A community working together
I went for a meeting last night where caregivers, the RC and the TC were all involved to see what more could be done for the cats in the area. The different groups already work together in this area. I showed the video on the cat cafe and also the Alley Cat Allies DVD. The people at the meeting found both videos very educational.
They have decided to put the plans for the cat cafe on hold at the moment while they sort out some other issues (and the caregivers are not all that keen on one anyway because right now their system is working quite well). What was very interesting was what was discussed and the amount of co-operation.
For example, there is a sub-committee within the RC that deals with cats and is helmed by an RC member who is herself a caregiver.
Another caregiver is also very good at getting other residents in her community involved. Both caregivers speak and to people as they do their rounds. When one of them (the non-RC member) found an area to be littered with leftover food, she took a novel approach - she convinced the people sitting around in the void decks to help her clean the area up. The littering stopped.
The town council officer said that since he started working with them, he has found the area to be much cleaner. They have less complaints as a result. He said that it was good to see that they had contained and managed the community cat population.
Also in the course of discussion, matters were clarified - for example, animal hoarding. Many other cases of hoarders were raised and discussed - the RC Advisor mentioned for example, they had someone who hoarded so much newspaper, that the resident could only open the door a crack and needed to climb in over it to get into his own home. I think it gave a better conception of the problem to the RC and TC and they also realise it is not just an 'animal' issue from their experience.
Issues like abandonment were discussed, with the TC officer agreeing that if the HDB changed their rule it would really help. They said right now, once the warning letter is issued, a lot of cats are dumped. The RC Advisor then said that they would also write a proposal to query if the rule could be changed.
Ideas of having more outreach programmes to the residents were broached as well through the RC.
It's really great to see what can be achieved when a community works together. I think everyone left the meeting feeling glad to have had an exchange of ideas, and there was a sense of everyone working together. Let's hope this can be replicated all over the island!