Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bringing a community cat home

I have had a few emails in the last few days from people wanting to bring community cats home. It's always nice to hear about people wanting to adopt a community cat, but there are a few things people should bear in mind.

First, people have been asking what to do if the cat is not used to being in a home. Is there a way to make sure the cat does not scratch? One woman's husband sweetly (but misguidedly) took the cat out for a walk in his arms and the cat dashed away. She said the cat seemed okay for the two days they were in. Here's the thing - it DOES take time. The cat has lived outdoors for its whole life. It's used to living outdoors. Let's not talk about cats alone. For example, if you have a person and you put them in a completely foreign situation, the person IS going to be uncomfortable. It's not unimaginable it could be the same for the cat.

Secondly, one person said the cat sometimes scratches and bites when they are playing and wanted to know what to do about it. It may be that the cat is defensive. It does not however necessarily mean the cat is abused which she wondered about. It may also be that the cat does not like being touched all that much. Not every cat is a lap cat. Some people are very physically affectionate for example, and like to hug others. Other people really don't like it. It has nothing to do with how much the person likes you - it's a question of different comfort zones and what different people (and cats) are comfortable with.

In the end, there is nothing to do about it. The cat may get over being in a strange home and become very affectionate. The cat may not ever like being stroked. Either way, what is needed is patience. There is no short cut. Some cats ARE traumatised and there is no short cut around it except a lot of tender loving care whereby the cat hopefully does learn to trust the people.

Thirdly, yes sedatives as one person asked, are an option if the vet thinks it necessary to calm the cat down. I think however that perhaps the most important question is this - is this being done for the person or for the cat? The cat may be perfectly happy being an outdoor community cat. In that case, should you bring a cat home to sedate it so it is quiet (which usually is more for the person) or should you pehaps let it live on the street where it is happy?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Something to bring to everyone's attention. One of the main reasons why HDB will not lift it's ban on cats I believe.


19/12/06 5:44 PM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

"Wah lau"... I think these "newbies" or rookies need some serious FAQ or something before they are committed to keeping cats??

I am quite amazed and fascinated by that husband of the woman who took the cat out in his lap, if it's a full grown community cat, of course the cat saw it the best opportunity to escape "his captors"!!

Anyway, maybe if anyone new and inexperience who wants to help and keep a community cat, maybe it's better to keep them young as kittens, they are easier to take care and the cat will grow up getting use to the house and its environment. The cat will also bond closer with the owner and the family.


19/12/06 5:56 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Adriane - I'm not actually sure this is the case because how often does this happen? Sure there ARE irresponsible people who do not take good care of the cats (and hence should not be allowed to have cats both for the good of the cats AND of their neighbours).

I have however been to some peoples' homes where there are a number of cats and there have been complaints and I can say that a few of these so-called 'problems' with cats had to do basically with the fact that the people involved with just dirty. One home I visited had clothes piled up all over the place and newspapers. Another had so much junk furniture. Did the place smell? Yes. Did it smell after the cats were removed? The answer is also yes because the cats WERE removed and it still smelt because the owners just could not maintain basic health and hygiene.

19/12/06 9:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

iwooiblog - I think he was trying to bring the cat out for a walk, which was sweet, but yes, the cat would make a bolt for it obviously.

I think getting an older cat is fine - the key word here is patience. It also helps if you are willing to put up with a bit of inconvenience. If you don't think you have the patience, then it's best to rethink taking the cat.

19/12/06 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not saying that it is the real reason but cases like this give HDB a very valid reason for banning cats. And I am sure the residents staying around this unit would support it too. I guess to have cats in HDB starts from cat owners being responsible.


20/12/06 1:48 AM  
Blogger calsifer said...

So going by your line of reasoning, HDB should ban dogs until dog owners can prove they are responsible. Come on, Adriane, that doesn't wash.

20/12/06 8:24 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Which is what we've been saying all along Adriane. Under our proposal, people like this STILL wouldn't be allowed to keep cats. However, what about the many, many MORE responsible people out there who aren't allowed to keep cats?

Clearly this behaviour IS anomalous. Plus how has the HDB ruling actually STOPPED this family from owning cats and causing a nuisance.

For example, because there are some adoptive parents who aren't good to children should we stop all adoptions? Or should we stop people from driving cars because some people cause accidents and hurt people? The list goes on and on.

20/12/06 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not just adoptive children. some ppl abuse their own kids. so HDB shld ban the rearing of kids in flats!

not all cats can be socialised into homes, despite one's best intentions. and as Dawn says, being a community cat may not be a bad thing per se, the inherent dangers notwithstanding. i wld even venture to say that even stray kittens are sometimes best left where they are.

perhaps the CWS can set out a list of helpful hints on adoption of community cats?

20/12/06 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did I say anything about supporting the ban? The reason I brought the article up is because it is a real situation serious enough to warrant 3 reports in a papers although there will be detractors who will say it is tabloid news.

The thing is it is a problem and I believe HDB is upholding its ban based on this issue. Until we are willing to face the problem and admit that among us there are those that love cats but love them to death literally. By hoarding cats and being abusive to neighbours is just going to get every cat and every caretaker labelled as trouble. Bad news stay imprinted in one's mind longer than good news.

Frankly I am very disappointed at the response here. I was expecting more mature reactions that we will acknowledge that this is one of the reasons that HDB is using and how can we work to counter it rather than dissing it as a invalid reason. I for one believe that it is a very valid reaso by HDB. I believe some cat owners have a tendency to keep alot of cats, I personally know of a few caregivers that has 12 to 16 cats in a HDB flat and the lady that has 100 over cats in her landed property. One might say that it is their own place but frankly is 100 over cats alittle excessive? Dogs normally do not poop in the homes, they do it in public when they go for their walks. Cats on the other hand do it at home in their litter boxes. And the smell is enclosed in the house so the smell can be a killer especially with so many cats.


20/12/06 11:52 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi Adriane, the issue here is about hygiene and not the cats; and if this is the reason; then it's not fair for others who does keep their house and their felines clean. Many a times, our feline friends get blamed for the mistakes caused by their human families. FYI, dogs do poo at home because they have lazy human families. i adopted a dog last year in Sengkang whom was practically leashed everyday, 24hrs in the kitchen with only a piece of newspaper for his bed, toiletry as well placement for his water bowl. i now live 3 units away from another family whom has dogs that bark the day/night away; and urinate and poo anywhere when they are down for their walk. But are these dogs to be blamed? No, it's their human and it's the same for the AMK case. If HDB can lift it's ban; then may be there will be less people 'hoarding' these felines due to their good intention of wanting to protect these felines from harm. If HDB can lift it's ban, then there will be no need for keeping the windows and door shut 24hrs for fears of complaints leading to bad air circulation. Yes, cats poo sometimes does stink when they suffer from diarrhoes etc. but if it is removed; then the smell is no more. They are clean creatures; they too do not want to live in a dirty house. Rules are man made, if HDB can lift it's ban, i am sure they are capable of creating new rules to ensure flats are clean, cats are healthy and neighbours are happy.

20/12/06 1:46 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Adriane - I think you're missing the point. How many people do you know who keep 100 cats? No one is denying that what these people are doing is wrong - ie keeping too many cats and not keeping them properly. Among other things, it's not good for the CATS too!

However what you're saying is that and I quote, this is one of the 'main reasons' why HDB will not lift the ban.

My point is this - how many people behave like this to warrant this being one of the main reason why the ban is not lifted?

I think if you had 100 dogs as you mentioned all defecating in their own home, you might have a problem with smell and hygiene too - I'm not sure why it is better that they poop in 'public'. What about people walking in the public areas then?

Isn't the point about being responsible?

In addition, my question was this - how does the ban stop people like this family? according to you, the HDB does not want to allow cats in flats because of the possibility that things like this may happen. But it already happened!

If you had proper guidelines in place, you would STILL be able to prevent behaviour like this, but allow people who ARE reasonable to keep cats.

As I pointed out earlier, people who behave like this are a small minority - what about the vast majority of people who DO behave responsibly and are not allowed to keep cats.

As another analogy, people litter soft drink cans. So should we ban soft drinks on the offchance that people who litter (and I think this is a larger number then the people who keep cats in bad condition) will not do so?

20/12/06 1:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

By the way Adriane - hoarding is an issue. As you may have read in the earlier reports, it is not just hoarding of CATS - some people do have a psychological problem. I went into one case where there was a huge hue and cry over the cats - but when I went there (and some of the cats had been removed), the place was just as smelly and dirty as ever. The number of cats involved was also very small (four). The woman just had poor personal hygiene - and she hoarded everything. She had tons of furniture and strange items stacked up in her living room.

This was also reported in the papers - and I think they blew up the cat angle. Hoarding is a psychological issue - and it should be treated as such - not as something that 'cat people' do. The most famous case of hoarding as you are no doubt aware happened to two siblings - they had no animals but one was killed by a falling piano because they had so much junk in their house.

20/12/06 1:51 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Well said Mary. I think this is often a case of mixing up the problem (irresponsible people) with the easy way out (banning the cats). As I have pointed out, clearly the ban is NOT working if the idea was to prevent people from doing this because the people whom the ban are supposed to be 'targetting' are not the ones who care about it anyway.

If you really love cats, then why would you want them to live in filth? Why would you cause a nuisance to your neighbours? I think the vast majority of cat owners try and bend over backwards the other way to make sure their neighbours are not inconvenienced.

If the argument is that people will be prevented from behaving irresponsibly by a ban, I think that the opposite is happening. You are preventing the responsible people from keeping cats (and who are law abiding and would be happy to have guidelines to follow). On the other hand, you are not doing anything to stop people who are already blatantly flouting the law and who do not care about it anyway.

As per our proposal to the HDB, the same behaviour would still NOT be allowed anyway. The only difference is that people who are responsible will be allowed to keep cats.

20/12/06 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Adriane, don't be disappointed. I understand where you were coming from and understood your comments. Some of us are just more highly strung, argumentative, immature, antagonistic and not so sensitive in our expressions here (as i have noticed for so many times) and will come across as or seemed to be ever ready to "shoot down" whichever
comment/observation/opinion/statement not in favour with the majority. So don't be disappointed or let down by some of the comments here. The cats are all counting on us. Cheers, 88.

20/12/06 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dawn I am not missing the point. I just feel that we should address the complains of why HDB would never want to lift it's ban on cats after so many years. There has to be a reason besides the standard answers they have been quoting all this time. I am just bringing up my point of what I think is their belief. As I said before I did not say their belief is correct, if you will read carefully before dismissing the issue each time with statements to counter it.

Why do we seldom ever hear any news about dogs? But always about cats? There has to be a reason.

I have cats myself and it saddens me each time we fail to address such issues and instead keep saying that this are rare cases or comparing it to if people litter should we ban people. That is not that point. The point is there is a problem and clearly the authorities see it as one, perhaps we can see how we can change their mindset instead of always trying to find excuses. No offence but this what I feel and think.


20/12/06 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add, I quote you Dawn.

"If you really love cats, then why would you want them to live in filth? Why would you cause a nuisance to your neighbours? I think the vast majority of cat owners try and bend over backwards the other way to make sure their neighbours are not inconvenienced."

However how many countless times have we seen cat owners argue with press, with neighbours. Have had neighbours saying efforts to talk to cat owners fall on deaf ears. How cat owners seem abusive to non catowners, how everyone who has something not so nice to say about cats will go to hell, have bad karma etc etc. I don't doubt their love for their cats but are they really right and are we right in turning a blind eye to them each time?

20/12/06 2:24 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

20/12/06 2:43 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Adriane - we have met HDB and I can tell you that they mentioned they DO have problems with dogs. In one meeting, they actually said if they could they would change the ruling on dogs too so dogs would not be allowed.

I never said that you supported what they said if you read my comments (and I am not sure why you think I do) - I am however disputing it is one of their main reasons as you said.

There are 400 complaints a year about cats according to official HDB figures. As we pointed out to HDB, that's something like 0.01% of all HDB residents who complain about cats in flats. There was no response to this. We also asked them how many were repeat complaints (ie the same person complaining multiple times). they do not keep statistics on this.

I understand that HDB is worried that people may behave irresponsibly of course. However as I mentioned, how is the law as it stands helping to prevent complaints like this happening? How would having a law that limits the number of cats, prevents them from wandering, microchips the cats and ensures that they are sterilised not go about stopping the problem as well?

In the meantime, people let their cats wander because they don't want to get caught under the HDB law. The cats defecate outside other peoples' houses and this causes even more problems. Why is this not addressed? Could it be that this is because the problem is then no longer under HDB's purview?

Again Adriane - where are the 'countless' incidents in the press that you mentioned where cat owners are shown up in a bad light? You yourself are a cat owner - would you say you are irresponsible, argumentative and allowing your cats out to bother your neighbours? Surely this can't be the case - and I think this is true of the vast majority of cat owners.

I could of course say the same for cat complainants - that many of them are argumentative, difficult and will not work with their neighbours. However this is a vast over-generalisation and not true. I HAVE dealt with extremely argumentative and difficult complainants (as if you have followed this blog you will know).

So my point again at the end of this is simply this : how does the current law prevent cases like this happening? And is it fair to the vast majority of cat owners (including yourself) to ban the keeping of cats in flats(under guidelines) while the irresponsible few are already flouting the law?

20/12/06 2:50 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

By depriving responsible HDB owners of keeping cats legally, they are unfairly deprived of being eligible to buy Pet Insurance from NTUC Income.

20/12/06 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By Adriane's reasoning, if someone poisoned their two children, then it is best not to have children. Because don't forget, people remember the bad news than the good. Of course Adriane has her reasons for not liking cats in hdb flats or landed property or any place on this earth for that matter, she is entitled to her views. But that does not mean everyone who writes against her views are immature. You disagree with Adraine, boy.....are you immature.
I am sure there are more problems in hdb flats than cat-related ones. How about a naked guy bathing in the carpark? Wow...hdb should ban all carparks. Maids fell off from the upper floors, now what shall we ban...maids or only have one-storied flats?

20/12/06 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the last anonymous, if you didnt read my posts before. I would say read it before you make groundless comments. Since when did I say i dont like cats in HDB? I am a cat owner myself. And did I say people like you are immature? It is replies like yours that show your own immaurity. Anyway my point was to be helpful and point out maybe the reason why HDB will not have cats in flats. Since it is so adamant that I am wrong that I shall keep my peace and silence. Afterall seems that catlovers are always right and never wrong.

To Dawn, the countless press reports? Well just go to Straits Times Forum for one, and look at the complaints against cats. As i said before from the start, I am trying to be helpful but seems sadly you and your supporters have very firm and fixed views. Hence I shall leave you to your views. Good luck in your future endevours in CWS and merry xmas.


20/12/06 4:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

20/12/06 4:50 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

20/12/06 4:52 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Adriane - I keep newspaper clippings of every article in the ST that comes out on cats and have done so for years. I can tell you there are more letters asking for cats in flats as there are against it.

I am always happy to hear alternative suggestions but I am not hearing your alternative suggestions at all. Your point, if I am reading it correctly, is that sometimes in the press there is a negative report about cats and this may make HDB not want to change the rule.

It is obviously not something that we haven't thought of before you brought it up and of course we have addressed this with them both in meetings and in our proposals.

However what I am saying is that I think we have addressed those concerns. As I said there are 400 complaints across the whole of Singapore about cats in HDB flats a year. Because of this we should ban cats?

I have gone through your arguments point by point to explain not only your concerns but that we have brought these up to HDB. You have not dealt with any of my points but choose instead to say 'cat lovers are always right and never wrong' which I think is uncalled for.

If you disagree, then let's have a discussion about it. You have not actually addressed any of my explanations and saying thatI am trying to 'counter' your arguments. Isn't that what you are asking us to do in the first place because you said we have to think of the authorities' mindset? You mentioned what you think is the problem - and I mentioned several reasons why I do not think it is an actual problem. I would be happy to hear your arguments on why this is not the case.

All I am hearing from you is that sometimes people are irresponsible - and as a result, HDB bans cats. No one disagrees that people like this ARE irresponsible and should not be allowed to keep cats.

Instead you accuse others of firm and fixed arguments, when as far as I can see, I have dealt with all your concerns. As I mentioned, if you think they are untenable, I would be most pleased to hear your counter-arguments. If you have none, then I must say I wonder whom is being dogmatic here.

20/12/06 4:54 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi Adriane, we know you are trying to be helpful by offering your point of view; and of course which Dawn has been trying to explain why your point of view if is the point of view by the HDB cannot be deemed acceptable. Each of us is entitled to our own views but what is important is to work together as one for HDB to lift it's ban so that our feline friends can truly have a home they can call their own and not reside as a refugees. Even if we truly 100% agree with your reason for HDB not lifting its ban; how does that solve the problem and how can it help with the problem. For me, i truly hope HDB will lift its ban and work with CWS on any feline related issue just like what the TC is currently doing.

20/12/06 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Adriane, please calm down. I suggest that you ignore some of the not-so-nice comments here and read Dawn's arguments carefully. We know what you were trying to tell us and I was once in your shoe. I believe this is an issue CWS has dealt with many times and Dawn was just trying to explain why this can't be the reason for banning cats. CWS has worked so hard and put in so much effort to try to lift the ban and I'm sure Dawn doesn't want people to be misguided by such information that HDB could use as a reason against the responsible cat lovers to keep cats in their flats.

I've experienced what you have mentioned....unreasonable cat owners....smelly flats and was once worried and concerned....like you....but i agree with Dawn that they are the minority and should not represent the rest of us.

Cat welfare is not an easy job and we should all support each other and be NICE and UNDERSTANDING.

21/12/06 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Adiane, in case you gonna jump again, the last few words were not directing at you...heehee

the last anonymous

21/12/06 10:50 AM  
Anonymous belle said...

ok let me summarise :-)

Adriane is saying - HDB bans cats because it is afraid ppl arent responsible enough to keep the cats indoors & keep the unit tidy ...

Dawn is saying - because we have the ban in place, ppl dare not keep their cats indoors and so let them wander outside ...

Mary is saying - irresponsible cat owners are the minority ...

dawn & mary, i think ppl who let their cats wander do so bcos they r too lazy to train the cat properly ie. to stay indoors ... and there r so many of these ppl !! thats why your volunteers r kept so busy all the time trying to mediate for such ppl & the authorities :-) these ppl could have jolly well fed the cats downstairs but for selfish reasons decide to do so outside their unit ... too lazy to go downstairs even (although in their hearts they may want to help the cats) ... can't be bothered to clean up after the cats have eaten - a typical singaporean trait - bochup ! unable to see the seriousness of a situation & thus end up offending neighbours/authorities - another singaporean trait - naive !

just look at the examples in your article - the husband who takes the cat out for a walk like a dog -this shows he knows zilch abt cats yet didnt bother to read up on cats b4 adopting one ...

in other words i tend to agree with adriane - until singaporeans learn to be more responsible, careful & sensible, HDB will not lift the ban on cats in flats ...

what abt people who r responsible and who want to keep cats (like yours truly, ahem)- i'd say to them - go ahead ! HDB is in fact keeping an eye closed here ... continue to keep your cat, be clean & quiet, and very soon your neighbours will be coming to your flat, wanting to view & pat your cat (bcos they seldom see it outside), and even showing concern for it when its ill - like my neighbours do ... :-)

21/12/06 1:27 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Belle - there are a minority of people who are ignorant yes (like the husband who took the cat out) but often these people can be taught what to do.

My points were two-fold. One, that some people DO let their cats wander because they are afraid of getting caught. My second point was that I don't see the ban working. They 'ban' people from keeping cats because they fear people will be irresponsible. However the people who ARE irresponsible don't care about the ban anyway. How does the ban help make things better? The people who are affected are the people who are responsible and choose not to keep cats because it is illegal (and yes that does happen too).

In addition as I have pointed out in earlier posts on this topic, there are no regulations to keep cats now. Even if as you pointed out, people are lazy and irresponsible, then why not have a law that makes them responsible. Say I am a lazy owner and decide to let my cat run about - what can HDB really do to me? If they send me a warning letter, I'll just dump the cats - and then I'll go get new cats and the cycle starts all over again.

What I think should be done is to have a set of regulations that will set out what people should do. For example, it is not possible to even work with some TCs (and certainly not HDB) on a sterilisation campaign because they are concerned this may seem to advocate keeping cats - which is illegal.

If people are given a simple way to keep cats legally, I honestly believe they will comply. This means you can reach those people who are irresponsible by setting out guidelines they MUST follow for example - like keeping the cats in at all times, by sterilising the cats. Pretending that these people do not keep cats in flats and ignoring the problems does not make them go away.

In addition, it's great your neighbours do not mind your cats but I can tell you that I have seen very responsible people who have been caught by the rule.

The HDB may keep one eye shut - but the proviso is only if your neighbours don't complain.

In one case, the owner still does not know whom complained as the neighbours all come over and play with the cat. In another case, the owner went door to door in her block and everyone signed a letter to say they had no problem with her cats - and yet the HDB officer (who was sympathetic because her place was very clean and the cats well maintained) said the complainant insisted they proceed despite the fact he too had signed the letter.

In another case, the flat was clean and there was one cat. The complainant did not live in her block but could see the cat from the opposite block so she complained. In yet another case, someone trying to be a good neighbour explained to his neighbour that cats could be kept indoors (after the neighbour had complained about another neighbour). The neighbour had no idea he had cats up to that point - so the neighbour complained about him too when she found out.

The list goes on - and people have used the cats as an excuse against neighbours they do not like.

Often complaints start when a new neighbour moves in though the rest may be fine. Why should responsible cat owners live in fear that they may be caught and fined? Why should the ruling be used as a means in some cases of intimidating their neighbours for a non-related issue?

21/12/06 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HDB must someday remove it's ban on cats because cats make great pets and an aging population needs cats as companion even more.

There are model cat owners living in HDB flats and as long as nobody complaints, TC and HDB will not enforce the anti-cat ruling.

One Jurong neighbourhood has more than few dozens cats and nobody complains, because of cats, they have all become friends.
They are the low income group.

21/12/06 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They use the ban as a weapon to launch attacks on non-cat related disputes. TC and HDB have an easy job to do, just fine and evict cat owners. Brainless, if you ask me.
Too aggressive for my liking.

Counselling session should be done by a third and forth party.

21/12/06 2:31 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Please take a good look at Dawn's examples and mull over your viewpoint.

I am one of those you would call a "responsible, careful & sensible" cat owner. My cats are strictly indoors, and all my neighbours either are not bothered by my having cats (I have lived in the same place for 8 years), or they actually like them. My cats are so under the radar only my immediate neighbours know I have cats but even then they do not know how many I have, nor even how they are look like.

And yet one complaint about cat smell brought the HDB officer in.

Like my neighbours, and friends who have visited, he agreed there's simply no smell as the anonymous complainant claimed. He was even more amazed we had 4 cats, which made the lack of smell even more amazing to him. And yet, he said he had no choice but to serve us notice to "remove" our cats in two weeks time or HDB will take action.

So we had to move our cats out.
In the first weeks outside, in foster care, almost all fell ill. It was a frustrating, stressful and emotional time as we could not be there to care for them ourselves.

It was also heartbreaking to see them clamouring after us when we leave after visiting with them.

When we reach home, it was no longer happiness or anticipation that accompanied us as we open the door, only a feeling of sadness and emptiness at the lack of cat greetings.

We've managed to sneak thme all home since. But now they are afraid to be put into carriers. Previously, they already do not like to be in carriers due to the prospect of vet visits. But now they run just at the sound of the carriers.

We do TNRM too so the carriers get pulled out frequently when we have sterilisation or a sick homeless/community cat to bring to the vet. It is heartbreaking to see our home cats' now-deep phobia of the carrier.

Now tell me, Belle, if you had ever been in such a situation, would you still think it's not a big deal that HDB is against cats? That it is ok to "go ahead ! HDB is in fact keeping an eye closed here ... continue to keep your cat, be clean & quiet"?

HDB's ban, as Dawn has repeated ad-naseum, does nothing but condone irresponsible cat owners and puts responsible ones AND their cats at risk. This is a situation that msut be rectified. Waiting until ALL cat owners can prove they are responsible is, as Dawn has kept pointing out, like saying we should ban liquor and driving because of fatalities caused by drink driving. Is it fair to responsible drinkers? Is it fair to responsible drivers? Of course not, that is why there's no such ban.

About Adriane's stance:
Basically, yes, people are the issue but what does penalising the whole population for the problems of a minority isn't any help.

Just like Adriane's broad sweep of all questions and comments not to her liking.

I previously posted: "So going by your line of reasoning, HDB should ban dogs until dog owners can prove they are responsible. Come on, Adriane, that doesn't wash." in response and was called immature and being Dawn's sycophantic (implied) supporter as she later categorised all non-consenting comments.

Under this rule, I am sure almost the whole world have the same predilection.

Being open to Adriane's revelation on why HDB doesn't ban dogs, I was disappointed not to get any meaningful response, because I believe understanding it may help us get a line on why cats are and work toward getting it lifted. My disappointment knows no bounds.

I also note that in a previous bout about Dawn/CWS's decision to not appear in a certain faux-cumentary programme, Adriane went on and on in the same manner about how that decision is wrong.

Dawn has, as ever, patiently explained her stance and given reasons and points to back up her view. However, Adriane will return with a rehash of her previous posts which does not rebut any of Dawn's points, but gets increasing defensive and self-righteous. That time, Adriane also ended by ceding ground to Dawn and her supporters who "have very firm and fixed views" and a commitment to leave Dawn and her supporters to their views. Talk about dogma and dogmaticism.

21/12/06 2:57 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

21/12/06 4:49 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

This is my response to the officer who replied on behalf of Mr Mah of MND after I wrote to him about the need to remove the ban on cats.

Dear Ms xxx

Thank you for responding to my email.

I hope you will convey the following thoughts of mine to HDB as well

1) This is a Sunday evening at about 6.15 and I took a slow stroll round
the estate that has completed a main upgrading program recently. Litter
greeted me the minute I stepped into the lift, continuing to the lift
lobby and literally everywhere else in the estate! I couldn't walk 2 to
3 meters without encountering a piece of litter.

2) We have a serious problem of a lack of ownership of this island as
our home.

3) Indeed we suffer from the "spoilt child" syndrome. We complain. We whine.

4) We need good "role model".

5) If you will read Dawn Kua (Director for Operations of the Cat
Welfare Society)'s blog http://www.catwelfare.blogspot.com/
you will see that there is a countless mileage of walking the grounds
(speaking to complainants, speaking to people with cats, speaking to
feeders, and speaking to town council offers) to find out the causes of
complaints. The solutions offered by the Cat Welfare Society are hence
very much evidence-based.

6) Residents who volunteer themselves in managing the cat population by
trapping the cats to sterilize and helping to town council officers to
resolve feedback on cat issues, also have much evidence-based solutions
to offer HDB.

7) From my own experience in my estate, I encountered families who
abandoned their cats downstairs whenever the town council officer or the
HDB officer turn up at their doorstep. Two months ago, a senior property
officer emailed me about complaints of cat defecation along common
corridors in two block of HDB flats. With another fellow resident
voluntter, we spoke to complainants and identified the problems as due
to free-roaming house cats. We distributed flyers (in 3 languages) (see
attachment) to every flat in these 2 blocks of flats. Free-roaming
stopped and so defecation ceases.

8) Like HDB, volunteers like myself want to see a REDUCTION IN THE

9) Prohibition of cats in HDB flats does not stop residents from keeping

10) Lack of regulations on the keeping of cats in a HDB flat prevent
such pet owners from being legally responsible. A few months, a fellow
volunteer and I spent a long time persuading a family to send their cats
for sterilization. In the past, they just abandoned the cats downstairs
whenever the neigbours complaint. Since we spoke to the family about
keeping the cats indoor and now that their cats are sterilized, the
number of community cats in the vicinity of this block has not
increased. If this problem were to be referred by the town council
officer to the HDB officer, it is likely that cats will be abandoned
again because there are no regulations in the keeping of cats in a HDB
flat. A few weeks ago, we spoke to two siblings who wanted to adopted an
cat that was injured from a fall. They told us that they abandoned 12
cats in another part of the estate 2 years ago but it has not stopped
them from picking up cats again without compulsion to keep them indoor
or to have them sterilized.

11) If there are regulations that define a cat within a flat as being a
pet, then this pet is subjected to rules such as keeping the pet indoor
and getting them sterilized. Once this cat within a flat is legally
defined as a pet, the owner can no longer abandon it downstairs as the law
against abandonment of pets can then be used on the owner.

12) I hope that the HDB will give credit and recognise the effort of the
Cat Welfare Society and volunteers like myself and be open to proposals
that provide effective solutions. Instead of whining and whingeing,
volunteers go hand-on to manage the problems of the community. Please
keep this spirit of volunteerism alive and nurture it so that we can all
feel proud that we play an active role in truly making Singapore our HOME.

It is with the above thoughts that I hope I will not receive another
template reply.

I thank you and wishing a good week ahead.

Yours truly

No template or non-template response yet.

21/12/06 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I noticed in this thread are the number of posts removed by author. I am just really curious why the person posts and then deletes them.

21/12/06 6:20 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

There was a typo error in my earlier posting :)
Author refers to the person who posts it not Dawn.

21/12/06 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I know the author is not dawn, it is person who post here. I just wonder why they post and delete. By the way how do you delete? I dont see any delete button on my interface.

21/12/06 8:13 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

You have to sign in as a blogger to have the option to delete.

21/12/06 8:43 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

And me :) I made typos in my own post so I deleted them.

21/12/06 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of nation is Singapore if people are not allowed to enjoy having cats as pets. Then maybe HDB should start building flats for cat owners and lift the damn ban.

If you don't lift the ban, then better be segregated. At least we don't have to read template replies and see officers evicting
responsible cat owners.

22/12/06 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maintaining the ban based on fear that the same problems with dogs will arise with allowing cats to be pets, is like sweeping the problem under the carpet.
Perhaps a well conducted survey can be conducted amongst HDB residents to find out how many will adopt cats if the ban is lifted, will provide evidence-based rationale rather than continue the ban based on the personal bias of decision makers in MND and the HDB.

22/12/06 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cats must stay and be very much needed as part of our wellbeing. To make public accept the scheme, there must be role models and support groups.

One lousy episode of smelly household of cats blow out of proportion by press and be cause of worry for all.

Maybe cat owners can approach a private developer, build one block of flat. Possible.

22/12/06 12:54 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Or a pilot project could be started as we suggested to the HDB. We had the CDC's support too. That way we can see what the level of support is.

22/12/06 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's like swimming across the ocean
to get the ban lifted, all keep swimming to stay afloat or do we find alternatives like ignore the ban, keep peace with neighbours and cats get to stay without eviaction.

Maybe start with a special arrangement scheme than expecting a sudden lifting of ban.
Animal welfare licence, one year trial and monitors by CWS, SPCA, RCs and TCs. Believe me, it has to be community-based to make it an agenda.

Make the scheme successful, step by step while we work on the ban.

22/12/06 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be gentle and swift, get into RCs activities and be part of the community.

When residents find cat owners kind and responsible people, they will support and appreciate the pets we keep. Free roaming cats become community cats.

Gaining ground in some places where 5 feeders feed the same colony of cats and one hostile guy already ( feeder befriended him)
allowing feeders to feed at his doorsteps and described kittens as cute.

Put people first, aggression is tricky.

22/12/06 1:22 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

we suggested that but HDB turned us down.

22/12/06 1:24 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - yes it is important to try and work with people too!

22/12/06 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pity HDB not listening to practical solutions and insist on sticking to eviction and making community cats homeless.
Can never understand why HDB has a pro-homeless policy. Building homes for mass population should consider integrating humans and nature.

22/12/06 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have dogs and i have cats. My dogs make a lot more noise than the cats. Smell? You got to bathe the dogs every week. Cats can go without a bath for a long time and not smell. Defecation and urination? Cats cover their waste, dogs tend to think their urine marks their territory.
As dogs are generally larger than cats, the waste volume is more.
So why are dogs and cats not allowed equal space in hdb flats?

22/12/06 9:49 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree - it's not just about providing a roof over peoples' heads, it's about providing a home. Someone actually wrote to me from overseas to ask about the policy and then said they would not be coming home as a result - they did not want to have to fear not being able to live with their cats in the HDB. Someone else I know migrated partially because of the policy - she was going over to study and she decided that she might as well live there because that way she could live with her cats. Her boyfriend moved over with her.

22/12/06 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I been to animal shelters recently and some owners left them there thinking the cats would be ok but most of them are caged up in tiny cubicles and look depressed. Poo not cleared and the whole place stink and ants crawling all over the place.

Why are the cats there? Culling caused them to be locked up. Cats should be free and be looked after in our so-called public housing.
Residents and their indoor cats who deserve better treatment than
receiving threats and ridiculous punishments from HDB.

23/12/06 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend live in a gated community in U.S. and they have alligators basking at their golf resorts and nobody screams hell and destroy. They co-exist with wildlife.

Here you saw some earthworms in the garden and they complained to TC that the place has become dangerous. They should live in an airtight room, survive on artifically pumped air and watch nature from TV.

23/12/06 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately many Singaporeans including parents remain ignorant of the fact that their kids nowadays are more sick than our kampong days of running around bare-feet, catching guppies in rivers, catching spiders, etc because they subscribe to the belief that a germ-free environment is good for health. And they shrieked when they see cats in the estate, "so dirty lah.." kill kill kill.....
in the end...our clean-freak is taking a toil on our health!

23/12/06 9:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

They have found in studies that some 'dirt' helps build up immunity. Hence they found that children growing up on farms were much less sickly and less prone to asthma and allergies. In contrast, in Japan, apparently a significant number of children have asthma and allergies because they are too clean!

24/12/06 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's cleanliness going berserk, like people drinking distilled water only. Someone had asthma all his life and when he had 2 cats staying in his bedroom, he never had asthma again.

But GPs had the habit of telling patients to get rid of their pet cats.

24/12/06 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GPs tell the patients what they want to hear so that they can finish the consult fast and collect $ fast. This is "good business sense".

25/12/06 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cats in the home ‘keep children healthy’

CHILDREN who grow up with cats are less likely to develop allergies than those who live in a feline-free house, a study has found.
Research found unless children already showed symptoms and a family history of allergies such as asthma, eczema or hayf ever, they were likely to develop a stronger immune system if they had a feline friend.

Pediatrician Catarina Almqvist has conducted a study of 516 children born in Sydney hospitals from 1997 to 2000.

Tests showed last year 29.3 per cent of the children whose families had acquired cats in the past five years, had atopy, or a positive skin prick test for allergy. This is compared to 47.2 per cent who had atopy but lived in a feline-free household.

“Children who are exposed to pets or children who grow up on a farm have a reduced risk of atopy,” Dr Almqvsit said. Australian Veterinary Association state spokeswoman Dr Jenny Weston was not surprised by the study.

“There are widespread benefits of pet ownership,” Dr Weston said yesterday.

“Exposure to lots of things when you’re young is likely to reduce the allergies.”

25/12/06 10:11 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Interesting article Anonymous!

Thankfully not all GPs are like that, but some maybe overly cautious.

25/12/06 10:43 PM  

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