I went to meet with the town council today that requested for a meeting. One of the property officers in an adjacent precint had recommended working with CWS. The officer I met with said that trapping the cats did not work. He said new ones came in. In addition, he said that the cats could recognise the pest control vans and ran away.
More officers came in for the meeting as it progessed, so I had to repeat myself a few times, but I was glad to do it. They seemed open to quite a few ideas and had quite a few questions. They also seemed familiar with the problem of people feeding upstairs and people letting their pet cats wander. The officer who arranged the meeting used to work with HDB as well. One of the other officers asked him why HDB didn't just change their policy and let people keep cats in their own homes if they wanted to!
They took the complaint sheet that I asked them to fill out and when I handed out the flyer, they said they would do the flyering for alll their blocks for us. They also said they do not pick up sterilised cats in the estate.
One of the officers asked if it would be possible to do a banner to put up in their estates to recommend sterilisation, responsible feeding and the like though that's now up for consideration. Imagine - instead of one of those dengue mosquito banners, we could have one to ask people to feed and sterilise.
This is such a change from the usual problems we have begging for poster space, and trying to get TCs to please work with the residents.
Which leads to the unusual problem - instead of having willing volunteers and a reluctant TC, now we have a willing TC and one resident who may be able to help! However, I walked around one of the blocks with the officer afterward and it seems everyone knows the feeders. The shopkeepers seemed quite tolerant but said the population was increasing. One shopkeeper said there were five different sets of feeders and the cats were fed at breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper and sometimes tea time.
I also found something like 10 cats in one block - ALL unsterilised except for two, and one pregnant cat. The officers have said they'll keep an eye out for feeders for me and urge them to contact me. I really hope they will and will be open to the idea of starting a proper programme there. It will be horrible if the programme fails because we can't find volunteers.