A need for a cohesive approach
I just got off the phone with one of the volunteers. She mentioned that there are a lot of people letting their cats out of their flat and worse, these cats aren't sterilised. The town council is very annoyed by the whole situation because the residents are complaining to them.
The volunteer has spoken to a few of these residents and they usually either deny the cat is theirs, or ask her to take it away.
Another volunteer went down with a volunteer the other day to speak with another woman who is so careless that her cats keep falling from her unit and dying or breaking their legs. This woman too says she does not want the cats anymore.
Now the town council won't step in - to them, this does not constitute their problem. The HDB will just say that to get rid of the cats if they come into the situation. This is exactly what some of these residents will do - dumping them into their own estates and increasing the community cat population.
This will clearly result in an increasing community cat population problem. It seems to be extremely short sighted that town councils and HDB do not work together on this problem - it's as if the left hand pretends it does not know what the right hand does. Telling people that they cannot keep cats in their flats is all way and good, but they are ALREADY DOING IT. What do you expect them to do with their cats? Plus, asking them to get rid of their cats this time, does not mean that they are not going to just go and pick up new cats which means that the whole cycle starts again.
So what to do about it? Allow cats in flats legally and force people to follow some rules - cats must be sterilised, cats must be kept indoors and microchipped, there must be some cap on the number of cats (with a grace period till the existing cats die) and people with cats can then register their cats. HDB argues they'll deal with more cat complaints then - here's the thing, right now people who are irresponsible are already keeping cats in their homes. However, there are responsible owners who are also getting busted by the HDB just because they own cats. If cats are allowed officially, they would have a smaller group of people go after, ie the truly irresponsible ones, rather than the whole entire cat owning population. It's a waste of resources to go after people just because they own cats.
In addition, by insisting on people keeping cats indoors and sterilising them, you help end a lot of problems. Right now there are no guidelines. People think there is nothing wrong with letting their cats walk about. If the force of authority can back this up, a lot more people would be sterilising and keeping their cats in.
We will never get a hold of the community cat population until the HDB and Town councils stop burying their heads in the sand and pretending that there are no cats in flats.