Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Moving and community cats

I just received an email from someone who is writing on behalf of a feeder who is moving out of her area. She is worried that no one will feed her cats so she wants to adopt all of them out. This is very difficult for several reasons - one, these are community cats, and not all of them will adapt well to living indoors. Two, they are probably older having been in the colony for a while and have a much slimmer chance of adoption. Three, removing these cats means the whole area is going to be overrun again in no time.

What I would suggest instead is what a few caregivers do. Some go back and feed the cats no matter where they move to - one lady has been traveling from Ang Mo Kio to Tiong Bahru every day for the last twelve years, after her original colony is gone. She sterilises and looks after the cats there.

Others try and find other caregivers. Jolanda for example started sourcing for other people in the area, and then she timed her feeding with theirs so there was a seamless transition. She got all the cats sterilised and the new caregiver will do any new ones. She stopped long before she has to move so she could monitor the situation and she reported that soon other feeders started popping up because she found food around. As she said, finding people to just feed is actually not as difficult as getting people to sterilise because many people do feed at least on an ad hoc basis.

So here's the number one rule : Please start planning early. A lot of people write in and say that they're moving next week and need to find a feeder now. What you should do is start planning the minute you know you're moving so you give yourself plenty of time to look for solutions.

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