning session was held up though so the session started almost an hour and a half late. It was a very interesting session though - I learnt that it's estimated that 15% of all the funds that a country spends on pet food and animal related expenses is the amount a country can expect to get for it's animal charities. Also they got experienced fundraisers to come on board and share their experiences. Some of the organisations have set up offices in the US and UK to fundraise for China and India. For local organisations, SPCA and the Society were asked to show our local materials. We were told our postcards were good in terms of being accountable, but that we need to make it easy for people to donate - by giving them envelopes to send the money back for example. In fact, we're going down Tuesday afternoon to print postage paid envelopes for donations!

Also, there was a General Meeting. It was interesting, though some of the resolutions were a bit vaguely drafted which led to a lot of confusion.

We ended off with a gala dinner. We left fairly early though - it had been a long day and they were playing party games which aren't really my thing.

Fundraising workshop Posted by Hello

Conference Day Three

Today was part two of the Stray Cat Management session. There were very interesting speeches, one was about working with the government, and one was about how dogs' status as adoptable animals can be improved if the local dogs can be recognised as a breed. The speaker mentioned that stray dogs were hard to adopt out, but that when some of these strays like the Canaan dog of Israel became recognised as a 'breed', they became widely accepted and people wanted to adopt them. He also said that in a way, these were the 'purest' kind of dogs there are as the local dogs of many places are the indigenous dogs - hence the pedigree dogs are actually bred and derived from what we now term as the 'stray' dogs. One of the participants also mentioned that with the Bali street dogs, they found that they have a special gene that isn't found in any other dog - and it can help, if I understood correctly, with certain diseases other pedigree dogs have as that gene is missing in them.

It really is interesting - if our local cats, with their kinked tails and small stature could be considered a 'pedigree' cat (instead of the Singapura which has nothing to do with our strays in my opinion) then perhaps they would be so much more adoptable!

When you see the other conference delegates, you realise that Singapore is much more fortunate - we do have the resources and ability to tackle the stray animal situation. We don't have *touch wood* rabies. One of the speakers today said that where he comes from in India, they have 250 people bitten by dogs every day and they DO have people dying of rabies quite often. As such, the authorities stepped in, but instead of killing the dogs as they used to, they instead decided to work with the animal welfare groups. The authorities in this area gave land to set up a clinic, a van and even workers.

Here in a way because we have no rabies, the issue of stray animals is shoved to the back burner. In fact, we have the luxury of time to really tackle the problem head on. SARS caught everyone unawares, but it should not have - the animal population should have been controlled effectively and humanely right from the start through sterilisation. It seems these other governments are seeing that their methods of culling have not worked so they're trying something new and it is bringing the population down.

I'm looking around at the delegates and they're from countries much poorer than us, but they are getting support both financial and otherwise from their authorities. We are lucky enough that we are a first world country but without the stray cat population of say the USA (60-80 million estimated stray cats). We can and should really go out and make sterilisation the means of stray animal control. I honestly believe that with the authorities as efficient as ours, we can lick this problem through sterilisation. It's not going to take a lot more to really get a handle on the situation - we just need to start doing sterilisations aggressively. That would really make us a true first world country.

Jolanda showing how to use a trap at the conference Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Back from the conference for today. The workshop started late because the earlier sessions all ran overtime - there's so much ground to cover! The interesting thing is sometimes you realise how though everything is so different in terms of geography and culture, things remain the same.

While I was at the conference, one of our volunteers called. The HDB officer in her area was threatening to remove the cats. I called him and he was very difficult. There is a woman who keeps abandoning cats in the area and who has indoor/outdoor unsterilised cats. However no one wants to tackle the source of the problem - this woman! They'd rather go after the cats. Removing the sterilised cats will just lead to new cats coming in and it penalises people like our volunteer who ARE being responsible.

The thing also is that the HDB are NOT the party that remove stray cats in common areas. Anything within the boundaries of your flat is HDB's jurisdiction - anything without is the problem of the town council. It is an arbitrary line - and also explains why there are so many abandonment issues - if HDB for example issues a letter saying to get rid of the cats, and the cats are dumped, it's no longer HDB's problem!

I asked the officer where he got the jurisdiction to remove the strays. I am aware he's probably just going to go to the town council and complain to them and the TC will remove the cats, but he should not be threatening people with removal of cats when it's not within his job scope. In the end, he agreed to call and let me know what the town council will say. The town council has already told the volunteer they will not remove her sterilised cats.

Mingling during tea breaks - this is probably one of the most important aspects of attending these conferences.  Posted by Hello

TNR workshop

Leaving for AFA again - they're having a TNR workshop and of course we're manning the booth for the tea session!

Spay day postponed

Our Spay Day has been postponed to next week. Our admissions and recovery person also had to work through the weekend and I think Jolanda and I are both kind of tired as well, especially after the conference this week. We'll be moving to a different clinic as well, as the clinic we're using is a bit short staffed this week.

So different clinic and all new volunteers, except for our admissions/recovery person! This Sunday just wasn't going to happen - as our volunteer said, it was the Curse of the Spay Day!

Selina and Ching from SPCA giving lovely smiles! Posted by Hello

Liang Tong giving his presentation Posted by Hello

Day Two!

Day 2 of Asia for Animals and the first day of the Stray Cat Management session. I was the Chairperson of the session, which in essence was me doing the Vanna White thing, going up and introducing the speakers.

There were interesting speakers from the HK SPCA, from Katmandu Animal Treatment Centre and our own Liang Tong. The speech was on Humane Management of Stray cats in Singapore. We also spoke to several people after from all over the world about our projects. The interesting thing about these sessions is the sharing of information.

Someone wanted to see a cat trap, so we brought one of ours, and now people are asking where to buy it. The cat trap in fact has turned out to be quite a hit!

One of the delegates also found an injured cat so we're helping to make arrangements - she's bringing it to the vet herself.

Stray Cat Management session  Posted by Hello


Wow - 6 something in the morning sure does come early! The good thing about working from home is that you get to wake up later. Since the conference starts at 8 today though, it was a real struggle to wake up!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cocktails and contacts

Jolanda, Jeremy and I met some very interesting people this evening at the cocktail reception at Asia for Animals. To be honest a large part of conferences is meeting people, learning from them and perhaps asking for their help later on.

One of the ladies organises the CHAMP conference and mentioned they may be able to get free registration which would be great! She also mentioned that they have set up a spay clinic in Virginia in January with just a vet, a vet assistant and a vet technician and they've done 4000 cats since then! She invited us to visit when we go up. She also introduced us to another lady who spoke to us about their work internationally with TNR.

Early day tomorrow!

Jeremy one of our volunteers who is also helping ACRES out by taking photos! Posted by Hello

Some of you may remember Serina - she's back in town for the conference! Rebecca also came down specially to help out. Thanks ladies! Posted by Hello

Conference Day One and TC complaints

Today was the opening of Asia for Animals. The Keynote speech was a lady from the Animals Asia Foundation which was really moving. We have a booth up at the hotel too and have been selling our merchandise and giving out information about the Society. As the conference is really about all animals, it's quite a diverse crowd.

I'm back home to get some details of the Spay Day worked out, as well as talk to some volunteers about town council complaints. When the town council calls and tells you about a complaint, try not to dismiss it outright unless it's really ridiculous. For example, a lady today kept insisting that the cat does not go up to the second floor without knowing exactly which cat it was. This means the cat may well be being lured up by someone - and you lose credibility by insisting it does not happen if it might. It's always best to find out ALL the facts first - then you can feel confident in saying that this is not the culprit for example.

Okay getting ready to go back to the conference. It's always interesting to meet other delegates from around the world. It's a really early start tomorrow too - 8 am. I'm really NOT a morning person!

Asia for Animals conference opening Posted by Hello

Spay Day hiccups

We are supposed to be having a Spay Day this Sunday. Everyone confirmed, but unfortunately the clinic called and said they're very short handed and busy as someone is on leave so asked if we can postpone it for a week. We've also been told it's easier if we bring our own medicine.

One of the vets is now offering us another clinic but we may need to confirm with everyone if they can make it next week now. The nurse still cannot make it, nor another nurse we tried. It looks like it's going to be easier to just train volunteers to be the vet nurse rather than go with a more experienced vet nurse.

So at the moment, I'm not sure if we're changing clinics and still having it this week, or pushing it to next week at a different clinic. Two of the vets we're working with are very sweet and said they'd swap doing the Spay Day if we move it to their clinic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Jolanda and I went down to meet volunteers from two different town councils recently as you may recall. I spoke to one of them today whose cat apparently went missing on Friday and while she has called the AVA, she did not speak with the town council. I asked why she did not do this as we had clearly suggested they do this to find out why the cat had been caught.

She said she did not know till Sunday, but today is Tuesday so I asked why she didn't call. First she said she does not speak English and that she would get bullied (this from a woman who quite clearly is not easily intimidated and whom a complainant said he was frightened of) and that secondly, yes, wait for it, the cats will come back and get their revenge.

*Tearing hair out in frustration*

Caller during the show today

There was one caller on the programme today who asked about stray dogs. I explained that the Society deals with stray cats and ACRES more with wildlife, and that neither of us really deals with dogs. However, she kept asking about what to do with the dogs as she says she brings them home but can only keep them in her flat for a few hours before she needs them to be out of her flat, whereupon she hands them over to the SPCA or AVA. I explained that we do not handle dogs again, but suggested she can contact ASD - I did emphasise that they have no shelter either and that if she could foster that would be great I'm sure.

She then asked who can come and collect the dog again. One of those situations where some people feel if they keep asking, you might eventually give them an answer they'll like.

Neil Gaiman's The Price

Neil Gaiman's The Price

Neil Gaiman - the fantastic writer of "Sandman", and who has several cats himself, wrote this lyrical-mystical story. Mr Gaiman is coming to Singapore in two weeks!

Rebecca sent in this photo of one of her stray cats - the cat used to stalk and kill quite a few mice. However Ruyi (the cat) went missing a while ago.  Posted by Hello


Today's packing was a bit of a rush. Our transport person arrived early as he was in the vicinity so went down to get stuff ready for tomorrow.

The delegates have started arriving - I was told there are more than 200 delegates coming from 19 countries, including places like Mongolia. It's going to be an interesting conference that's for sure!

93.8 is rebranding - note the hip new colours!  Posted by Hello