Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy Lunar New Year

Have a good holiday everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

It's nice to have a new committee member who can bake delicious muffins! Thanks Coboypb!

Strange email

We just received a rather strange email from someone who had written in previously to adopt a cat. It was basically just an expletive against cats. I wrote back (as did Lillian) to ask if there was a problem that made her upset. The person wrote back to say that the email wasn't from her, but that she suspected someone may have been tampering with her email of late.

She did mention that she did not get a response from the foster she wrote in to, but that she had adopted another cat from someone else, and she was not upset with the Society or cats in any way.

If you are a foster, and don't respond promptly, this is what often does happen - the adopter will go somewhere else or to someone else and adopt a cat. It's good for any cat that gets adopted and I think everyone is happy that a cat has a home, but may not be good for you as the foster,if you're hoping to get the cat out. Do try and respond promptly or the potential adopter may think you're not interested.

Folding letters

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The committee hard at work folding during the meeting.

When dogs attack

I just had another call and email from someone whose cats are being killed by dogs. They are at their wit's end because they don't want the dogs to be hurt. However, they also think the dogs are at risk, because it's a matter of time before someone complains again. Then the dogs may also get rounded up. The caregiver mentioned the dogs never used to come out and attack the cats, so she thinks something must have disturbed their routine and she's trying to find out what.

The dogs really are victims in this too - many of them used to be fed and looked after by people, who then dumped them,or moved out of the area. The dogs are then left to fend for themselves, and sometimes end up in packs that then roam around looking for food, and sadly sometimes, attacking cats.


Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

During the committee meeting last night, we were all folding newsletters and renewals!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Committee Meeting

Committee meeting tonight and also folding of newsletters!

Family problems

I received a call from a mother who calls me every time she has cat problems with her daughter. Her daughter and her fight over the cats all the time. Instead of speaking with her daughter though, she calls me to complain. Her daughter on the other hand is equally stubborn.

Things came to a head the last time when the mother took the daughter's cat and dumped it. I guessed she had dumped it and pried the information out of her but she made me promise not to tell her daughter. At the time, the family was facing a lot of other problems, so I did not tell the daughter, but went down with some volunteers and combed the area. We also alerted the caregivers there and the mother also went down. The cat was never found.

After not hearing from either of them for a long time, the mother called today. She said the second cat at home (which she had said was a really good cat the last time) was not giving problems with inappropriate elimination and she wanted me to talk to her daughter again. She said she was considering getting rid of the cat again. I told her that it was illegal again and told her that this time I will report her if she dumps it again.

Cat going upstairs

The woman whom I dropped Reppers to late last year wrote to tell her town council it wasn't working. She had written to me while I was on leave, and I had written back to tell her I was on leave but asked if I could drop more Reppers by and I didn't hear from her again. What I had explained to her was that the Reppers does not last more than a few weeks - and you do need replacements.

The main situation though is that the feeder needs to be stopped from feeding upstairs. In that case, the person either wasn't home or wouldn't let us in, but there was food outside the flat, which shared the same stairwell as the complainant. We thought there was someone at home, but no one came to the door, so we left a note asking them to stop feeding. Clearly the person has continued to do so.

The complainant sees the problem as the cat and then wants all the cats removed, but the problem really is the person. If the person isn't stopped from feeding upstairs, and the cats are removed, new cats will move in due to the vacuum effect, and then the problem will just start again!

I can see why the complainant is upset, but at the same time, it isn't tackling the root source of the problem. I've ask the town council if they can step in and help and talk to the feeder.

Renewal Forms


I met Manjacat today to pass her the renewal and membership forms! thanks again. Posted by Picasa


Some people write in when they want to adopt and basically just ask where and when they can pick up the cat without even having seen it. Some people write in and ask a lot of questions - what should they do if this scenario occurs, which is better for the cat, etc? I take the second group of people any day. If people have a lot of questions, and ask even about specific items, you know they've done their research. The first group of people often does not - and may find that they are not ready for a cat after all.

If you are a foster, do make sure you sit down and guide a potential adopter through what having a cat really entails - you can make the potential adopter realise a lot of the pitfalls before they actually come to it. Even if they do not take your cat, you're probably better off knowing they're fully informed about it, rather then if they come back a few weeks later and tell you they can't handle the cat and want to return it.

For this reason, it's a good idea to have a trial adoption - it lets you and the adopter see if it's a good idea for them to keep the cat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Three cheers for Manjacat!

I spent the day processing membership applications and renewals, which is probably the part of the job I like the least (that and probably writing the AGM report, which I have to start soon!). It's also pretty time consuming.

Thankfully, I mentioned this to one of our volunteers, Manjacat, and she kindly offered to take it over from me. I'm preparing everything and tomorrow will hand it over to her for her to start processing the applications. We're very conscious of privacy and not giving out membership details to anyone we don't know extremely well and can trust 100%, so it's taken a while to find someone I trust enough to hand over this job too.

Update on cat in the corridor

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The complainant emailed me to say that the box the cat sleeps in has been taken away. Hopefully the family decided to take the cat indoors (as I advised them) because it is a very sweet cat. Here she is, waiting outside the home of the feeder.

It's not just cats being dumped

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Lost cat picked up by pest control

A cat was picked up a few weeks ago from a new condominium complex because a resident complained that the cat had been attacking their dog. I've seen this cat and it seemed very placid and calm to me. At any rate, it hasn't turned up at the AVA though it was picked up by pest control. So where did the cat go? I called up the company but was told the person in charge is not working today.

We've heard stories (and I've spoken to at least one person who worked for a company) who said they release the cats somewhere else so they don't have to be put down. It makes it next to impossible to trace the cats though, and of course the cats are likely to be driven off the territory.

Of course the cats are supposed to be sent to AVA, but there have been stories of cats that have just disappeared after they were picked up.


Someone dumped a box of newborn kittens outside one of the vet clinics yesterday and they called to ask if there were any fosters. As various people had been writing in for fosters, I knew there weren't any - finding fosters is usually difficult, finding them at festive seasons is worse.

We had one woman who wrote in and offered to foster, but when I asked if she could take in some cats, she's not available till June. The cats were sent to the SPCA.

Dumping happens everywhere - caregivers from all over have been telling me that they have had large numbers of cats dumped on them of late. It's been a slew of festive seasons, so abandonment has been going on.

It's really sad to see that people just take their cat and throw it out, or worse, they let their cat breed, and then dump the kittens downstairs. Some volunteers report seeing the same coloured kittens being dumped periodically, so the mother cat is well and breeding somewhere. The problem is how to find these people abandoning the cats. Some people are so blase about it, that they don't even think it's worth hiding, but finding enough evidence to prosecute can be very difficult.

She isn't fierce, she's just a sweetie! :)

She isn't fierce, she's just a sweetie! :)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yawning cat

Yawning cat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Sterilising cats is not the goal

Someone wrote in to say that they wanted to know if sterilising all the cats would lead to there being no more cats in Singapore, and hence whether killing the cats might actually be better, because the remainder would be allowed to reproduce. The person said they did not want to see a day where there were no more cats.

The thing is - sterilising cats is not the be all and end all. Saving lives is. I explained that once the cat is sterilised, it cannot reproduce. It would however live out the rest of its life without being killed ideally.

If at some point, we find the number of cats has dropped to the point where they are not reproducing, we will gladly stop sterilising. It's estimated you probably need to 90% of the ENTIRE cat population to reach this level. The remaining 10% will then reproduce enough to just keep the population constant and manageable. Of course, you need to keep an eye on that 10% or they'll reproduce enough again to cause overpopulation.

However this is all conjecture for we're far, far from this aim. 35 cats are still being killed every day and we have a long way to go before we can start thinking of stopping sterilisation.

Follow the trail of food

Follow the trail of food
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

and chances are you'll find the feeder. I asked the woman feeding the cat to please feed downstairs. Strangely enough as well, I spoke to the other neighbours who said the cat did not go into their plants - it went into the complainant's plant to defecate. The complainant's flat is the second furthest from the staircase where the cat climbs up from too.

Cat in Box

Cat in Box
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went to flyer one storey of a block of flats. Finding the cat wasn't hard at all - it had this nice little box to sleep in.

Photos of Kitties on phone

Photos of Kitties on phone
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Showing off photos of kitties on handphones - now it's easy to whip out photos! The person proudly showing the cat off is a guy by the way.

Flyering and reppers

Off to flyer this afternoon - it's just the one floor thankfully! - and to drop some reppers off.

New Kittens born

Following on to my earlier post about pregnant cats being taken in, I'm writing about pregnant cats that give birth on the streets in an existing colony. I can safely say that in the top three reasons of why people call the town council or MC to complain and have the cats in their estate trapped is that kittens are born. Quite a few people have asked me why, because they say kittens are so cute.

Most people generally don't mind one or two cats, but when they see kittens, it shows that the cat population is growing. The neighbour who may be tolerant of one or two cats, may not be tolerant of five or six. It shows that there is no programme in place to manage the cat population. It makes them wonder when the population is going to stop growing.

Furthermore, quite a few complainants have said that kittens are so playful they get into everything and that annoys people too. Older cats are more sedate and tend to leave people alone.

Town councils and Management Committees want to see the population controlled. If the population goes up from 2 to 6 overnight, that's an increase for them, and they will take action if a complaint is lodged.

How to solve this? Easy - sterilise early. If the cat is pregnant, of course, people have different feelings on this because some have religious objections. However, bear in mind that the entire colony can be jeopardised - and I have seen it happen. Most experienced caregivers I know sterilise when pregnant or remove the kittens once they are born. However, the latter often end up with overflowing homes.

Pregnant cats

More people writing in to ask us to take in pregnant community cats, so that the mother cats give birth and the kittens can then be put up for adoption.

First of all, if you are looking after a community cat, please sterilise it early, so that the cat doesn't get pregnant in the first place. That would help prevent a lot of the attendant problems.

If however, you suddenly discover a pregnant community cat and discover you are in a quandary, here are a few things to consider. This is exempting people with religious objections, which is a different kettle of fish.

Quite a few people think that sterilising a pregnant cat is very cruel. No one, and I repeat, no one, feels good about sterilising a pregnant cat. It's not as if people who sterilise pregnant cats do it because (1) they've never factored in the cat's pregnancy or (2) they're just evil, evil people.

What has happened with the people who've written in so far is this - they put the cat with someone, and the cat gives birth. They then let the mother cat nurse the kittens as they look for homes. Then they discover, there are no homes and time is running out. They only have a limited amount of time before the friend is going to hand the cats back to them and they cannot take the cats in themselves. So they write in desperate and they say they will send the cats to be put down. In the meantime, the mother cat has been off the street so long that when put back into her territory, there's a good chance the vacuum effect has kicked in and she cannot fit back into her territory. She is likely to be driven away.

Here's the reality - there are far, far, FAR more cats than homes for cats. Every cat that is born takes away a home from another existing cat that also desperately needs a home. Your chances of the kitten being adopted are slim and even if you do get it adopted, that means another cat out there doesn't. If you are not prepared to take in the pregnant cat and all her kittens, then consider sterilisation immediately. Don't delay. The vet will let you know if it is not safe.

What is the point of 'saving' a mother cat and her as yet unborn kittens, only to kill the kittens later on after they are born?

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Marcus, Michelle, new committee member Claris and I went to Crazy Horse last night for the ST Life! party. We met some journalists who showed us photos of their community cats.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Giving up cat

Someone wrote into say that she was ill since her cat arrived and that she had to give up the cat as a result. I called up to see if there was anyone to help her keep her cat without endangering her health. She said that she felt breathless and giddy, since the cat had arrived. I asked her what her doctor had advised as I had heard of people who found that their health problems were not related to the cat at all.

One lady I heard refused to give up her cat when her son was ill, because she was sure it was not the cat - it wasn't. It turned out to be a new hair dye someone in the home was using that her son was allergic to. Without finding out the problem, you might give up the cat and find you STILL have a problem and now you have had to give up the cat.

When I asked the woman what the doctor had advised, she paused, and then said she had not been to the doctor. She said that her mother-in-law had also said the cat was 'not appropriate' in the flat. I wish people would discover this before bringing a cat home.

I'm not God - really.

Someone wrote in to say that she noticed that quite a few cats liked to sleep under cars and that as a result, they got hurt or killed when the car took off. She asked me to please do something about it so no more innocent cats were killed.

This is a problem as cats do like the warmth cars generate and there are some steps that can be taken - for example, turning on your engine first, and letting it run so that the sound startles the cats. Another thing you can do is to check under the car, and to sound the horn before you start the car. I advised the woman to tell her friends to do this.

I can't however command all cats not to sleep under cars, nor do I have an underground signal to the secret cat network that broadcasts messages to cats near and far. I also have no way either of stopping everyone who drives to check their cars before starting off. I guess I should be flattered the woman thinks I have such power :)


Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Looking at him, you wouldn't know this cat has renal failure, but he's lucky in that he has people looking after him!

It's good to know the gender

I just spoke to a caregiver who sent in a cat for sterilisation. It apparently had some wounds that needed to be stitched up, so the cost came to more than she expected. It became more complicated, because she mentioned that the cat was a pregnant female, and the vet clinic told me it was a male cat. She said that she thought it was a female cat because as she was feeding it, it got fatter and fatter.

It's a good idea to check the gender of the cat. Firstly, the female cats are more difficult to do, so if you send in four females, instead of four males, the vet is not going to be very pleased, as their schedule will be out of sync because females take so much longer. Secondly, it's just a good idea to know!

When you are feeding the cats for example, you can surreptitiously walk around behind and take a quick peek.

Stop feeding upstairs!

One of the caregivers called - we had a complaint last week about a cat defecating outside the complainant's home. The complainant said that the problem was recent and he knew which unit was feeding the cat.

The caregiver went down to the area which is near hers. She said the area was in quite a state - lots of unsterilised cats. She spoke to the person feeding, and it turned out that it was their cat, but that they didn't want the cat inside their house because they thought it might dirty their home. As such, they fed it outside and the cat was then proceeding to defecate outside the complainant's home. The caregiver asked them to just shift the feeding downstairs (the feeder lives on the second floor) or indoors, but they said it was too much trouble, and they'd rather just stop feeding.

People really need to stop feeding upstairs. So many complaints come in about this every single week, and it puts the cats at risk. I had another two cases today as well. People mean to be kind but they're really endangering the cats' lives.

We've been invited!

Life! party
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

CWS has been invited to the ST Life party tonight. A few of the committee will be attending.

Urban Legend?

This woman called this morning to say that she knows someone who knows someone who was walking through Tanjong Pagar and saw a group of people luring the community cats and then injecting them with something that may them collapse. Her friend's friend thought it was CWS as there were a number of sterilised cats in the area.

I explained to the woman that CWS does not inject cats - only trained vets can do that, so we trap the cats and bring them into the vet. She has now asked me to call her friend who can put me in touch with the witness.

Here's the thing, as I told the woman - we need the person who actually witnessed it to come forward. I'm going to try and trace her down, but the story firstly, may have morphed several times in the telling. Secondly, it's a lot of conjecture unless we know what happened exactly. It's important to get the actual facts down and to do so, you need the witness.

Snake and 'snack' hamster

Snake and hamster become friends

This is such a sweet story!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Humans - the most complicated animal

Just got off the phone a few minutes ago with the man from the temple. I've told him I'm keeping out of the whole situation between him and the caregiver, because I wasn't there when the situation happened, and hence have no idea what really occured. I am very glad he says he's still willing to co-operate with regards to the cats. I told him that's really what I'm there for - to work for people and cats to co-exist happily.

It really struck home again though that it's so much more difficult to deal with problems between people than with the cats themselves. Most of this job actually deals with people, not with cats and that's the complicated part. You don't see cats getting upset, or angry or offended with each other. Nor are they the cause of most of the complaints - it's usually because of someone doing something in relation to the cats that causes friction.

Temple update

I spoke to the volunteer and it was indeed a misunderstanding. She said that she had complained about the man from the temple a few weeks ago, as she was upset that she felt he threatened the cats. However, the chairman only spoke to the man two days ago, so he thought she had complained after their last meeting where he felt everything was settled.

I hope all ends well for humans AND cats.

Stray Fund

Stray Fund
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Isn't this nice? I saw this as I was dropping newsletters yesterday.


I'm trying to get hold of Reppers. So far it seems to be working pretty well, and we sent more out today, so let's see how that goes. Unfortunately, I'm running out of supplies already and the only place to get it is Holland - and they don't seem to ship out of the country.

Jolanda called and got the number of the Hong Kong office, so I called there. I hope to be able to get my hands on some.

It's strange that no one has thought of bringing in cat repellent into Singapore. I think it'd be BIG business.

Cat at the temple

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is one of the cats that goes into the temple. Here he is lounging in the HDB walkway outside.

Where does it end?

You know what really annoys me? When people start quoting from religious books to say that God has made Man to be higher than animals - forgetting that it said in the first place that it said that animals were to be treated well! This is the latest missive from the daughter-in-law who is quoting scripture to say that people are more important than animals.

I read an interesting commentary that said that while this might be true (and of course this depends on what religion you belong to), the main thing is that the basic tenet underlying this is that animals are to be treated well to begin with. Many people forget that.

Anyway, the daughter-in-law has said she will stop writing to me because she will take it up with further authorities if she needs to. She is steadfastly silent on whether she has tried to speak with her mother-in-law. She has ignored my suggestions for mediation.

Her argument is thus - her son is ill, and his immunity is weak. Therefore her mother in law must stop feeding. I can see the chain of logic from one to two - however I don't see how it links to feeding the cats. I have suggested that the mother-in-law be asked to shower and change her clothes before coming into contact with any of them as an additional precaution, but she did not respond to that either.

Here's the thing, if everyone who has an argument with a family member decides to go to the authorities, then when will it end? I can see that in some situations, where the situation is really bad, that the authorities might have to be called in, especially if someone is violent or abusive. In this case, this is an elderly lady - and what can the authorities to do make her cease and desist from feeding? What if in the future you don't like the way your mother-in-law hangs the laundry out, can you call your town council? Or what if your daughter-in-law doesn't spend as much time with your grandchild as you think she should? Again, let's involve the authorities!
If anything, counselling might be a good solution as Vegancat suggested, but she has ignored that suggestion too.

Working it Out?

I spoke to the town council officer about the case with the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. She seemed like a reasonable and nice lady, and she said that the town council's stance is that this is a family matter which they will not get involved in.

The daughter-in-law also wrote to say that they may ask the mother-in-law to move out. Very sad that it has to come to this, but the relationship may be so toxic that it cannot be saved without a lot of work.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yan Jing

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is Yan Jing, who is missing an eye and needs a permanent home. He is a sweetie!

Pet Clinic

Pet Clinic 1
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went by this new vets after to speak to the nice people who run this clinic. They do have community cat rates as well.

TNRM in a shopping centre?

I went with the volunteers to a nearby shopping centre. The cats have been going to a carpark ramp which is cordoned off, and defecating and the management is not happy. We went to check out the area, and I spoke to one of the security managers (who told me he used to work with the government undercover, where he saw lots of horrible things that gave him high blood pressure - you do meet the most interesting people in this job).

They want the cats removed, but I tried to explain TNRM to him. He said his manager is away this week, but he'll pass the information I have to the manager and have the manager call me.

Not many shopping centres run TNRM programmes. We have worked with two, but for the rest, either they don't have much of a cat problem, or we just have not been approached about it.

Kitties hiding

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here are the skittish kittens hiding.

Hiding place

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The cats all hide in this area right behind the temple. The urn is just on the other side of this wall. If the cats can stay away from the prayer urn, the complainant says he does not have a problem with them.

Temple situation

I went down, armed with Reppers, to meet the person at the temple and some caregivers in the area. Apparently, they went down to meet him when I was on leave, and unpleasantness ensued. The complainant felt that they were not dealing with his problem, which was that of cats defecating in the prayer urn. Clearly, we do need to try and solve this problem, so I brought the reppers down and hopes that works out. We also walked around to the back, and the complainant said that the cats were scaling the trees and climbing into the compound. Apparently, the cats were then jumping in. I looked at the soil there, and it was dry and hard, so it's not surprising the cats went into the urn. The complainant seemed willing to give the Reppers a chance, so I'm crossing my fingers they'll work, especially as he tells me that you cannot change the contents of the prayer urn except once a year. If there is still defecation in there, then there may be a problem.

However, at their last meeting, he claims that the volunteers made a complaint to the chairman of the RC where he volunteers to say he was abusing his position. He was then told off by the Chairman, and is very upset about it. One of the volunteers in turn said he was rude and abusive, and that she felt he was trying to intimidate all of them with his position as an RC volunteer. The complainant is now quite happy for the moment about the cat situation but is angry as what he sees as the volunteers being disrespectful to him.

He told me he felt that he had stabbed in the back because they should not have complained and should have just spoken with him. The volunteers on their end, felt he wasn't listening, and hence went to his superior to complain. I just hope it's a misunderstanding that can be cleared up.


Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went by this temple today to speak to the caretaker. The cats apparently are jumping into one of the prayer urns to defecate by climbing these trees and scaling the wall. Of course the whole situation has become a lot more complicated due to the situation with the people, not the cats. Will blog more later, once I catch up with some email.

"Amy Kua"

Someone just called up to speak with "Amy Kua". Apparently someone else had left a note on his car, asking him to call Amy up with my handphone number if he wanted to help the cats and wishing him a nice day. The man who called is feeding the cats in his estate, but has not sterilised them, and we're now talking about setting up a TNRM programme in his estate. I'm glad someone left that note, though it it would have been nice to have a little prior warning for I wasn't sure what he was talking about at first ! :)

Reppers Christmas present

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's my Christmas present from Jolanda - will be bringing it down to the temple this afternoon.

Trying to work it out

The woman who wrote in a while ago to say that she was upset because her mother in law was feeding cats, and may have caused her son to have fits, just wrote in again. The strange thing is that she's not trying to stop her mother-in-law, but rather she is trying to get CWS, the town council, AVA and every official body to stop people from delivering food to her home.

She said she has no problem with the food per se, but if the food stops, her mother-in-law will not be able to feed. She is upset her mother-in-law will come home in clothes which are contaminated.

This is assuming that (1) her mother in law will not just find some other food source. She could for example cook for the cats or (2) her mother-in-law stops feeding and decides instead to just play with the cats.

The woman also made an analogy to bowls of water lying out in the open (which might cause dengue) to the Australian man recently hung for drug smuggling. The point she was trying to make I think, was that both could hurt your family, so you should crack down on both. Hanging for people leaving water bowls out then?

It baffles me why people don't just speak with their family members and try and work things out. If that really doesn't work, then perhaps trying to move out or minimise contact with the other person might be the way to go. After all, they are your relations whom whether you like it or not, you are going to see for the rest of your life. To blow what is essentially a family disagreement up to the authorities is kind of a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New vet clinic and temple

A new vet clinic has just opened, so I just spoke with them. I'm going to drop in tomorrow to talk about the possibility of getting community cat sterilisation rates.

I also received a complaint about some cats going into a temple and defecating near the relics. I will be bringing some Reppers by tomorrow to see if we can stop the defecation and also to see if it is possible to get the feeders to feed further away from the area with the relics.


Three people mentioned to me today in the course of calling that they knew I had been on leave, so I have a bunch of people calling. Literally the minute I turned on my phone yesterday, someone called too and asked about my being on leave. I guess I should feel flattered that people remember my leave schedule ! :)

Why cats are not allowed in HDB flats

I was just reading the New Paper article again and reading the HDB statement about why cats are not allowed in flats.

The same argument has been trotted out for many years, even though it makes no sense. Let's look at what is often said :-

"Cats are nomadic"

Cats are not nomadic. They may be smaller, and hence perhaps may be able to squeeze out of the windows easier, but if you leave a main door open, a dog is just as likely to run out. It's simple - just make sure the windows and doors are screened so the cat can never get out and make this part of the requirement if you want to keep a cat in an HDB flat.

We had more than 30 vets who said that cats make excellent apartment animals precisely because they're smaller and easy to manage. Cats have become the Number One apartment animal in USA and Europe, and unlike dogs, they don't ever have to go out for walks, making them ideally suited to a flat.

"Cats Shed Fur"

So do dogs. So do rabbits. Both are allowed in HDB flats. Next!

The other thing brought up is the number of complaints that HDB receives. The New Paper article said HDB receives 480 complaintsa year. Now my Math is bad, but that works out to 40 complaints a month. That works out to 0.001% of the people living in flats. Of these, how many are repeat complaints? How many are due to other grudges? Also, how many complaints does HDB receive about noise, laundry dripping, burning of joss paper, littering, etc?

Obstructing Plants

Obstructing Plants
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

People complain about cats defecating in their plants and this is certainly a problem which must be solved. Just today I have had two complaints about cats defecating in plants. While we will definitely try our best to help, and we do sympathise, it's important to remember that the cats are defecating there, because someone is (i) letting their home cats roam or (ii) feeding the cats upstairs. Removing the cats will not help if this continues since new cats will just move in due to the vacuum effect.

What annoys me is when people try to throw the book at the feeders or flat owners and say that cats are not allowed in flats. Clearly these people need to be educated. However, you know what they say about people in glass houses not throwing stones? Well, neither are plants if they obstruct the corridor. A wider reading would suggest placing anything in a common area is not allowed. Check your town council by-laws.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Overseas adoption

Someone wrote in from the US to ask if they could adopt a community cat from us as she had adopted a cat from Singapore and she really loved it. The problem is that it's expensive and there is no way for us to check up on the cat after it's gone there. II normally encourage people to go to their local shelters, but in this woman's case, I think she found our local community cats to have such lovely personalities.

We did have another one who said that she had smuggled a cat under her jacket all the way back to Europe once and wanted another cat!

Taking in too many cats

Speaking of too many cats and the like, a feeder called me today to say that she needs help. She took in more than 40 cats because she felt sorry for them but didn't vaccinate any. Now there is a cat flu outbreak in her house. She said she had not heard of cat flu or any other disease but that she didn't want them to live on the streets. So far, two cats are dead, and another six are sick.

She said she wanted to release them but was worried the town council would round them up. She said she didn't want them abused on the street, but I told her that taking them in is worse - the vacuum effect will kick in, and at the same time, you're putting 40 cats into a small area. The cats are stressed and unhappy.

I asked her if there were cats losing fur and if some of her cats sprayed. She agreed they had. I read somewhere that if you have ten cats,your chances of at least one being a sprayer are very good.

She just called again because another two cats are sick. Quarantining the sick cats is extremely important.

Having said this, I don't think that this in any way proves that SO many women are obsessive about cats. Some people get in over their heads. One man I spoke to today was trying to board cats because his family objects strongly to his taking in anymore. Others, like the Bukit Batok woman the New Paper mentioned, are just hoarders period. There was so much junk in that flat. There was certainly far more junk than cats.

Behavioural Problems

I received an email from someone saying he wanted to give away his cat because his dog keeps barking at it, and it'd driving his father crazy. He also complained the dog is not properly litter trained. The thing is that behavioural problems are probably one of the biggest reasons why people give their dogs or cats away. In this case, I told the person who wrote in that he should consider getting his dog trained because otherwise, giving the cat away will not solve the problem.

Litter pan problems are a big problem many people face and it can be due to stress, anxiety over something, diet or health problems among other things. You should consult your vet if your cat starts having 'accidents' to rule out health concerns. Personally I have also noticed that long haired cats have this problem more than their short haired counterparts.

Many other problems though are basically behavioural, and it's a shame some people give their cats up without solving the problem. One of the issues essentially is that we do not have trained behaviourists in Singapore for cats. If we did, that might be of some help.

Cat outside Temple

Cat outside Temple
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Contentment is what this cat's face shows. While the ear is not tipped, I think the cat was sterilised.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The New Paper story

Crazy Cat Lady story

Here's the story about the crazy cat ladies. My quote that I did not think that this had anything to do with cats, or women per se was not mentioned. I don't think it fit into what they wanted said.

Also I love the contention that the number of community cats has 'increased'. Nowhere in the article does it state how they came to this conclusion.

Thanks Mrs Budak for sending this in.

Blue poster

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Another project by Moove Media who kindly sponsored these posters and the advertisement space!


Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

If you're in Dhoby Ghaut MRT coming from Plaza Singapura, look out for these posters!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Herding Cats

Herding Cats

This is a video I saw years ago and found hilarious. It may take a while to download.

Feline Bridal

Feline Bridal
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I just saw this bridal store this evening!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cat taking shelter from the rain

Cat taking shelter from the rain
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's what cats do when it pours - try to get out of the rain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Dog Attack Update

Someone just posted on my blog about how they know the person whose dog had killed the cat a few months ago near the vet clinic. Coincidentally I was just speaking to someone in the area about the situation today. The person who posted said the owner felt bad, but that I should not believe what I read in the papers as there was nothing more that could be done.

However, the news I got was not from the papers. I spoke to the people who (1) saw the cat being killed and (2) who were there when it was brought into the clinic. The cat according to at least two people, was still very much alive. The witness yelled at the man to stop but he walked away.

The friend or acquaintance of the dog owner claimed the dog was punished, but why punish the dog? This person asked why the cats not be removed so it does not taunt the dog. These are community cats - where should they be removed to? Should we also remove the market so the dog doesn't get tempted by the smell of food?

The dog however is behaving instinctively - it should not be punished. The owner however should have known better and should not let the dog wander PERIOD. There are dog runs if you want to let your dog run free, and even then a doberman has to be muzzled.

Plus, I'm not sure this is the first and last time it has happened.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

DNA Offers New Insight into Cat Evolution

DNA and cat evolution

Thanks Siva for sending this in!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Unorthodox Pet Adoption notices

Unorthodox pet adoption notices

From McSweeney's - a site that has very interesting creative writng. Thanks Daniel for sending this to me.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bumper sticker

Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

It's still exciting for me to see CWS bumper stickers up. If you see someone strange smiling at you, it's probably me!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tackle the problem early

I have been urging this young man to speak to the feeders in his estate who have been feeding the cats to get them sterilised. There have been a lot of complaints by the other residents and I have told him the town council is going to trap the cats. he has told me that he is busy, so are the other ladies (there are 4 or 5 unsterilised cats). Today the pest control came, and now he's panicking and asking me what to do.

If he had just sterilised the cats a little earlier, we would not have this problem.

More cat owners asking about kidney transplant for pets

Kidney transplant for Pets

Here's the interview I did last week and I missed it on television myself. It's a very difficult situation, and it does bring up a lot of issues, though I could of course understand why a pet owner would do it for a beloved companion animal.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone. Here's hoping the new year is a good one for the cats and for all of you.