Monday, February 20, 2006

Changing people's behaviour, not killing the cats

I'm filling out some surveys by students today on different aspects in relation to community cats and donations to animal welfare among others. One interesting thing that struck me as I was filling out one of the questionnaires was this - I wonder how many cat complaints actually arise because people cannot or do not want to talk to their neighbours.

The thing is that for people who complain about cats, something CAN be done about them. When you complain to town council, the cats are just removed. If you don't want to confront your neighbour though (and a surprising number of people are unwilling to do so), then you can't change your neighbour's attitude.

Of course, I am discounting those people who have tried to talk to their neighbours and whose neighbours are not responsive (and even then CWS can help with mediation in cases like those). However, if your neighbour is feeding messily, or letting their cat out of the flat, why not first try talking to THEM? If you can change their behaviour, then the problem goes away. Trapping the cats does not solve the problem, because if your neighbour's behaviour is causing the problem (for example, letting their cats out, or feeding in an irresponsible manner), then the problem will reoccur because your neighbour will continue doing what they have been doing all along.

Removing cats and killing them has a very short-lived effect because new cats move in due to the vacuum effect. Getting to the root of the problem will get rid of the problem, without having to get rid of the cats.

An added bonus in some cases is a better relationship with your neighbour because you went and talked to them - not complained behind their backs to the authorities.


Blogger Cat said...

This is what Singaporeans have become, especially our generation and the ones that follow. We've stopped talking to our neighbours period.

How often neighbours see each other at lift landing, ignoring each other instead of greeting each other? Some of us don't even know our immediate neighbour's surname.

If only we can be more gracious, take the first step to be friendly, discuss issues with our neighbours instead of complaining about them, most of issues (not just cat issues) can be settled quickly without government intervention.

But complaining is the easy way out. It protects the identity of the complaining neighbour & requires much less effort & at the same time gets the job done.

20/2/06 7:15 PM  
Blogger blogman1235 said...

Nice blog,lots of info. I think that killing cats is not the solution. Oh well, what can you do.

20/2/06 11:25 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Well said Cat.

Thanks Blogman - I think the first step is what you just did. Come forward and say you think killing isn't the solution.

21/2/06 2:29 AM  
Anonymous yskat said...

Hi cat: I agree with your observation that people have stopped talking to their neighbours. Prominent Chinese novelist Han Shaogong wrote that neighbourliness leads to the establishment of local communities which can subvert central authority. This is certainly so in our town council-HDB flat dwellers relationship: the fact that people do not talk to each other gives the town council power in getting itself involved in what are really inter-personal and rather private issues.

21/2/06 9:21 AM  

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