Friday, March 31, 2006

And yet MORE evidence of food


And yet MORE evidence of food
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

On the fourteenth floor, right next to the balled up WHISKAS packet in a plastic bag, we found this. No one was at home so we left information.

If only people would just feed in places which would not bring undue attention to the cats. This is really endangering their lives.

On the way back, it poured and Marcus and I got completely and throughly soaked!

One-Eyed Jack


One-Eyed Jack
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is One-Eyed Jack who greeted Marcus and myself when we came out of the lift on the tenth floor. Most residents seemed quite okay with him (including the man who dubbed him One-Eyed Jack) but someone has complained to the town council. Most people said that they did not know anyone looking after a cat.

More Food


More Food
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

We went by a second mediation. The volunteer said there was no food left out but we found this on the void deck. We have to find out now if it is the volunteer or someone else leaving it out.

Cat In Void Deck

Food outside Flat


Food outside Flat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jolanda and I went by to speak to this woman and asked her to please not feed upstairs a few weeks ago.

Marc and I went by today and now there is an even BIGGER bowl of food. Plus there was cat defecation in at least two locations that we saw. Sigh.

Meeting Town Council

Jolanda, Marcus and I went to meet a town council today. This is the town council with the Difficult Property Manager. They agreed to try to work with us as far as possible and not to trap the sterilised cats. However, we asked what as far as possible meant, and we were told there are some urgent cases, where they need to act immediately.

We told the town council that in such cases, they could just let the volunteers know that it is an urgent case and the volunteer will then try and solve the problem as soon as possible. We also brought up the fact that it might be a good idea to let us know about complaints early so that the complainant doesn't get too annoyed that nothing has been done. We mentioned that we've noticed that people are annoyed the first time a cat defecates outside their home for example, but by the fifth time they're fuming mad.

One of the officers also noted that the complaints about 'too many cats' usually has to do with the fact that it's feeding time. We agreed to work with the caregivers to try and handle this to perhaps change the feeding spot or the time.

Cat outside the flat


Cat outside the flat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jolanda,Marc and I went for a meeting today and then Marc and I went for a number of Mediations this afternoon.

This is the flat which Jolanda and I went to earlier. We advised the woman to keep the cat in. Marc and I went by today and there was a new cat outside the flat.

Reimbursement

I mentioned we had a piece of a good news to announce yesterday at the AGM. Liang Tong announced officially last night that we will be reimbursing $10 for every community cat that a caregiver sterilises at whichever vet you choose to go to, as long as you (1) send in the receipts and (2) fill up a form for us on statistics on community cats in your area. This is because we have realised that a lot of people do not keep statistics, so when SARS broke out, we had nothing to refute town councils with when they said sterilisation didn't work.

These forms will need to be submitted monthly with your claims if you want to be reimbursed.

Off for a meeting now - going to be another busy weekend because we have another TNRM workshop on Sunday!

Getting cats sterilised

One thing I am proudest of about working with CWS is that I feel that we have been able to work with several caregivers to help protect their cats. Caregivers do a good job, but not everyone is very articulate or able to speak with the town council - and that's absolutely fine. This is the point where I am happy to come in and help if I can.

The flipside of this though, is that some people have gone from not speaking up, to coming to CWS and asking for help all the time as their first point of reference. So for example, cats are being trapped and they call CWS even though we have told them that they should call the town council, or worse, some people think that because CWS has spoken to the town council, all their cats have immunity, sterilised or not.

The point is that every TNRM programme in each area is as good as the caregivers, and the caregivers have to speak up in their own areas. I have been told before by officers that it's me calling the town council again, the implication being I think, that I am stirring up trouble, when actually I am calling on behalf of someone who just refuses to call the town council. This is why it's so important for every caregiver to make themselves known to the town council.

If a caregiver is doing their best, then I will do MY best (and the Society will try its best) to help the caregiver. However, this means living up to your word, and making sure every cat you look after is sterilised if you tell the town council you will. Certainly there may be genuine situations where something unexpected happens, and you are not able to complete the area by a certain date - then let the town council know. Let CWS know as well if we have been involved in discussions.

Please don't however relax and think that because CWS has spoken to your management council or town council that you can now not worry about sterilising your cats, or take your time doing it. Again your TC or Management Committee looks to you as the caregiver, to see what sort of job you are doing, and believe me when I say that they know who is reliable and who's not. If they think you're not reliable, they're not going to be inclined to work with you.

On a wider scale, if they see that the area under a TNRM programme is managed worse than when they used to trap and kill, then they are going to go back to that. If they leave the cats and they are not sterilised, the number WILL increase - and they're going to see this as proof that sterilisation doesn't work.

Please don't prove them right.

Michelle and Liang Tong


Michelle and Liang Tong
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

It suddenly hits Michelle that she has agreed to be President for two years! Liang Tong on the other hand, is glad that he is now Vice-President.

Working Together

We often tell town councils and management committees and the like that we want to work together, but what does this really mean? It means really working hand in hand - so for example, if the town council has a complaint and they ask the volunteer to help, then the volunteer should try their best to resolve this. In return, the town council agrees not to trap the sterilised cats.

A big reason quite a few town councils mentioned for the failure of the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme was that some caregivers thought that their cats were 'safe' under the programme, and hence stopped sterilising. As a result, the number of cats increased. This led the town councils to wonder why they bothered to work with the volunteers as this meant that they now had in fact, more cats to deal with because they did not trap the cats.

If your cats are unsterilised, they are never safe. The town council removes unsterilised cats first. If you have agreed to sterilise the cats, then please keep to your end of the bargain. Do not think that it's safe to stop, or that if there is a problem, you can complain to CWS and CWS will call the town council for you. The town council is just going to look at us, and ask why the population is not controlled, and if the reason is that the volunteer just didn't do it, it's not going to go down well at all.

Drawings


CIMG1199
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Some of the drawings up for display in the classroom which we used. Thanks Ben for allowing us use of the space!

AGM


AGM
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

AGM last night. We did not have a quorum and hence had no way to amend the Constitution.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Are you busy?"

Funny conversation with caregiver a short while ago :

Caregiver : Hello, are you really that busy right now?

Me : Well, I'm preparing for the AGM

Caregiver : Well the AGM is not that early right. Anyway.....

and off she went :)

AGM Report 2006


AGM Report 2006
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's the cover of the new AGM report! We have an exciting new announcement to make tonight, so make sure you're at the AGM!

Collecting AGM reports

I'm going down to collect the first batch of AGM reports in a short while. Remember the AGM is tonight at 7:30 pm at the Legends so please do come!

You can't please everybody

I spoke to Jolanda this morning and it seems that one of the vets had been very cross with their clinic staff yesterday. One of the people bringing in cats for sterilisation brought in his home cats and said so to the vet. The vet was apparently very angry with the staff and with CWS.

We always get flack from some people for not booking slots for home cats. After all, they say, these cats USED to be community cats. All my cats are ex-community cats too, but at what point do they stop being community cats and start becoming my responsibility? This is also the sort of attitude that also leads some people to abandon their cats on their streets after years of having them as indoors pets - after all, the reasoning goes, they are community cats. So what was the period in these peoples' home? A short hiatus?

At the same time, we get flack from the vets when people do bring in these cats. We can't check every single person for one thing, and peoples' definitions of community cats vary tremendously (ie the cat literally on the street all the way to cats that have been living in homes for many years). We do also understand that the vets are trying to make a living - if everyone wanted discounted rates, then the really deserving caregivers who look after community cats are the ones who are going to suffer because the vets may have to discontinue what they are doing. Vets are a business and if they're not making money, then they're either going to close down, or just stop helping.

AGM tonight!

Our AGM is tonight so do come down if you're a member please! We're trying to change the Constitution to refocus the work we're doing and we hope that as many members come down as possible!

See you tonight!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Handful of Kittens

  Posted by Picasa

Cats let out

Jolanda just went by the home of the Bukit Batok woman who had the cats in cages along the common area at one point. She has been helping her to take the cats in for sterilisation, and she also helped her with some wiring on the door, so the cats would not have to remain in their small, dirty cages.

Jolanda dropped by again to check up on them and she told me that the cats have all been let out of their cages and are now in the flat! Such wonderful news!

Whom to call?

I just spoke to a caregiver who told me that some of his cats had disappeared a month ago. He said that he had called the town council and they said they had not trapped any cats, but that his neighbours had seen some cats disappear and seen the pest control trap them. He did call the AVA but was told that sterilised cats are not turned in there (which is untrue). So he waited and waited, but the cats never came home. He decided to call me, but unfortunately he cannot remember when the cats disappeared, whom saw them being trapped, and whom he spoke to at AVA.

I told him it's best to contact me earlier when memories and dates are still fresh in his mind. I realised though that quite a few people don't know what to do when they lose cats, or when they see abused cats, so I'm doing up an important contact information list on whom to contact in different cases like these.

Rebecca

I'd like to mention the great work Rebecca is doing on the Sterilisation bookings. Someone just wrote in to say that they were very upset as they had turned up at the vet with their cats, but the vet said that there was no slot for them. Rebecca was sure she had booked the slot, but had booked it with a different receptionist. Unfortunately this does happen once in a while.

Rebecca is clarifying with the vet and I spoke with the caregiver, but he mentioned he was just upset but not with Rebecca. The clinic he said had been a bit curt, and he felt bad about it. He was at great pains to say he was not complaining about Rebecca but was just very upset this morning.

Rebecca does a tremendous job with the sheer amount of bookings she does every month on top of holding a full time job. Nan Nan has offered to help her, which will be great! I'd like to say Thank You if they read this, to Rebecca for the hard work she puts in every day, and also to Nan Nan for agreeing to help out.

Abandoned cat

In a twist, I spoke with a caregiver yesterday evening who mentioned that she saw someone dumping a cat under her block in the middle of the night. She knows who he is, she knows where he lives, but here's the thing - she can't find the cat! She's waiting a day or two to see if the cat shows up so she has better proof. She said if not, it's going to be his word against hers, without even the dumped cat in sight!

Kittens in a pot


Kittens in a pot
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Kittens galore

I just spoke on the phone to the daughter of the man Jolanda and I met last night. She said that she had happened to bump into a volunteer as well and she would like to get her cats sterilised, but that she was facing problems with dumping her estate as well. She agreed it was important to get them sterilised as soon as possible but she has to look through her schedule. I do hope she gets down to it soon, or it is going to be a problem.

Jolanda and I were told about another woman down the road who also had 5 newborns recently dumped outside her home. She had also found a pregnant mother cat and it had given birth in her home. Thinking it would not get pregnant while it was nursing, she let it out and it got pregnant again. She was really happy she could get subsidised sterilisation rates and that she can get the kittens adopted out.

Cats outside house


Cats outside house
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jolanda and I did a mediation last night in the neighbourhood we went to earlier. A neighbour had called us in because he said that there were a number of cats coming in to his property.

They agreed to get the cats sterilised, but though Jolanda booked slots for the neighbour, they did not bring the cats down. Here are the cats waiting for their food outside the feeder's home.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Speechless

The Property Manager just replied to my email and thanked us for going down and educating them!!!!

Cats are not Pests

Today's meeting with the town council was interesting. Among other things, the Property Manager mentioned that he was glad to hear about this programme as this was a good way of educating the residents. This is so nice to hear and I do hope they are sincere about this - incidentally this is the Property Manager who tried to fine someone for feeding outside the childcare centre. However, I must also admit that this person who was feeding is quite volatile and who picked a fight with the supervisor last week.

The Property Manager mentioned that he was glad there were responsible caregivers who would take care of the area. He also mentioned something interesting. He said that a fairly well-known man came and gave a talk about pest control last week and he had spent some time defining what constituted a pest. For example, this man said that crows were what he considered pests, but cats were not.

Jolanda and I heading for a mediation tonight.

Volunteers after meeting


Volunteers after meeting
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went for a meeting with two caregivers and their town council. They seemed quite receptive to the idea and mentioned that that removing cats alone was not a good option as it didn't solve the problem.

They also mentioned their success rate at trapping the cats was quite low. Hopefully this means that they will work well with the caregivers.

Missing cats return

Two people wrote in to say that they found their cats yesterday. One cat was found after an entire year missing and another woman followed the Advice on the Lost a Pet website and put up huge eye catching signs. Someone called her and she was able to find her missing cat after two weeks!

AGM Report

I sent in the AGM report for printing this morning as I was awaiting some information to be sent in. The printer was very busy and mentioned they can only get it ready by next week, but I wheedled and begged, so they're going to get a few hundred done in time for Thursday.

Disappearing cat

Some of you may remember the man who lost his community cat who was sitting outside his home and was scooped up by pest control. He was looking out his window this morning and saw another pest control van. He called me up and gave me the name of the van - coincidentally, this happened to be a pest control company that is situated in some walk up apartments that Marcus, Michelle and I went to a few weeks ago. The caregiver there had said the pest control company was dumping cats in her compound.

I called the caregiver as she had mentioned she would be speaking to them at the time. She said that it seems to have worked and that no new cats have been dumped there, but of course it doesn't mean they might not have dumped it somewhere else. I've called the company and will wait and see what they have to say.

Looking at Website


Looking at Website
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Marcus and I met with a volunteer last night to discuss the adoption website and see if it can be made easier for the administrator to use.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Shame on you Animal Bullies

Shame on you Animal Bullies

Thanks for the link Angela. Good article.

Not speaking up

I just spoke to a caregiver who is convinced that they are killing cats all over Singapore and that the only good constituencies are the opposition ones! She said that the area she is working in is a PAP constituency overlapping an opposition one and that the people in the opposition TC (which she does not live in) are very nice and work with her (though they ask her to remove the cats - but that's another story). The ones in the PAP ward are not according to her. She insists that the PAP MP has been on walkabouts and has been seen pointing at cats to get them removed.

I told her that instead of far-reaching political conspiracy theories, she should perhaps consider what the MP has to go through as well. I told her that for example, people might have a problem with the cats and complained and the MP may have to react and might be just pointing this out to the officials with the MP. She herself mentioned that there were quite a number of cats in the area. I also mentioned that if for example, people complained and the cats were removed, but then no one complained about their removal, the MP might take that as approval. MPs are after all there to represent the peoples' interest whatever that might be.

She agreed. She mentioned that she had decided to write a letter to the Senior Minister whom she thought was a nice man and asked people to sign it. One woman called her up and scolded her for being nosy and for thinking that anything she said was of any use. She also said she just prayed for the cats when they were trapped and killed. All the others she said would not speak to their MPs because they said it was no use. She said a lot of them came running to her for help, but did not want to do anything to help prevent getting their cats caught, preferring to come to her.

ConCATulations


ConCATulations
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Isn't this a cute card?

AGM report almost done

I'm waiting for the last bits of information to come in for the AGM report and am going to send it to print once we collate the last bits of information.

Do come for the AGM this Thursday if you're a member. If you've seen the notice, you can see that we want to make some changes to the Constitution to reflect what we do better. If you're not a member, you're welcome to come to, but you cannot vote.

It's probably not adopted

I spoke to a woman this morning who said her cat was 'lost'. He's a 6 year old cat with an amputated toe, and she wondered whether someone had adopted him. The thing is, chances are, people are not going to swipe your cat off the street if it's not a kitten - if your adult cat has gone missing, it's likely to have been caught by town council. This girl argued and argued and said it was unlikely to be town council, but for peace of mind, it certainly wouldn't hurt to call the town council. She then asked if the town council would ask for her unit number, and I told her that she could always ask anonymously if she was worried.

Were those Kittens dumped on the Road?

Were those kittens dumped on the road?

Thanks E_Cat for sending me this link.

I'm not sure these weren't actually community cats to be honest, but still the point is a good one. I also wished he had made it clear that the SPCA has no choice but to put most of the cats down. It may give the impression that it's fine to just give the cats to the SPCA because there are always homes out there.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

See you Monday

I'm taking the day off tomorrow, so I'll blog more on Monday!

In the meantime, please do come for our AGM if you are a member. We do need people to come and vote,so please do attend!

TC helping to find caregiver!

A volunteer just called. He was in one of the opposition TCs (which we do not actually work with) and said that he saw a poster up about TNRM and finding a sterilised cat in the void deck. I had spoken to someone from the town council there a few weeks ago. They had trapped a sterilised cat and wanted to make sure it was returned to the right place, so I ended up speaking with them. The officer said he would put up posters since we did not know anyone in the area. I suggested another caregiver nearby and the officer knew whom she was and said that he would talk to her about taking the cat into her colony if this caregiver could not be found. What I found interesting was that I heard the MP had actually taken an active interest in the case too to ensure the cat and caregiver were reunited.

We had been called into the area for a mediation a few years ago and the TC officers there were friendly and receptive I have to say. It's nice to know they went to some effort to try and find the caregiver!

I just lost a cat, can I have another now?

I have to say I'm always kind of surprised when I get these emails from people who write in to tell you they've just lost their cat and how sad they are and in the next breath, ask if they can adopt a cat. I just got an email from someone who said she lost her cat and when I replied asked which address to write to if she wanted to adopt.

I do believe that it is a good thing to take another cat into your home if your cat has passed away or has gotten lost because it'll help ease your pain and make it a little easier to bear rather than an empty home, and of course give another cat a home. However, it seems as if some people don't really seem too bothered - it's as if since they've lost this cat, they will just get a replacement right away. Maybe some people are just more adept with dealing with grief.

Sometimes it's not what you ask

I spoke to a caregiver about the case of the cats she found in the back of a pickup and asked her what the followup was. It turns out that the police had not gotten back to her, and she was not sure whether to pursue it in case the pest control personnel knew it was her.

She asked if she could get the address of the pest control man, and make sure that he did not trap cats from her estate again because he had come from another area within the same town council and she thought it was very unfair. There was another issue here - that of potential cruelty. She had told me that the cats had all been squeezed into the same cage and that they could barely move. Now the town council is not going to entertain your requests for the address of the pest control person - after all, just as they should not give your address out to anyone who asks, they will not give out someone else's address to you. Instead of asking for the pest control man's address, it would have been better to ask that he been told to trap within specific perimeters, and more importantly, that he not squeeze cats into traps after he has caught them!

Sometimes, it's not WHAT you ask, it's also how you ask it.

Trapping cats

One of the caregivers called and I had a long conversation with her. It seems that pest control came into her area this morning. She called Sia Ping who called me because apparently the people who came down were in blue uniforms but did not come in a van. She asked them why they were trapping and which company they were from but they refused to give her any information. We advised her to take photos so she would not forget any details and to document which cats are caught. She called me again this afternoon and the poor woman was so distraught, she burst into tears a few times.

The people who trapped the cats got upset and called the police, and the police asked her to leave the pest controllers alone. She told the police that she was not there to make trouble, and that she just wanted to make sure the cats were properly taken care of. They also suggested that she take the cats home but she told them this wasn't allowed.

The caregiver also told me that on one occasion, she had been followed by someone in the estate, and when she tried to make a report, the police officer she spoke with apparently told her that as he had not hit her, there was nothing they could do, and that if he did hit her, then she could call them. She asked me why the police would think it necessary to come down when pest control called and not when she was being followed? Certainly, one middle aged woman versus three pest control personnel don't make the odds very convincing in her favour.

She is now wondering whether to take her favourite cat off the street, but then again, she is not working and is already strapped for cash and can't afford to board anymore. She said that she already has so many cats are in her flat. In addition, she knows new cats will move in again. She is also very fond of this cat, and broke down at the thought of not being able to see it quite as often as she does now.

She managed to call the town council officer and he said he will call her in the future before sending down to trap any cats. I'm trying to follow up on this.

Cartoons in Straits Times Life Secton

 

Cat cartoons in today's papers! Posted by Picasa

Lost cat update

I spent a while speaking to the man whose cat was scooped up by someone who came by in a van today. His neighbour was quite sure it was the AVA - but after I spoke with him yesterday the logo and colour of the uniforms of the people who came didn't match. The poor man has been trying everything - he is now wondering whether he can call every pest control company to see if they have taken the cat, but then again, they may not admit it even if they did.

It's a private estate, so it's very unlikely to be the town council (who also denied that pest control had been sent down).

It's always the most distressing when you know your cat has been taken, but they don't turn up. If we had a database, hopefully some caregivers might find their cats.

Database

Yskat mentioned something that we've been talking about. We have heard of cases of ear tipped cats disappearing in areas, and never turning up in the AVA.

On the other hand, there are adult, ear tipped cats suddenly turning up in other estates and the caregivers are wondering where they have come from.

Marcus and I were discussing the possibility of setting up a database of some kind for caregivers and how exactly to go about it. The idea is that it should preserve confidentiality (we don't want other people to log on, look for an address and then dump the cats there thinking there are caregivers), and yet have enough relevant information for people to determine if those cats belong to them. This would include photos, unusual characteristics, gender etc to aid in identification. As it is, every week that the cats appear in the Sunday Classifieds, someone calls up to say they are absolutely certain it's their cat - so far none of them have been.

The problem right now is that almost everyone says that dumping is happening in their areas - but there's no way to hook everyone up. If there is a website/blog or even a photo portal of some kind it might help to reunite caregivers with their cats.

Anyone have the technical know how?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Colour me baffled!

I spoke with the Property Manager again, and asked about the meeting next week. He mentioned it might be easier to have the meeting without the volunteers or the Property Managers involved.

We had been talking a while about complaints, and how to resolve them, when he mentioned that they wanted to stop volunteers from bringing cats into the estate. I told him that none of the volunteers I knew wanted to do that - they did not want to have to feed more cats, sterilise more cats and spend more time and money. They just wanted to manage the ones already there. He was quite pleased about that.

After 15 minutes of this, he said that if there were any sterilised cats caught by accident, he did not see why they even needed to be sent to the AVA for his own zone, and that he would release it back to the volunteer caregivers directly. At this point, I said that this was exactly what we were asking for! He said in this case that that was great as he did not see this as being unacceptable to the town council at all.

Now I'm left wondering what just happened here - we've been meeting over the last few times to discuss what exactly? And what did the Difficult Property Manager say? I sent an email to clarify what the Difficult Property Manager had said to me.

Meeting without residents

The town council with the Difficult Property manager called. They want to meet with the Society, but the strange thing is they thought it would be better if the residents weren't there for the meeting. They said they would like to hear their feedback and discuss how the town council can work together with the residents but without them actually being present. He also said that they wanted to meet with the Society to prevent miscommunication - at which point I mentioned that it might be a good idea then to have the residents there so that there is really no chance of the message getting garbled. The Property manager I spoke to it might be easier to hold a meeting if the Difficult Property Manager and the volunteers weren't actually there.

He also said that the rest of the town council divisions didn't have a problem (true) but that it was just this one Difficult Property Manager who did not want to work with the volunteers. This begs the question - can't the town council just direct her to do so if that's the case and she's being unreasonable? If the caregivers there are reasonable and want to work with her, then isn't refusing to work with them just being difficult?

They also mentioned they wanted to discuss abandonment and microchipping the cats again - but we brought up our concerns to them about these issues already, so I'm not sure if we're going to just rehash the same.

Helping people help cats

I just spoke to a caregiver who has been sterilising cats in a certain area. She mentioned that some of the cats were caught, but that no one who was feeding the cats was particularly bothered. She does not actually live in this area.

I often come across this disconnect - some people are very kind hearted and try and help in areas where there are people feeding the cats. However they often do not live there. When there is a problem with the cats and they are caught, the feeders in the area do not want the cat back. They say it's too much trouble, or that it's fated, or that they can't do anything.

What I told the caregiver was this - why not concentrate on the areas where there ARE caregivers who are responsible but need help first? There are so many people who I know would dearly need and appreciate the help. That way the cats there are protected.

What often happens is that these people help out, find all the cats are caught and then are disheartened and give up. So if any of you feel that you want to help trap, let me know? I would be delighted to hook you up with people whom I know need help with trapping!

It's really about helping responsible caregivers so that they in turn help the cats, and these cats are saved. If not, it's often a waste of money, time and resources when the cats are caught and killed anyway.

Friends


Friends
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Where is the cat?

How very odd. The person who lost their cat said his neighbour was very certain that the cat was caught by the AVA and the AVA was in the area on the day itself. However, the cat is not in the AVA and the colour of the van and the uniform doesn't seem to match the AVA's logo.

This man has gone down to the AVA three times already but cannot recover the cat. He told me that he thinks the cat is likely to be dead and has prepared his children for this.

So where's the cat? It seems very strange too that a pest control company would go sweeping through the streets picking up random cats sitting there.

Letter to Today

Letter to Today

There are two other letters in response to Goh Boon Choo's letter, but for some reason it only works when you open the PDF version. Go to Today Online to check it out.

Lost cat turning up somewhere else

A caregiver emailed us today to say that she heard of a lost cat turning up in the vicinity of a condominium in Jurong East. The cat had a collar with the name of the caregivers and the cat's name, but no contact number. She asked if we could post it on the Lost and Found Board.

I thought that at least one of the caregivers might be someone I knew, so I called her, and it turns out the cat IS hers. She was so excited to hear the cat was well. It was the only cat that went missing in the area - and her area is Bukit Batok. So how did the cat get from Point A to Point B? The areas are fairly near to each other, but certainly not that close.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cat Trapping/Lost cats

If the worst happens, and cats are trapped in your area, here are some points you may wish to bear in mind :-

1. Take down any and all relevant details (pest control company name if pest control is used, vehicle number, time, date and how many cats caught - how many sterilised,and unsterilised). Be specific - saying two tall men in the white van with the logo really isn't helpful.

If you can, take photos, this will help you later in identification of the cats and perhaps the pest control. Do NOT obstruct the pest control personnel but you can certainly take information or even photos;

2. Call the town council/management committee/etc - if you have an existing relationship with them, ask why the cats were caught and find out if they will release the sterilised cats back to you (some of you may already have an arrangement with your TC on this). If not, contact the Society and CWS will see if we can help. If you do not have an existing relationship, there's no time like the present to start cultivating one.

For TC information, here's the Singapore Government Directory;

3. Call the AVA - Find out if your cats have been brought in. You may want to consider going down to check if the cats are there personally.

You call the AVA at 1800-4761600.

If any cats are trapped but do not turn up at the AVA and are sterilised ear tipped cats, you should ask your town council/management committee for an explanation as the SPCA will not accept ear tipped cats.

4. Try and ensure that trapping doesn't happen again - easier said then done I know, but make contact with the town council/management committee, offer to handle complaints, start a TNRM programme in your area and let the people managing the area know.

Most importantly, try your best (though I know often it is out of your control) to ensure that pest control not be deployed in the firsts place. Trapping is always stressful - both for you and the cats.

Contacting the authorities

I just spoke to a volunteer who was very excited to hear that SM Goh Chok Tong will be going down to Hougang. She plans to get her friends to write a letter to him and wanted me to draft the letter for her. We had a long conversation about this and I kept telling her that I cannot draft the letter for her. She kept insisting that she cannot write well, but as we were speaking, she had a lot of things she wanted to tell me - how they should not trap sterilised cats, how much money she spent, how she was trying her best, etc. I told her that the most important thing is to write from the heart - not that the letter is perfect. I told her that all the things she told me were things she should just put down in her letter, no matter how imperfect.

People often call me and ask me to draft letters for them or call the town council for them. I don't mind doing it if I can help, but these residents need to speak up. It's not that they don't have concerns - but that they feel uncomfortable bringing them up to the officials, and are more comfortable calling me.

For example, this morning a caregiver called me and said they were trapping in her area. I asked her was if she had called the town council, but she had not. The first thing you should do is call the town council - and then call and let me know if you want to keep me up to date or if you encounter problems of any kind.

It would not surprise me if some town councils think I'm instigating people to call or email or write, or making people up if I'm constantly the one they hear from. If you as a resident call though they will hear you, the actual resident, voicing your real concerns. That's really invaluable. This of course applies equally to private property and condominiums.

Cat in Basket


Cat in Basket
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

On a gloomy day, a cute cat in a basket!

Trapped cat?

I had an unusual email today. Someone wrote in to say that their cat was picked up in a private estate in an AVA van. His neighbour saw someone get out of the van, use a net and scoop up the cat. This is really unusual because AVA doesn't trap normally - they loan out cat traps but they don't pick up cats.

However this man says that his neighbour is convinced that it was the AVA and that his 10 year old sterilised, ginger community cat was taken. He has gone to the AVA twice but cannot find the cat. The AVA van had been in his area but they said they were there to pick up a cat trap someone loaned - and the cat inside did not match his cat.

We've contacted the AVA and will try and find out what happened because this is most unusual.

PETA's Stance on Feral cats

PETA'S stand on Feral Cats

I found a link to this information off ACA's website. Read the last paragraph.

A Thank You!

I've been getting down to finish the AGM report before next week's AGM and am working right now on the Acknowledgements Page. It struck me how we have so many people to thank and how many people have helped the Society in one way or another.

It's appropriate at this time to thank all of you for all the work you're doing for the cats. It's tireless work, but with all of us working together we will get there!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Quick with cat complaints

Has anyone ever wondered why it takes town councils so long to respond to some feedback and so quick to respond to some others (ie complaints)? It seems that while they emphasise speed in resolving complaints with regards to cats promptly, some take a long time to get back to you when you need to talk to them about not removing the cats. Some caregivers told me that they think the town council is avoiding them and that they had given up calling or emailing as a result.

I ended up having to send an email to a property officer who had not responded to my numerous phone calls and emails to say that if I did not hear from him by today that the caregiver could release her cats in the area that were caught by mistake.

TNRM Session


TNRM Session
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Despite the different surroundings (I have to admit I've never been to a KTV lounge), Jolanda and I carried out the usual TNRM workshop. The only difference were the people singing next door whom we could sometimes hear!

Unable to reach CWS

I just got an email forwarded to me by a volunteer, and this person complained they could not contact either CWS or myself. This person claimed that they could not find our email address or website, and that when they called my phone that they left a voice mail which I did not respond to. The volunteer has also forwarded her the email and website address. It's very surprising that she was thus unable to find CWS, considering the number of other emails that we get everyday.

I do not pick up voice messages just because of the sheer number of calls I already get. I did just find there was a glitch in my voice message which somehow erased my usual message which tells people NOT to leave messages and to call back later or email us.

This person also said that I had called her about an earlier case and that we did not pick up the cat she wanted us to. I explained to her then that we do not take in cats and I asked if she could foster it temporarily. At the time she said she could not, she had a dog,and she was scared of the cat. She mentioned there were caregivers in the area so I suggested she put the cat back where she found it and to enlist the caregivers help. She has now written to complain that this was improper advice.

Pregnant cat


Pregnant cat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jolanda went down with a cat trap yesterday to pass to the man with the pregnant cat and wanted to get them done urgently. Unfortunately, it seems that this morning both cats had given birth.

Letters!

Thanks Vegancat for alerting me to these letters :-

Truth about Animals

Catch the Human Rats
A very interesting article

Do More to Stamp out Animal Abuse
Good letter from HRSS

Reform Animal Abusers
A nice idea - but firstly, animal welfare groups aren't trained counsellors. We would need to have actual counsellors to help with this. Secondly, in the course of my work with CWS, I have come across some people who needed help and counselling. Unfortunately either due to lack of information or more likely the huge workload that social workers have (and make no mistake, it IS huge), I never was able to find a counsellor who could help for free. If this is the case for people with problems, then what about someone who abuses an animal? I'm not sure they would be at the top of the priority list due to some of the reasons Ms. Goh mentioned in her letter.

KTV TNRM session


KTV TNRM session
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jolanda and I carried out a TNRM workshop on Saturday at a most unusual location - a room in a KTV lounge!

Sunday Times (19-3-06)


Sunday Times (19-3-06)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Article in the Sunday Times about the necessity of stopping animal abuse.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Pregnant Cat


Pregnant Cat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The man who spoke to us said that he had actually been trying to get this cat and her mother sterilised. Both are pregnant (it is possible the newborn may be the mother cat's kitten). He cannot however touch them. He was pleased to hear that he could borrow a cat trap.

Newborn


Newborn
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

As Fiona and I walked by, someone next door called out to us and told us that there was a newborn in front.

Here's the kitten, he or she curled up and went to sleep after. We were afraid to move it lest the mother cat reject it afterward. It is likely to be the offspring of one of the neighbourhood cats.

Cat and Kittens


Cat and Kittens
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I went down to drop a trap and then to meet Fiona who just wrote in to volunteer for Mediation.

We went by this home and there were four kittens and a mother cat sitting inside. The neighbour is complaining that the cats are not sterilised.

The woman in the home said her daughter was not home and I think she did not speak English very well, so we left some information for her.

Mediation and traps

Heading out for a Mediation and to drop some traps off now.

Get the facts straight

I couldn't post all morning because Blogger was glitchy.

Two caregivers called up this morning and said that the condo manager I spoke to last night went back on her word and trapped the cats. The cats were all missing they said, and one of their friends said that men had come with nets to trap the cats last night at 10 pm. Their friend had said that all these cats were to be removed and not one cat allowed to remain.

One of the caregivers berated the other and said that she had told her to remove the cats. The other caregiver accused the condo manager of lying.

I called the manager and asked but she said that no one had been sent down. I told her that I would check the matter and get back to her.

I rang the caregivers back and asked them to check with the AVA. It turned out then that none of them had actually gone onto the grounds of the condominium to check if the cats were there.

They called me back half an hour later to say all the cats were sunning themselves on the condo grounds. One was not around, but they think she's hiding. I sent an email apologising to the manager. She graciously wrote back and said it was fine.

Moral of all this? Please get your facts straight and don't panic. I know the first reaction when you don't see your cats is to freak out, but take several deep breaths and calm down first. You cannot help the cats if you are all upset and not thinking straight.

Watch it....


Watch it!
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Blogger isn't working today

More workshops

Blogger's been acting up this morning.

We've been asked to carry out a TNRM workshop tomorrow evening - it's kind of a last minute workshop that we were asked to do yesterday. We don't even know the location where the workshop is being held yet.

We'll also be carrying out a TNRM workshop possibly in two weeks' time in the Sembawang GRC area. If you are caring for community cats, especially in that vicinity, and would like to attend, drop me an email (details are on the contact me page.

We've actually been holding workshops every weekend so far this month, which is great. We're glad to see so many people with an interest in the workshops.

"Cat Feeder takes proper care of strays"

Cat Feeder takes proper care of strays

I thought the letter was a bit long but they published almost the entire thing which is great.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Make friends!

If you are feeding cats anyone other than your own home/office/workspace, try and make friends with people who are living/working/studying there. For example, if you feed the cats and they live in a condominium, or a school, or an office complex, try and find someone who is sympathetic to the cats. You can almost certainly find someone though it may be difficult.

I spoke with a caregiver this evening. She looks after some cats who run into the condo next to the area she feeds in. We had spoken before about trying to find someone who was sympathetic to the situation. Today it seems that the management decided to put out cat traps and trap the cats.

It is very difficult to call a management/TC etc if you do not know someone who has a stake in the area, be it a resident, employee, etc. I remember that two of our founders, Jean and Lynn were asked to leave a condominium once because they were trying to stop some trapping from going on and were trying to speak to the management.

We scrambled around and managed to find a resident who would go on record to say she did not want the cats killed (she asked me if they really killed the cats which were caught and said she did not want that). I then called the management and presented the case and they have agreed to release any sterilised cats they catch.

This other woman called and said she did not like the posters her town council put up today. I told her that we really need residents to speak up because she mentioned her friends are all upset. However, no one wants to speak with their town council. She doesn't live in the TC and neither do I, so what we say will be of limited interest to the town council which clearly wants to protect their residents' interests.

So now is the time to make friends! Even if you do know people in your own area, and you do live there, it doesn't hurt to get to know more people. A support network is always good!

Would they throw a child back on the street?

I was just talking to Jolanda about people abandoning cats. We just got news that one of the adopters had adopted a cat several years ago, and that she recently dumped it in another estate because she did not want it anymore. She knew there were some caregivers there and so she tossed the cat out, thinking that they would look after it.

First things first, why would someone think that because you are looking after 10 cats, you might want MORE? Seriously, so many people will say, oh since you look after X number of cats, why not one more? Then why don't these people keep their ONE cat?

Secondly, why do people think it's fine to adopt a cat off the street and then dump it back again? Do they honestly think the cat will do well after having been a home cat for a number of years? It's similar to picking a street child with no family off the streets for example, bringing the child into their home and looking after him or her. After living in their home, getting used to their lifestyle, would these people think that hey, it's been nice, but it's too much trouble and throw the child back out? People seem to think that cats can survive and since they were community cats once, they can always go back to doing so again. In fact lucky cat! It had a few good years in a nice home, so good luck!

People have to realise that once they pick the cat up, it becomes their cat. If you don't want the responsibility, don't pick up the cat.

Food outside home


Food outside home
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I spoke to a caregiver today. She told me that the property officer says the cat is going up to the ninth floor to defecate. He is very annoyed and says that he will have to take action soon if she does not do anything.

I had sent her the mediation flyer last week when she mentioned this, and asked if she had flyered the block as discussed. She said she did not want to, as people might deliberately start feeding the cats irresponsibly so they are removed. I told her that they can have the cats removed anyway, whether or not they are being fed responsibly - and certainly if someone keeps complaining about the defecation this is going to happen.



I told her the best way of finding out if someone is feeding a community cat upstairs or letting their pet out, is to flyer the block. Going door to door often shows tell-tale signs like the food outside the flat in this photo.

Removal - the final option

I spoke with a caregiver who just called. She mentioned that she did not have space to remove any more cats from the street and that the condo management was trying to remove the cats. She mentioned the futility of it because new cats will just move in, then she asked if they can be placed anywhere. Please do not offer removal of cats as your first solution - it is never a good idea because as the vacuum effect will kick in. You'll forever be removing cats.

Worse you then put yourself in a situation where the management or TC will expect you to do it. I spoke to an officer that this same caregiver spoke to yesterday. The officer said that she had told him she would take all the cats and place them on a farm somewhere. The plan fell through, and now the officer is asking why there are still cats on the street.

Please try and sell a TNRM programme first. Removal should always be the last, last resort if nothing else works. Even if this lot of cats you look after is safe, the next lot that move in probably won't be.

Writing Emails/Letters

I just got off the phone with a worried lady who is trying to write to her condo management because they were trapping some of her cats. She has been trying to write an email to them and has been quite concerned about what to put in. Here are a few tips that I usually bear in mind when writing to TCs/condos/managements/etc :-

1. Always be polite, but firm

There is no need to be rude, but don't be a pushover either. State your case politely but firmly.

2. Check your facts and know your facts!

Make sure you have your facts right. Don't make allegations you cannot prove. You want to come across as trustworthy and reliable, so don't write things like, my friend's friend's friend saw this or that, unless you KNOW that person and think they are reliable.

You might want to add any information about Sterilisation, Community Cat management, etc that is useful at this juncture.

3. Offer your help where possible

It's always a good idea to try and offer help if you can. This shows you want to work with whomever is in charge to make the situation better.

4. Be Persistent

Sometimes one letter/email/fax may not be enough. Don't give up because this is just the first step in a process. Keep writing (but don't harass them) if you don't hear from them after a reasonable period of time.

5. Keep it real

People often ask me if this or that should be put in, or what I would write. The thing is I might write a very different letter from what you or anyone else would. It doesn't matter. The main thing is to put across how you feel and what you want to do. Don't feel you need to put in big words or write in a different style to make your letter seem more important. The most important thing is to write from the heart.

6. There is no perfect email

At the end of the day, don't fret too much about it. There will always be things you can improve so don't worry too much about making it perfect. Often you have a window of opportunity and you need to act fairly quickly before the issue gets thrown on the backburner - I find speed is usually preferable to perfection, because it will never be perfect.

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cats removed while volunteer looking into situation

This woman has been calling to complain about the feeders in her estate, her neighbours who look after the cats, and also littering in the area. The latest complaint was last Monday because she said her daughter was too scared to come home because there were cats downstairs. She also complained about people leaving food around. One of the volunteers went down over the weekend to try and look into the problem but needed more information as she could not find the feeders, nor food leftover, so I have been trying to call the complainant several times over the past few days.

I managed to get hold of her today, and it turns out that she called the town council and had three of the cats there removed. I asked her why she had done that, and she said the cats were still there and too many of them were just scary. She said that nothing had been done. I told her that we were looking into it, and that we were trying to contact her. She said that she had been out.

I explained to her that removing them was a short term solution and that I was sure she did not want to keep having the cats killed, but she said she did not much care what happened as long as there were fewer cats. She also said that the cats should find their own food, and that if people liked cats so much they should bring them home. She also said she was upset some neighbours were calling her the woman who complains a lot in her block. I spoke to the husband who was a bit more understanding and said I'll send them some information.

The volunteer was understandably upset and said that she would try and work in the area but did not want to talk to the complainant (who asked for the volunteer's number) because she would undoubtedly yell at her.

Trapping to be seen to do something

I just spoke to a caregiver who is having problems in her area. We have gone down to flyer the area before.

The problem is that the residents there are complaining that there are too many cats. The town council officer, who sounds rather beleaguered, has told me before he has to be seen to do something so he sends pest control down. The caregiver told me that they will come, trap one cat, and then leave.

This all seems to pointless and silly, though I can sense the officer is also at a loss. Apparently the caregiver tried to get some other residents who liked cats to go with her and see the MP a while ago. These other residents did not want to go because they might get into trouble. When she got to the Meet the Peoples' Session, one of the people helping at the session told her the MP was very busy and didn't have time to see her. She waited and waited, but eventually went home because this person told her that the message would be passed to the MP.

I'm sure the MP wasn't aware of this either. Some over-zealous helpers at these sessions have been known to tell people they cannot see the MP on their own initiative.

The caregiver said her friend suggested marching to the town council. I told her it would probably be more polite and better to arrange a proper meeting with the officer.

Tipped Ear Cat


tipped_ear_cat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I just spoke to a town council officer who said that they would not trap the sterilised cats. I asked why it was then that he trapped some sterilised cats that the volunteer was looking after.

He said that perhaps the workers cannot tell they are sterilised. I told him about the tipped ear and he said that his workers may not be able to understand this. I just sent this photo to him and offered to print out copies to send to his workers if they have problems.

Of course the caregiver told me that the workers in fact told her they were instructed to take the tipped ear cats away. One of the workers had actually come to love the cats a lot and the caregiver said he was very sad. He told her he didn't want the cats to be killed, but his job was on the line.

Three pretty cats sitting in a row


Three pretty cats sitting in a row
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Reform don't just punish animal abusers

Reform Animal Abusers

Thanks to Fiona for letting me know about this. This is certainly a good idea, but I'm really not sure that there sufficient resources for counselling. I have a doctor friend who was just telling me about the difficulty of finding counsellors and I think the papers mentioned the lack of social workers just a few days ago.

Replying to letters

I've just drafted two responses to letters in the newspapers, one sent in from the Berita Haridan from our volunteer Idham, and another sent in by Vegancat. Thank you both of you!

You can read the link to the Straits Times online Forum one here :-

Take the right action to take proper care of stray animals

Caregivers often express surprise that other people don't know that cats sent to AVA and SPCA are killed because they just don't have the space, but here's an example.

Abandonment

The one thing that disturbed me about the meeting at the town council yesterday was that they are reluctant to do anything about abandonment. This seems to be the feeling with the other town council we met two weeks ago too.

When I asked if the town council can please speak with people who are abandoning cats, they said they cannot, because these are home pets. They said the proper authority is the HDB. I asked about people with free roaming cats, but they said that this wasn't something they can do either.

So here's the thing, HDB won't speak with pet owners - they'll just tell people to get rid of their pets. This only applies to cats within the unit. Town councils won't speak to the people with pet owners - because their jurisdiction is outside the flat. So owners are given eviction letters, upon which they dump their unsterilised cats.

Most caregivers of course won't complain to HDB for fear of getting these residents into trouble and having cats dumped (plus many of these residents just pick up new cats afterward), so they end up having litters of kittens dumped every few months instead. At this point, town councils will say there are too many cats and want to have the additional ones removed.

Wouldn't it be easier if all the different bodies could just decide to work together on this and stop the problem at the root cause?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Strange!

I just spoke to the caregiver and the strange man at the florist called up and apologised to the volunteer after he hung up on me!

He hinted to the volunteer that she can go back. He also told her that she benefitted from the arrangement as well by parking on the premises.

She reminded him that she did not steal animals and in fact had given him a dog which he promptly lost. He had nothing to say to that. She also told him she will no longer go back to his premises since he has made it clear she's not wanted. She'll just feed next door.

Rose Garden on Evans Road

Rose Garden is the florist/landscaping place owned by the thoroughly unpleasant man whom Marc and I visited yesterday.

I spoke to the caregiver this morning and she clarified that she did not intend to go on the man's property any longer. She will feed from the sidewalk or one of the florists on the left or right of the place.

I spoke with him again and asked if there was any truth to the claims that he had dumped his cats at Adam Road Hawker Centre nearby. He immediately said it may have been his ex-colleagues. I told him the caregiver was upset that he had made all these allegations against her and that she had not left cats there as he had said she did. The caregiver said that all the cats there were his.

He then got upset and said he forbade the caregiver from stepping onto his property again. I told him that she had already said she would not do so. She also said that she was disappointed as she thought they were friends.

He said that if she stepped onto his property again, something might happen. I told him that I wanted to tell him that abandonment was a crime and punishable by jail time. He then said I was threatening him, and I replied that I was just telling him the law. I also pointed out he had just threatened the caregiver.

He made threats on how he was going to try and get the caregiver into trouble. He said he did not like Marcus and I coming onto his property. He also said I raised my voice at him, and that it was unpleasant.

This lovely man also said that we were not to bother 'his cats'. He said he was a big animal lover and no one knew how much he loved animals of all kinds. I told him that for someone who claimed to love animals so much he clearly had not bothered to sterilise or even feed 'his cats'. He got offended and said that he let them stay on his space rent free!

At any rate, he has now said that none of us are welcome on his property and that if his cats go hungry, then just too bad. He said he will report us for trespassers if we step on again. He also said I could tell anyone I wanted about this.

Volunteers


Volunteers
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The volunteers after the meeting. Two Property Managers met with us. One didn't look too happy, but the other agreed on both their behalfs to refer complaints first to the volunteers before trapping any cats.

Meeting with Town Council today

Leaving for a meeting with some volunteers and their town council now.

Busy !

I spoke to the difficult feeder and confirmed she wants to be taken off the list. Another volunteer also spoke with me and said that she had told her that my job is not to babysit all the feeders, but to try and solve problems.

Phone ringing off the hook today. There is the woman with the problem with the condo manager who trapped a cat on Friday and did not send it to the AVA. He promised to give it to her on Monday and then went home without making arrangements. After I called, they released the cat to her, but now the manager is trying to trap all the cats in the estate.

Another estate called to say they are trapping the cats in the area, but no one seems to know who is in charge there. The town council however has promised not to take any of the sterilised cats.

Yet another woman called and wanted me to call the town council because they're trapping in her area. I told her that she and her friends must speak up for the cats. If not, this is going to cause a problem because the town councils only hear one side of the story and not the other.

My missed call list is backed up three numbers, so have to go answer some more phone calls!

Cat pondering why people can be so strange


Cat pondering why people can be so strange
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

"I don't want to feed anymore"

I just spoke to one of the feeders who came for the Saturday session. She heard that they are trapping the cats in an area across the road from her where she knows the other caregiver. However she refuses to tell the other caregiver, saying that the other woman won't talk to her.

I told the feeder that the other caregiver had never said a bad word about her, but that they have to learn to work together and work it out. I said it was for the good of the cats. Of course, she told me that she doesn't feel like feeding anymore - I reminded her that every single conversation I have had with her has always involved her telling me this, and 5 years on, we're STILL having this conversation. I told her that I don't suffer if she doesn't feed, she doesn't suffer, but the cats do.

She complained about another group of caregivers, she complained about this caregiver and she said she had been beaten up while feeding (because she had pulled a little girl's hair - the girl had made loud noises at the cats, but still, no violence against others is a GOOD rule to follow!). I asked the woman why she seemed to get along so badly with so many people when the rest seemed to be okay. She said she did not know.

I spoke to the other caregiver who was clearly reluctant to say anything bad about this feeder, but basically said she was a very difficult woman.

Sigh.

Sterilising male cats

I just spoke with a caregiver who told me that she had not sterilised the males in her estate. We're getting this less often then in the past, but I still hear it once in a while. She maintains that they do not cause trouble, but she did mention that cat fights do occur in the area across the street from her.

I explained to her that it is important to sterilise ALL the cats. This is because otherwise, the male cats will continue to spray, to fight and worse, they will wander off and mate with the unsterilised female cats in the next neighbourhood which is not managed. We had one volunteer who sterilised all the females first - all the males wandered off presumably to mate with the unsterilised females in other areas. This may help your area, but is going to cause problems somewhere else.

Sterilised cats will stay closer to home and wander less as well, so it's safer for your community cats. Please get them all sterilised.

Overprotection breeds Paranoia

Overprotection breeds Parnoia

Article in Today newspaper

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sterilised cat at Florist


Sterilised cat at Florist
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is one of the cats at the florist. I spoke to the caregiver and she mentioned she wasn't even in Singapore on one of the nights the man alleged she stole his cat. She said she had her passport to prove it.

Furthermore, she said he had dumped cats at a hawker centre in the past and admitted it to her. She also said she had spent literally a few thousand dollars sterilising and feeding his cats over the last few years.


On a lighter note, we now know that Michelle is the Mediation jinx, not Marc. When we first arrived and wandered around the florist, we thought we were going to have to leave without speaking to the people we needed to talk to. After hanging around for a bit though, they came back and we had our nice little chat.

The other interesting thing is that the man (and his wife who was just as bad) had a nice little girl of about 8 or 9 who seemed to really love the cats. When her father said he was going to send the cats to AVA, she glared at her father and told him she would kill him if he did that.

AGM Notice

The AGM notices are going to be sent out thanks to Marcus, Michelle and Tarsier Girl. M&M got them photocopied and Tarsier Girl is going to have her hands full stuffing them in envelopes.

We'll be changing the Constitution slightly to better focus on the work we do, so if you feel strongly about these changes too, then please do come down and vote if you're a member! We do need 30 members to show up for a quorum.

Pets Day Out

Jacin and Rebecca manned the stall yesterday at East Coast on a very hot afternoon. Thanks to the two and the volunteers who showed up as well as Classified Pets. Jacin wasa bit concerned about managing CWS' merchandise booth and the volunteers
for the first time but all turned out well and the response was quite good according to them. Thank you ladies!

Here's a post about the event :-
Today

Pregnant kitten


Pregnant kitten
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Marc and I just went for a mediation. This is the kitten in question which is the subject of contention. The caregiver in question has been sterilising and feeding all the cats for this man who owns a florist. However, the man went and picked up this kitten, let it get pregnant, and then refuses to let the caregiver sterilise.

Now it's fine if he's prepared to keep all the kittens, but we asked him to let the caregiver sterilise her once she's delivered and the kittens are weaned. We also asked that he let the kittens be sterilised.

The man declined. He said that he wants to carry on the 'family line', though on further questioning, it turns out this cat isn't from the same family line at all.

He also says that he is not prepared to spend a cent on sterilisation. We asked him what would happen if the kittens then multiply (he mentioned that he had 20 cats in the past), and he said he would just send them to the AVA.

In the meantime, he is accusing the caregiver of kidnapping this pregnant cat to get it sterilised. I told him that if she had done so, chances are she would have sterilised it BEFORE returning it to him, but of course he is unconvinced.

Apparently in the past, she has even helped him with sales of his plants on his property.

Mediation again

Going for mediation with Marcus now! More later.

Complaints galore

Seriously, what is with all the complaints coming in? I don't know if it's a sign that CWS is getting better known, or if town councils are sitting up because elections are coming up and are trying to get their estates nice and clean.

I just spoke to a condominium manager who wants to know where it's stated that cats once sterilised don't make noise. I've just sent him a sheaf of information.

All I know is that I spoke with 45 people on Friday and today is pretty busy too. I managed to finally sit down and do some paperwork today though!

Cat Trap


Cat Trap
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Some of the volunteers at the session on Saturday.

Session with volunteers Saturday

We had a fairly intense session on Saturday afternoon to meet the volunteers in the town council with the Difficult Property Manager. Almost 30 people came and it was great to see so many people turn up. Many people had questions and comments.

It was a fairly tiring session though as there were one or two disruptive people in the crowd. We asked when we started if people wanted a demonstration of the cat trap, and people responded that they did. Marcus, Michelle and I were demonstrating when some feeders came in rather late. They immediately said they knew all about the cat trap and did not need a demonstration. We asked that they kindly sit down and wait while we demonstrated to those who did not know.

These two feeders promptly started talking throughout almost the entire session, even though they were shushed by both the other caregivers and ourselves. One took a newspaper out to read halfway (which at least meant they were quiet). They interjected often that the town council was lousy and could not be worked with. I reminded one of them that she had told me that she had seen her town council right after SARS broke out and that they had stopped trapping in her area as a result. She agreed. She also suggested that we all march on the town council.

Fortunately, the rest of the group were generally very focused. People suggested swapping email information to keep in touch with each other for those with email. They also suggested being the liaison for those without email access. They were also talking about what to bring up to the town council when we meet them next week.

Marcus & Michelle demonstrating use of cat trap


Marcus & Michelle demonstrating use of cat trap
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This was at the session on Saturday which was frankly exhausting. I promptly came down with a cold the same night.

Sunday Times (12-3-06)


Sunday Times (12-3-06)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Good article - from a non 'cat' person.

Online Petition

I was just sent this link for an online petition
Online Petition
about the cat abuse case.

I suspect that while this is good, writing into the Attorney-General's Chambers may be a better way to go about it if you wish to ask for a stronger sentence.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Crush Video update

One of the ladies whom we used to be in contact as the Asia representative of World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) contacted me yesterday. She is no longer with WSPA but still does work within Asia for animals.

She sent me some links of the crush video as well, and said that as far as she can ascertain, it is not a hoax.

The good news is that she is working with some of the welfare groups in China to try and push for an animal abuse law. She asked me to send her information on the legislation in Singapore. She said from one Asian country to another, this might be more persuasive in convincing China to beef up their laws. I'll post more information when I have it.

ST (11-3-06)


ST (11-3-06)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Good work volunteers in Bedok! We talk so much about community bonding and trying to promote multi-racial harmony - if cats don't bring everyone together, as evinced in this article, then I don't know what else can.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Cat in the Mangroves

Otterman SMSed today when he found this cat in the mangroves of all places! If it had been left there, it would probably have been eaten by something.

Otterman has taken him home and given the lucky cat a new life as a happy lap cat!

Xylo

Emotional distress

The feeder who was told that feeding is illegal is upset now. The other feeder he works with emailed me to say that he is thinking of suing the town council for emotional distress. I told her that when I spoke with him yesterday, I had suggested speaking with the MP since he felt so aggrieved, but that he had decided to drop the matter because he did not want any trouble.

I asked her what had changed, and she said she will discuss it with him because he is thinking of taking the town council to court now! I told her that their chances of winning are probably not too great. If so, imagine how much money I would have made suing town councils for emotional distress by now! :)

Mystery unraveled

I called the police and they had no records of any cats being sent in from the area where the pest controllers were seen to be trapping. I called the town council officer who sounded quite shocked - she gasped and asked where the cats had gone to.

She called me back and it turned out that the pest controllers had gone from the first area and then driven to another area, picked up another sterilised cat and then left all of them in the carpark of the area where the caregiver found them. She said they were stuffed into a cage slightly bigger than a cat trap.

The cats have all been claimed back from SPCA and the caregiver has taken them out. The police are investigating.

Soong Teck


Soong Teck
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I met with a group of volunteers this afternoon. We are meeting with their town council on Tuesday and this was a preparation for the meeting.

Strange case

Stranger and stranger. The case I mentioned earlier today where pest control were seen last night trapping cats and claiming they would send them to CWS just took a more bizarre turn. I called the town council and the property officer mentioned that someone had called the police about the cats because someone complained that the cats were being trapped but no one was around. Three of the cats were then removed from the area according to the property officer and sent to the SPCA. Of these two were unsterilised.

Now it seems that the three cats that were found were related to the other case I mentioned today - the one where four cats were found in a pickup. The SPCA has no records of any other cats sent in by the police last night. The town council also mentioned that there were three cats, two unsterilised and one sterilised, but the caregiver found four sterilised cats in the pickup. So where did the cats go?

Another letter about the abused kitten

Three Months' Jail is not enough

Sterilised cats found in traps in the back of a pick up

One of the caregivers called this morning to say that she could not find one of her cats last night. She called and called and the cat responded in the direction of the carpark. She went into the carpark, and found the cat in a trap under a tarp in the back of a pick up. This was a sterilised cat she had been caring for.

She also found three other sterilised cats that weren't from her area also in traps under the tarp. One is black, one is black and white, and one is grey. If anyone is missing sterilised cats that match this description, let me know please.

The volunteer called the police and the cats are temporarily in SPCA while they trace the person whose pick up it is.

Please let me know if any of your cats go missing so I can keep an eye on this. There have been some cases of late. Also let me know if sterilised cats suddenly turn up in your estate.

Mother and Kitten


Mother and Kitten
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I was in the area last night, so stopped by with a volunteer and found this mother and kitten pair that E_cat had mentioned. We found out that there's a woman feeding there so the volunteer will keep an eye out for her.

Meeting with volunteers

Rushing for a meeting with some volunteers. More later.

ST Forum Letters (10-3-06)


ST Forum Letters (10-3-06)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Three letters today on the animal abuse case in the Straits Times.

Trapped cats sent to CWS?

Michelle got news last night that someone saw people trapping cats and that when asked what they were doing, the person was told that they were sending them down to CWS which is obviously untrue!

Michelle was about to rush down because she was fairly near the area, but she asked the person there to go back and let us know exactly what was happening. When the person went back, the cats were gone.

I called the town council this morning. The property manager said that they had been having complaints, but that he did not arrange the trapping. He suggested that I speak with the property officer who is out and find out from her.

Avian Flu Psychosis

Now we have a name for it - Avian Flu Psychosis!

Avian Flu Psychosis

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A problem solved!

The room we were originally going to use for the AGM was unavailable and I was getting a bit desperate trying to find an alternative venue when I got an SMS this afternoon that was the answer to my prayers! Thank you to Ben who is kindly offering to let us use a room that he has available!

For all members, we'll be sending out the notices sometime next week.

Town Council matters today

One of the property officers from the town council that wanted the baseline figures of how many cats were being looked after called. This was after the GM called the other day.

He got my email about feedback from all the caregivers and he said that it seemed they were quite upset. I told him that caregivers were worried that their sterilised cats would be caught, and he said he could understand. He added that he liked animals himself.

At any rate, he says now that they do not intend to cut the number of cats down to the baseline level right away but that they plan to do it gradually. He also said that the rest of the town council was really actually doing well, except for the one area with the Difficult Property Manager. He said that he understood that it was important to work together and that this might take a while to find a compromise but we would get there eventually if we worked together. Music to my ears! I told him I totally agreed, and that I had relayed the information as given to me, but that the caregivers understandably got upset at the thought that the sterilised cats might be caught. He said that he could understand that the caregivers can emotional sometimes.

The manager who was e-mailing me about the by-laws also wrote back to the volunteer. He said that as long as we could all come to an agreement, there was no need to blow this issue up any more.

People claiming to be from CWS

I just spoke to another town council officer (I don't seem to do anything else do I? :)). One of the caregivers asked me to call him and speak with him. Apparently, these two women I know of, and who are not our volunteers, went down and said they were from CWS.

The officer asked me where our office was and how they could tell I was from CWS. I told him we have no office to save costs, and he said one of the women said the same thing.

I do see the problem so I told him he could check with his TC GM and Deputy GM whom I've met and with the AVA who can verify my identity. I also told him I would send him some information on CWS along with my namecard.

I am also going to write and tell these two women not to do it again. One of them carried out another mediation the other day as well, and the man was so angry that he threatened to throw the caregiver off the grounds because he said that the woman gave no solutions after all. I had to do quite a lot of placating to get him to talk to him and we did finally come to an agreement.