Friday, December 30, 2005

Stop my family member feeding cats!

Someone just wrote to us to ask us to stop her mother-in-law from feeding the community cats in the neighbourhood. She claims her son is ill and it's due to the cats. I do sympathise as it must be stressful for her, but firstly, it doesn't seem to be at all that the cats are to blame, and secondly, what are we do to about it? It does seem like a domestic problem.

New advertisements

We've just been approached about new potential very nice looking advertisements! If all goes well, they may go up in January, which would be wonderful.

Website is back up!

Website down

The CWS website is down today - hope my email didn't overload the system. I have to download all the mail into my new laptop because the old one died and I haven't had the time to configure the system yet!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Neighbourhood Cats


Neighbourhood Cats
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Neighbourhood Cats is a group in NYC that does TNR in an evironment much like Singapore's in that it is very urban as well!

How to conduct Mass Trapping


How to conduct Mass Trapping
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

More 'presents' - I just received all this video and the Neighbourhood Cat video from the US.

Cat repellent

I think if we brought in cat repellent to sell, we'd run a roaring business. Already someone wrote into ask if she could use some in her neighbour's yard and one of the women in a block we flyered wrote in to say that the cat was defecating in her plants again. This means that the person must still be feeding the cat upstairs,which is really difficult to understand especially as the person must know the cat could be in trouble.

On a happier note, I saw our Save Lives Sterilise taxi today - they were supposed to have been taken down a while ago so this was really nice!

Cat repellent

I think if we brought in cat repellent to sell, we'd run a roaring business. Already someone wrote into ask if she could use some in her neighbour's yard and one of the women in a block we flyered wrote in to say that the cat was defecating in her plants again. This means that the person must still be feeding the cat upstairs,which is really difficult to understand especially as the person must know the cat could be in trouble.

On a happier note, I saw our Save Lives Sterilise taxi today - they were supposed to have been taken down a while ago so this was really nice!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cat Cafe sign


Cat Cafe sign
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

One of the signs on the cat cafe. Some cafes have far more information - what to do if you want to sign up, warnings against dumping, etc.

What a Cat Cafe is (and isn't)

A cat cafe is not a place where you go and eat with the cats. Right now, NEA guidelines do not allow for cats to be eating establishments, though I hear that will change. It's quite a tourist attraction in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan for example.

What a cat cafe IS is basically a management programme to run a Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage programme. It's a place to feed the cats responsibly and where they gather at specific times so you can easily trap them for sterilisation. Their health is monitored. They also are taken to the vet when ill. Someone asked me if it was permissible to leave food overnight at the cat cafe. It is not. The exact same rules apply to feeding as to the cafe. In fact, you probably need to be more stringent when dealing with cleanliness at a cafe then you would ordinarily. You need to make sure it is very clean and well managed. It is also imperative to feed at a specific time and not free form feed, so that you can easily trap the cats.

The cafe also helps to discourage people who feed out of a misguided sense of compassion and end up littering all over the place. It also helps in raising awareness of the fact that there is a programme in the area and this helps to educate the general public.

One thing you DO have to be careful about is dumping. You do not want people to dump at your cat cafe, so do not publicise it widely.

Cat Cafe


Cat Cafe
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

A few people have written in to ask what a cat cafe is, so this is one of the cat cafes that was set up in Singapore. I'll write a little later about what exactly a cat cafe entails.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cat from Condo


Cat from Condo
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went to this condominium and there was a TNRM programme in place! The cats there were sterilised and looked fat and happy.

Scarecrow


Scarecrow
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I hope your Christmas was a peaceful and happy one.

Of course Christmas does mean presents to some, and this is one of my 'presents' - presents in the sense that I bought it and paid for it :) It arrived from the US though - it's a Scarecrow that you place in the garden to scare cats away if you don't want them to defecate on your lawn. It has a motion sensor and shoots out water when the cat steps onto the garden.

With the bagful of Reppers I got from Jolanda, we have a good bunch of stuff to try and keep cats out of places where people don't like them!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a great day.

I'll be taking leave for the next few weeks as I have personal issues to attend to, but will still be blogging if anything interesting happens, so keep checking in!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mini comm meeting


Mini comm meeting
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The Committee met for dinner to celebrate the holidays last night. What's a dinner though without some CWS work so the dinner broke up at some point to discuss certain issues.

Friday, December 23, 2005

ST Life (23-12-05)


ST Life (23-12-05)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Thanks Christina for pointing this out.

Kidney transplants for cats

I was talking to Pearl today and the programme will air on Channel News Asia next week. It appears that kidney transplants in cats is becoming increasingly common. There is a Singaporean lady who flew her cats to the US to do the transplant. I was asked if it was ethical and whether it was too extravagant to spend so much money on one cat.

In terms of being ethical, if the cat is being adopted I don't think it's such a big issue. For example, there are so many cats being killed here every day, but no one seems to ask if it's ethical to be putting these cats down for no good reason. I would not agree with harvesting organs, but if BOTH cats can be saved and a homeless cat which was going to be put down now being given a second chance of life, why not?

In terms of whether it is too extravagant, I think it's very hard to say what is right or wrong in a case like this. The money could have been used to save many other cats (or people or any other cause you want to insert in here) of course, but I think it's understandable that if the cat is a special cat of yours, most of us would try our very best to save the cat. For many people, cats are a part of the family. Some people's means are just greater than others.

I'll let you know when the programme airs.

Lounging on office chair


Lounging on office chair
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I had to pass a cat trap to a young lady to pick up a sick cat, and I saw this cat on the way.

Pearl


Pearl
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's Pearl from Channel News Asia who interviewed me this morning about cats having kidney transplants.

A lady in Singapore apparently flew her cat to the US and her cat had the kidney transplant there. She also adopted the donor cat, which is the law in the US. We had someone approach us for something similar a few years ago, but the sick cat died before anything could be done.

Interview

I'm going down to deliver a trap and also to tape a tiny segment for a Channel News Asia documentary now.

Watching the TNRM video


Watching TNRM video
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Yesterday's workshop

Jolanda and I did what is probably Jolanda's last TNRM workshop in Singapore (though I'd like to be proven wrong!).

We went down to meet a group of seven very enthusiastic volunteers, though I got incredibly lost both before and after the workshop in an industrial estate! Luckily Jolanda got there on time to start the workshop.

We showed the ACA video, and Jolanda showed them how to trap. We also then talked about Management - how to ensure the cats were well taken care of and how to work together (and not against the town council). My voive started to go halfway - thankfully lozenges were quickly produced!

These sessions are always interesting because people bring up a variety of problems and it's always interesting to see how different people tackle it. One of the caregivers also mentioned that she had seen her MP and that he was very supportive of her work, and that now the town council was also working with her as a result. She was very pleased and I think this also gave the rest of the caregivers some hope.

Thank you to BC for organising it and to the volunteer who let us use his home.

Fascinating video


Fascinating video
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

You're never too young to learn about TNRM as this little girl demonstrates! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

TNRM workshop tonight

Jolanda and I are going to meet a group tonight to run a TNRM workshop. One of the volunteers has kindly opened their home to us so that we can meet there. Hopefully this will be the start of a new TNRM group that can work hand in hand with their town council to manage the community cats there better.

Buffy


Buffy
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This lovely Christmas card was sent in by Hana and Minnie from the Netherlands who wanted to show us their CWS adopted cat who is now back in Holland with them. They said that adopting Buffy was one of the best things they ever did - she's had an exciting year flying from Singapore, to Shanghai and back to Holland too!

Christmas greetings

Just back from the bank and post office. Thanks to everyone for the lovely Christmas cards and greetings you sent! Will scan in an especially nice one in a bit!

Adoptions

The volunteer who works on the adoption board said to me the other day that while most fosters and adopters are good, there are a few who don't respond to the others emails. Of course, it is understood that people are working and don't respond every day, which the volunteers do take pains to point out to people who want to adopt.

However if weeks go by and complaints start coming in because the foster still has not responded, it does cause problems. Some adopters for example are fixated on certain kittens or cats and will not consider adopting others while that cat is still up for adoption. This means if a popular kitten is on the board, other cats may not have a chance till that cat is adopted out. In the meantime, seven or eight potential adopters are all waiting for one foster who will not respond.

For another, people will think the board doesn't work and deprive other kittens of a chance of getting adopted. One potential adopter accused the volunteer of posting non-existent kittens that were cute to 'lure' people to the board.

Recently a woman posted some cats on the board, saying she would send them to be killed if they weren't taken and the responses came flooding in. She didn't reply and the potential adopters complained. The adoption team person called her. When the foster saw the emails, she said she couldn't cope with all the people who wanted the cats now. You just can't please everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Calenders


Calenders
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went down to deliver merchandise to someone who needed t-shirts for Christmas. They had a whole shelf of animal and cat related calenders!

NKF and Charity

Everyone has been buzzing about the NFK saga, and like most Singaporeans, I'm guilty of it too. I'm more worried about the fallout that charities are going to face though. Over lunch yesterday with Louis, we were discussing how we will be affected.

For one thing, we were about to reapply for IPC status for the third time direct to IRAS and right now, we think we should probably hold off. With people now questioning NKF's IPC status, they're probably going to be really stringent about giving out new applications.

With big charities, it's almost totally different from how a small charity like ours runs. I have never had a bonus since I joined CWS though I think I work pretty hard and I'd feel bad asking for one because I know the money could go towards the cats instead. I'm kind of shocked to see people in NKF getting huge bonuses for various things. Sure it isn't wrong legally - but the money could have been spent on the patients instead.

I am NOT saying that I don't think people in charities shouldn't be paid. Certainly rewards should be given for good work, but when I read how they're looking for a new CEO and are going to pay $19000, I think there may be a disconnect. It's not so much the quantum I quibble with because I wouldn't know how to remunerate people who run their facilities, but the fact that there is a sense that to get good people you have to pay a lot of money.

I for one totally advocate rewarding people for good work if they work in charities because people like me would stand to benefit. I also agree that charities could take a leaf from companies in learning how to run better - more transparency and better organisational structure.

Here's the thing though - a charity is NOT a company. A company's goal is to maximise profit, a charity's goal is to maximise WELFARE. To me, it's almost the difference between capitalism and socialism. If you get someone whose main goal is to profit personally (because of the huge salary), then you're going to get someone whose personal interests are not necessarily in alignment with those of the charity.

In the US, more people from corporate fields are retiring and then they go into a second career working in charities. They don't demand the same pay they did in their former high flying jobs - but they bring their expertise along with them. They're doing this because they're comfortable enough and their aim is no longer to make money.

I took a 40% pay cut to work with CWS. I still make nothing close compared to what I made at my first job and that was my starting pay. Do I miss the money? Sure but that's not why I joined CWS. If it was, then I would have stayed in my last job. Same with Louis from ACRES, and all the other welfare people like ASD or HRSS who run their groups on tight budgets, and work other jobs often to support the work they do.

Extinct cats

The girl who wrote to me the other day about sterilisation being too successful said that she was sure the town council had not trapped the cats because she could not imagine anyone complaining. Let me assure you, I hear this all the time - people cannot imagine their neighbours complaining, because usually THEY don't see a problem, but often their neighbours do.

Some neighbours will also claim that everything is fine, but complain when you're not looking.

This girl said that as no new kittens were being born, she was quite sure they were going to go extinct as she did not see as many cats now as ten years ago when they were all over her estate. There is not a country in the world where the cats went 'extinct' - the only place that managed their population is Jersey, a tiny island, many times smaller than Singapore. And of course they just stopped sterilising once the population was managed. It's not irreversible. If we ever went the way of Jersey, which I highly, highly doubt - the place is unique due to size and geography - we could always take some cats from somewhere else which is what Jersey is doing now.

On the other hand, death is irreversible for all those cats killed because of complaints of overpopulation. Why would we stop sterilising NOW because eventually there might not be cats and allow 35 cats a day to keep dying? The chances of having no more cats in Singapore due to sterilisation are so remote, I'm more likely to win $30M in a lottery first.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Inspirational caregiver

I met a caregiver earlier this year who has been really inspiring. She comes from Myanmar and is here to accompany her husband who is here studying. They are financing his education out of their savings.

When she first wrote in, I don't think she knew very much about sterilisation. Her husband mentioned to me that where they come from, cats are treated differently - they are to catch mice and serve a function. However, once the caregiver found out a bit more about sterilisation and management, she was extremely dedicated. With her modest means, she has sterilised almost all the cats in a short period of time. She borrowed two traps and learnt how to trap the cats. She even met with the manager and I went along and she said she would take care of complaints.

She has helped mediate problems, spoken to neighbours who are abandoning cats and helped to clean up the corridor where the cats were defecating.

Quite a few people say they can't sterilise, they can't afford it, etc. However I can see how much more difficult it must be for this caregiver coming to a country where the culture and language are different from what she is used to. Her friends scold her for sterilising the cats and say that she is being cruel. Yet despite the fact that it's costing her quite a lot of money and time, she's doing a great job.

I know she reads this blog, so I'd like to ask her to keep up the great work! You're an inspiration to us all.

Lunch and GIRO

Marcus, Michelle and I had lunch with Louis from ACRES. It was nice to meet up and chat. It's always enjoyable to meet up with other people working in animal welfare - it may not always be the same field, but we do face a lot of the same frustrations and joys.

In the course of lunch, we asked Louis about GIRO and he's also banking with the same bank. Apparently he also met over ten trips before they got THEIR GIRO facility set up. By that time, some people cancelled their application. Louis also said that some of their forms ended up in some other branch though they had submitted it to a different branch altogether.

Armed with this knowledge, Michelle, Marcus and I marched down to the bank. The bank officer by this time knows me, and I think even she felt bad. She said she had to call and make sure the procedure was right. She called, and was on the phone for a long time, gesticulating as she spoke. We waited for almost an hour, then she came back and said that she would need to check it up further. She said she wanted to be sure to give the right information this time as she had seen me come back to the same branch so many times.

*Crossing fingers*

Michelle crying


Michelle crying
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Michelle 'crying' because of the long wait we spent at the bank.

Sterilisation too successful, she said

I received an email this morning from someone who asked whether we were over-zealously sterilising the cats as she realised that the cats in her estate were gone. In fact, one of the cats she wanted to adopt, she said, disappeared. She asked if we might slow down as cats might go extinct otherwise.

I wrote back immediately and told her that she should call up the AVA and her town council. If you do TNRM the cats don't disappear - certainly not immediately, the cats are put back! If they're disappearing, the cats have been caught and it's imperative to try and get them back right away.

Christmas cards


Christmas cards
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I used to enjoy sending our Christmas cards to people at the end of the year. That all stopped once I joined CWS. After writing out 100+ cards, the joy has gone out of it :) Thankfully Michelle came by to help last night as Marcus tried to salvage my PC.

Celebs for Cats Auction

Thanks to everyone who bid! We raised over $400 and thanks to everyone who helped to spread the word, or who bid on the items!

The sad news - my PC really is dead. The data is still there, but Marc tried to make it work and it won't start. I lost a few days of data unfortunately which I will need to try and retrieve somehow.

Monday, December 19, 2005

An hour left to bid!

Time to start checking out your last minute auctions!

There are worse things then not being adopted

And sometimes it's actually BEING adopted. I've been thinking about how some people misguidedly try all ways and means to get cats off the street. They think that as long as the cat is in a home, that's the main thing. At least it's not on the street.

I can tell you from experience that I've seen some home cats in absolutely horrible condition, and on the other hand, community cats that are well kept and cared for. On the other hand, I have visited homes where the cats are living in their own defecation and filth. I have seen cats with eyes all gunked up because of flu. I have witnesses animals in environments where they are so badly bitten by fleas and so badly fed that they lose all their hair.

I have seen so many cats crammed into a flat that they become nervous and go bald. I've been to places where the cats are just falling out of every nook and cranny and they're nervous and upset.

Just today, the adoption volunteer told me a foster who used our board (and obviously did NOT use the contract) called to say that she reminded the man she adopted a cat to, to sterilise the cat she gave him. He replied that there was no need to worry. His friend had an unsterilised cat and he would just mate her when she went on heat.

So now instead of having ONE cat off the street, it's actually ADDING to the overpopulation of cats. What is this man probably going to do when he has too many cats? That's right - dump them all back on the street.

I would never tell a lie


I would never tell a lie
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The town council I met last week asked for the number of cats that each caregiver was taking care of, so that they would know how many cats there were in each area.

One of the caregivers went around asking the others to collate the figures, and people starting under-reporting the numbers to her. This is really bad for two reasons.

(1) If the town council finds out, your credibility is shot;
(2) If there is a complaint, and they go to count, they'll tell you obviously sterilisation is not working, and that you're doing a bad job because the number increased.

Please don't abuse officers

Or anyone in general. It is not a good idea if you want to be seen as a reasonable, caregiver who will listen to both sides without favour. Of course, there is a bias on our side, we don't want the cats to be removed in that sense, but arguing with people, or calling them names does not help.

One of the feeders called today to say that she was sick of her town council. The town council said that they would not remove her sterilised cats, but she could not sterilise any more either. As a result, she's been feeding and not sterilising. The town council feels that there are too many cats being dumped by residents, but they're not tackling the problem.

I spoke to this feeder and told her that she should remember that it was important to work with the town council. She told me she was sick of them and all the supervisors. She saw one of the cleaning supervisors the other day, and she went up to him and told him that she prayed all the time that he would be involved in a motorcycle accident. To help her gods identify which one he was, she was even supplying the motorcycle accident.

I told her that I had complaints before about her from the town council and how she threatened the officers. She said that she wasn't threatening. She really wanted it to happen, and she wasn't afraid to let them know about it.

Would you let someone like that mediate in your estate if you were the officer? Imagine what would happen if an irate complainant came up and was referred to her?

Review Animal Re-Homing Rules

Here's the other letter :-

Review Animal Re-homing Rules

Sterilisation of Strays did Wonders in New York

Just had time to read the newspapers today. Two letters online about community animals in the Straits Times online forum:


Sterilisation of Strays did Wonders in New York

Sleeping ginger cat


Sleeping ginger cat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Cats sleeping in the morning sun.

Foster has returned

The foster has returned from an overseas trip - she still has not responded to my emails, but she contacted the woman who left the kittens with her.

The woman has told me that the foster has neighbours willing to take the kittens. I asked the woman who found the kittens if she has checked the neighbour out, and she said that she had not, but that because she had eight cats she should be fine. She mentioned the new potential adopter (the neighbour) lives on a ground floor HDB unit. The woman who found the cat mentioned her other friend asked to give this new potential adopter ANOTHER two cats.

I've told the woman who picked up the cats to check out the place and make sure the neighbour is a good adopter. If people are so blase about where the cats end up, then why pick them up in the first place?

Some people feel that because someone already has X number of cats, that they must want more. Here's the thing - most people who already have cats, probably DON'T want anymore. This is not a case of the more, the merrier. If someone has 15 cats for example, please don';t automatically assume that they want to adopt another two or three. They already have their hands full.

Last Day to Bid on Auction

The last day to bid on our Christmas auction so if you haven't gotten your bids in yet, now is the time! There are some lovely things to bid on.

Celebs for Cats

Friday, December 16, 2005

AWOL Foster

This woman wrote in the other day to say she needed a foster desperately. Both she and another friend wanted to take some kittens off the street. She had found them dumped. Her friend had not sterilised the mother cat and now it had kittens. I turned her friend down, but this woman said that the cats were newborns and she needed a foster desperately.

As I told her, and as I tell everyone, we literally have a handful of fosters and they are all full. Quite a few have also left the country for holidays. I told her that a girl had just written in, but that I had no idea whom this girl was. I said that if she really wanted to place the cats with her, I would give her the number. I checked with the girl who was agreeable.

The woman wanted to know if it was 'safe' to leave the kittens with the foster. I reiterated I had no idea whom this girl was and it was up to her to try and find out. I also told her to send the kittens to the foster and not have her collect them.

Since then I emailed the foster a few times and called a number of times to see what's happening. The foster has not replied. I called the woman who said she last spoke to the foster last week, and now she cannot get hold of her either.

I told her that we could at least check out the foster's house, but it turns out she dropped the foster and the kittens at a jogging track somewhere. So now she has no idea where this foster lives either.

Explaining Sterilisation to Children

What a wonderful story! Thank you Boon Yeong for sending me the link :-

Misty the One in A Million Cat

Postcard


PICT0007
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

A friend just got me this.

"Lost" Kittens and mother cats

We have a sudden resurgence of people writing in again to say they're picking up kittens and cats. People say that the kitten is wandering around,they wait around for 10 minutes and see no mother cat, so they swoop down and pick it up and bring it home, then realise they cannot bottle feed it. Please, PLEASE don't do that. As I've blogged about, and which CWS puts on the FAQ, kittens without their mothers have a much slimmer chance of survival. While you can get milk substitutes (including possibly donated breast milk! :)), the cat does the best on mother's milk which has colostrum.

Even if you go back and put the kitten back where you found it, the mother cat may not take to it again because of your smell on the cat. One woman wrote in and asked me why the mother was so 'irresponsible' and wouldn't come claim her kitten because the woman was standing over the kitten and the mother cat was right there. She said that a responsible mother cat would have run to her kitten's rescue. The fact that the mother cat is already braving your presence is saying a lot.

So please, unless the kitten has obviously been in distress for a while, then you may need to remove the cat. If the kitten is meowing for a few hours, it's calling for its mother who has in all likelihood gone to try and find food. Don't stand over the kitten constantly or the mother may be waiting for YOU to leave.

ST Life (16-12-05)


PICT0008
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Good letter! Some of the celebrities they have featured have not been the best of role models to say the least.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Unusual Donation

A lady wrote in this afternoon to say that she was a breastfeeding mother and asked if we might want a donation of five litres of breast milk. While it's very kind of her, I think there would be problems of storage, and I'm not sure how keen fosters might be on accepting breast milk.

Also, I'm not absolutely sure that human breast milk is going to be compatible with cats. I asked a vet who was a little taken aback but said it ought to be alright. Storage is still the main problem though, and also the fosters might be more comfortable just with something that comes out of a can or packet!

Speaking of donations, don't forget to check out the Christmas auction if you haven't already!

Of Cat Cafes and 'Pregnant' sterilised cats

I was so pleased today when I went in for the town council meeting for a change. I was quite concerned that they were going to tell us that there were complaints and that the cats would be removed. Instead the Deputy General Manager asked if we could set up a cat cafe, which we had mentioned in the last meeting. His idea is that if the cats are moved away from the residential blocks to the park right beside it that it might be better in terms of cutting down complaints.

One of the officers asked about tipped ear cats that look as if they're pregnant. I said that I have seen cats under surgical conditions and that if you tried to do it with a cat that is awake, you stand the chance of getting your hand taken off. We explained to them that many of the cats are just fat. One caregiver told everyone her cat is really fat because she feeds it three times a day. It has been sterilised and is definitely NOT pregnant.

At the end of it, we have a new cat cafe and they've agreed to flyer the blocks to try and suss out the people abandoning the cats. One of the officers suggested putting a quota on the number of cats, and sending the rest away. The caregivers protested and the Deputy GM intervened to say that killing cats was not what they wanted to do.

It was decided that TC has to help volunteers curb abandonment and in return, the volunteers will do their best to make sure the population does not grow. If no new cats are dumped, I am quite sure they will be fine as the cats there are sterilised.

Renovated Town Council


Renovated Town Council
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Look how snazzy town councils are getting! Now if only some of that money can go towards sterilisation, that would be even better!

Another cat cafe

Just got back from the town council meeting and getting Christmas cards from the warehouse. The meeting went pretty well! They agreed to setting up a cat cafe in their area, which will make this the third town council that has already set up or is willing to set up a cat cafe. More in a bit once I've caught up on my email!

Town Council Meeting

I'm going down with some caregivers this morning to meet a town council. We met this town council just a few months ago, but they've asked to meet again in light of some new complaints. We'll just have to see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

CWS Celebs for Cats Auction

It starts tonight at 10 pm Singapore Time (that's 2 pm London Time, 9 am EST, and a couple of other times in different time zones :)).

Here's the website Celebs for cats.

This is the first time we're doing something like this so we're really excited and nervous too - but the things up for auction are beautiful. Michelle and I were tempted to keep all of it! Michelle is also hunched over the computer trying to make sure this goes live tonight! Thanks Michelle!

Please do bid on these items for Christmas and help to spread the word about the auction!

stefanie_sun_stocking_full_of_goodies


stefanie_sun_stocking_full_of_goodies
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

A much better photo care of Marc. I tell you, it's the camera!!!!

My PC has just crashed again. I'm going to try see if I can get it to work.

People with weak hearts?

I just had one of the weirdest complaint emails sent in by one of the estates where we have a cat cafe. The manager of the estate wrote in to say someone had complained and he attached the email. Apparently, the man's wife had gone down to throw some rubbish out last night, and that when she opened the lid of the garbage can, a cat jumped out. She screamed so loudly, she had to be escorted back home by another neighbour (whom the complainant says is a lawyer - I'm not sure what the exact significance of this fact is supposed to be).

This is the part where it gets interesting. The complainant said that his wife had such a fright, and that it's a lucky thing that she wasn't attacked by the cat and that she didn't have a heart attack. He said that clearly the cats are a nuisance because they're walking around the estate, sleeping under cars and sometimes on top of cars. Now apparently, they're even attempting to induce heart attacks by lurking in garbage cans.

I can understand that it must have been a shock, but a heart attack? What will the poor woman do if a stranger pops up unexpectedly when she's innocently dumping her trash or if she rounds the corner, and someone suddenly stands up from where they were hidden because they dropped something next to the garbage can? Kneel over and die?

Update on cats being abused

I called the feeder to ask if she had made a police report yet about the woman who she claims sexually abuses the cats and she said she had not because she had been too busy as one of her cats is ill. She has asked the feeders in the area to look out for the woman and removed one cat. I asked the feeder about the other cats because I remember her saying that according to her, the woman abuses any cat in the area.

She said she did not have the time to worry about this now and that she's told the other feeders to look out for her. I've urged her to go to the police, and make a report and to please let me know what was happening. She left her phone number with the police but never filed a report, which means no investigation is going to be carried out, which is what I told her on Monday.

neil_gaiman_autographed_tee


neil_gaiman_autographed_tee
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Care of Marcus - who not only photographs but can IRON :)

Choosing a vet

I've realised that when you first get a new cat, or start looking after a new community cat that people often don't know what to look for in a vet. This is especially pronounced if the cat has a serious illness and needs surgery. You can ask for recommendations from friends and other cat owners or caregivers, but this is often very subjective. Despite vaccinations and the like, which any vet can do with their eyes closed, you may have a cat (and I sincerely hope you don't) that has something which isn't run of the mill.

If you are considering a serious or delicate operation, do consider the following :-

1. Are you comfortable with the vet? Does the vet tell you what you need to know?

2. Ask questions - the vet may not always know what YOU want to know. I'm quite surprised how many people don't ask questions and then email me to ask what is going on. The best person to discuss this with is your vet and they're more than happy to answer your questions in most cases. Of course they do have a busy caseload, so on to

3. Write down questions to ask - often you may forget to ask something, so write them down systematically so you don't have to keep calling the clinic back.

4. Ask if the vet has experience in that particular surgery if you know it is a complicated surgery - there's no need to be insulting of course, but you want to know what the recovery rate is, and what sort of experience the vet has had. You wouldn't go for a heart bypass with a General Practitioner of course, so why would you do the same for your cat? In Singapore, we don't have Feline Oncologists for example, but there are vets out there with more experience in different areas. Find out what those areas your vet specialises in and if he or she has done the surgery before.

5. Ask the vet clearly about post-operative care and painkillers - self explanatory.

Neil Gaiman is the nicest man ever

I wrote to Neil Gaiman to ask him to please post some information on our auction to raise some funds for CWS this Christmas and he kindly complied!

Neil Gaiman's journal

The little sterilisation soundbite he did for us is also under Links.

electrico_autographed_cd


electrico_autographed_cd
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Electrico's autographed CD taken by Marcus! Be sure to listen to "Feed the Cats".

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cat T-shirt


PICT0007
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's the t-shirt!

Desiree Siahaan


Desiree Siahaan
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's what actress-model Desiree Siahaan is donating for the auction - it's a beautiful purse with a t-shirt inside it.

Banking, Banking

The man from the online helpdesk at the bank called to say that my pass was activated and I could now use it. I asked what I needed to do with my GIRO forms now in relation to the online services and how I could FINALLY process the GIRO forms, and he was stumped. He finally said he thought I didn't need the digital pass after all. He said the bank should be able to handle it and I should give the forms to the bank. Which means the people at the bank were wrong. And which means we just wasted $50 and a few weeks applying for it.

I somehow doubt that I can just hand the forms over though - an actual banking transaction done without the end user having to do anything! No! Civilisation as we know it, might crumble.

Contacting the authorities

I just spoke to a feeder who said that this man they had reported to the police has possibly killed another cat. I understand the police have launched an investigation and are planning to charge the man, so I told her it's imperative she get the police. She said she tried to call but they didn't answer, so she decided instead to call SOS Animals. She called us. I know she called the SPCA. The last time around she did the same thing - she spoke to everyone but the police.

Now it's good to keep the welfare organisations in the loop and we appreciate it, but she needs to let the proper authorities know. If this man is being charged, this could make a difference in terms of the sentencing for example.

So please, contact the proper authorities. They are the ones who can file the charges and prosecute. Do inform the welfare groups, but we have no police powers (as this woman knows). To pin an abuser down, you need to go through the right channels. Building a case needs evidence and to go to the right people, who are the authorities in this case.

Stefanie Sun CD cover


Stefanie Sun CD cover
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's a close up of the CD cover - this is a CD which was not available for sale.

Stefanie Sun Cat Sock


Stefanie Sun Cat Sock
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The rest of the items for the auction just arrived and they're really cute! Here is the cat sock contributed by Stefanie Sun!

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.

Neil Gaiman autographed polo shirt


neil_gaiman_autographed_cws_polo
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Marc took this photo of the shirt Neil Gaiman autographed for us back in July. It's a really special shirt which Mr Gaiman drew a cartoon of a cat on, so remember to drop by and see the auction which starts tomorrow on the Cat Welfare Society website.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Lost and Found

Since our Lost and Found page went up on the website, we have been inundated by requests to put up notices. We're happy to put up the notices, but in one or two cases, I have noticed that people write in, but when we suggest they check with the town council and AVA to check if the cat is there, they can't be bothered. I don't understand this - they're obviously upset enough to write in, say they want us to post (and in one case to post ASAP!) but when I asked them to check with their town council or AVA, they wrote back to either say, never mind, or that they would get around to it in a few days. This is despite the fact that I told them that speed is of essence.

It is upsetting that their cat might be put down because they just can't rouse themselves to find out if the cat is there, or they have decided they don't really want it back now.

ANIMAL SEXUAL ABUSE FACT SHEET

ANIMAL SEXUAL ABUSE FACT SHEET

Juvenile Justice Bulletin -- September 2001 -- Animal Abuse and Youth Violence

Juvenile Justice Bulletin -- September 2001 -- Animal Abuse and Youth Violence

Here's some interesting information on animal abuse and children and on sexual abuse of animals.

Abuse of community cats

Jolanda called me about this woman who had rung her to say that she was a caregiver in an estate where the cats were being sexually molested by this elderly woman. She told Jolanda that she abuses dogs or cats - whatever she can find.

I spoke with the caregiver and she swore that she saw it happening at least twice She also told Jolanda that the woman is clever not to do it when she is being watched. I've asked her to please make a police report (she had only called the police but not made a report). She complained that the other residents did not want to come forward, but that she had friends who also witnesses this on several occasions. I've told her that all need of them need to file a police report and she said she will do so.

"Subcontracting feeding"

One of the town council officers wrote in to request a meeting today. Of course the email already annoyed me by saying they want to meet with the 'cat lovers' and then over the phone he asked me if we knew ALL the people feeding cats in their town council and if the caregivers ' subcontracted' the feeding out. Clearly to the town council, if you like cats, you must ALL know each other. I told him that clearly we cannot know every feeder and that we work only with the responsible caregivers and not people who randomly litter.

He asked if there were passes to identify the caregivers and I said that the town council should definitely look into it, which made him backpedal quickly. He wants a way to identify caregivers but doesn't want to be the one who actually issues identification.

I find this strange in the extreme. If we like cats, then we must all know each other? What about everyone who owns a car? They must ALL be friends. Or worse, people who like to eat at the same restaurant - bosom buddies for life in the same logic. Or that ALL town council officers MUST be cat hating, lazy people. So if we don't subscribe to these other fallacies, then why are people who are volunteering to look after cats tarred with the same feather as people who are essentially littering?

Electrico Poster at Christmas Auction


Electrico Poster
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Two days to the start of the auction and here's the lovely special poster from Electrico (see the CWS logo at the bottom) that's going to be up for auction. Get it for the person who loves music (notice I did not say Music LOVER :)) in your life!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Not practical to replace culling with sterilisation - Dec 10, 2005

Not practical to replace culling with sterilisation - Dec 10, 2005

It would be great to get every dog and cat a home, but who are going to take all these animals in? Sterilisation has to be on an aggressive scale - or for every animal removed, one or more will take the place of the one removed.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Cats in HDB flats

I just got off the phone with a woman who had a complaint lodged against her and the HDB came to her home and then sent her an official letter asking her to remove the cats. She had been feeding a community cat outside her flat, which I suspect is what made someone complain in the first place.

She went to see the MP last night and according to her, her MP was sympathetic but told her that there was not much he could do. He said he knew a lot of people kept cats, but that she must have had a complaint lodged against her. He said that often if there were no complaints, then people kept cats quite happily with no problems.

She mentioned what a nice man he was. He offered to write her a letter, but said that it might get her into more trouble as this would be akin to admitting she had cats at home. It's a shame. It seems from stories people tell me that many MPs are quite sympathetic about keeping cats in flats and even so, people still cannot do so.

Pass


Pass
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Is it a shaver? A remote control? Something to zap criminals with? No! It's the new pass I collected today from the bank with which somehow I will be allowed to access the wonderful world of online banking.

Impersonating a Public Servant

I just spoke with a caregiver whom I spoke to for the first time. She told me that she was too scared to feed the cats under her block anymore because she had been told by someone living in her block that feeding is illegal. The woman yelled at the caregiver (who told me she cleans up) and the woman told her that if she caught her again, she would call the police. The woman claimed to be a government servant who would get her into trouble.

If you are faced with someone threatening you like that, and you are sure that you have cleaned up properly (remember feeding is NOT a crime, littering is), then tell them to go ahead.

If someone claims to be a government servant/police officer/etc, ask for their namecard, or if they don't have one with them, for their full name, and department they work for. Some people have been known to make up stories to scare feeders.

It is a crime to impersonate a public servant. This is in Section 170 of the Penal Code. Due to the various conditions involved in posting a hyperlink from the website, please go to the Penal Code at Singapore Statutes OnLine and look up Section 170.

Christmas Post Office


Christmas Post Office
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Even the Post Office is decked out for Christmas - LONG queue for stamps and the like when I went to collect mail and send out merchandise ordered.

Witnesses to abuse

It is extremely important to get a witness (or preferably more)if you see a cat abuse case. It's only hearsay evidence if you heard it from someone else (or more likely from someone who heard it from someone, or what should be termed the Urban Legend Abuse Case).

I just received a call from a caregiver. She unfortunately has a lot of cats abused in her estate. She understands the importance of a witness, but unfortunately she has not witnessed any abuse herself. She brought a woman she knows along once to make a report and I accompanied both of them to the Central Police Station for the interview (the report had already been filed and they were investigating the case). However after spending almost two hours giving her report, the minute the caregiver left the room, the witness recanted. She did not want to go to court, but she was afraid of offending her friend. When the caregiver came back and heard her friend did not want to make the report, she stormed off, leaving the witness close to tears.

Now the same caregiver has called to say that she has three witnesses - three children, the oldest of whom is thirteen and says he will go to court. I've asked her to check with his parents before she proceeds further.

So here are some tips for your witnesses :-

1. Make absolutely sure the witness will go all the way - by all means, persuade, cajole and beg, but make sure the witness DOES want to do this. If not, and you drag them along, it's not going to work.

2. Make sure the witness has his or her facts straight - if they can't remember what happened, make sure they write everything down first. An inconsistency can render your witness (and the case) not credible.

3. Get a credible witness - Make sure the witness is someone who can stand up in court and sound like someone you can believe. This is linked to two - if the person's story constantly changes, it is difficult to get the court to buy the story.

I have accompanied people to police stations and to the Central Police Station, and would be happy to go again if necessary, but make sure the witness is comfortable. This is going to be a process that goes through investigation and then to a trial (unless the suspect pleads guilty).

ABC News: Sound of Dog's 'Laugh' Calms Other Pooches

ABC News: Sound of Dog's 'Laugh' Calms Other Pooches

I'm sure cats 'communicate' with each other too.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Special Appeal Cat

An update on the special appeal cat - it came down with a flu and could not be operated on. The owner decided to switch vets, and has done so. He hopes to reschedule the operation for this Friday.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in to offer their help and advice. It was really good to see the outpouring of support for the poor cat.

eBay.com.sg Presents The Jewel Box Charity Auctions

eBay.com.sg Presents The Jewel Box Charity Auctions

Here's one of the auctions for which CWS is going to be a recipient. Thanks to Jessica Seet and Vernetta Lopez and to Ebay Singapore for their help!

Our own CWS celeb auction starts next week. Details soon!

Cat between vans


Cat between vans
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

What a regal cat.

"I'm from CWS"

I just spoke with a caregiver this afternoon, and she very helpfully went down on Friday to help with looking into a mediation. She lives in the area and does a good job. However, she mentioned to the person she spoke to that she was from CWS, and that can be a bit dicey. The reason I say this is that it may lead people to think for example that you represent CWS and that can be a good or bad thing. For example, people who like cats may be happy to speak with you. People who think that you're from CWS and may have a problem with the cats may unfortunately have the opposite effect. It may lead them to take a more aggressive approach. Also if you're a new caregiver, it may actually be difficult as you may not be able to answer all the questions and they may give you a hard time about that.

We've had one case where the town council told me that someone had gone down, said they were from CWS and got into a heated argument with the complainant. This made it very difficult for us because firstly, I had my suspicions, but did not know for sure whom the feeder was, and secondly, the feeder had claimed they were from CWS, giving the complainant a really bad impression of CWS and caregivers as a whole.

At one meeting I went to with a TC and RC, the complainant was so much friendlier when he met Jolanda and I because he said that he had this impression that all cat feeders were crazy (the woman in his block has a rather short fuse unfortunately) and his experiences had been rather negative. If people perceive someone from CWS to be (1) crazy (2) argumentative and (3)unwilling to take their complaints seriously, it can lead them to extrapolate that ALL cat caregivers are the same. This would be very damaging to caregivers and cats in general.

It's also good to stress that you're a caregiver in the area - it gives that much more clout that you're a fellow resident living there.

Town council ignoring emails

It's quite amazing to me that some town councils would choose to ignore emails. One of the people who wrote in mentioned that some cats went missing in her estate and she wrote in to ask them to investigate the situation. It's been more than a week and there was no reply, so she wrote in again. Still no reply from the TC - It was the MP who wrote back to her!

The MP mentioned they were investigating the complaint, which is fine, as certainly they need some time to look into it. However, not responding at all in the meantime is just strange - and pretty rude to boot.

The other technique is the stock reply - at least that's a reply, but it pointedly ignores certain questions you bring up. I understand there may be many emails they need to respond to, and that they cannot reply to every point, but if something is being specifically requested, it does seem to need a reply to that particular point.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

HDB policy

I just spoke to the feeder from yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems that she also had a complaint made against her because the HDB came to her home. She kept insisting that she can keep cats because everyone else does - this is actually such a common misconception, I can't blame her for thinking that at all.

What was more unusual was that she wanted to complain about SPCA for holding adoption drives. I've asked her to please not do so - why punish the cats plus the drives are for everyone, not just HDB residents.

One woman I spoke to wanted to complain about her neighbours with cats because SHE had been complained against. There's no point getting someone else (and their cats!) into trouble if you are.

Celebrity Christmas Auction


Cyndi Wang shirt
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Don't buy your Christmas presents just yet as we'll be having an auction of items donated by celebrities in time for Christmas. The auction will likely go live next week on Ebay and I'll post more details, but we have two different shirts signed by Neil Gaiman (of Sandman fame). We also have items from Electrico (the best band in the world!) and Cyndi Wang (Wang Xing Ling)!

Kitty in Nursery


Kitty in Nursery
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I dropped by SPCA with some articles earlier this afternoon and stopped by the nursery. This lovely cat is up for adoption. Please do NOT bring cats into the SPCA though - they have so many cats brought in every month that they cannot cope.

Whom to call if you lose your cat.

Thanks to Idham for sending this information in!

* AVA 1800-476 1600
* SPCA 6287 5355
* Aljunied Town Council 6744 1033
* Ang Mo Kio Town Council 6453 0511/6456 1633/6758 4922(Yishun)
* Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council 6259 6700
* East Coast Town Council 6444 9549, 6444 8885
* Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council 6766 9100/6416 7900(Ulu Pandan)
* Hong Kah Town Council 6764 3295/6791 5755(Nanyang)/6569 0388 (Bukit Gombak)
* Hougang Town Council 6286 3533
* Jalan Besar Town Council 6298 9222/6272 3626
* Jurong Town Council 6561 2222
* Marine Parade Town Council 6241 6044/6282 0551 (Serangoon)
* Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council 6585 4938/w6489 0520
* Potong Pasir Town Council 6284 5000
* Sembawang Town Council 6368 3100/6368 7094/6758 0129(Yishun)/6257 2722 (Nee Soon)
* Tampines Town Council 6781 2222
* Tanjong Pagar Town Council 6272 6415
* West Coast-Ayer Rajah Town Council 6776 5060/6896 4890

Losing a cat

We've had quite a few people write in the last few days to mention that they've lost their cats. The cats (mostly pets but some community cats) have been missing for a period of a few days to almost two years.

The most important thing you can do is start looking for your cat ASAP. If a long time has passed, the chances of finding your cat are slimmer. I wrote an earlier posting about this, but I think it bears repeating - call the town council, management committee or whomever manages your estate if there is someone and ask if any cats have been caught. Also make sure you call the AVA - see if any cats matching your cat's description has been brought in, and if so, please go down and pick it up as soon as you can. Some people leave their cats in there and think they can pick them up later, but (1) boarding will cost you and more importantly (2) the cat or cats will be very stressed out.

If the AVA does not have your cat, ask if any of your neighbours may have borrowed a cat trap if you live in on private property.

Also, start walking around your neighbourhood. Make flyers, talk to your neighbours and anyone you meet. There is a link on my blog that says "Lost a Pet" - it has some useful tips that may be useful.

Send CWS a photo and writeup as well and we can put it up on our Lost and Found page.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dragonball


Dragonball
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

At the courtyard of the hotel where the Seminar was held.

A tale of two caregivers

Caregiver No 1 : The lady I went to the town council with this morning. She's sterilised all the cats, she walks around cleaning up litter, teaching people how to feed responsibly and setting a good example. The first thing she did when the RC and TC people walked in was that she thanked both of them and said what a help both had been. She mentioned the good work she had done (which the RC and TC both agreed on) and said that she would not have been able to do it without their help. By the end, the RC person was agreeing to a pilot cat cafe scheme. The mood was polite and co-operative. Fortunately the town council was also open to suggestions - they liked the cat management posters we had and wanted to put them up. At the same time, you can see much of this is due to the good work this lady has put in.

Feeder No 2 : Same town council, different feeder. She does not want to come forward. She says that there is nothing she can do if the cats cauterwaul at night. She says the cats are missing but does not want to call the town council and says that when she calls, the operator speaks English. Now the language barrier CAN be a problem, but most town council officers are effectively bilingual - whether it be in Mandarin, Malay or Tamil. You can ask to speak to a town council officer who can speak your language but you need to ASK. If you do have a problem, let us know.

However, what do you think the town council will think of someone who is (i) not interested in working with them and does not want to be responsible for the area, (ii) does not want to speak with them, and (iii) denies that there are any problems without looking into them. We accuse town councils of blaming cats without looking into the situation, but maybe we should look into the situation as well without saying that a cat would never do that. It might be the one fluke case - and your credibility is shot. Most caregivers are wonderful, and unfortunately the town council may not be very helpful even with good caregivers. However, in this case, the TC is willing to be supportive, but the feeder does not want to work with them, and that's a huge shame. If there's an opportunity to work with TC, grab it.

Caregivers and Town Councils

I just got back from the Seminar - which I had to run out of a few times because (1) some cats were trapped (and have since been released) and (ii) one of the feeders was calling to say some of her cats had been caught. This feeder came from the same town council as the one I went to this morning, and there couldn't be more of a contrast with the caregiver who went with me to the meeting. The feeder firstly, had lured the cat upstairs to feed it, which led to complaints. I advised her to feed the cat downstairs and that it would take time, which she said she would do. Secondly the other complaint was that the cat population was increasing and the feeder mentioned she could not afford to pay for slots, and got free slots from the SPCA. It turns out though, that yesterday she sent the cat she was feeding upstairs into boarding for $50 a month. She could sterilise two males for the same price.

She complained that the other feeders did not want to help her. I KNOW this can be very frustrating and annoying, but the point is - either you care enough to do something, or you don't or can't. In that case, complaining about it won't help. Yes the other feeders should be responsible, and of course they should help, but if they're not going to do it, someone has to. And that person is going to be you.

It takes two hands to clap

I was so happy when the TC property manager said sterilisation was working in the estate. He even thanked us and the caregiver and said that he wanted for all of us to work together to solve the problem. Problem is I'm quite sure he won't go on record saying this, which is such a shame. The caregiver told me the Property Manager and Officer have been really helpful and they work with her, but it does take both hands to clap - she is obviously very responsible and everyone agrees on that.

I'm off for the Media Seminar now - I missed half a day and am going back to catch the other half!

TC Manager said Sterilisation works


TC
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Town Council I visited today. The caregiver is doing a great job and the property manager said that Sterilisation is working in the estate! He said there are less cats, less mess and less problems. Today's meeting was to just thrash out some concerns that the RC had essentiall. The RC has agreed to a pilot project Cat Cafe!

Meeting with TC & RC

I'm going down this morning to meet the caregiver and then the Town Council and Residents' Committee with her. This was in relation to the complaint about the cat scratching one of the suspected RC member's car. The caregiver has mentioned all her cats are sterilised and are well taken care of, so she's quite confident there's no problem about the way she feeds for example. She has invited the town council down to see how she looks after the cats - and they have had no complaints.

Pet clinic


Pet clinic
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

After I dropped Lillian home, I passed this new vet clinic and got out to check it. It's near Serangoon Gardens, but there's no information on the door - no vet name, no opening hours, etc. Maybe it's JUST opening.

Dinner with new comm member


Meeting new comm member
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Michelle and Marc posing with the Twixt while Lillian and Jacq hide from the camera.

Meeting with new comm members

Marcus, Michelle, Lillian, our new committee member Jacq and I met with one of the potential committee members this evening. We've started this new process of getting present committee members to meet with the potential committee members so we can see how the committee gels. It's really important to get a group of people who can work well together.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Re-Angling your Press Release for different Media

I went for the first of a two day seminar today (though tomorrow meeting I'm meeting the TC and RC and will have to skip the morning). This was a really interesting session as it teaches you how to put out the news in a way that will catch the attention of the journalists out there. What's interesting is that they also took examples of press releases that the different organisations participating have sent out and dissected out. I was told that we should have lots of photos of cats, cats with celebrities, with children and babies, etc! :)

Media Seminar


PICT0010
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is the Seminar I attended today - these were the other organisations that sent representatives to take part.

Seminar

I'll be out for a Seminar for the whole of today and most of tomorrow (though I have to skip the morning session because of a meeting with the Town Council). It's on Gearing your Press Release for different medias and should be very interesting and invaluable, so if it's all quiet today on the blogging front you know why! I'll give information on the seminar when I can get back to a PC!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Different interests working together

Here's my riff on why we can't all just love each other. We spend so much time fighting each other - fighting town councils, Management committees, Pest Controls, the AVA, even other people in welfare work, that we just waste a lot of energy.

If we could all focus our energy on trying to solve the community cat population issue, we would save ourselves a lot of grief and be closer to finding a solution. It's natural that we will start off being distrustful of each other, but viewing each other as the enemy isn't helpful - the real 'enemy' is in letting community cat situation overcome all of us.

Imagine a time where the pest control traps cats under the auspices of the town council, working with the caregivers, to be sent to the AVA for free or cheap sterilisation. We'd lick this problem in no time.

Idealistic? I didn't decide to work with CWS if there wasn't a little idealist inside :)

Kitten taken in

After calling around and around for the last two days, I still don't know who caught the kittens that the man working for pest control saw being trapped a few days ago. No one seems to know of the kittens being removed, though they did tell me that some cats had gone into one of the plant troughs. They did however tell me that they found another kitten just this afternoon. I called the man and he told me he's going down to take it home now to adopt (he and his wife have another cat too) but he has to change out of his uniform so no one knows that he is with a pest control company. He asked that the company not be told he's from a pest control company and I assured him I had not said anything.

Sad that people have to go to such lengths to be kind.

Singapore's OK


PICT0008
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The condos have this too.

Ashley's wall


PICT0005
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Ashley is the lovely girl who helps her mother with TNRM.

TNR and traps

I went to deliver three cat traps today. We got a nice donation from one of the people who borrowed one, and for a first, I demonstrated how to use a cat trap at a petrol station where I met a couple who wanted to borrow a trap. I must have looked like a strange person passing illicit material but instead, I was pulling cat traps out of the boot! :)

It's encouraging how many people are getting cats sterilised and how many of these people are newcomers who see that there is going to be a potential problem and decide to give it a go! As Vegancat said, there is more awareness and hence more people doing TNR and it's fantastic!

Cat in trap


PICT0002
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I had an email from someone the other day who mentioned that the cat trap looked really horrible and she felt bad using it. It does look quite scary to people, but on the other hand, I've noticed cats are so curious about it - as they are about most other things.

Delivering traps day

Today is delivering traps day. I have to say when we first got all the traps in, I didn't think we'd ever get them all loaned out, but we managed to actually loan out half the traps in the warehouse. Pretty amazing!

We only loan out to people we know though, or people recommended by long time caregivers and make them sign forms if they're loaning. We don't want them to get into the wrong hands.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Trapping cats

One thing that Vegancat brought up is something that the committee has been discussing, which is how cats are trapped. As some of you may not know, there is no licensing for people who commercially trap cats. This means essentially that anyone can go out, and be paid to trap a cat, which is what is happening now. As such, there is not much quality control. I think almost everyone has heard of cats being caught in a less than humane manner, and unless there are definite eyewitnesses, it is extremely hard to catch these people. At the same time, the town councils, Management committees, etc, find that it is really cheap to get rid of the cats.

One thing that may be worth considering is asking that only LICENSED people be allowed to trap commercially. For one thing, this means they would need to have a certain level of training. Of course we would prefer that no cat ever be caught, but they do trap, and will continue to trap, and if so, at least it should be done in the most humane method. The fact that they are being trapped by people who pay to have it done and then send the cats to be killed, should not mean they can do it any way they like. No hitting the cat over the head, no dumping them in gunny sacks, no smashing them around.

This would also mean that it would done by professionals - not the workers that the town council hire who do it for a few dollars. SPCA runs courses I believe to train pest control on how to humanely trap. At the same time, this would mean town councils, Management committees and the like would need to pay MORE. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the difference could come to as much as $70 PER cat. People would think twice if they had to pay $800 to trap ten cats, as opposed to say $80 now. They might be then more open to a TNRM programme.

Cat On Step


Cat On Step
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Too often people say that cats living on the streets have a terrible life. Yes it can be hard, and yes it would be best that every cat could be in a home. That isn't going to happen anytime soon though. In the meantime, many cats are pretty contented - they have caregivers who care for them, and love them. That's not too bad a life wouldn't you say?

Cat Welfare Society: Lost and Found

Cat Welfare Society: Lost and Found

CWS' Lost and Found Section is up and running.

Pest control

I was speaking with Aminah yesterday about pest control personnel. While some cats go mysteriously missing between the time they are rounded up by the pest control companies and the AVA, at least some of those cats may have been released by pest control companies.

Just this morning I got a call from someone who works from pest control. This man had been asked to remove them by a certain management, but when they found there was a cost, they decided to call someone else. His wife had emailed yesterday to ask if we took some cats. Apparently they wanted to adopt the kittens but were told that they were taken away by CWS. Now the management says it was SPCA. The man and his wife asked to just take the kittens in to adopt, but were told this was not possible.

We've also heard from one town council that for the entire year they did not pay for a single cat removed - the pest control company refused to trap cats. At the end of the year, the company gave up the contract.

If you speak with some of the pest controllers, some of them do feel bad. Releasing the cats it their way of not killing them, but of course this causes other problems too. Also some caregivers can never find their cats this way. Maybe pest control companies can help to trap cats for sterilisation for people willing to pay and then release them back into the area - that would be the best of both worlds. It's such a waste of money, time and the lives of these cats that they are removed to be killed. We need a whole change of mindset to get around to this, but it's one we should aim towards.

Kitty Cafe in Taipei

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Read this really interesting account of a kitty cafe in Taipei!