Thanks Marc for putting this up - here are a list of our FAQ sheets and other documents you might find useful.
Thanks Marc for putting this up - here are a list of our FAQ sheets and other documents you might find useful.
Why is it that someone will write in and say they saw an injured cat, and that it needs help and mention they know whom is feeding it and they want to ask the person to get it sterilised, but that they won't do it themselves? Isn't it just as easy to talk to the person as to write in to CWS and ask us to do it?
One woman I spoke to two days ago said she didn't want to talk to her neighbours because she didn't know them very well - but she doesn't know the TC very well either and she certainly doesn't know me! So why the reluctance?
Bye everyone - I'm off for a break and will be back at work in two weeks. Will update the blog but less often depending on whether there are any cat-worthy pieces of news :) Have a good one, and remember to vote well!
The volunteer and I met quite a few residents in the block this afternoon. Besides the complainant, who said the cat came to defecate outside his window almost every day, we met quite a few other residents. We were told the cat had given birth and its kittens caught, and that the feeder was the unit on the corner. Two different residents confirmed this.
The volunteer and I approached the corner unit again (where the cat always sits). The woman remembered me from the last visit. I asked for her help trapping the cat - we told her we would not be taking it away to kill it, but that if it was not taken away, the way the complaints were going, the cat was going to be caught and killed. We told her that the other kittens had been taken away and killed already.
The woman said that she was not the feeder (though the food bowls were still under her plants) and that she was scared of the cat. She said that she would not dare touch it. Another guy in the house also said the same thing. One of the other residents told us that they have seen family members from that unit stroking the cat.
The complainant also said that they keep the cat in sometimes, but at other times, they let it out.
The cat knows its way around the block really well and it runs up and down staircases and in and out of flats.
When I got home, there was a complaint from another resident in the same block via email about the defecation problem.
Here's the cat today. She's friendly and sleepy normally but when she saw the carrier and the trap, she was off! The other volunteer and I found her on another staircase but when she saw us she took off again.
We spoke to quite a few residents and they said that she has been running into their homes. We also saw defecation on two staircase landings.
What a frustrating afternoon of mediation. The first one went quite well - the woman had already been visited by the HDB and said she would keep her animals in. Hopefully she keeps to her word.
The second mediation was the third time I've been by the same block. The cat was still sitting in the staircase. The amount of food was much less (just one bowl of water and a bit of food) but there was still food and the cat was still sitting upstairs.
Off for Mediations this afternoon. Two people accusing each other of leaving food out - we've spoken with them, town council has spoken with them and the cat is defecating upstairs. Sigh.
One of the feeders called this morning and was very upset. She had sent one of the cats to the hospital for a bruise, and the vet had checked it out and told her that the cat could go home. It needed to have two injections and be fed medication. The feeder checked with her friend, and her friend said the cat was very fierce, so they would prefer to leave it in the hospital as they felt the nurses could handle it.
The feeder called last night and it turns out the bill is going to come to $900 - of this, two-thirds of the bill is coming from hospitalisation. The feeder is now complaining that her friend who wanted to board the cat has disappeared after seeing the bill. She has no idea where this friend lives or how to contact her.
She called and asked if CWS can help her negotiate for a better rate, but this clinic had told us that they prefer caregivers to approach them directly for discounts so they can better assess the situation. The feeder is saying that she did not realise that hospitalisation charge would not include all the medication and the like. I've asked her to check with the hospital and try and work out a payment scheme with them. She is convinced they will experiment on her cat if she does not pay for some reason.
At the end of the day, you do need to check out the prices before going into a vet clinic just as you would with any service. You cannot sit down in a restaurant for example, order a meal and eat it, and then claim you did not know how much it cost if there was a way for you to ascertain the cost unless the cost was so astronomical as to be unbelievable, and even then you would be hard pressed to show you were unfairly done out of your money.
Vegancat and another volunteer told me that the Bedok cat killer was seen taking another cat up into his flat. I've been told that I must have misunderstood earlier and that the kitten ran out before the police arrived. This is really quite worrying but the volunteers are all keeping a close watch on him. The volunteer took the cat home eventually.
Committee meeting tonight.
I just spoke to the person whose place I've gone down to twice. He said that he has been complaining for months and that if nothing was done, he would go to the MP (his neighbour he claims is feeding cats though she denies it,and the cats defecate outside his home). I told him that I had first heard of this case two weeks ago and I had been down twice already. I told him the town council had also informed me that they had trapped the cats there. As I told him, obviously the wrong cat must have been caught, as he is complaining the same cat is still defecating outside his house. He was very certain which cat it was as well and pointed out the cat with the collar.
I wish the town councils would also let us know a little earlier - sometimes the problem escalates and the complainants by this time are thoroughly annoyed.
I'm going down now to meet the teacher in the JC who wants me to give the talk now.
Jolanda left last night - she will be a great loss to the Society as I'm sure most of you who know her will agree. She was so committed to TNRM and sterilisation, that she spent some time getting a drop trap done, and she even offered to come down for the TNRM session on Sunday in the midst of all her packing.
Goodbye Jolanda, we'll miss you!
Blogger won't seem to upload my posts today.
Another Junior College called and asked if we could give a talk - what was nice for a change is that they asked if we could give a talk on sterilisation and controlling the community cat population, which is a change! Normally we're asked to talk about being kind to animals, or how abuse is bad - all of which of course are true, but I'm very glad that people are starting to realise that sterilisation is as important, if not more important than these other topics as well. The more people understand about why sterilisation is important to keep the community cat population under control, the sooner, we'll have the problem licked.
I managed to find a caregiver in the area and she's going to go down and check the area out because she helps to manage it, so need to go down today. It's best of course also to have someone in the area because they are able to keep a close watch on the situation.
The caregiver mentioned that it's very odd that the complaint came in as she is quite certain that the area is quite clean.
I can't wait till elections are over - everyone is going to their MP to complain about stuff at the moment and the town councils are coming to us to try and solve the problem. Of course, this also means that we need to react fast. Another complaint came this morning - someone wrote in to complain about crows, cats and the wire netting on her meter box getting stolen for the second time. The complaint is that the cats 'seem unhygenic'. She claims they are always stationed at the block every day without fail, so I'm going to go down and check out the area.
I just spoke to the complainant in the case today - it turns out that she was the one who had made the original complaint to the HDB. She complained the flat was smelly. I mentioned that the neighbour had said that they had spoken with her brother and asked him to let them know if there was a problem directly. She said that she did not know and it turns out she does not live in the block. She said that her brother may be able to live with her smell but she did not want her aged mother to be subject to it. Her mother apparently has also never complained to the town council.
She also said that there was no use talking to the neighbours - she said she had asked them to close their door more gently when coming home as it might induce a heart attack in her mother, but they refused.
The complainant also said that she only goes to see her mother once a week, so she can't be expected to monitor the situation. I told her that if she doesn't it's going to be very difficult for anyone else to. For example, I told her I didn't see a single cat upstairs today - and I only got a very faint whiff of urine. I also think it's very odd that you complain and complain (and she mentioned she calls the town council often) and yet you cannot be bothered to actually do anything - not even monitor the situation. The town council is supposed to come down and check your corridor every day for you? Either that or it's really NOT a problem for her mother and brother who actually live there.
I told her I've spoken to the neighbour, and she said it was no use. She said perhaps it is necessary to kill the cats. I told her that because of her previous complaint, the family had released their cats and that this was why they were now coming up and urinating outside her mother's flat. I also told her that this was going to cause further problems to her if they just feed another cat upstairs. She agreed this wouldn't solve the problem. She's agreed to see whether speaking with the family will work.
She told me she lives nearby and has a complaint about someone else feeding the cats so she's going to get back to me about that too. Sigh.
I was at the block across checking out the remains of the food left outside the flat, when whose head should pop out the window but the woman in the flat with the cats! I went back and knocked on the door but she would not answer,so I went down and called up to her. She was an elderly woman and reluctant to open the door, but I went back up and asked her to please just open up so I could speak with her.
She told me that she did not let the cats up and that she sprayed the community cats with water when they came up.
Her daughter just called. She was quite worried. They used to have 17 cats but in 2004, the HDB came and told them they had to get rid of all the cats. She said she pleaded with the HDB officer and said that they were all rescued cats and all sterilised and kept indoors. She asked if she could keep the oldest three whom she was afraid would not be able to survive. The officer told her that she could not. You can guess what happened next - she released them all downstairs, and continued to feed them, but they started disappearing. The cat that comes up and is alleged to be urinating is from this batch of cats she released. She feeds him in her house every day - after which he goes back out. She said he does not want to stay in.
In the meantime, she has picked up more cats and has gotten them sterilised too. Those are kept indoors. She was worried she was going to be asked to give up these cats too. I told her to not pick up any more cats and to either keep this cat in or to feed it downstairs. She was worried he would keep coming up, but I told her that if he knows he will not be fed upstairs any longer that he will eventually stop coming up. She agreed.
So this is what happens when the HDB rule comes into play, people release all the cats downstairs, because what are their other options? Kill the cats? Board all of them? Who can afford that long term? The cats then are released into the neighbourhood where they will almost certainly give more trouble than if they were kept at home.
I went down for a mediation today. The complaint is that the cat is urinating outside someone's home and it is her neighbour across from her who is letting their pet cats out.
The complainant wasn't home and at first, apparently the person with the cats wasn't either. I did meet a very nice man who lived a floor below them and he was a bit wary at first because I think he thought I might have been there to trap the cats. He wore a cap that had the name of a Buddhist group. When I explained why I was there, the first thing he said was that community cats don't go up. He said if there are cats running around upstairs, they are probably home cats, and he said he did not know that someone had pet cats in the block. He also asked why the person complained - he said that the cats did come to his unit on occasion but that he played with the cats and they never gave any trouble. He said that it was really mean to complain about the cats when the cats could not defend themselves.
He also said that he thought one of the problems was that feeders were not uniformly responsible. He said it was important to keep the area clean.
On the other hand he said some people complain about everything. He was involved in the RC and he said that people were complaining about cats, dogs, fur, hair, etc. He asked why people could not just be a bit more tolerant - he said that in any area where there are people, there are bound to be some inconveniences and he wondered why people didn't realise that and try to have a bit of give and take. Why indeed?
Going for a mediation this afternoon and it's going to be a busy weekend. I'm meeting with a caregiver and the condo manager tomorrow to discuss the details of a cat cafe programme tomorrow and on Sunday, there's a last minute TNRM workshop. If you're in the Jurong area and would like to come, let me know - E_cat is the one organising and he may be able to fit in a few more people.
I spoke to the officer in charge of the case and told him that the concern was that the caregiver had been told that feeding was illegal. He said that as far as he knew, and he had not checked, feeding was fine, but littering was not. He said he would speak to the officer who had spoken to the caregiver the other day.
He also mentioned that the complaint was that the caregiver made a mess. The caregiver told me that she always cleans up. The complainant also said the cats are going into his home, but apparently she feeds in a field apart from the houses. At any rate the officer told me they are not pursuing this case.
One of the town councils wrote today to thank us for our help and mentioned that they may need more support in the run up to the elections. Just before the Property Manager wrote, one of the Property Officers did and said that there was yet again a case of - you guessed it - defecation outside someone's home. Sigh.
I tried to contact the police officer this morning whom had spoken with the caregiver the other night to tell her it was illegal to feed cats. No one seems to know whom this person is. The officer on duty said it was very difficult to check as there were a number of people with the same surname. I suggested that it might be possible to check if anyone had been dispatched to that location on the night in question, but apparently you have to be very specific with the computers there as they need exact road names. None of the road names I gave seemed to be in their database.
I said I would call the caregiver and check for the case reference number and asked for the name of the officer I spoke to. He gave me his surname - I suggested I have his full name lest I am unable to find HIM again! :)
I spoke to the woman from NEA about the Singapore OK conditions. She mentioned that to them 'strays' refer to cats that are not being managed by anyone. She said that since the cats in condos with TNRM programmes are being managed, they do not consider them as strays and hence there is no contradiction with what was stated in the Singapore OK guidelines.
Right now I think there is some confusion going on as the term community cat isn't that widely used yet - and apparently some people refer to strays as cats that aren't being looked after by anyone at all. This happened the other day with the town council as well as often I know the term is used interchangeably by some other people.
The lady just called again and wanted to know a little more about the TNRM programme. I told her I'd be happy to do a presentation if they'd like one.
It's not just cats that fight. One of the caregivers asked a friend of a friend to contact me about her neighbour's cat. The complainant has cats of her own but complains that the neighbour next door is mistreating the cat and not feeding it properly. She said that she has seen them beat the cat and the cat is very skinny. I asked if she had just spoken with her neighbour about this. Apparently, she and the neighbour had a bad quarrel earlier this month, and she called the police in and she does not want to talk to the neighbour. She also thinks her neighbour poisoned her cat by throwing poisoned pellets in her home!
I told her that if we get called in, chances are the neighbour will know who called, even if we do not give her name (which we won't). She wanted to concoct some story, but I told her that we will not lie - we will have to say there was a complaint, but we won't mention whom the complainant is.
This complainant said that it was fine - if asked, she will just deny that she was the complainant. She said she would tell her neighbour she had no reason to complain since she had five cats of her own! Sigh.
Neighbour caught for trapping cats in NYC
A similar case almost happened here - a family went away and their cat was caught by a neighbour and sent to be killed. They were considering suing but decided not do so in the end.
One of the condominiums that I went to see on Saturday said that they did not want to start a TNRM programme on their premises because one of the conditions of Singapore OK certification is that there be regular checks to ensure no strays (Singapore Okay guidelines for condos).
They sent me the actual letter by email today and i called the NEA but both officers I spoke to, said that they did not think cats on the premises were a problem at all. One of them said that these referred to unmanaged cats, and the other more senior officer said that she thought the only problem was that if food was not cleared - which would of course constitute littering.
I'm waiting for her to get back to me to confirm.
I waited half an hour to see the man from the management who turned out actually to be one of the contractors. I passed him the information and he kept asking how much it would cost to borrow the traps.
I walked around the perimeter of the building after and spotted at lesat 5 sites I think can accomodate a cat cafe nicely.
Off to meet Liang Tong to pass him some information for a school talk and then to meet the building management to try and sell them on a TNRM programme. Wish me luck!
I spoke to one of the caregivers in Bedok and asked how the situation has been since the Bedok cat killer was released. According to her, he made a threat against one of the caregivers. I've asked if they've filed a police report,but she said the caregiver is exasperating all of them by refusing to do so. She's going to ask her to speak with me. The caregiver I spoke to said they were all quite annoyed - this other woman has been complaining to all of them but she won't go to the police with this. Apparently in this case, the police asked her to file a report, and she did not want to.
I spoke to the man from the building management. He said he understood about TNRM as he used to work in a town council until December and he mentioned a caregiver I know. He did however want to move the cats out as they are having a hotel event next week and there will be a lot of food around. He said that he wanted to know if the cats can be relocated somewhere else and asked if they could trap the cats and give them to us. He asked about relocation after the cats were sterilised. I told him this was rarely successful. He asked if they could be relocated without sterilisation. I told him that was even worse as the cat population would continue to grow somewhere else.
He told me that he understood the cats would be back, but that he had to remove the cats. He said that removing the cats would be a bit like normal maintenance or wear and tear. So slap on a new coat of paint, remove a few cats?
I told him whatever it is, we're not loaning the traps out unless we have an assurance the cats will be sterilised and returned back to the same area. We've agreed to meet tomorrow morning to see if anything can be done.
I just had the strangest phone call - one of the pest control companies called us up and said they knew we had ordered cat traps. This particular company has offices in the same building where our warehouse is. They mentioned that this building wants to borrow 24 cat traps because they are holding a convention there and they only had two, and could they borrow the rest from us?
I told him that we only loaned traps out for sterilisation, but would like to speak to the people at the building management to see if we can help in some other way besides having the cats caught and removed. He said that would be nice and would forward me the relevant number. I'm waiting for the SMS now.
The Divisional Headquarters had no record of the policeman because unfortunately there are over 1000 officers in the division and the woman only had his surname. She did not have his number as well. She did not have the name of the other officer he was with, except to say the other man was skinny and tall whereas the officer who spoke to her was quite short. The operator was helpful but said that it would be very difficult to find out whom the woman was referring to. I asked about squad cars that have been dispatched but she said they send out 10 an hour.
In the end, I asked which police post would respond to a complaint from this particular area, and she gave me the name of the nearest Police Post. There is a sergeant there with the same surname but he's not working till Friday. I'll call back then and try and speak to him.
This goes to show again the importance of trying to get as much detail as possible. It's really hard to try and track down the person in question if you don't have all this information and then it's going to be difficult to speak to the person involved. Do remember to try and get all the necessary information if you can. The operator for example asked me why the caregiver didn't get the officer's full name and number - she said it would have been able to track the officer down.
A woman feeding near a private estate in the Bedok area called up. She said that as she was feeding her cats last night, a man drove up with his wife and started telling her to take the cats home if she liked them so much. He claimed that some cats had given birth in his house. The woman does not feed too close to the houses and she also mentioned to me that all the cats she feeds are sterilised, which she explained to him. She said she asked where he lived, but he refused to tell her and she told him she did not feed in the estate itself. She appealed to him for some tolerance, but he would not budge.
She suggested he might want to get the cats sterilised, but he was not open to the idea. She then told him that he could also be hard hearted and trap the cats to be killed, but she certainly wasn't going to help him with it. He caller her a nasty old woman, and in frustration she said she tapped his car door, which she realises she should not have done.
He jumped out of his car and called the police. The police came and one of the officers insisted that she must have a license to feed - he refused to believe her otherwise. I'll need to call the police post now and clarify why this misinformation was given.
Funny Calsifer should mention the woman with the cats in her home. I just called to check on what's been happening. She mentioned she has the cats temporarily in cages - she said that she was changing the newspapers and one cat accidentally ran out which is why it was caught. I really really hope that she has indeed kept them in - the neighbour who is the main person complaining, according to her, has been going around trying to get more neighbours to complain about her. So far he has been unsuccessful. She mentioned that someone also dumped another two cats outside her house last night.
This strange woman has been writing in asking to adopt a cat. She adopted a cat off the board a few years ago, and now says she wants to adopt another, but there are strange discrepancies in her stories - she told the adoption team member that the cats she had were doing very well. However through her past behaviour, the adoption team member and I were a bit worried about her. At the same time, she wrote to another foster she knew and said that her cat had died that same day - a fact she did not mention to the adoption team member - and that she wanted a new cat. This foster had also been so fed up with her past behaviour that she said she was not going to adopt any cats out to her - and she wrote to warn us that she was on the lookout for a new cat. The facts of what actually happened are extremely garbled at the moment - the only sure thing is she's blacklisted off the adoption board. She also wrote in to say she had taken another kitten off the street by the next morning!
I remember as well that she had complained that there were some community cats near her home and she was so distressed by the fact that they MIGHT get run over and killed, that she wanted them to be trapped and killed. When I wrote to ask if she might consider a TNRM programme, she stopped writing and then tried to get into trouble the person who alerted me about the situation.
JCs have certainly gotten very swanky! I went to give a talk to the Animal Welfare Club in Victoria Junior College - the only JC I am aware of that has an Animal Welfare club and incidentally my alma mater, though that's not why I was invited!
The students had a lot of questions about sterilisation and what TNRM was about. I hope they found the session to be a useful one. The teacher in charge has cats of his own which was lovely to hear about - all ex-community cats!
Talk is on! I guess the person didn't check their email but they replied to my SMS. I'll also be going down to meet Marcus and a volunteer who wants to help with our website and dropping off some traps to Marc who will pass it to another volunteer. We're almost completely out of the big traps because they're all on loan out - soon we're going to need to start calling people up to ask them to return their traps if we run out. Some of the traps have been out since early last year though so I think people are probably done with them already - either that or they're trapping large colonies of cats!
Will also be dropping off some postcards and newsletters to the people from Environmental Challenge - they're organising a family day and want NGOs to drop items in for these companies to find out more about NGOs so I'm sitting here counting out 500 postcards.
I'm supposed to be giving a school talk this afternoon, but I've sent a few emails to the relevant person in charge and they've gone unanswered. No idea if the talk is still on.
It's been a while since we've seen the dreaded GIRO form pop up but today I decided to tackle it again because it was a quieter day to catch up on administrative work. I logged in the last time and none of the processed forms showed up - so today I called them up. They asked us to try using the other user ID - and after typing it in, I got locked out. *banging head against wall* How can it possibly be so difficult to access GIRO payments when so many people are doing it?
I have to say that it absolutely baffles me why people will continue to feed in areas where it is completely unsafe for the cat. Take the woman who feeds in the corridor - the volunteer and I knew that she might be scared she had done something wrong, so we told her that we were from CWS and that there was nothing wrong with feeding, but she had to do it responsibly? Her response? That she didn't feed and that we should just take the cat away because she didn't like it either. The volunteer and I were quite skeptical that she wasn't feeding as the food was under her plants, and the complainant today said that he had seen this woman feeding outside her flat.
Why would people continue to do this? They are told that the cats will be taken away and killed if complains occur. Just like the other man I spoke to two weeks ago- he was worried that he would get into trouble, and said to take the cat away. In that case, then why feed? Some people I know are scared and think they may get into trouble so they deny that they are responsible, but for those who know the consequences for the cats and continue to feed - why do they insist on doing this?
This is the like the woman near my place who feeds the cat near the bus stop and near the main road. I've told her to please feed them in a safer place away from traffic, but she insists it is fine - despite the fact that I've seen one cat flattened on the main road near the bus stop.
This ex-community cat is one of the pet cats also wandering around the grounds of the condominium. People also complain about the pet cats and sometimes it's difficult to tell the cats apart especially if the cats were adopted from the compound as this one was.
The Fraidy-Cat of Hudson Street
Thanks Slushy for sending this in.
I received a call from a man in one of the areas we mediated in last week. The man said that the cat was still defecating in the area. He said that none of the cats from downstairs come upstairs at all - this is the only one he sees and it defecates outside his window.
I told him that the woman at the unit we went to denied that she was the one feeding and he said he had seen her with his own eyes feeding the cats.Sigh.
I went to speak with the management of a condominium about TNRM on Saturday. The condo manager seemed very reluctant to want to start a programme, and said people were complaining the cats were drinking pool water. Some of the residents had asked that the entire pool be decontaminated afterward. The volunteer pointed out that the cat that had been seen drinking the water had died after - and the idea is that chlorine is itself a disinfectant.
Vegancat also emailed to say that the Bedok cat killer has been released. The caregivers are worried.
I spoke to the HDB person and the town council person. Apparently, the phone call today was unconnected to the feeder's home. The complainant had gone to see the MP and rounded up 20 friends to sign a petition to say that the number of cats has increased and they wanted the town council to do something about it.
I asked the feeder if the number has increased and she says it has not. The town council officer said to keep the cats in the flat. The HDB officer however told the feeder she cannot keep the cat in. The TC officer also told me she heard the HDB officer say so. I told the town council officer the feeder is caught between a rock and a hard place - if she can keep the cats in, then the complainant will not complain so much as he says that these are the two cats defecating outside his flat. However if the feeder does that, she's going to get into trouble with the HDB. I told the TC officer that if they just let her keep the cats in the flat, the problem would be much easier to solve.
Going for the Habbo session now!
I spoke to one of the caregivers from a neighbouring block about the cats in the area I visited yesterday. Apparently, they were all looked after by a feeder who passed away last year, and she had not sterilised any of the cats there. The population has then started to grow.
The caregiver I spoke to had a number of females sterilised, but she will be getting the rest done.
Now it's good to be honest and upfront about the community cats. There's no reason to lie or conceal information, but sometimes it's good not to volunteer information either if it's not necessary.
I spoke to a caregiver this morning and one of her cats was found dead. She suspects abuse, another caregiver is not so sure. At any rate, she had a run in with the HDB last year about these community cats. She was apparently putting them in the corridor and the HDB told her she was not allowed to do that (though I don't think cats should be kept in corridors, I'm curious about why this would be within the HDB's jurisdiction and I'm going to find out).
She mentioned the HDB man was quite stern and she asked him to be compassionate. At any rate, when the cat died, she called the HDB man and told him the cat was dead. He asked why she was calling him and not filing a police report. The HDB and town council turned up at her flat this morning and have told her they will remove the community cats since they're causing problems.
I'm not sure why the town council and the HDB are doing this and I have a feeling there are more facets to this situation then what I am hearing. However, I asked the caregiver why she called the HDB up and she said she wanted to tell the officer that her cat was dead. Why would he care?
Now the other caregiver in the area is also upset with her because she's saying that the first caregiver has brought the HDB and TC's attention to the cats and they're saying there are too many cat. I've left messages for the town council and HDB and will keep trying to get hold of them.
I just spoke to a woman whose neighbour had trapped some community cats in the neighbourhood. She mentioned the cats were defecating in his front garden and he was getting upset. The cats were unsterilised.
She agreed that it was important to get the cats sterilised, and she agreed that the cats would move in again due to the vacuum effect. However, she mentioned that another neighbour was rescuing the cats by moving them into her own home - these cats were not all sterilised and they kept dying. She said the neighbour looking after the cats kept borrowing her shovel every month to bury new kittens.
I told the woman that she has to tell her neighbour to stop taking cats in and get proper medical care for the cats she had with her. It does not sound like they are vaccinated or that they have proper quarantine procedures. She said that her neighbour was rescuing the cats. I told her that removing the cats would just lead to the vacuum effect kicking in, and then she would need to take these new cats in too. She agreed that this was the case.
She said that she would definitely get the community cats sterilised, but then asked if we could put them up for adoption. I told her again that the vacuum effect would kick in again.
In effect I said that the vacuum effect kicks in whether you remove the cats by trapping and killing, trapping and adopting, or 'rescuing' into a home. I also told her that it wasn't rescue if the cats just went into the house to die since the outcome was going to be the same - ie the cats are still dead.
She said she would speak with her neighbours and will call us in if she needs help convincing them.
I'm doing a Habbo Hotel session this afternoon from 4 to 6 pm on TNRM.
Video of a happy and contented community cat.
The volunteer and I were looking at this makeshift shelter for the cats, when an elderly man yelled at us from a higher storey to ask what he was doing. The volunteer had just remarked to me that this looked like the shelters for cats in Venice.
The man was very agitated (understandably so) and only calmed down when we explained that we were with CWS and that we were there because of a complaint in the neighbouring block. He calmed down and then told us that his cats were all sterilised and that he took care of them very well. The cats were all tipped earred and well fed. He said he cleaned the area up and made sure the cats had clean, fresh water every day. He seemed to have managed the cats very well.
The caregiver said that he knew another few feeders, some of whom were going across and feeding at the other blocks, which led to complaints. He said he would pass the message for us that they should feed downstairs, and should get the cats sterilised. He took my namecard and I hope he manages to get hold of the other feeders.
As the caregiver said, it would be a terrible shame if his cats suffered the fallout of a complaint in a neighbouring block.
The volunteer and I had just left the block where there was another complaint, when we saw an elderly lady putting food down for this cat. She in turn told us that there were a number of people feeding in her block - and the blocks opposite where the complaints were coming from.
A different town council from the red collared kitten case called us in for two mediations this afternoon. The MP did a walk about over the weekend and residents complained about cats.
We asked the residents and it seems that someone is again - big shock - feeding upstairs (I can hear the sounds of disbelief from here). The cats are therefore going up and defecating. Also the cats in this estate aren't sterilised.
I dropped off the Scarecrow today. I realised that one reason the Scarecrow may not work in gardens in Singapore is that some gardens are too small. The Scarecrow is motion activated - and it will sprinkle anything that moves. As some of the gardens are pretty small, the Scarecrow is going to soak anything that walks in that garden - including the human inhabitants.
We found this food in the corridor right outside the unit complained about, and the cat sitting in the staircase landing right next to this. The woman in the house denied feeding the cat though and said she wanted it taken away as well. She claims that someone is coming from a higher floor to leave food for the cat.
It does seem strange though that the person would leave food outside her house.
Going for a mediation and dropping a Scarecrow off. Will also see if we can find Grey Cat and Black Kitten since the block with the problem is just next to it.
The grassroots leader wrote to me this morning. Apparently he had not asked for permission before giving me their phone numbers so one of the residents complained to him yesterday - two of them did in fact ask where I got their numbers and I had to explain that the grassroots leader gave them to me.
I called the woman with the cats after and told her that she HAS to keep the cats in. I told her that this was not a case of one or two people complaining, but that everyone had mentioned some problems with the cats. Granted I think there may have been some prodding to get them into action, but they did express that the cats were causing some amount of inconvenience to them.
The woman kept saying that people were intolerant, should be kinder, and of course, that they all hated cats. She said that she was having trouble keeping them in. I told her that no one likes having defecation in their garden. Even the woman herself said she did not like to keep her cats in because the house got smelly when they defecated and urinated in the litter pans.
I told her that this was not a case of one isolated individual but a number of residents calling to complain. At the same time, I told her that if she was right, and they all hated cats, this should be MORE reason to keep them in. I also told her that this had been going on for a long time, and she had no time to delay because the neighbours are at the end of the tether.
She said that she could not get the contractor to come earlier,and that she could not bear to keep them in the cage because they looked so sad. She was considering putting them into boarding again so she would not have to see them looking so miserable according to her.
I told her that there is a big difference between the cats being a bit unhappy for a while and being in active danger. I told her that the cats really would NOT be happy if they were trapped, and sent to AVA. I told her that the cats would pretty much be terrified and upset.
I hope some of it sinks in.
Vegancat and a kind soul went down to try and find Grey Cat (whom I saw in the midst of the mediations the other day) last night as the kind soul agreed to put Grey Cat up for boarding while they look for a new home for him. They went to the same spot, but Grey Cat wasn't there! They asked the neighbour who said they did not know of a grey cat either. I have another mediation in the area, so will drop in and see if we can find him.
Remember the grassroots leader M&M and I met last night? I've been calling a few people in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately this problem has gone back more than 10 years. One woman said she had trapped 23 cats over the years. Another man said that he did not care that trapping the cats did not work because he did not think studies were necessarily true.
Two different people however told me that they weren't inclined to do anything until a new neighbour moved in and that he encouraged all of them to work together. One said he told her he had a lot of cats in his compound. One woman in fact told me that she did not want to get a cat trap because she didn't have many problems with the cats as she had dogs, but he told her that it was not a problem to get one and volunteered to do it for her. I just spoke to another man who said that he did not mind a few community cats around and that he did not want to see them killed.
Everyone mentioned though that the woman with the cats was also recalcitrant. When they told her they were having problems, she ignored them, or told them she was not the one defecating in their garden.
A town council sent me an email from someone who had contacted them and the NEA to say he noticed the number of cats had increased in the area. What's strange is that he said that when I called him to ask for more details, he said that he hadn't meant to make a fuss. He said that even if the authorities did not do anything, he had no objections.
I told him that I would look into it anyway and get back to him, but he mentioned that there was no need to do so because he didn't blow it up!
One of the caregivers called and said that her town council put up notices saying that they were not to feed cats in the area. Someone photocopied the notices, scribbled the caregiver's contact details on it and pasted it around the lift landing. The caregiver went home and found cigarette butts, leaves and empty cans thrown into her flat from outside.
She made a police report and is also going to see the MP. She suspects that the person who did this is the complainant who made complaints against the cats.
Why do people insist that cats need to roam when they spend most of the day sleeping? Cats sleep up to 18 hours a day. If it is a home cat,please keep it in.
The woman yesterday was worried that there were 6 neighbours who had borrowed traps but she kept saying she was so sad that the cats needed to be kept indoors. It was a nice airy room and kitchen with a back yard and plenty of space for the cats. Michelle and I told her that having the cats caught and killed would be much worse.
Marcus, Michelle and I went down to a private estate last night to talk to a grassroots leader who had asked us to go down because one of the neighbours let all her cats out. It is a difficult situation - for one thing, this is a very unique estate. It is a small housing estate nestled in an HDB estate.
The place is also surrounded by food - there is a market a stone's throw away, a number of coffee shops and a childcare centre where there food is cooked in the backlane every day.
The woman with the cats has 12 cats of her own. Another four are community cats. We asked her to please keep them in and also gave her some information on cat fences. She kept telling us it was so sad that the cats have to be kept in, but Michelle and I were trying to convince her that she really needed to think about the fact that they would be killed if she continued to let them out.
The grassroots leader was however quite a character. He told us that all his neighbours were against the cats, but having spoken to one neighbour, she did have some issues with the cats, but did not want the sterilised cats killed either. We tried to explain the vacuum effect to the grassroots leader, and told him that removing the cats would just mean new cats would come in, but he said he was too busy to listen to this. Of course he also said he did not know what the AVA did with the cats once they were trapped - when we tried to tell him, he kept insisting he did not know. When we tried to talk to him about a long term, more effective solution, he said that as long as the problem was solved for two months at a time, he would be happy. When we told him that the problem wasn't solved and that having a managed population of community cats was a better idea, he again told us he was too busy.
He also said that being a professional, the cats caused him distress when they caused a nuisance. We were wondering why being a professional would have any bearing. If a cat is in a situation where the behaviour is bothering a neighbour, why would a professional be more affected than a blue collared worker?
A few volunteers went down and flyered an area last week and I've been getting phone calls today from people who saw the flyers. One woman asked if it was targeted at her and she says she keeps her cat indoors at all times because she does not want it to get dirty. I assured her it was not meant for her in that case.
Another man called to tell me he was a cat owner but he objected to the fact that we said that cats are rounded up and killed. He did not like the word killed - he prefer culled or put to sleep. I explained we're trying to get people to realise the cats are killed - and the more direct, the better.
He was also surprised people were looking after community cats. He asked why people would do that since they were just strays and not home cats. Very odd.
I was inputting all this stuff on the Registry of Societies website and then the phone rang with someone who had some queries. I answered the phone call and by the time I went back to the screen, they had logged me out, and all the information was gone. *banging head on table*
Michelle, Marcus and I are going for a mediation tonight in the estate of the woman whose neighbours are up in arms because of her cats running around. They borrowed traps from the AVA and are setting them up this afternoon.
I called her and asked her about the boarding place she went to visit over the weekend, but she said that it was worse than her own home. I suggested she keep her cats in as we discussed last week, and she said she may have no choice because of the cat traps. I'm looking up cat fences for her now.
It's very odd because we were supposed to go tomorrow night, but one of the complainants called me to say that he has a meeting tomorrow and because it might be potentially sensitive, he could not mention the meeting in the email at all. As such he had to call to change the appointment. He mentioned this was a grassroots meeting as he volunteers with a grassroots organisation. The cloak and danger stuff is kind of unusual though!
I just spoke to a woman who said that the HDB had come by her flat. She has one community cat sitting in the corridor, and another 12 unsterilised cats in her flat. She said that these cats are never allowed out, and I asked if they were sterilised. None of them are and she says that they make a lot of noise.
I told her she has to get her cats sterilised. She said that she had not thought of it earlier. She said now that it might get a bit expensive. I told her that if she does not sterilise them now, that the problem is that they will continue breeding and there will be far MORE cats in the future. She took the vet's number down, but I'm not sure she did not sound very convinced.
I'm very concerned that if HDB cracks down on her, she will just dump the whole bunch of cats downstairs, which is going to increase the community cat population significantly.
One of the caregivers called me to say that a number of tipped-earred and non-tipped earred cats with collars have been dumped in her area in the last few days. She says they definitely look like someone looked after them. If anyone lost their community cats or home cats, do let me know.
Kitten Authenticity Test
This is very cute. Thanks to Simian for sending this in.
Video of Grey Cat
The woman I spoke to said she thought the people who used to feed him have moved out.
Who's going to explain to one eyed Grey and the Black kitten that they're not supposed to go upstairs? They go up because people feed them and/or their owners let them wander. It would be so much better if they were just kept indoors or fed in the void deck - it could literally save their lives.
If the complainant continues to have problems and complains, these two cats are going to end up getting caught.
I decided to ask some of the people in the void deck if they knew of any community cats or pet cats wandering in the block. One woman told me that she had just seen the usual grey cat sleeping on the 13th floor before she came down to the void deck. I went upstairs and there he was.
This extremely friendly one eyed cat proceeded to follow me as I went around flyering.
Another possible feeding spot. I left our flyer underneath it.
Apparently, at the mediation last Friday, some of the feeders in the area got the flyer and could not read it as they were illiterate. They thought it said that they were not allowed to feed so they went to another caregiver in the area and asked her to read it for them.
I found this on the eighth storey of a block of flats today. There was a lovely black kitten running in and out of the flats there. The family has been feeding the cat, but does not want it in the house - they have another almost identical black kitten already and the father put his foot down and said they can only have the one cat.
The father of the household kept asking if he would get into trouble and if the cat could just be taken away. He told me if his kitten gives him trouble he will not hesitate to send it away either.
I told him that he would not get into trouble, but the poor kitten would if they continued to feed it upstairs. I found defecation on at least two of the landings, and also saw the kitten running into peoples' homes.
I dropped by the eldercare home this afternoon to drop off some material. The lady in charge said she was thinking of having me by again to speak with the staff but needed to organise a good time to do so. There was a lovely aviary in the home, and it seems the patients are feeding the cats upstairs in the multi-purpose hall. The patients spring the traps when the management tries to trap them, and they feed the cats from their own dinners. Hopefully we can get a programme started there.
Going flyering and also to drop off some information to the elder care home. More later!
I spoke with a woman a little while ago. She has a handful of community cats and a number of what she considers to be her 'own' cats in her home. She lets the cats out to wander every day. The neighbours have apparently decided they have had enough and have been borrowing cat traps.
I spoke with the woman and asked if she would consider just keeping her own cats indoors as that would definitely bring down the number of cats roaming in the estate. She said she really felt bad about it, but at the same time, she wanted to keep them safe. As a result, she's now considering boarding. I asked what the difference was between keeping the cats indoors and boarding them and she said that if they were in a boarding place, she would not have to see them being kept in every day.
One of the town councils just attached a complaint about community cats allegedly going upstairs to this unit on the fifth or sixth floor. The complainant said that the cats are defecating all over.
I just called the complainant and he agreed that these are unlikely to be community cats. He says they have been around for a long time, and furthermore, he says they are always in the vicinity of those two floors. He suspects they belong to his neighbour but he is not sure which neighbour this is. At the same time, he says that he would not have complained but for the fact that one of the cats jumped in through the window and he woke up one night with the cat sleeping next to him. He has also never seen any community cat feeders in the area.
I have informed the town council of this. Looks like more flyering is needed!
Sometimes people write to me and ask me to go for meetings and the like. I will try my best to block off the time slot, but if I don't hear back from the person, and someone else has a confirmed meeting, I will book in favour of the latter. Right now I have two people who want me to go down for meetings at the same time next Saturday. I explained to the person who had asked me earlier (but who could not confirm till now through no fault of her own), that I do have other appointments to attend to as well. Very often people ask us to go down tentatively, and then cancel, so I normally book in the one that seems more confirmed.
Body Condition of sterilised Feral Cats
I was doing some research this afternoon and came across this abstract. This is quite interesting - we have noticed that cats look healthier after sterilisation, and this study seems to suggest they do put on some weight after sterilisation.
This is Lesley, a 13 year old cat. Her owner travels a lot for work and gave her up for adoption though he is very fond of Lesley.
Her adopter's father let us in to see Lesley. The adopter's handphone had been disconnected due to personal reasons so now we have the home number. Lesley looks quite happy in her new home.
One of the volunteers and I are going down to do a followup visit on a cat that was adopted through the public adoption board. The foster is overseas and asked the adoption volunteers if they could help out by checking up on the new adopter.
A volunteer tried to contact the new adopter with the information provided by the foster, but the person's phone is disconnected and he is not replying to emails. The foster is coming back this weekend, but asked the volunteer to go down and check it before then. So we're going down to check it out now.
Letter in Today
Thanks Anonymous for letting me know about this link!
I was speaking to a caregiver in another estate and she mentioned that she wanted to ask some students to help with flyering her block to find out more information. While it is always good to have extra pairs of hands to do it, flyering really is more than just putting flyers in letterboxes. It involves looking out for tell tale signs to see if there are people feeding cats where they should not be, or letting the cats out.
People who are caregivers probably will not have trouble spotting this, but students may not. You need to point out to them what to look out for, so that you can follow up. For example, looking for food and water bowls outside homes, whether the houses/flats are wired up, etc. Of course sometimes you luck out and find a cat right outside the flat - surprisingly more often then you might think you would.
See the cat carrier in the corner? The corridor was quite a mess though we didn't see Bob until the man we spoke to came home.
Thanks to Jacin for coming along for the mediations and to the warehouse with me. Jacin very kindly took leave to pack merchandise for the exhibition this Saturday.
Thanks also to the nice lady at Starbucks for giving me a lollypop! She asked how I was doing and I said I was a little stressed out today - and I got a free lollypop as a result :)
This is the second mediation Jacin and I went for today. We were told by the man in the background that the cat's name is Bob. Although the man claims not to feed Bob, he seems to know quite a lot about him. He has a cat carrier outside his home. Bob seems quite familiar with him.
The man also told us Bob is urinating in a corner - which is what led to the complaint. The man cleans up after Bob. We asked the man to please ask whomever is feeding Bob to kindly do so in the void deck instead of in the corridor so perhaps Bob will not come upstairs anymore.
Jacin and I went by this block to do Mediation and we noticed that many of the cats were ear tipped and with collars. We saw a cat outside someone's home and we were told the cat belonged to that family.
We mentioned that there had been complaints in the neighbouring blocks and to be careful in case any of the cats were caught. The man looked shocked. He asked why people would complain about cats. He said he had noticed that the number of cats had fallen suddenly and he had not seen some of the regulars.
He also thought that the cats were taken to a shelter somewhere in Woodlands as he thought there was a woman in Woodlands who took in cats. He was very worried when Jacin and I told him the cats were killed if caught.
I wonder why people think that other people would run around gathering and taking in cats. Some people also think if there is already a colony what's leaving another cat there? Certainly the caregiver being a 'cat lover' would just LOVE to have extra cats left there for them. Jacin faced the same situation yesterday when someone said they found some kittens and wanted to know if they could move them into her colony.
People often say, what's one more cat when they ask if you can take a cat off their hands. My retort is that since it's just the one cat why doesn't that person keep it then?
The complaint at one of these places is that a brown and white cat was going up to the fifth floor. This may be the cat that the complainant was speaking about. We found a woman on the fifth floor who mentioned she had been feeding one of the cats that followed her up. We asked her to please feed in the void deck instead.