Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Silence of the Kittens


The Silence of the Kittens
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

What does the Theatre Festival have to do with cats specifically? The fact that Ovidia Yu is writing a new play called the "Silence of the Kitties", which is about among other things, cat killing in Singapore.

Wild Rice Theatre which is putting up the play has tentatively approached us to ask if we'd like a merchandise booth outside the theatre. The play will premiere in the second week of August.

The launching of the Singapore Theatre Festval Poster


The launching of the Singapore Theatre Festval Poster
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.



The poster is launched with a bang.

View from POD, National Library


View from POD, National Library
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Jaq, Marcus, Michelle and I attended the Wild Rice Press Conference this afternoon at POD at the the National Library to announce the upcoming Theatre Festival. This is the view from up there.

Press conference

Off for a press conference we were invited to this afternoon.

Greeting Card Competition

Greeting card Competition

Anyone feel like trying something creative? :)

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink

I just spoke to a woman who said that she was sponsoring money for people who are sterilising the cats. She wanted to know if someone could help to trap the cats for sterilisation - she was willing to pay. She seems like a kind woman, but she said that it seems troublesome for people to trap the cats when they're already carrying food.

I mentioned that if they trap the cats quickly, they won't need to carry the trap hopefully for too long, or at least not every time they feed. In addition they'll be carrying more and more food if they don't sterilise. As everyone knows, food isn't particularly light either.

In addition, she said that the feeders complained their cats were caught. I told her we'd be happy to help them set up a TNRM programme, but they must be willing to do more than just feed. I told her we'd be happy to show them what needs to be done but they must be involved. Otherwise, it does make it very difficult to protect the cats. She said that it was very difficult as most of them did not want to do anything additional.

Sterilisation is the first step, but management will continue for the rest of the life of the colony. Most days, that doesn't involve much more than ensuring your cats are well, but at times, you may have to mediate or speak up for the cats.

Looking at the case I mentioned a few days ago, some feeders had been given free sterilisations for the last 5 years either by CWS, AVA or later on the caregivers in the area. I believe the caregivers even provided transport. Yet the number of cats remains as large as ever because they never really went all out to sterilise and let it slide. Now they're asking for more free slots. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Doing it for the cats

I just spoke to a caregiver. Someone called me yesterday and asked me to speak to a woman who said that there was a strange man following her in the mornings when she fed the cats. She told him that she cleaned up but he was insistent that she should not do so, even though she told me that she picked up afterwards. The man showed her a tag, but she cannot read English and was so frightened she did not want to feed anymore.

The caregiver offered to go down with her. The first thing the caregiver noticed was that she fed during the rush hour right outside an MRT station. She told the woman it was best not to do so at this time. The woman insisted that it was not illegal. The caregiver agreed, but told her that the reason that they feed and look after the cats is to protect them - not put them in more jeopardy by making them highly visible. The caregiver suggested she come earlier so that there would be less human traffic.
Secondly, she realised that the cats were really full and very fat. She said the cats only ate a few mouthfuls and were full. The caregiver told the woman it was quite possible that there was someone else already feeding them.

The caregiver saw the mysterious man but he disappeared so she'll go down again tomorrow.

I agree with the caregiver - you can insist on your strict legal rights and be allowed to feed whenever you want, but why bring trouble to the cats? It's not that people should be afraid of feeding because it isn't wrong, but it CAN bring the wrong kinds of attention to the cats. Who suffers at the end of the day?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Why can't you take my cat?"

I just had one of those phone calls which make me blink and wonder if it's for real. This woman was given my number by the town council. It seems that she has one sterilised cat but that the HDB recently sent her a letter telling her it was illegal to keep a cat in a flat. She kept saying she did not want AVA to come and kill her cat though I told her that that was not what was going to happen.

It turns out that the cat is put out in the day when she is at work because she doesn't want fur in her flat. The sand tray is out in the corridor too. The cat also runs out at night quite often.

I suggested she see her MP but she said that it was too much trouble to see her MP over a cat. She wants to send it away somewhere - she heard there was a home in Tampines and she'd like to send her cat there. I asked her if she would consider keeping the cat indoors as it may be defecating outside someone's home or causing a nuisance. She said that her cat is clean because it eats dry food, though she admitted it might be defecating somewhere else. She said she was quite sure there had been complaints, and that someone had once thrown her cat litter away. She said that it was not possible to keep the cat indoors though as cats need to go out. In addition, she wants to leave for overseas.

I told her that since she was going abroad, this was a great opportunity to take her cat with her. She kept asking why I could not take her cat or why we could not find a loving home for it. I explained our work focused on Sterilisation and told her how many cats looking for homes on our board. She kept insisting that someone must want it because it's such a good cat. She said if the Society cannot find a home for her cat, then how could she? She said it was too much trouble to bring her cat with her, and it was a really cute cat. I explained the procedure of how to bring her cat overseas and how easy it was and told her that since it was such a cute cat, surely she must want to take it with her. She said it was too troublesome. She then asked if she could send her cat to Malaysia. I told her the procedure was about the same - she then said she would ship the cat off to a friend in Malaysia. Sigh.

Condo Update

The feeder just called again. She said she spoke to the condominium and that they have agreed to give her any cats that they catch and she can sterilise them. She will release them back. I asked if she had an assurance from the manager that they would not trap the sterilised cats. She said she thought so, and that if the manager went back on it, then it would be on the manager's conscience.

I told her that we could arrange the subsidised rate and reimburse the $10 per cat on top of that. She said that she wanted to sterilise right from the start but could not afford it. I asked how many cats there were when she started, and she said quite a few but not as many as now. She also said quite a lot of cats are pregnant.

She said she had a lot of other commitments and could not afford to pay for sterilisation, because she is also paying for quite a lot of cats in a shelter. This again goes back to doing what you can - if you can't afford to start looking after another colony, then maybe you should focus on the colonies you ARE already looking after and do a really good job on those.

I told her that she is going to keep spending more and more money every month just on the food alone because the cats are going to give birth if she doesn't sterilise. She acknowledged this but said she could not afford to sterilise. Maybe the more relevant consideration is how you can NOT afford to - and it's not just in terms of monetary costs.

Scenario B : More time has passed


Scenario B : More time has passed
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This amount is spent EVERY month - and it can only increase. Compare it with scenario A where the outlay is the largest the first month, but decreases after that.

Now I just need someone more creative then me to render this in an aesthetically more pleasing fashion!

Scenario B : A few months after that


Scenario B : Four to Six months later
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Scenario B : Two to three months later


Scenario B : Two to three months later
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Scenario B : No Sterilisation


CIMG1886
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Sterilisation stops breeding


CIMG1886
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Subsequently, this is how much you spend for the rest of the cats lives monthly (bear with me - it's an ideal world with no dumping or medical problems, because I don't want to complicate matters).

Scenario A : You start with two cats & Sterilise


You start with two cats
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Michelle's laughing at me, but I'm trying to figure out how to work this out pictorially :)

You start with two cats and you get them sterilised. This is how much it'll cost you a month.

Sterilised and happy


Sterilised and happy
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

There's nothing nicer than a happily lounging, sterilised cat.

Cats in Home keep children healthy

Cats in Home

Thanks to Aminah for sending this in.

Extremes

That was an interesting discussion on Yakety Yak about animal rights. I missed the first 5 minutes or so because I was fiddling with my RealPlayer and wondering why it wouldn't tune in. Thanks Calsifer for sending in my blog entry. It was strange that they read it just before I went on air.

It was quite interesting that people were saying that animal rights activists if left to go to the extreme would change the world and not allow other people to eat meat, or have pets, or a whole range of other things. In every realm of human activity, there will be extremists. There are people who believe that to protect an unborn baby, it's permissible to kill other people or blow up a clinic. There are people who believe that to protect the purity of one race, it is fine to exterminate another. Some others think that in the name of religion, it's acceptable to kill. There are people who have subverted every human activity to extreme ends, including religion, ethnicity and just about anything you can think of.

It also predisposes that people would impose their beliefs on others and not take into account what they feel at all.

So why judge people by the worst? We can always look into the abyss of the soul and see the worst that humans are capable of - or we can try and find the positive and try to be more like that.

The same best impulses that drive what is purest about humans are the same that we should extend towards animals - compassion, empathy and an awareness of another's suffering. If we can find it in ourselves to extend it to those who are most helpless, whether they be human or animal, then it speaks volumes of our humanity.

Please sterilise

I had a long conversation with a feeder I haven't spoken to in a while this morning. She was calling because a condominium that she feeds near to has set up traps. Apparently, the cats she has been feeding have been running into the condominium and the condo has decided it cannot handle all the complaints anymore.

I outlined the TNRM programme to her and asked if she knew any residents who lived there. She did not. I asked if she could feed away from the condominium but she said it would be a bit difficult as the condo went along the entire length of the road. I told her we could mention how sterilisation was more effective and to allow the sterilised cats to stay. I asked her if the cats were sterilised - they weren't. That's when I knew we had a real problem. It turns out there are more than 20 unsterilised cats in the vicinity.

The feeder said there are another two feeders - but no one is sterilising. The condo has been facing a problem for a while, and the residents have been complaining about cauterwauling at night.

The feeder is upset because they have put out traps. I asked if she can start up a TNRM programme and she said she can't. She said she may be able to do some cats, but it's very difficult to trap the cats and send them for sterilisation. She does not live in the area as well so she cannot handle complaints.

I told her that if she intends to start a programme, she needs to see it through, but the feeder does not think she can do that. She said the other feeders cannot do it either. She said she's very stressed with her other colonies and she cannot manage on her own.

This makes it very difficult to come up with an effective management programme for the condominium. The management does not care if the cats are sterilised or not, most of the time - they want to know how the problem is solved for their residents. While the solution involves sterilisation as an integral part of it, selling it as just a sterilisation programme to the management is unlikely to work.

I told the feeder it was better to concentrate on doing one colony and doing it 100% then to do a number of colonies and maybe do 30% on each. The remaining cats will multiply and all the sterilisations done will be negated in the face of the growing population.

Here's the problem - the feeder feeds on the back of a condominium where the cats run in and out. All the feeders don't sterilise but the cats are constantly fed. Due to the fact that they are fed, they're more friendly and thus more visible. Residents start to notice the cats because of the increasing numbers and complain. It all adds up to a disaster. So please, please, PLEASE sterilise.

A-ccounting we will go

Heading to the accountant this morning and to run some errands. Don't forget to tune into the Yakety Yak at 12.20 pm on 93.8 FM for the discussion on Animal Rights - I always tend to be away from radios when interesting programmes air for some reason. I must get a little portable radio.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pass it on

Thank you to everyone who helps to pass our newsletters and information on. We just had one of the cats off our newsletter adopted because one of our members passed the newsletter onto another member. Our adoption team head just mentioned that there didn't seem to be much response when the newsletter first went out, but now some queries are starting to come in.

Please do pass on our newsletter to friends or family whom you think might be interested or direct them to the link on our website.

Saying No

We sometimes get emails from people who have taken in a lot of cats and have problems maintaining them. I do know that these people do so out of the kindness of their hearts and they want to do the right thing, but there comes a point for all of us where we have to stop.

What often happens is that the person may have bitten off more then they can chew. They take in a lot of cats, and after a while they feel they cannot afford to sterilise them. This of course leads to more mouths to feed. In the meantime, if the number of cats gets very large (which it will), there is a problem with maintaining hygiene and health of the cats. There may be complaints of smell. The cats may start getting sick and/or stressed and start passing diseases to each other. At this point, the person may not be able to afford veterinary fees for the cats. What started out as a cat rescue, may well result in the death of the cat. The cat may have a 50-50 chance on the street, but if it goes into a house full of sick, stressed cats where veterinary fees are not available, mortality rate is going to be a lot higher than if the cat has stayed on the street.

I often hear from these people that they were unable to say no. Most of them are just very nice people who want to help out and cannot turn away someone or some cat in need, but sometimes the best thing you can do is to refuse to help - both for you, your cats and even for the cat in question.

Ikea Mouse


Ikea Mouse
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Look what Ikea brought in? Their pet collection is finally in Singapore. Marcus and Michelle found this while shopping the other day.

Complaints

One of the caregivers copied us with a list of complaints the town council sent in. They run the gamut from what I would consider reasonable complaints - defecation and urination outside the house to the other extreme, the ever-illuminating, "stray cats around". The town council officer did not give any details - for example, only the block number of the resident who claimed there was defecation and urination outside their unit.

Due to the fact that we often get such incomplete information from town councils, I've decided to write down a list of questions for town council officers to ask when complainants call up. I'm sure that some officers will cite anonymity of the complainant, but surely if they want the defecation to stop outside their unit, they have to let us know which unit, or at least which floor? With more details, at least there's a better chance of solving the complaint. Now to see if the officers will use this list to help us gather better intelligence.

Animal rights versus animal welfarism

Calsifer sent an email to say that tomorrow at 12:20 pm on 93.8 FM they are discussing the issue of whether animal rights activism is a waste of time and resources. Thanks for the heads up Calsifer!

People often lump the two together - and often in doing so, they try and point out that people who are interested in animal welfare are not for example interested in the welfare of people, which is patently ridiculous. It also allows some to say that they aren't interested in animal welfare by painting anyone interested in animal welfare as being a crazy activist who hurts anyone and anything in the process of saving animals.

Here's the thing - someone may be concerned in animal welfare without necessarily being an animal rights activist. The question of whether you're interested in welfare is a simple one - do you believe that animals should not be ill treated and made to suffer? If you do, then tada! you believe in animal welfare.

This does not touch at all on the fact whether the animal has inalienable 'rights' in the sense of the word. Let's give an analogy. For example you may believe that a chicken can be eaten as meat - this does not mean that you believe that you can do anything to that chicken in the process of it being killed, including mutilating, torturing and letting it die a slow, horrible death where it suffers horribly.

At the end of the day, I would argue that someone who has no interest in animal welfare at all is someone I would view with suspicion. To knowingly partake of, enjoy or condone the suffering of an animal does suggest a rather alarming state of mind - and the repercussions are not 'just' about animals.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ginger Kitten


Ginger Kitten
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I dropped newsletters by some of the vets this afternoon and saw this gorgeous kitten. She is up for adoption.

Volunteers

I've written to possibly three-quarters of the people who wrote into volunteer. My hand is starting to cramp up :)

Am off to the post office to drop in some mail.

Sterilisation Appeal


Sterilisation Appeal
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

One of the magazines offered us a bit of free space earlier this week and Marcus and Michelle came up with this advertisement for the magazine.

Adoptions

Our poor adoption team is being deluged the past few weeks. Webgal had to come up with names for 17 kittens posted.

A lot of people are leaving the country for holidays, so the pool of fosters has just shrunk to the point of non-existence. People are also leaving the country for extended holidays, or are going back home and do not want to take their cats along. At the same time, people are not adopting because of the same reason - school holidays and being away, or conversely, are children or parents who want to adopt a cat for their kids to play with during the holidays. As a result, postings are coming in thick and fast, and adoption rates are slowing down.

A big round of applause to the adoption team for the hard work they put in every day!

"The Youth Deposit a helping of heart", Today, May 26th 2006

Thanks to Vegancat for alerting me to this. The Youthbank called to let us know - for some reason though I didn't have the password, so I only managed to log in yesterday.

It's great so many people logged in and signed up. I was actually pretty stunned when I heard how many had done so. I do need to change our requirements though because people signed on to help manage the community cats for an hour or two, which isn't really going to work for a TNRM programme.

Kesang Dema
kesang@newstoday.com.sg

WITHIN days of its May 16 launch, the Youth Bank portal initiated by non-profit organisation Heartware Network has received an overwhelming response; and not just from the youth.
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More than 600 youth volunteers, mostly in their mid-teens and early 20s, have signed up after the launch, bringing the total number of volunteers on the database which helps the youth sign up for community services to 1,495.
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The others had volunteered at the network's annual event, the Giving Tree, held at Tampines last year.
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About 27 voluntary hosting organisations (VHO), including the National Environment Agency and petroleum company BP, have also registered, with the portal seen as an efficient means to tap on volunteers. The National Library Board has also made enquiries.
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The volunteers who signed up with the Youth Bank will be able to view and sign up for a list of activities provided by the VHOs, and match them with their fields of interest. The VHOs will then be informed of the volunteers' interest and assignments handed out accordingly.
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According to the Youth Bank, most of the VHOs are currently reading through the volunteers' profiles to help in matching their interests to the organisations' needs.
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The most popular VHO among the youth is the Cat Welfare Society, which has had responses from 484 volunteers.
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More than 200 volunteers have signed up with the Care Corner Family Service Centre. The same number signed up to assist in health screenings and conversational English and Mandarin classes at the Jamiyah Home for the Aged.
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The overwhelming response showed the interest and determination of the youth in community engagement, said Heartware Network chairman Raymond Huang.
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"Since Youth Bank requires volunteers to register personally, it shows that the volunteers are sincere in pledging their time to help the VHOs. It ensures that the VHOs will get sincere and dedicated service," he said.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Statistics

Thank you to those of you who sent in their statistics even though you did not want to claim reimbursements. We really appreciate it because this will really help us get a better idea of the number of cats done and how successful TNRM programmes are running. It'll also help us get a better idea of abandonment and abuse among other things.

Paintings by Michelle Chang


Paintings by Michelle Chang
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Some people wrote into ask what else was at the Substation exhibition - here are some paintings by Michelle Chang. She designed one of our Christmas cards in the last series we did. Marc is pointing at the painting with the tipped ear cat.

Evidence

A caregiver called to say that some of the cats in another feeder's area are disappearing. The feeder is worried that they are being taken away and dumped because they're not ending up in the AVA.

The feeder asked a cleaner who allegedly said they are being dumped in the garbage. However there is no proof other then the feeder's word. I suggested that they try and take photos but the caregiver said that while there are some feeders that they are scared to do so. The caregiver also told the feeder that there is no point telling her all this if there is no evidence to act on.

I've told her to speak with the feeders and try and ask them to consider helping to gather some evidence. Everyone feels outraged about these situations - but outrage alone isn't enough. Evidence is needed to prosecute.

Food Bowl


Food Bowl
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Add Food + Cat.

Origami Bowl


Origami Bowl
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I know quite a few people already used foldable bowls, but for those of you who don't, this is what the bowl should look like once it's folded. Thanks Mr and Mrs Fan.

Feeding Bowls


Feeding Bowls
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Mr and Mrs Fan sent this in by mail to say that they hoped other volunteers might be able to make use of these instructions to make their own feeding bowls.

Claim Forms

I'm going through the claim forms and mail that Tarsier Girl picked up while I was away. She has kindly gone through all the donations and memberships as usual, but I am looking now at some of the reimbursement forms. I've gone through three, and only one was filled out properly. One form had all the statistics - but no receipts at all. The other had the receipts, but only the number of cats sterilised for that month filled out. We do need receipts or we cannot reimburse anything - we are a charity and need to be accountable. On the other hand, we're trying to collect these forms to get a better idea of peoples' colonies and we need the statistics. Telling us how many cats were sterilised in a colony, and not the size of the colony gives us no idea of what is happening in your area. If you do have any other caregivers you know who are filling out the forms, please let them know.

Movie at Exhibition


Movie at Exhibition
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Some of you may recognise some of the newspaper clippings at the exhibition. The exhibition is on at the Substation Gallery till May 31st, so do drop by and take a look.

Non-Collectibles Exhibition


Non-Collectibles Exhibition
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

We had a meeting at the Substation last night to discuss the SeptFest for this year.

Just before the meeting, we popped into the gallery to check out the Non-Collectibles exhibition. Here are Marcus & Michelle checking out different exhibits.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Who decides?

I just got off the phone with a caregiver. She mentioned that she had dogs coming into her area in a pack and that last night, they had killed someone's pet cat that was allowed out. She asked what could be done. I suggested that she try to scare the dogs off, which is what ASD will also suggest. She asked if it was possible to trap the dogs and have them euthanised. She said that the vet assured her that it was painless.

I told her that people could use the exact same argument with the cats. The cats are causing a nuisance to some people they will argue, or the famous argument about spreading diseases. Following the same line of logic, then it's fine to remove the cats and kill them - after all, they will say, it is painless.

At the end of the day, they are all animals on the street. They have enough problems as it is. The dogs don't want to kill cats just as the cats don't want to defecate in an inappropriate place. Of course I feel badly for the cats - they don't deserve to die, but if we start valuing life differently - ie cat's life more valuable than dog's life, or vice versa, then who arbitrates? Who gets to play God and decide who lives or dies? Some people who like birds may be baying for the blood of cats who kill birds (as already happens overseas).

She mentioned that the feeders in this area aren't able to help chase the dogs away because they are elderly. She said that they also need help with sterilisation money and want free sterilisation as they used to get in the past from CWS. It appears she has been helping there and before that, the Society was paying for the cats to be sterilised in this area too. However there are now more than 10 unsterilised cats still in the area. I asked her where the cats came from and she does not know. I told her that in that case, it would be better to help another colony with reimbursement, and getting that colony under control as it did not seem to be getting better in this area and no one seemed to know why.

Cat and Rooster Video

Thanks to Tarsier Girl for sending me this. This is the cutest clip. Poor Rooster.

Kitty-Rooster

Cat in bushes


Cat in bushes
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I was describing the cats in the estate to the caregiver and asking which she was looking after yesterday. She was surprised that I managed to spot so many, and asked how I did it. I told her you just need to know where to look.

I'm doing you a favour

A student wrote in a while ago to say that they wanted to help CWS sell some merchandise for their project. This is nice - and most people do try and help us sell items. However, she did not let me know what was needed and when till very late and said they needed the items ASAP.

I have to say that while the majority of people who approach us are really nice and want to help, some, like this student, are a bit demanding because they think they're doing us a favour. Frankly at a small stall like this we're unlikely to sell a lot. We would have been happy to send the items down anyway, but we are a very small organisation and it is annoying to be told you have to send the items down ASAP because someone forgot to give notice.

I don't want her to fail her project though, so will send some stuff down today.

Bribery

I just spoke to a caregiver who mentioned to me that she had been paying off a cleaning supervisor. According to her, the supervisor calls and tells her that there are problems in the area and will call in pest control. However she has found that by giving him a bribe, he lays off the cats. She says he never takes the money directly, but she leaves it on a table and he picks it up, and the complaint goes away.

I asked if I could come down and speak with the person, but she said not to, as the man now alerted her if there were problems. If she paid him off, he didn't trap the cats. I said that if there were problems, if the area was being taken care of, the cats should not be removed anyway. I know this caregiver and she is very responsible. However, she said the rest of the feeders there were not very good at taking care of the cats. She said that there were irresponsible feeders dumping food around and she could not find them no matter how hard she tried. She said there was food dumped even though they were feeding responsibly and cleaning up and she could not find these ghost feeders. In addition, cats were being abandoned, and when she went and claimed some of the cats that were trapped, none of the feeders wanted the cats back.

"Educating the cats"

What a pleasant way to start off a morning - I just spoke to a very irate couple who were both only interested in ranting but not in solving the problem.

It seems that they have complained to the town council in the past about defecation outside their door. I have just spoken to the town council officer who has clarified that the defecation is actually outside their neighbour's door, a floor up.

At any rate, I told them that I understood this was a problem, at which point the woman went on a rant about how no one could understand unless they lived in her block. She wanted a team of volunteers to be on call for 24 hours to pick up defecation within half an hour. I tried to explain about why the cats come back, and she said she was not interested in facts. She insisted I must know all the cat feeders in Singapore because I am with the Society.

Neither of them were interested in giving me any details, and the woman hung up on me twice after ranting. The husband came on the line when I called back and repeated what the woman said, they did not hate the cats, but they hated the defecation. I told him that we were interested in a long term solution and finding out why the cats were going upstairs. I said it was about getting people to feed properly. He insisted that the source of the problem was the cats, not the feeders. His analogy was that his parents fed him, but he knew where to defecate. When I pointed out that his parents had to teach him how to do so properly, he quickly changed the subject.

He insisted instead that we must either remove the source (which he disagreed was the improper feeding) or educate the cats. I told him that as he was not against the cats as he kept insisting, that we should try and solve the problem rather than killing the cats, at which point, he said he was not an animal activist.

I suggested using mothballs in the meantime, but he said it was not his job. It was also not his job to give me details. He said that if he had to meet me when I came down, he would charge me because time is money.

He also insisted the town council was angry with the volunteers for tying their hands and refusing to allow them to remove the cats. I asked him which officer this was, and he said it was not his job to find this out.

I spoke to the town council officer and she said that she had not said that she was unhappy with the volunteers to the couple. I told her that we will look into the matter. It turns out there are at least two households that let their cats out in that block. In addition, she said that the wife had called her and said she was ashamed to be living in a block with defecation. She also said that she had heard sounds of cats mating once, and it was disgusting as she did not know what to tell her children. Such charming people.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just say No

I spoke to a foster this afternoon who called to say that someone wanted to adopt one of her cats and take it to China. She was in a tizzy as she said that she didn't want the cat to be taken out of the country. For the first few minutes, I wasn't sure if the cat was with her or had already been adopted out, but it was still in her care.

I said that she could always choose not to give the cat to the adopter. She said the adopter was very insistent. I told her that even if the person was insistent, there was no need to give the cat to him or her - she could just turn them down, because it was HER cat. She wanted to know if the Society could ensure that the adopter would keep her updated and allow her to visit the cat. I told her that she could of course ask to visit the cat because this is between her and the adopter, and ask for photos or whatever she wants as well, but the cat would be out of the country. Unless she is prepared to fly to China, followup visits are going to be a bit tough.

Remember it is absolutely fine to say no if you are in any way uncomfortable or unhappy with an arrangement. Don't adopt a cat out and then worry about it later. If your gut is telling you no, don't be afraid to go with that even if it may offend someone else. You do of course have to bear in mind your circumstances too - as I explained to a foster yesterday, if you can afford to hold the cat as long as it takes (and ideally you really should), then wait for the RIGHT person. Some people cannot - and in that case, the all right person may be the best that they can do.

Bring your cat to the vet

Just came back from dropping some newsletters by a vet. If you see that your cat is not eating, looks under the weather or is listless, please bring it to the vet. This is whether it is your pet cat or a community cat. Someone wrote into say that their cat went off food a few days ago and today it died. It is important to get proper medical care.

People often write in and say that their animal is sick and they try and describe their symptoms over email. As much as I'd like to help, I'm not a vet. Furthermore, it is very difficult to diagnose without seeing a cat. It's best in this case to be safe rather than sorry.

Handsome Cat


Handsome Cat
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Handsome ear tipped cat we saw yesterday.

Reimbursement cases

We've had a few people call for help in the last two days and all for pet cats. One woman was following up on a letter her teenaged son sent us. He asked for help with his pet cat which was ill. I had been trying to call the son but was not able to get him and his mother called me. He said in his letter that he needed to pay for it out of his allowance. His mother told me that they had to pay for him and that it was an ex-community cat. I asked if they were in financial problems, but this did not seem to be the case. It's just that she heard that we have reimbursed some part of a rescue case in the past, and she wanted to know if we could pay them back.

A vet called about another person who was migrating and said that she wanted to adopt her two ex-community cats out. She also had to have surgery for one of the cats and her husband was not very happy about it. The vet was giving her a better rate but wanted to know if we could help. The sum was actually quite a small one and the vet said they could afford it, but the husband was not very happy with the situation.

A third person also just called for help with his cat which fell out the window.

We have very limited resources, and while we'd really like to help every cat, this also goes back to limits. We almost ran out of money three years ago because everyone was asking for reimbursements at one point. We'd also like to help out those community cats and people caring for them who may have limited funds first.

Also, if you adopt an ex-community cat and take it home, then it does become your cat. You can't keep expecting someone else to pay for your cat. If there is a dire situation, then I am sure the Society will see what it can do to help, but the fact that your cat used to live on the streets at some point is not reason enough to get reimbursed.

New Minister of State for MND

There's a new Minister of State for the Ministry of National Development from August 1st, and it's Ms. Grace Fu. Mr Heng Chee How will no longer be with the MND. The MND is the Ministry in charge of the AVA.

They're not my cats

I spoke to one of the feeders in an area I went to yesterday. While most of the cats are unsterilised, two were not, and the complainant was saying that the cats were scratching her motorcycle cover.

The feeder was explaining to me that she did not feed at that spot, so her cats were maybe 100 meters away from these other cats. One of the cats she fed though, and which was unsterilised, was near the motorcycles.

She mentioned there is another feeder who feeds some of the other cats. I told her that if the complainant continues to complain to the town council, it's not going to matter which cats 'belong' to whom. They're just going to round them all up.

I had spoken to yet another feeder in the area the other day who said it wasn't her area as well, but now that I've gone down, it appears that at least some of them are her cats.

At this point I spoke to the feeders and they have agreed to try and sterilise the unsterilised cats, so I'm glad to hear that. It does sadden me when people divvy up their cats though - there are so many feeders and yet some cats aren't sterilised or cared for.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Adoption agencies

I just spoke to someone who picked up a kitten and was unable to keep it. He said that it was in danger so he picked it up but it needed bottle feeding. He was trying to do so, but he has a new baby himself and he couldn't cope.

He sent the cat to a rehoming agency that charged him $180 to bottlefeed and then to adopt the kitten out.

I just spoke with him. I told him to just check with the agency where the cat is going to go, and what is going to happen to it. It seems a very small sum to take for a kitten which may take months to rehome and which will require run the clock feeding in the meantime.

It does not mean that this agency is necessarily bad - they may be entirely above board. However, if you are aware of any such agencies, please check with them where the kitten is going to go and for updates on the kitten or cat. Any rehoming place should allow you access and information so that you at least know where your kitten or cat is going to end up.

There have been horror stories in the past about people handing over money and the kittens or cats never being heard of again. One caregiver told me that she was told to hand over the money but she was not supposed to ask where the cat went, nor have any contact with the cat once she handed over the cat and the money.

Cat seen during mediation

Don't overstretch yourself

One of the vets called today to ask if we could help trace a feeder who owes them a few thousand dollars, I believe.

The feeder had been running into debt for the last few years. Quite a few other volunteers have also spoken to her and told her that she cannot keep this up. While she is kind hearted, the problem is that she cannot say no. It is to her credit that she wants to help the cats - but there is a limit to what any one person can do.

What's happened now is that she owes the vet so much money that she cannot go back to the vet. Her income is not nearly enough to cover her expenditure. She owes the credit card companies money. One of our ex-committee members and I had spoken to her about working to pay back her credit card debt in the past, but that didn't work out as she is unable to say no when she sees a cat in need.

I just SMSed her but got no reply.

The point of all this is really as a reminder that as much as we want to help every cat out there, we simply can't. No one person or organisation has the resources in terms of money, time and effort to help every single cat out there. If we harness our abilities as a society as a whole, we'll be able to someday get a handle on the problem. Until then, sometimes you have to realise that you can only do so much. I've seen caregivers and feeders losing weight, getting sick and getting into debt because they cannot stop. I've also seen their cats losing hair, getting sick and stressed, and even dying, because of too many cats and inadequate medical care.

Do what you can - and realise that everyone has limits. It doesn't do you - or the cats - any good if you're overstretched.

Seat covers

We went to another mediation today. The complainant claims that the cat is scratching her motorcycle seat cover. We found four cats, three unsterilised, and most away from the seat covers. I am trying to get the feeder in the area to see what can be done. I did see five or six motorcycles in the area and none of the seats looked scratched.

I spoke to the complainant and she said that she had just changed the seat cover and she'll let me know if they have any more complaints about the cats in the area.

I also spoke to someone this afternoon whose son had written into ask for some help with their ex-community cat. It turns out that the cat needed surgery and they wanted to ask for financial help. I called up to ask if they could send us some financial statements so that we could use means testing but was told that they would not qualify if that was the case.

Some people are more offended by this


Some people are more offended by this
Sterilised, tipped ear cat.
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Then by this


then by this
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Soiled sanitary napkin in the vicinity.

Cat under car


Cat under car
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Back from mediation and one of the complaints was from a woman who said that there were a lot of cats at the block. She also said there were people feeding at the staircase landing. We spotted this one cat after walking around for 10 minutes and checking the neighbouring blocks.

There did look like there was some leftover food upstairs.

Mediations today

Heading out for some mediations today. One of them is in an area with a feeder but the feeder there refuses to answer my emails/phone calls and only contacts me when their cats have been caught.

Mandatory Sterilisation?

It's interesting to see how other communities deal with the problems of too many unsterilised cat.

Requiring Pet cats to be spayed/neutered

The problem of course, as people have mentioned is that owners with low income (and probably the ones least likely to be able to afford to sterilise their cats) will be the ones who may then abandon their cats. I'm really not sure legislation is the way to go.

In addition, in Singapore as people can't legally 'own' cats in HDB flats, which means there is no way to enforce sterilisation laws.

Snoozing


Snoozing
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Cats have it right about learning to enjoy life!

Think Global, Act Local

One of the things I do find worrying about some volunteers is their unwillingness to help out in any area either than their direct area of involvement. If there is any problem within their own vicinity (ie their own colony), they are able to help out. However, should the town council/management authority call about an area that is not in their direct location, they are not willing to help out.

For example, in one particular area, the volunteers there wanted to see their town council because there was a complaint in their area. They agreed to help out with mediation. Subsequently however, when complaints came in, they said it was not in their area. If the town council asks for help and you refuse to help in every case, what are the chances they are going to call when it really DOES involve the cats you look after? From their past experience, they're going to think that TNRM does not work, so why bother asking for help from the volunteers?

Clearly some town councils are a little large, and it may be a bit of a distance for someone to go down, but here's the thing - if a complaint can be handled, those cats will not be removed. Surely that's a good thing, whether or not they are cats in YOUR colony.

I end up going down for mediations that could have been handled by someone in the area but they refused to go. This is not asking for someone to take over the TNRM in the area - it's just to go down and take a look and see if anything can be done. Often there are caregivers, and it's a matter of trying to find these people. It's a very sad state of affairs if you choose only to care about your own cats.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mindset change

I was just speaking to a volunteer and she was complaining that a family nearby keeps letting their cats out. This is causing a problem because they run over to the block of flats. She has gone by three times to ask them to sterilise their cats, but the family keeps insisting that the cats are not their cats. They keep asking her to take the cats away.

I have to say that this needs a whole change mindset change. People keep thinking that the cats aren't 'theirs' and this causes problems. How do we get people to change the way they think about this?

Going for an adoption followup now.

Merchandise

One of our volunteers is moving out of her current office so went by to pick up stuff today. It's quite funny but many of our committee members have bits and pieces of CWS stuff in our homes and offices. It's a godsend that someone loaned us a room so that we were able to put our traps and the like, but we still have lots of things lying about.

It turned out there were two huge cartons of Christmas cards which are now sitting with Marcus and Michelle who will be heading to the warehouse this weekend.

"Feeding Blindly"

I just spoke to a very frustrated caregiver. While I was away, there was a complaint about an area in the newspapers and it was supposedly very dirty. Both this caregiver and I know the feeder there, but the feeder has always been rather difficult. She asked to be taken off the list of TNRM caregivers, saying it was too much trouble. She's also the woman who keeps threatening to stop feeding every time I speak with her.

The caregiver called her up while I was away and she denied it was her, but the caregiver is quite sure she is the one leaving food out. The feeder claimed it is because they have new conservancy workers in the area who are not cleaning up properly - though why there would be food in the area in the first place she never addressed.

I called her two days ago and this feeder reiterated again that the workers were not cleaning up properly. She said that she was very clean. I told her that we had to take this very seriously as the town council was likely to act on this as it had appeared in the newspapers. She told me that there was nothing she could do. She told me that though she had told me she wanted to stop feeding, she was still feeding.

The caregiver just called me and said that they had just come by and rounded cats up in the area with the un-co-operative feeder. The caregiver said that as her block is just next to this area, her own community cats were almost caught. She also said that she had sterilised the feeders' cats for her.

She was understandably very upset and said that now people are coming forward to claim the cats back, but when she asked if anyone wanted to help by being in charge of the blocks, no one did.

The caregiver says that she is very upset with people like this feeder, whom in her words, are feeding blindly and are jeopardising the other cats in the area.

ST (19-5-05)


ST (19-5-05)
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is great! I was already happy reading it and got even happier when I came across this paragraph :-
"Animal Abuse

He pointed out to another Straits Times article which reportd the deaths of three uppies which caught a virus while in a pet shop. That drew an immediate response in the Forum page which called for stiffer penalties on pet shops which breach regulations, he noted

"Sentences imposed by the courts in some types of offences have attracted widespread public interest and discourse" he said.

"Although there have been calls for greater intergration of ex-offenders into society, there are also calls for stiffer measures in some cases".

"Should people who feed stray Animals be fined?"

This is the topic of a radio programme this afternoon at 12:20 pm on 93.8 Live. It's a call-in programme and the number to call is 6691 1938 so tune in and call in with your comments.

Thanks Ginette, Vegancat and Calsifer for the information.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I was just about to sterilise the cats

I called some caregivers up today to ask how sterilisation is going. I spoke to one of the people from the family Jolanda and I went down a few times to speak with. I have also called her three or four times. Every time I call, she will say that she was JUST thinking of bringing the cats in - they all loiter in her yard and the number keeps increasing. It was no different today - I SMSed her and she said that she was JUST thinking of bringing the cats in SOON. I replied that it would be best to do it quickly before the cats get pregnant again.

I also called another woman whom one of the volunteers is helping to transport her cats for sterilisation. She said she wasn't ready to send in the next batch of cats yet, as she was a little broke. The volunteer in fact has helped out with the costs in the past as well. She said she'd call me when she was ready to send in the cats, but I'm pretty sure she won't. Will need to just remember to call her again in a few weeks and see how it's going.

What are you looking at?


What are you looking at?
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

One of the cute cats we saw yesterday.

Letters in Today (18-5-05)

I tried to scan the letters in but they came out very blurred so I'm linking to them.

Shelters not the answer

Extend Cultural Understanding

Cat trapped in the escalators

The cat trapped in the escalator was released this morning! They opened the escalator and the cat came right out. They didn't even need a cat trap.

You don't have to say yes

I sometimes speak to caregivers who are told that they are to remove the cats from an area or they will be trapped. I just spoke to one woman yesterday and she was panicking which is understandable. I can see that people don't want their cats to get caught of course, and so they acquiesce, but here's the thing, you don't NEED to always agree. For example, if someone says the cats will get trapped if you don't remove them, instead of immediately relocating the cats, first try and see if you can make some other arrangements. Often if you try, you can persuade the other person to let you work something else out a TNRM programme, working out a better area to feed the cats, etc. However if you agree and take the cats away, it's going to be hard to ask for a TNRM programme, the management is not going to see that removal doesn't work because you're in effect doing the job for them, and as has been mentioned several times before, relocation can be extremely difficult. Alternatively, you might end up getting stuck with a lot of cats.

In this case, the management told the woman to remove her cats, and she was worried and trying to get cages. However I spoke to them yesterday and they agreed to let the cats stay while they consider the problem. They've asked that she take photos of the cats so they know which are on the territory and there won't be a dispute as to numbers, so I just called her to ask if she could do that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mother cat and Kittens

Neighbour's cat?

Last mediation of the day was about a complainant saying that her neighbours' cats liked to defecate outside her plants. We went down but no one was home. We left flyers and hope they'll call.

Caught red-handed !


Gotcha!
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The volunteer and I went down today. This woman complained that there were a lot of cats around the void deck of her sister-in-law's flat. We didn't see more than four cats between the two void decks, but I did see one cat run upstairs, and when we followed them up, there were these three cats in the corridor. We spoke to the man whose flat the cats ran into and asked him to please try and keep them in.

He also mentioned another woman fed some cats in the void deck - the ones we saw were all sterilised except for one cat.

A bunch of kittens


A bunch of kittens
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is a bunch of kittens that we saw during Mediation today. A man claimed that a cat had attacked his sister. I asked for a description of the cat, but the man said he wasn't sure. He said that it looked like a 'stray cat'.

When I asked around one of the storekepers nearby mentioned that a mother cat had given birth less than a month ago. She may have been trying to protect her kittens from what she perceived to be a threat. When I went up, she immediately came and rubbed herself against my legs. When the kittens ran up to me though, she grabbed one of the kittens and moved it away but was in no way hostile to me.


Just spoke to the complainant, and he seemed to accept the explanation, so hopefully that will work. Anyone want to adopt five very cute kittens? :)

Out for mediations

Going for Mediations this afternoon.

I don't live here, but I want to complain

I spoke to this complainant again, who is calling on behalf of her mother according to her. She said that there is a lot of urination in the stairwell. She claims it is her neighbour's cat. She called to say she could see a cat in her neighbour's flat.

She wants to complain to HDB about this. I told her that the last time she complained to the HDB, as I wrote in an earlier blog entry, the woman released all her cats downstairs. I told the complainant this was not helpful if she wanted there to be LESS urination because the woman would just let her cats out again. I asked her to please NOT complain to the HDB and in return, I would ask the woman with the cats to keep all the cats in again.

This complainant does not even live in the block and doesn't even know which cat it is- she claims she has urged her mother to complain to myself and the town council, but apparently, her mother has never bothered to do so. Clearly, it doesn't bother the mother that much.

Grey Cat Update


Grey Cat Update
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Some of you may remember Grey Cat who was in all likelihood being fed by a woman who denied it. Someone expressed an interest in adopting Grey Cat so we loaned a cat trap to the family whose ledge Grey Cat kept defecating on.

Grey Cat didn't go in - but the family was thrilled that the trap seemed to work so well. The daughter of the family was actually fond of the cat, and all said they just wanted to be able to open the window without the smell of defecation all the time.

Apparently they caught another cat last week. The volunteer spoke to them, and she advised them to release the cat. The cat came out and rubbed itself on the leg of the man. The man said that he saw the cat again and now it seems quite happy to see them. They seem quite fond of the cat now. They have returned the trap to us today.

Abuse cases

I just spoke to a feeder whom another caregiver asked me to call. She told me that she needed volunteers to help her patrol her area. A cat was killed at the beginning of January and this was witnessed by another woman. The feeder then convinced her to call the police, but the witness refused to go to court.

Apparently the SPCA also went down but the body of the cat was thoroughly decomposed and the suspect was not at home when they visited. They left a note for the suspect.

Since then, no cats have gone missing. The only other caregiver I know in the area is someone the feeder already knows. This caregiver also cannot help. I asked the feeder what she wants to do - she said she wants to sit there every night with the cats till 2 am so that the man cannot hurt the cats. I told her that she could sit there every night, but how long could she keep doing so? For the rest of the cats' lives? At the same time, the one night she is NOT there, may be the night he strikes. Or he may strike after 2 am, or in the day when she is at work.

This is especially so because all has been quiet for the last four months. There's no pattern, or even a sense of regularity to the cases of abuse. She asked if someone could guarantee that her cats not be hurt. I told her that even in a case where someone has threatened to kill someone else, the police cannot do anything until an action is taken.

I do feel sorry for the poor cat killed, and the feeder who is obviously worried. However, removing the cats as she suggested is not an option - she agreed that new cats would be dumped or move in.

At the same time, no one can keep constant vigil all the time - and if the feeder cannot do so, the chances of persuading someone else to do it with her are slim especially in a case like this where all the evidence and information happened a long time ago.

I told her that she is welcome to use the reward poster, but again so many months have passed that peoples' memories of the event even if someone else has seen it may not be very good. If the idea is just bringing attention to the crime, and making sure the abuser knows people are keeping an eye out, that is usually a good reason to use the poster. On the flipside, the abuser may sometimes feel that no one can catch him or her - and this may make them feel even more powerful and spur them on more.

She told me that she asked the town council to put up an earlier poster, but the town council said they could not do so. I asked what her poster said and she had written that killing a cat is cruel and that retribution would come to whomever had done it. I suggested she try again with our poster.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I don't want to listen

Back to work two days and already I've spoken to one of my favourite kinds of people - one of the "I don't really want to hear what you're saying" garden variety.

One of the caregivers called me up and said that she had sterilised all the cats at this condominium. She said there had been complaints and she asked the manager if he would be willing to talk to me to solve the problems. He said he was.

Unfortunately, he was willing to talk to me, but he wasn't willing to settle for any other answer than that the cats all be removed. He said that he did not care if new cats came in, he was not interested in a long term solution - he just wanted to handle the problem down. He would be very happy if the caregiver just took all the cats away, and he has already handed her four, though of course he didn't want them killed. He just didn't want them returned. He ended the conversation by saying he didn't want to listen to me anymore and hung up - all this within a 5 minute conversation.

Cat under Escalator

The people from the escalator company called and they will open the escalator up so that the caregivers can go in and try and get the cat out, or place a cat trap there. They had attempted to use a mouse trap (!) and had sprinkled food to get the cat out but to no avail. The man I spoke to said that once they knew there was a cat inside, they turned off the escalator so the cat would not get chopped up.

A big round of applause for the Land Transport Authority

I spoke to a very helpful and polite gentleman at the LTA about the cat stuck under the escalator. Within twenty minutes, someone from the company managing the escalator had called me back to speak with me about trying to release the cat. I am extremely impressed by their efficiency and helpfulness. In fact, I was only put on hold for two rings before someone picked up at the LTA when I first called them as well. I will drop them an email to say how pleased I am.

Just as I was typing this post out, the officer from the LTA called to make sure that someone had called me back on the matter. Government service at it's best, ladies and gentlemen!

Michelle talking about TNRM



Michelle was jet lagged and only had an hour's worth of sleep, but was still able to speak much better than I did on TNRM. She should do all the school talks from now! :)

Shelters

Animal Centres

I was glad to see that people are very concerned about the abuse that is occuring and that they want to do something about it. The sad thing is that well-meaning people often think that it is the best thing to round up these animals and put them in shelters when it just isn't practical. As I have written in the past, shelters cost a lot of money to run. More importantly, how many cats or dogs can be put into a shelter? What happens then is that money used to run shelters divert resources (time, money and effort) away from sterilisation. The animals in the shelter may have a great life and often they do, but what of the many thousands upon thousands more animals on the street. They continue reproducing, and because these animals are breeding, and often over-breeding, these animals are often trapped and killed.

Another often unintended consequence is that this leads to people badgering caregivers. How many caregivers are told that if they like animals so much, why not take them home or put them into a shelter? We all want to see less community animals on the street - but sterilisation is the way to handle this, not putting a small number of animals into a shelter.

Here's Michelle's letter :-

Vicious Cycle of Inaction

CWS is an authority?

One of the caregivers called to say that she thinks a cat has been caught under the escalator more than two weeks ago but details are very sketchy. She said that the escalator has been shut down for more then two weeks because the cat was caught and she was just told all this by her friend today. However the caregiver's friend did not know what to do as she contacted the town council and they were unable to help her. As a result, the cat has been left inside. So far, a fish was thrown to the cat on one occasion.

The caregiver has asked me to ring the government authority she thinks is in charge. She has said that CWS will have special authority and that people will listen to the Society. For some reason this is a common fallacy - I often find that it is best if the caregiver rings directly because CWS is NOT an authority in the eyes of government bodies. Most officials will also find it better if the caregiver is directly involved - one, because they like dealing with the person directly in charge and who has a stake in the situation, and two, because the caregiver usually has all the information. In this case for example, it has taken three phone calls to find out the details and even so I'm not sure exactly what happened.

School Talk


School Talk
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Michelle and I gave a school talk bright and early this morning to around 70 JC students. The teachers didn't know that there were community cats on the premises but the students told us there were - trust the students to know these things! :)

Bird Flu and hysteria

This is an interesting article. One of the Sociology professors makes the point that panicking and killing cats for example is an example of medieval thinking to try and blame someone or something else.

Way of Life Clipped

Michelle and I are going to give a school talk this morning. Don't forget to tune in to 93.8 Live!

Monday, May 15, 2006

93.8 Live programme on cat killings

93.8 Live is doing a programme on the cat abuse cases that have been happening tomorrow morning at 8:15 am. I have been told that it is a programme that allows for people to call in and give their opinions, so please do that if you can. I'll be giving a school talk at the time, so won't be able to tune in. I've been informed the number to call is 6691 1938 if you would like to call.

Thanks Vegancat and Calsifer for the information

Budget Movers Sign


Budget Movers Sign
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I saw this funny sign while on holiday.

New Vet

Good news - another vet has come onboard! I just spoke with them and they've just opened the clinic a couple of weeks ago.

This vet is in the Mount Faber/Lower Delta Road area so the volunteers there may be able to send in community cats. Write in to the Society to find out more details.

"I can't afford it"

I was just speaking with a volunteer who called up to complain about the dumping going on in her area. She said that she knew quite a few of the people dumping, and had in the past often gone and offered to sterilise and transport the cats for them. However she said, while they were open to the idea of sterilisation, they would not pay for it. She ended up paying for quite a few of the cats. In the meantime, more people are picking up cats, and also refusing to pay, or letting their existing cats breed till there are too many, before they dump the cats.

This is a perennial problem. Also not all these people who claim they cannot pay are really unable to do so - it's just that they don't want to pay for sterilisation. This caregiver agreed that many of them looked quite comfortable and were not badly off.

She said glumly that the vacations are coming up which is going to lead to more dumping. Town Councils on the other hand and the HDB don't want to tackle this problem of dumping - all HDB will do is tell the residents to get rid of the cats. Guess where these cats will go?

We once toyed with the idea of setting up video cameras or webcams in estates so as to catch some of these people in the act of abandoning the cats. It seemed a bit pricey at the time - but it might be a good idea to look into it again. This could of course also be used for abuse cases. The problem would be of course how best to situate the camera.

Adoptions

Our adoptions co-ordinator has mentioned that in keeping with a trend she has been noticing that the number of adoption requests had dropped. It tends to do so during examination periods and then the subsequent school holiday. At the same time, the number of postings is as high as ever - there were 30 postings last week.

Dog Person


Dog Person
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Someone just sent me this cartoon. It reminds me of the man whom I spoke with last week (who had a dog in his flat barking) who said his sister had been attacked by a cat. He was unable to give me any details of the cat - saying it looked like ' a stray cat'.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Catnapped?

I spoke to a mother and daughter last night because one of the caregivers wrote to say that she had been caring for a community cat. Apparently the cat had some dental problems and she brought the cat to the vet. The mother and daughter then put up notices saying they lost their pet and so the caregiver got in touch with them. The mother and daughter reimbursed the caregiver for the vet fees. They said they had to put their cat out as someone had complained to the HDB about them. However, at some point, the mother and daughter decided to take the cat home again - the caregiver was also pleased as the vet said that the cat might have FIV.

This is the point it gets complicated. The caregiver wanted to visit the cat and the mother refused. When I spoke to the mother she said that their family situation did not allow for visitors right now. The caregiver on her part was worried as she said that she heard the mother and daughter caged up their own cats most of the day. The mother and daughter were upset as they thought that the caregiver was accusing them of ill treating their cats.

The mother also said that she had been caring for this cat for many years. She said that the caregiver's depth of emotion could not match hers as she had a long history with this cat which the caregiver did not.

I spoke to the mother and daughter for an hour. When I told the mother that I thought the caregiver was just concerned about the cat, and that the length of time she had been caring for the the cat was irrelevant, she agreed to let the caregiver visit the cat in a few weeks. I hope that they do allow her to do so. I'm sure it'll reassure the caregiver and certainly if the cat is well looked after, I am sure all parties will be happy.

More articles on Cat Abuse cases

Thanks Calsifer for sending me this. I don't have access to a scanner now so will just paste the link here :-

Cat Abuse

The writer also mentioned this blog though she wrote to me to say that she had not said it was a CWS blog but a personal blog of mine. It's sad that there have been so many cases but very heartening that so many people are writing in about it.

Also a Happy vesak Day to everyone - or Buddha Day as they call it in the US!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Examination Passage

Someone just wrote in to tell me that my letter to the forum about the abused cats was used as a Secondary Three examination passage. The boy who wrote in is a student and he was pleased it would bring more attention to the plight of the cats.

Another difficult town council official

I spoke to a town council Senior Manager today. Apparently a property officer under him had trapped a sterilised cat and told the volunteer that she had not sent pest control down. She eventually admitted that she had. This is not the first time this Property Officer has done this, and it's very annoying.

One of the volunteers in the area called up the Senior manager but had not left her contact details with the Town Council, so the Senior Manager said he did not want to deal with her as he did not know her. It is important to let your town council know you are in the area so they'll know who you are and whom to contact. When the Senior Manager asked me about this volunteer I did not know whom she was either. The senior manager said that of course they would return the cats if they were caught by mistake, and they did that.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cat Abuse article

Thanks Ivan for sending this article in :-

Cat Abuse

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sleeping


Sleeping
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Cats the world over have learnt this very important fact - there is nothing more comfortable to sleep on than a piece of work you need to look at.

Jerrod


Jerrod
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Just dropped by the ACA office to say hi to the lovely people there and also the gorgeous cats. Here's Jerrod!

Friday, May 05, 2006

If I'm frightened of something, I want it annihilated

Could that just be friendly advice posted a comment in an earlier post about how it is difficult to get some people to accept cats and other animals. There's a big difference though between being afraid of cats and asking for them to be killed. I used to be scared of cats, one of our past committee members is STILL deadly frightened of them. Same thing with allergies or with being afraid of non-humans. Some people don't like their neighbours - does that mean it's okay to ask for their neighbours to be taken away and killed?

No one is asking people to love cats - but we are saying that tolerance and common sense should prevail. If you look up phobias that people have, the list is extensive. There is a phobia for almost anything - water, light, open space, etc. Yet we don't pander to these phobias because it's impossible to do so. I think that people do pick on animals and cats because it's a quick fix - they are seen to be doing something and quickly. If you talk to some of the complainants and see some of their emails, you'll see that they have a long, long list of complaints - and cats are just one of them. However the others are more difficult to fix whereas it is relatively easier to trap the cats and kill them (though this doesn't make the problem go away).

We do work with people who are frightened of cats, and we have found ways to minimise the problem for them. However if your reaction is I'm scared of them, I want them all killed then there's something I cannot sympathise with.

Also I really dislike the law being trotted out as an excuse to kill animals when there is no basis for doing so. Find me a statute that says there is a statutory basis for saying that community cats must be removed and killed. I dislike the law being used as a means to bully someone else when no such law exists - and that extends to non-animal issues.

Non-collectibles

Non-collectibles
I was just sent this email about an upcoming show. Michelle Chang and Paul Koh are artists who work on the subject of cats and Paul's design is used on one of our t-shirts. It looks like a very interesting show so check it out!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Election fever

One of the town council officers just wrote to ask if we could remove all the cats at the polling station on election day between 8 am and 8 pm to prevent any cat related issues. What exactly do they expect us to do? Move them somewhere else in the meantime? Also do they really think people are going to see the cats and change their mind and vote for the other party? If I was voting, I would be more upset that someone removed the cats just so I could vote in a cat-free environment.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Feeding sometimes the source of the problem

I just spoke to a young woman who said that the cats in her area are multiplying and have scratched out her motorcycle seat. She said that there was a problem of an increasing number of cats. I asked if I could buy her a cover for the motorcycle and she said she had tried it before but the cats came back and started scratching again. She also said that one of the cats vomited sardines all over her motorcycle once.

Apparently there is a woman feeding in the void deck every night and due to the increasing number of cats, I suspect they may not be sterilised. This area has a feeder as well that I know of, who has been feeding but not sterilising - every few months someone else complains.

One of the volunteers also followed up with the cat that goes upstairs. She called them up and the daughter of the complainant said that she actually did not want the cat caught. She was very worried that the cat might be hurt. She said it was a very friendly cat. The main problem she says is the woman who feeds the cat upstairs (and denies that it is her). She said that many people are unhappy about the defecation and that if that stopped, most of the families in the block would actually be fine about letting the cat remain.

Michelle and Marcus also went to do a mediation just yesterday and it was another case of someone feeding upstairs and causing problems because then the cat is annoying the neighbours.

Again, this is a case of the poor cat being in a position where it is going to get killed if nothing is done, and the people feeding it clearly do not care at all. There is no way that they can not know what is happening - I have spoken to them twice, flyered the block and left a notice under the food, so it's not that they're ignorant as to what is going to happen to the cat.

Resting


Resting
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Hope everyone had a restful weekend.