Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bad service

I've been thinking more and more about service in Singapore. All of us have had bad service experiences (though there are of course some really good ones too). I think the authorities' attempt to bring up the service standard is laudable. However, it's about inculcating a culture of politeness basically - for example, if you get good service in a shop, then go home and speak to a really rude town council officer, what impression does that leave you with? We can't expect salespeople to be held up to one standard (just because they're 'selling' things) and town council officers for example, to be held up to another.

It's not even about agreement - two people can disagree completely, and still be polite to one another. However, it IS about being civil. I know that officers have a tough job, and sometimes people can be really rude and unpleasant to them, but why is is that some of them (a minority fortunately) are rude and hostile to volunteers and residents about the cats without provocation? I sincerely doubt they're being so rude to the complainants.

I know the caregiver today who was trying to get the officer not to trap her cats. She is one of the most soft spoken people I know and I seriously doubt she would have raised her voice. She never wants to make trouble or cause a problem - there was no reason for the officer to be rude to her, and then to me.

So - thoughts. Anyone have bad experiences (or really good ones) with officers whether it's related to cats or otherwise?

Polite Officers

Having spoken to a rude officer today, I spoke to another officer this afternoon who was polite. It's not that all officers are mean people and I do sympathise with some of them. This officer told me that there is a childcare centre in the void deck and some of the parents told him that they'd beat him up if the cats attacked the children. So he says he's torn between people who like cats and dislike cats.

I told him that we didn't want to make it a cat lover versus cat hater debate but about solving the problem and while I'm not sure he was convinced about the vacuum effect, he was open to the idea of working together. He said that would be the best thing all around, that we can work together. That's music to my ears!

Drying in the sun for a few minutes before he goes back in for round two of grooming. Posted by Picasa

Most of the tail hair had to be shaved off. Posted by Picasa

Yes he's been bathed - and his paws are still brown and dirty, presumably because of being smeared in defecation for so long. Posted by Picasa

Neglect case

I just got back from the groomer's to take photos. She called our adoption volunteer twice today to say what a terrible condition the cat was in. The nails were ingrown, the tail was all matted and the fur was in bad shape. Plus the cat is really skinny. She's bathed it twice and she says it's still smelling of defecation. She said she'd probably need to take the whole of today just to do this one cat because he needs to much work.

She said when he passed the cat over it was a carrier which had never been cleaned - when she opened it, cockroaches started running out because the carrier was so filthy. It had layers of newspapers just piled on top of each other in it.

To top it all off, the adopter called me this morning before the cat was even out of the house and asked if he could take another Persian. He said he wants another cat.

I've taken the photos to allow the foster to decide if they want to prosecute. At any rate, I'm definitely calling the guy to give him a piece of my mind now that the cat is safely out.

Service Industry - don't make me laugh

With all the recent emphasis on being a more service oriented society, I have to say we have a loooooooong way to go. Take the charming property officer I spoke with this morning.

One of the caregivers called me because he had appeared and said he would trap and send any cats to the AVA if he found them in the staircase, because they were defecating in the staircases. The volunteer tried to speak with him, but he ignored her, so she called me in desperation.

I told him we had spoken with the town council and had asked for an opportunity to mediate first, which the town council had agreed on. Furthermore, these cats were going upstairs - he said that he thought all the cats were home cats whose owners were out in the day, but he wanted the caregivers to stop feeding the community cats downstairs! So if I follow his logic, and the owners are out, and the caregivers are feeding downstairs, doesn't that bring the cats DOWNSTAIRS? Isn't that a good thing? I also tried to explain the cats were being sterilised which he didn't care about.

At any rate, he said that he missed a phone call because of me, and was very curt. I tried to explain that killing the wrong cats wasn't working and was just causing more problems, and he denied killing them - he just sent them to AVA. I told him that the cats there are killed, and when he tried to tell me he didn't know, I told him he did now. I told him to call AVA if he didn't believe me. I am horrified how officers keep saying that they 'don't know what AVA does with the cats'. If normal laypeople know, how can town council officers not know? What sort of information are they giving out to people who call?

He said he was going to cut the phone call short and would talk to the volunteers. I informed him I would be contacting the town council. He hung up and walked off without speaking to the volunteers again.

216 votive candles and 196 bath lillies - you know what bath lillies look like.  Posted by Picasa

Also 432 pillow sachets. Posted by Picasa

Photo frames for sale - anyone know where we can sell them? Someone donated a whole bunch of jumble - but it turned out NOT to be cat related. We have 384 of these! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Michelle petting one of the community cats. Posted by Picasa

Responsible Feeding 101 - look how neat the caregiver is. Posted by Picasa

Photo shoot

I just got back from the photo shoot with Marcus and Michelle. The editor called and asked about photos with the 'personalities' before we went down - I've been called a lot of things since I started working with CWS, but personalities is not one of them!

It was a bit strange because we basically squatted and took photos with the cats - they asked us to do what we usually do in the course of work, and I said, well that'd be mediation and running TNRM workshops. I think they expected us to run around and just feed cats randomly all the time :)

At any rate, they got some shots, but I had hair flying in my face half the time - there was a strong breeze - very unglamourous. Maybe they won't have any photos of me without my face obscured with hair!

Cat's tail - all matted and dirty. Posted by Picasa

Cat stuffing its face when it was allowed out to eat. Posted by Picasa

Cat in flat

Poor cat. One of the adoption volunteers and I went down to assess the case of the cat being kept in a dirty flat. The owner let us in this time. He asked for time last time to take the cat to the vet and said he couldn't let us in then. The cat still has not been taken to the vet.

The flat itself was clean and there was another cat sleeping comfortably in the middle of the owner's bed, but this particular cat was kept in a storeroom at the back.

When the owner opened the door, the cat popped out and from the quick glimpse I got of the room, it was covered in what looked like smeared defecation. The cat was unkempt and the fur was matted and dirty. He was hungry and thirsty.

Then the adopter told us that the cat had been adopted from a foster back in 2002 but he couldn't remember whom. When I gave him a few names, he remembered. I called the foster immediately who remembered the cat, but the adopter had moved and did not tell her. She had done follow ups after the cat was adopted and visited, and the cat had been fine then. She immediately said she wanted the cat back.

Fortunately, the adopter didn't want the cat anymore either and asked us to take it away. The foster is taking the poor cat back tomorrow.

Cat at the flat. Posted by Picasa


I'm going down now to do the followup on the cat that someone claimed was not being treated well. For those of you who read the earlier entry, he wouldn't let us in the last time but asked us to come back, so I'm going to pop in and do that now.

Then we're going to do the photo shoot for Millionaire Asia with Marcus and Michelle. Michelle and I have both noted that we haven't had a hair cut in a while :)

Complaint culture

I've been answering the questions for my interview for Millionaire magazine this morning. The focus has been shifted to CWS and some of our volunteers - so no need for millionaires anymore thankfully!

I've been thinking about how complaints are dealt with here - unfortunately, when someone complains, everyone jumps to attendance, whether or not the complaint is reasonable. This results in a culture of everyone sitting back and pushing the problem to someone else. So when it comes to doing the smallest thing for themselves, people have no idea how to do it - this doesn't bode well for Singapore.

I know the town councils, residents' committees and management committees are trying to help make residents' lives better - but this doesn't mean to coddle them. Next what are we going to do? Call the town council every time we need a cockroach removed, or a light bulb changed? For example, if I am really scared of lizards, can I demand they remove every lizard in the void deck because I'm afraid to go home lest they jump on me?

It's going to be difficult - but someone has to decide, enough is enough. It's good for all of us to learn to be more self-reliant and it's hard to do it when someone is coddling us all the time. Who wants to take the responsibility? Certainly it's nice there's someone to do it for us, but at some point, all of us have to grow up.

Volunteers shouldn't be made to feel bad that they're trying to do something for the community. It seems right now that volunteers are looked at with suspicion and complainants rewarded for just picking up the phone and calling and not doing anything. People who are trying to make their community a better place should be made to feel proud, not ashamed.

Cat Welfare Society: Saving Lives through Sterilisation

Cat Welfare Society: Saving Lives through Sterilisation

Also the updated About Us page.

Cat Welfare Society: Useful Resources

Cat Welfare Society: Useful Resources

Check out the new FAQ on the CWS website.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Cats In Sinks

Cats In Sinks

This is too cute!

Order from Italy and Sterilisation

I just got back from a remittance agency - someone from Italy wanted a copy of the Real Singapore Cat and sent the money by something called Moneygram, which I had never heard of! The name of the agency that the person gave me didn't match the agency I went to, but at any rate, they gave me the money! It's so nice to hear that people are buying our book from as far away as Italy. Michelle and I will be bringing some with us to the CHAMP conference to try and sell them there too.

While I was waiting for the money to be ready, I saw the lovely boy in the photo below and spoke to the caregiver who happened to be there. She understood the importance of sterilisation and was very please do hear she could get a subsidised rate. She said she'd call for a slot.

I saw this big handsome tom while I was at the remittance agency. Posted by Picasa

Phone calls

Quite a few people calling today for help - one caregiver has a neighbour complaining about the cats in her home. She's wondering if they can do anything to her. There are cats in the neigbourhood and the neighbour thinks they are hers, whereas her cats are never allowed out. She has sterilised the cats in the estate, but apparently the neighbour must have complaints.

Another volunteer called about following up on an abandonment case. It's really important to try and pursue abandonment cases if we can - this way we have an opportunity to try and stop people from dumping animals. A lot of people don't even know it's a crime. If they did, and even SOME people stopped to look for other options, it would be very helpful to reduce the number of cats on the street.

Yet another volunteer called to say that a condominium didn't want the cats there and she wanted to help by removing all the cats. Please don't. It's important to work with the condominium management, but removing all the cats is not the solution, without at least talking to them about a TNRM programme first. If not, new cats will move in due to the vacuum effect and then the lots of cats removed are safe, but all the subsequent lots are taken away and killed. It's important to emphasise that a TNRM programme can help to solve problems. While it's good to be helpful and co-operative, removing the cats is not helping - either the cats or the management in the long run to control the problem. Removal should only ever be done as a last resort, when all else has failed, and you know the cats are going to be killed, and even so there are other circumstances that should be considered first.

Complainants with the mentality of 5 year olds

The complainant from the US married to the complainant in Toa Payoh who kept writing in sent in a final missive (I hope!) this weekend. They wrote to complain again and (this is my favourite part) said not to bother replying because they had blocked my email address. I have to say I always find it very funny when people do that - it's like they're in kindergarten. I actually had someone write in once who put "Don't write back - I'm blocking your emails" in the subject header.

They're people who want to have the final word, but can't really find a way to refute what you say so they resort to behaving like 5 year olds.

Abandonment of newborns

Someone dumped two newborn kittens outside a volunteer's home on Friday. People who abandon cats are already callous and horrible, but to dump newborns? These two kittens hadn't even opened their eyes - at that age, most can't make without their mothers. They estimated the kittens were less than a day old which in all probability means that the person who dumped them has the mother cat at home.

It never fails to amaze me that people will not sterilise and then dump the kittens after. Clearly they didn't have an intention to keep the kittens - so why not sterilise the mother earlier? Also, if the kittens were born, if they're dumped as newborns, chances are they're not going to make it. Why not let the mother cat nurse for a while at the very least?

These people are cowards of the worst sort - they don't want the responsibility of having the kittens' deaths (and lives) on their hands, so they just pass it on to someone else. Plus it's so preventable - just sterilise! Some people continually abandon without sterilising - the kittens look the same litter after litter, so it's not like it was a one-off mistake.

Friday, August 26, 2005

TNRM volunteer list

I'm working on a TNRM volunteer list at the moment. It's good to put it down on the paper - right now, if you ask me which volunteer is in each area, I'll tell you off the top of my head. However, this isn't ideal because firstly, I don't have every volunteer down I'm sure, and secondly, another committee member may need to access the information when I'm not around (for example when I'm abroad). Marcus jokes that I should download my brain.

Putting it down on paper, it's nice to see how many volunteers there are all over the island and where they are. In some areas, we know quite a few caregivers. In others, only one or two. It's very useful when the town council calls about a complaint and you need to tell the caregiver will mediate so that the town council does not trap the cats. There are the injured cats and the occasional lost cats as well - having a list helps to narrow it down to the people in the area.

If you would like to be on the list so we can contact you if there are complaints from the town council, drop me an email. If you are confident of doing the mediation, that's great. If not the Society can help with mediations too - but we still need to know what the situation in your area is and speaking to the caregiver is the only way to do it.

The girls today were a bit younger but seemed to be more responsive. Posted by Picasa

Talk and dog update

The school talk went fairly well. There were an equal number of people who said they disliked cats, as who liked cats, both of which were the minority. The rest were indifferent. However, when I asked if cats should be killed just because someone didn't like them - the response was a pretty resounding no!

Unfortunately as usual, there were audio-visual problems. Whenever there is a big system, it's always harder to get it to work! It all went fine in the end though - and the students were able to watch the video "Tails in the City".

They loved our postcards - we gave them out for people who gave right answers and to the rest afterwards. There was quite a mad scramble to grab the best postcards!

I went by and rang the doorbell of the home where I saw the dog. The man who came to the door said he didn't have a white dog. I couldn't really see if the dog was in the house, but I saw a little furry white shape inside the house behind the curtains (the other dog is grey and slightly larger). Whatever it is, the dog is no longer on the road, and hopefully it's home safely.

School talk and dog

I'm going down for a school talk now - to the same school where someone complained about the cats and they were almost removed. The girl whose mother complained will likely be in the audience today so let's see how that goes!

Will also go down early to try and check if the dog is safely home.

On my way to the meeting, this dog dashes in front of the car. I tried to make a grab for her but she kept running into the road, and when I rang the doorbell to the house she obviously lived in no one was home. The other dog in the house was obviously friendly with her. Poor dog. I'm going out in a short while to see if she's okay. Posted by Picasa

Exhibition Space

Going down to see an exhibition space this morning at one of the shopping centres. They've asked that we go down and view the space to see if it's suitable. I think we're not fussy and we'll take just about anything!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sometimes it isn't what you say, but how you say it

I spoke to one of the feeders today who called to say that the town councils, AVA and the NEA were rude to her. She is a well meaning woman who wants to help but when I asked her what happened, she mentioned that when they called with a complaint (admittedly a rather ridiculous one - that a cat defecated on top of the car), she asked them, if someone claimed a cat killed a person would they believe them too and started arguing with them. She made a good point, but I think it's the way she did it - unfortunately the town council got upset with her. Then she went to the MP and complained and went back and told the town council she had complained about them. Relations have thus deteriorated.

The woman is entirely right in saying that the town council should investigate and that the complaints may be ludicrous sometimes. However, if the caregiver is argumentative and doesn't seem like they want to solve the problem, some officers may be put off dealing with them again because they seem unreasonable. For example, if you argue with the officer, they'll wonder if you can really do a mediation with a complainant, who may also be upset.

So hard as it can be, and it CAN be hard, try to keep your calm. If the person is very rude, then just take down their details and lodge a complaint. Of course it goes without saying that courtesy goes both ways - no one is going to be very sympathetic if you were the one who was rude first.

On the way back from the post office guess what I saw? A Hello Kitty mobile. Too funny. Posted by Picasa

Shooting of TNRM video

The date has been fixed finally and someone has offered to shoot the video for free! So if you'd like to come down for a TNRM workshop and don't mind being filmed at the same time, drop me an email!

We won't be filming the audience exclusively as the 'stars' of the show are Jolanda, who will be demonstrating the trapping, and Imp who has agreed to do the Chinese demonstration (thanks Imp!). However, we would like to show some audience to have a more natural reaction as in a real TNRM workshop, rather than a staged one. The date is 1st September and the time is 7 pm.
We will only be shooting the TNR part of the demonstration, but stay back after and I'll be talking about Management in estates, which is a essential component of the programme.

Misconceptions about people who work with cats

1. They hate people.

While some people are naturally misanthropic, this applies across the board whether or not you like cats. This argument is akin to saying that if you DON'T particularly like cats then you must be a cat hater. It doesn't follow.

2. They put animals above people.

We believe in the welfare of animals certainly, but this is not a question of which is more important - it's a question of protecting the welfare of the animal and not a question of competing interests. Do most reasonable people honestly believe that because humans are supposedly higher on the evolutionary scale, that it's then okay to do absolutely anything to animals? So for amusement for example, that it's okay to torture an animal slowly to death?

3. They want cats to rule the planet (as Mrs Budak put it so nicely).

So we can name it Planet Meow and run around fetching cat food for cats all day? I don't think so. Next.

4. They're all lonely, unmarried women with nothing better to do with their lives.

Sure we joke a lot about how cats are better than husbands but caregivers cut across all social, economic and gender divides. Many caregivers are in fact in relationships or even married and have children! Shocking, I know.

5. They're crazy.

Not any more so than the people making the statement.

The fact of the matter is that people interested in animal welfare are by and large reasonable people who see that there is a problem and want to do something about it. Sure there are some people who may behave strangely - but the same can be said for any group of people.

It makes it easy to pigeonhole and brush aside animal welfare issues by pegging us as crazy or as animal lovers with no interest in other people. So we have to try our best to always put across a case rationally and with facts backing us up.

Mediation and newsletters

There was an article in the papers today about the Community Mediation Centre again. I called them earlier this year but after a few emails, they didn't get back to me. It appears that the courses are so expensive ($2000 a person) that they can't really afford to sponsor or subsidise a person who wants to get trained.

With the work we do, mediation is a really important component of Management. It would be great to become a certified mediator. The man I spoke with said he had been trying to work something out, so I'm crossing my fingers!

The newsletters just came in from the printers so we're going to be getting them folded and sent out to members next week.

Sterilisations up!

Jolanda just emailed with some good news that sterilisations have gone up this month! The number of sterilisations is currently 159 bookings to date, whereas last month it was only 144 for the whole month! Kudos to all the caregivers out there who are working so hard!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I've been doing some research on Singapore. Did you know that our population density is 6066 people per square kilometre? That seems like a LOT of people!  Posted by Picasa

Cat in a car park deck. Posted by Picasa

Tatoo that one of the vet nurses has. Really intricate work! Posted by Picasa

CHAMP Presentation

I'm working on a presentation for the CHAMP conference. We've been given five minutes to talk about Singapore and the situation with cats here on the International Panel. Last year I wasn't expecting to be asked so I winged it. This year we go armed with powerpoint presentation! :) I was surprised how many people actually turned up at the last session.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Public Programs

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Public Programs

Look at what one Animal Control department in Arizona did. Their job is similar to the AVA's but they've decided to try a much more holistic approach than just trapping and killing.

This is the Resolution they passed

FELIX Resolution

Town council blues

I spent the morning speaking to an officer who called about three separate cat complaints, then speaking to one of the complainants and the volunteer.

Here's what the officer said about one of the complaints :- the complainant does not want any cats in the area and wants them all removed.

I told the officer that it's not possible, explained about the vacuum effect and asked to be allowed to speak to the complainant.

Here's what the complainant said :- She does NOT want the cats removed. The cats have been there for at least 3 or 4 years. However recently one has started defecating outside her flat and has run in on a few occasions. Her daughter is frightened of them. If the cats remain in the void deck, she has no problem with them. She also told me that the town council had come down and advised the feeder not to feed them but she told me she thinks it's futile not to feed. She says the cats will come back into the area because it is their home - if they can just be fed somewhere different (and not on the second floor where they are currently being fed - she lives on the third), and the problem is stopped she will be happy.

For another complaint the town council had, the details were very sketchy. I asked to speak to the complainant, but they had no contact details at all. How is one supposed to even report that action has been taken?

Poor volunteer said that at least they started calling. She said she spoke with her MP who was quite sympathetic and asked the town council to start letting her know before the cats are actually removed. She said she doubted they would have bothered to call her otherwise and she was so grateful to her MP.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Asia 'wakes up' to animal welfare

BBC NEWS Science/Nature Asia 'wakes up' to animal welfare

Asians care just as much about animal welfare - and I do think most people, whether they like animals or not, don't want to see animals treated cruelly or killed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Ever wondered why cat complainants seem to be so vocal? It always seems that they're all ready to pounce on a cat related issue - some of them are quick to ask that the cats be killed. The problem I think is that people tend to think that this is socially acceptable behaviour - ie the cat annoys me, hence I get it killed, excuse me, euthanised or put to sleep. Other people would do the same.

Being Asian, I think that one of the things that does distinguish us is that we are conscious of 'face'. So if one day, complaining against cats becomes something 'shameful', I think people will stop doing it so much (though they might resort to doing it on the quiet). And it IS a shameful thing to do - you're actually getting a cat killed.

Michelle and I were discussing this and she said if it these people could be made to feel uncouth and just plain mean for having an animal killed instead of looking for a compassionate solution, people might actually look for another way just because they're too embarrassed. They might curse and swear quietly but they wouldn't get the cats removed.

Then again, people aren't embarrassed about spitting in the street.

Still, we might reach the people who want to be seen as being cultivated and having a certain degree of finesse. After all, asking for help because a cat is defecating in your flowerpot or garden is absolutely understandable - having a cat killed for the same reason is not.

Pet Cam - Oregon Humane Society

Pet Cam - Oregon Humane Society

I love pet cams for cats up for adoption - it's such a great idea to let you see what the cats and dogs are up to.

Cat friendly businesses

I just got back from the accountant a while ago. They're a nice firm run by a cat friendly man who has cats of his own. When we were looking for accountants, we called around, and when he heard that I was calling on behalf of the Society, he immediately said that he liked cats and would be happy to help us out at a cheaper price.

It's not just the cheaper price (though that certainly helps!), but it's quite sweet to go into a meeting and after all the formal stuff has been settled, people start whipping out their phones to show you photos of their cats! More importantly, I think it's important we try and support cat friendly businesses when we can. A lot of the time, people have problems because people DON'T like cats and the cats are seen as a hindrance to their businesses. It's encouraging to let them know that people do support their animal friendly practices.

When we have committee dinners, we try to eat at establishments we know are cat friendly. This means restaurants and places that support TNRM or who may even have set up a cat cafe to lure the cats away from their restaurants for TNRM. There's so much negative pressure brought to bear on these kind people - now it's time for some positive reinforcement!

View from the accountant's office Posted by Picasa

It's all Greek to me

Off to the accountants in a bit. Math has never been my strong suit, so I'll just remember surplus good, deficit bad.

Cats in cages update II

One of the volunteers has offered her services to send in all the unsterilised cats which means the woman can spend more of the money getting her cats actually sterilised. Some people have also written in through the blog to say that they would like to help out with the cost of her compound - thanks everyone. Let's see if she sends the cats in next week for sterilisation? That would be a positive first step. It's important to also make her feel a sense of responsibility- if not, she may take it for granted.

The sad thing is that she's not the first person we've encountered in a bad situation, and I'm quite sure she won't be the last. All of us can extend a helping hand, but the person on the other side has to be prepared to grasp the hand outstretched.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Millionaires and caregivers and millionaire caregivers?

I just received a call and follow-up email from a magazine for of all things, millionaires, wanting to do a feature on the Society's volunteers and on me and my pets. I quickly told them I'm far, far away from being close to millionaire status and I don't really want do an article with me sitting there smiling with my cats. No one is interested in seeing that - most of all me!

What I think would be good and what I've proposed to them instead is to concentrate on the community cats and the volunteers who look after them. They sounded quite agreeable, but said they want a 'high-flying' volunteer. Also now they've just emailed to say they'd prefer a millionaire. I've just written back to say it's going to be very difficult to find a millionaire caregiver - for one thing, we don't ask people for their financial status (background check before you sign up as a TNRM volunteer :- do your cash and assets add up to more than a million dollars? No? Then NO TNRM for you!!). Is anyone here a millionaire caregiver who is just keeping the information from me? :) I won't ask you for THAT much money for the Society, I promise!

It just seems that quite a lot of magazines want to feature pets and people with animals, but I actually think a story about TNRM caregivers might be interesting precisely because it's so unlike the usual stories that are run of people with their pets. Millionaires may not want to do TNRM but it may interest them to know that activities like that exist.

It's quite funny but twice this last week I was asked why we want to focus on Sterilisation because it would mean less cats in Singapore and obviously, being CWS we LIKE cats right? Today I was asked again by this magazine person about my 'passion for cats'. So I have to explain that yes we like cats, but more importantly we see a community problem that needs to be solved. Killing is not working. It's about wanting to find an effective and humane solution and that is - you guessed it! - sterilisation. Somehow I think people tend to think caregivers really enjoy standing out there night after night, getting abused verbally, getting cold and wet, or hot and sweaty, and spending literally hours out there.

Keeping cool on a hot afternoon Posted by Picasa

ASAP and spoilt children (and adults too!)

What is it with people wanting things done ASAP? It used to be that when you needed something urgently, you asked that it be done ASAP - now it seems everything has to be done ASAP. When people write in an email, they want a reply ASAP, they want a sterilisation slot ASAP and they want to adopt a cat ASAP.

One of the fosters had a 14 year old boy calling her on Friday. He called 20 times while she was at work and in despair she gave my number to him. Now of course the boy wanted the cat ASAP because he was free on Friday. I explained to him that cats aren't just given out like toys - the fosters have to contact them, there's an interview and viewing and then the decision is made. The boy calls me again on Friday (wanting a Persian or Siamese kitten), then calls several times again today. I am kind of surprised that a child of that age (he sounds more like 12 to me - which is what he told the foster) would be so rude. He said that since people had so many cats to give away, he wanted one NOW. When I asked him to stop calling the foster at work, he said he wouldn't have to call so many times if she had just given him the cat when he wanted one. He says everyone is just keeping him from having a cat and he wants it delivered today. He said that other fosters have no right to judge how he keeps his cats because he is an excellent owner with a cat he has owned for a month.

I spoke to his mother who apologised and said that they used to have three cats which they left in the corridor. Since then they were stolen one by one. She said she had told her son to be patient, but he ignored her. I have heard him yelling at her over the phone.

This other woman has also written in over the weekend and said she needed a cat and of course wanted a 'quick reply' because she was free that particular day. She has since written in to say her son wants a cat- they went to the pet shop because her darling son needed one so urgently yesterday but the pet shop was closed. The poor boy cannot concentrate on his studies until he is given a cat.

What these people don't seem to understand is that adoption is not about them! Sure, you have to want a cat, but the most important thing is the welfare of the cat, not you, the adopter. It amazes me how people write in and say that they are free so they want a cat that day even though I explain the fosters are working and may not be free to see them. If their attitude is so selfish and me, me, me, then how are they going to put the cat's welfare first?

Isn't this a great tagline? Posted by Picasa

Cats in cages update

I spoke to the woman with the cages on Saturday to tell her which date to bring the cats in for sterilisation. Then she said she wanted to send in the cats next month instead when her son gives her some money from his pay. She had said that she would get the cat that had escaped while on heat sterilised first, but then she said she felt pressurised and could not bring the cat in to be sterilised. She said she might have a nervous breakdown otherwise. She says it's likely the kittens will die so it should be fine.

Now she says she wants slots for next month. Let's see whether she sticks to those slots. She keeps insisting that the cats are fine and that the constant moulting of the fur is part of a renewal process for the cats and that the cats are all in good health. She says the eyes are fine now as she bathes them with chrysanthemum water.

I told her that if she continues to go down this route, someone is bound to complain to the AVA and she said they had come several times, but she told them to just take away all her cats. Then she asked if anyone wants to take her cats now.

I remember her saying that she also wanted to keep 15 of her cats, and it reminds me of another woman the Society tried to help back in 2002.

She had 60 cats in her flat, and was about to thrown out by HDB. The cats were okay, but showed signs of stress - quite a few cats were bald or near-bald. The HDB had send her eviction notices but she ignored them, until her neighbours threatened to sue her. Then she moved out.

We agreed to help her get the cats sterilised. We counted and confirmed with her that there were 20 unsterilised cats. She refused to let anyone adopt any of her cats, though quite a few people did come forward.

After 28 cats had been sterilised, I called to ask how many cats remained to be done. It was at this point I learnt that she was still picking up cats to bring home even though we had warned her she had to stop. We had no choice but to stop helping her. From what I last heard, she was still taking cats in.

Friday, August 19, 2005

This handsome boy was being fed by a man in the multi-storey carpark. The man said there were a number of other feeders - but that the cats there were trapped from time to time. Posted by Picasa

9:30 and we're done??

We finished unusually early for a committee meeting - 9:30 pm! We were able to go through the issues quite quickly and covered quite a lot of ground.

The Society will be shooting the TNRM video and will be holding an actual workshop then too so it doesn't look too staged. We'll be confirming the time and place, but if you want to come and sit in and be a 'video star' drop me an email? It's likely to be the week after next. We'll be filming just the trapping part, but after that, we will cover the management aspect too. If you know anyone who wants to come along, let us know as well.

August comm meeting

We're having our comm meeting tonight - earlier than usual because we're hoping to film our TNR video in the next two weeks and will have the comm and sub-comms down for that. We're trying to get a date down when most people can make it.

One of the cats we saw - poor boy is missing an eye. Posted by Picasa

The glamorous life of a CWS volunteer - when the volume of the video doesn't work, you squat there with a microphone to the laptop! Posted by Picasa

Talk at Poly

We went to one of the Polytechnics today and Marcus gave a talk on Community Cats. Unfortunately the guy who was supposed to arrange it came down with dengue feeder and Marcus and Michelle were in the office with someone who had no idea that there was a talk on at all!

One of the students (who admitted he didn't like cats because they have scary eyes) asked why we want to sterilise the cats because there will be fewer cats in the community. There's still this misconception that because we like cats, we want them to overrun Singapore!

We went down after for a mediation - the guy wouldn't let us into his flat, but it looked fairly clean from the outside. He says his cat is ill and he's bringing it to the vet next week and we can only come back after that. The man seemed a little unusual too - he kept repeating himself and stuttering. Marcus, Michelle and I were all peering in as hard as we could into his flat because obviously we can't force our way in!

Students listening to the talk. Posted by Picasa