Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Don't give officers an excuse to remove the cats

It certainly poured this afternoon - the air is nice and fresh! I went by to four vets to thank them for their help, and I saw a little moth-eaten, shivering puppy outside one of the vets. I spoke to the man who had brought it in. It had gotten into an accident, and he kindly brought it in to have it looked at - it's lovely to see people going out of the way for an injured animal.

Also I spoke with a feeder who said that a woman had complained about a cat and wanted it removed. I spoke with the TC officer and I believe these cats had been relocated there recently. The officer said the woman claimed the cat 'pounced' on her bags because she was carrying a hamburger. The feeder then told the officer that if it really attacked this woman, it would be attacking everyone! I know what she meant, that it seems very strange for the woman to be the only one affected, but I asked her to please not express it that way. I know she is trying to say that the chances are slim that the cat would attack at all, but if she had a trigger happy officer, they would have taken this as an opportunity to get rid of all the cats. After all, following her logic, the cat might attack other residents! So do be careful how you phrase things.

Fortunately the officer went down himself and said the cats seemed very friendly. He thought the complainant might have over-exaggerated. However, he did say she is very scared of cats. He said that she was trembling and crying down the phone.

I said I would speak with the feeder and see if they could be moved. It does strike me though that there seem to be an increasing number of people complaining lately they are frightened of cats. The cats aren't doing anything - but they are scared of the cats. Also, it does lead to people not being able to read the cats properly and hence believe the cats are aggressive when they're not doing anything of the sort.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

a suggestion, during roadshows and talks, perhaps one can have friendly, manja cats for people to look at and maybe pet.

From what I gather from people is that cats are

1) Fierce
2) Unfriendly
3) aloof
4) will scratch if touched

Humans are like that. they fear what they dont understand. Hence maybe dispelling those misguided fears will help

25/10/06 7:30 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Unfortunately as you undoubtedly know, cats don't like crowds. Even friendly cats tend to get cranky and upset if too many people are stroking them. This is why we had to cancel our adoption drives and pet therapy sessions - the cats just did not like being handled by so many people, and for the latter especially, they were picked because they were friendly.

You don't even need to look at cats - if you have a baby being fussed over by too many people, the people will tend to get upset and start crying.

25/10/06 7:42 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

It is frustrating when lives of community cats are at jeopardy over a minority's phobia and we are helpless, other than having to remove the cats away, with undue stress on the cats and caregivers' wallets!
Can nothing be done other than "pray" that such people do not move into your estate!!??

25/10/06 7:53 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Vegancat - I think there has to be a bit of give and take. The TC should not demand the cat be removed for no reason besides 'fear'.

25/10/06 7:56 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

Then we have to "pray" that the TC officer is reasonable :)

25/10/06 8:05 PM  
Anonymous adrian said...

sounds like the same incident in my neighbourhood...

25/10/06 9:08 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Adrian for writing in and for talking to the officer too!

25/10/06 11:02 PM  
Blogger E_Cat said...

there are many ways to counter phobia. one way is to socialize with the very thing one is scared off.

nowadays, everyone stays in highrise and modern houses. gone are the days where people interact with community cats and dogs easily.

maybe the lady should be informed about what their complaints leads too. a phobia for a life of an animal. which is more important?!

25/10/06 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a new anonymous here. Some like to fake cat phobia to cause panic for TC to remove cats.

TC's quick response to remove community cats are due to complainant phobia. All need medical and psychiatric treatments.

26/10/06 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

should have let them meet face to face with the tigers or lions instead rather then these cute harmless felines.. THAT'S something to be scared about!

26/10/06 1:53 AM  
Blogger Wei said...

i think its all about "education" and "chance". I have a few mates who used to scream n stand on a chair when they see cats, but after much contacts with my cat, they are ok with cats, not that they become cat lovers but at least they aint as afraid as before.

26/10/06 11:19 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Either that it's just an excuse, but how frightening can a cat be?

26/10/06 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless one is in their shoes, one can't just shake it off and say that they are just making excuses. Some people have a genuine fear of furry animals. My mother is one, she got the phobia after she discovered a whole litter of kittens that had been eaten by their mother. Yes she opened the cupboard and inside was a 4 bloody kitten heads and other parts...the shock gave her such a phobia, she shakes when she sees any furry animal near her.

26/10/06 12:16 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous I used to be scared of cats. One of our ex comm members who moved out of the country is STILL terrified of them. Being scared of them is understandable - asking for them to be removed and killed is not. We can always work around it - ie move the cats further away from where the person is. People who are scared of cats have agreed to this. Asking that they be no cats around however is just not possible as new cats will come in.

I'm no big fan of cockroaches - but I don't call the TC and ask for them all to be removed either. And I bet if someone did, the TC would tell you to just live with it.

26/10/06 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure the lady doesn't have some other issues like maybe depression & anxiety.. I can understand a fear of certain animals but not to the extent that you end up crying and that is serious and warrants psychiatric help

26/10/06 12:56 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

anonymous 3, i used to be scared of cats because my teacher had told our class when a cat is put under the microscope, we will get to see 3-4 worms on each fur. This create some kind of pyschological fear in me, though not physical. However all change when i'd the opportuntiy to adopt a 4 week old kitten from the market whose scream was as loud as her colored face drawn by someone. This kitten has taught me much and her love has helped me reached out to many other felines. Tomorrow will be her 2nd year death anniversary, she left because of leukemia. i still miss her.

26/10/06 1:26 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

mary - I'm sorry to hear that. She was lucky to have you and vice versa!

I used to be scared of cats too - wouldn't touch them. Someone in my family found a cat though - it came into my home (we never did quite figure out how) and she was shoved into my arms before I could protest and told to hold her for just a minute. If not for that experience, I would never have worked with CWS or even liked cats.

26/10/06 1:58 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi Dawn, you are fortunate to have your family shoved the cat into your arms. They have indirectly helped you overcome your fear.

26/10/06 2:26 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I was Mary :)

26/10/06 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

many of the ppl whom i know are scared of cats claim that they developed the phobia after they were scratched by a cat when they were little. what's the big deal? who hasn't been scratched playing with cats when they were young?with the exception of a few freak cases, cat scratches generally don't cause serious injury.

contrast this with reported cases in the press where ppl hv been attacked, unprovoked, and had their throats literally ripped out by neighbours' pet dogs. yet many ppl who profess to be terrified of little cats apparently have no such fear of dogs. go figure...

26/10/06 2:49 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Good point - or maybe they feel that they can't say as much because the dogs 'belong' to someone.

26/10/06 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"crying and shaking"

did she somehow offend some cats in her previous life? apologies for such a dumb comment, but then she did come across as dumb. so for her fear of cats, we the public must accede to her request by removing the cats?

why don't she try removing herself from the gene pool first??

26/10/06 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi dawn.. i love ur reply about cockroaches.. im no big fan of it either.. hehe!!

yeah.. i agree with u.. definitely the TC will say that since there are SO MANY of them around..

26/10/06 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually it is not true to say that these people are not afraid of dogs after the attack. Studies show that most of them do suffer psychological trauma and those who get their throats ripped out as someone said would have nothing to fear as they are dead. People who get scratched do developed a fear and some scratches can be pretty bad.

I think it is more constructive to address the fear these people have and work to help them overcome the fear instead of just dismissing them as fear mongerers or trouble makers. In that way we can make them love cats if not at least tolerate them. And not shake, cry and want cats removed.

26/10/06 4:31 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous I don't think Anonymous meant that people who have been attacked are not frightened - I think she meant other people. For example, that you read about dog attacks in the papers once in a while, but not so cat attacks. Yet people don't seem to have so much of a problem with dogs - or is it because those dogs are owned? For example, say you were scared of your neighbour's dog. Would the TC ask your neighbour to get rid of the dog?

I agree that we should deal with peoples' fear, but they have to want to deal with it. For example, this complainant will not speak to any of the caregivers or to myself. Now no one is asking her to love cats - but we could for example find a way to keep the cats from crossing her path as much as possible. To do that, we would need to know where she lives. For example, one simple thing we could do is move the cats away from the area leading up to her staircase so she doesn't see them. She won't give her unit number so we can't even do that.

26/10/06 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually Dawn it is not true that there are no complains about dogs. Just that they are not really reported in the papers. I know of many cases of dogs having to be rehome because neighbours ratted on them to HDB or Town Council. Complains include unapproved breed, excessive barking, smell from house, haressment from dog when being walked, frightening neigbours by sharing the same lift and other really lame reasons. Result was a visit from HDB ordering eviction of dog as "serious repeat" complains were made. The worse thing is that the owners dont even know who is the neighbour who complained as HDB refused to reveal their identities.

Not trying to argue anything but to clear facts up about dogs not getting into trouble. They do get into trouble just that it is not so public.

26/10/06 7:17 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - yes I'm sure they do too. However with cats, you don't even need to prove anything - once there is a cat in the flat, it's illegal and the owner must remove it.

I think people are less likely to complain about an owned pet - whether cat or dog, then about a community cat. Having said that, quite a few complainants tell me that cats are illegal in HDB flats.

28/10/06 3:52 PM  

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