Monday, November 06, 2006

Sterilising the cats

Another complainant called back about the cats in the area. She said that nothing had been done since she called a few weeks ago, though she did note that there are less home cats wandering because the volunteer spoke with them. The complainant said she didn't really have a problem with the sterilised cats. She realised there will always be some cats, but she is seeing kittens being born and she's fed up. She also hears cauterwauling at night.

I spoke with the volunteer (whom was the same one I spoke with this morning) and it turns out she hasn't sterilised any cats since then. She said she's been busy. She also said some of the cats were too young - I asked how old they are and she has no idea. I asked how she could tell if they were ready to be done - and she said, when they go on heat. It's no wonder they get pregnant - and then she can't do them.

The feeder said that the woman is heartless and cruel, but that isn't going to solve the problem. The fact is the woman does not mind some cats, but she is drawing the line when more are being born. She is also wondering how sterilised cats keep multiplying.

The town council is going to be asking these same questions to - and asking if there's a point to having this programme if the numbers keep going up.


Blogger calsifer said...

I feel a raant coming on, so please bear with me.

This is a good example of why caregivers, at least those who give a damn, have to "play god" at some point in the lifetime of the TNRM program they are running.

When to sterilise is not a matter of scheduling that we can simply work around our conscience or beliefs. The logistics involved demand a mental reflexibity, and an acceptance of the wider perspective, ie allowing pregnant cats to give birth before sterilising means you will always have catching up to do. How confident are you of keepnig up with the catching-up? Kittens grow up andwander off, or they get picked up - and who's to say these kittens will be sterilised and not contribute to the problem?

In such a situation, sterilisation is only as good as blackhole filling, you're never able to get it done!

Well, unless you have very good resources (e.g. vets willing to sterilise at your convenience) and helping hands at your beck and call. Otherwise you will find yourself swamped and overwhelmed, usually sooner than later.

Education is also important. Care givers who are going to sterilise need to understand a bit of cat physiology and growth - waiting for the cats to go into heat is the suckiest and silliest rule of thumb to live by, unless you don't care about population control.

My sister and I have, since we started sterilising cats 7 years ago, knowingly sent only 1 pregnant cat for sterilisation. Another got aborted on the operating table despite being very pregnant (she did not look it, and her babies have a history of not surviving).

This does not mean we derive any satisfaction from "playing god". Far from it - we feel horrible for months.

But our very low abortion rate is only part luck we believe. It is also because we are paranoid about unsterilised cats, whether males or females, and we strive to get to them asap.

Can we simply postpone sterilisation for pregnant cats so as to leave our personal belief system unruffled? IMHO, if that's such a big concern, don't do TNRM - it's like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, with a yawning rift right under your wobbling feet.

People like the objecting Anonymous in your previous entry ought to spend some time thinking about this "playing god" business before they step in and say we should think about not playing god all the time.

6/11/06 5:20 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

More worryingly, this is an estate where we just started the programme not too long ago. If the TC feels that it isn't working, all the RESPONSIBLE caregivers are going to be affected.

6/11/06 5:30 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...


It's bad enough to have to sterilise free-ranging pet cats on top of the community cats. Starting up is not easy for sure - and if the TC's going to pull the plug because of this, then it's a wanton waste of effort for the responsible caregivers.

6/11/06 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the caregivers should be educated that their decisions affect everyone and not always think that people who do not share their love for cats are "no father no mother or heartless" As Dawn said it is not going to help and most likely infuriate some people who have been really patient till now despite their indifference to cats.

6/11/06 5:42 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous, I'm trying my best - just not sure if she's listening.

6/11/06 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offence Dawn, I know you are doing a great job, I was just making a comment as it is just something that I noticed not only among CWS caregivers but caregivers as a whole. Quite a number of them do not think rationally and forget that no matter how cute, how adorable and how smart they think cats are, they are also twice the number of people that think that cats are just stupid dirty animals that dont feel pain and should be better off dead. As I always hear the aunties at the market say "Good lah... good for them that AVA come catch them and kill them. Can faster reincarnate to become humans..." So the more you approach the issue with one's own mentality the more it will fail when dealing with this issue.

6/11/06 5:53 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

None taken Anonymous - it is frustrating for me because I wonder if I'm taking the wrong approach sometimes. Rebecca and I were just talking about it just now and how to reach out with a message people WILL respond to. Suggestions are welcome!

6/11/06 5:59 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Totally agree with Annoymous. There are complainants with valid concerns.

The problem is, just like the good karma feeders, this type of 'caregivers' don't listen well.

Of course there could genuine issues with the sterilisation progress, but there has be a limit to the delay. 100% sterilisation is not achievable, just because there's no way to control free-ranging pets but as many as possible should be the aim.

btw I saw your draft, already Dawn. Still mulling over it. I think in part, there's the problem of trying to convert the converted, while the unenlightened continue their SOP. Will email with details later.

7/11/06 5:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Calsifer!

7/11/06 6:47 PM  

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