Monday, January 22, 2007

Cats in flats again

If you did manage to tune in, I managed to get on air for a short while to talk about the HDB ruling. There wasn't time to talk about cats in estates (community cats) nor did I think there would be because this is a pretty complex situation.

First of all, I still have to say that I think people should have a right to do what they want in their own flats as long as they are responsible. For example, as the hosts pointed out, it is a public housing estate, and there should be some degree of tolerance. If the cat is kept indoors, doesn't make noise, and is sterilised what's the problem? One hopes that one's home is one's place of refuge - that as long as someone is not doing something illegal that one should be allowed to do what you want.

As I was trying to point out, say I don't like the smell of what my neighbour is cooking, can I go knock on their door and tell them to stop it? If my neighbour likes to play music which isn't to my taste (but which is not turned on at odd hours or too loud), can I tell them to make sure to only play things that *I* like?

What is you can't keep plants? What if smokers are told they cannot smoke in their homes - surely second hand smoke has been found to be far more harmful than the presence of a cat next door? The point is that it is your home - and if your neighbour doesn't like the smoke possibly wafting next door, basically it's too bad for them.

One of the people who called in (the only one who supported the ban) and said that he did not think there should be any pets in HDB. He pointed out allergies, but as one of the hosts pointed out, people are allergic to a whole variety of things. Should we ban them all? In addition, he pointed out a friend who stayed with another friend who had cats and had an allergy to them. I'm not sure what this has to do with your neighbour keeping cats indoors.

Secondly, I think what's interesting is that the hosts pointed out that people living in HDB are in public housing and there are many other people living in the area. I think whether you live in private or public housing, you'll have neighbours - the only difference is you may be closer to your neighbours in an HDB estate. The same principle remains - one should be allowed to do what one wants in one's own home but one should be considerate towards and tolerant of one's neighbours. Isn't that the most important thing?

I actually do think if it came down to it, most people would not mind their neighbours keeping cats in flats - provided the cats don't give them a problem. And if they're kept responsibly they won't. For the people who aren't responsible, they can still be fined anyway - there could be penalties for people who aren't responsible. This is something caregivers of community cats would be glad to see too I think!

As I mentioned, we had suggested a pilot project to the HDB to see what the response would be like, but we were turned down.


Anonymous E_cat said...

Here's the podcast page: they might have it up soon.

22/1/07 6:26 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I totally agree that the "problems" that arise from home cats is a lack of responsibilites or ignorant that there is a need to be responsible.
Just because someone is allergy to a cat or dog, just mean that that person should take precaution to avoid CONTACT with the animal. Is it right for that person to ask for all cats and dogs to be "removed"? I can empathise with Mr Chong of his daughter's allergic reaction when she was in London as she as in the same house as cats and it was likely that a London's apartment would have lots of carpets that were also harbouring trillions of mites that is a more common cause of allergy. But Mr Chong should also respect the rights of his neighbours who want to keep cats.
We are living in a community, let's learn to live together harmoniously. This is all the residents who want to keep cats ask. Let's talk about with sound evidence-based reasonings.

Take A Stand For Or Against

22/1/07 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voting on whether the ban should be lifted or not should be based on the FACT that so far the ban has not reduced the number of complaints to the TC related to cats. So far the ban has contributed to uncurbable abandonment of cats due to the lack of compulsion to sterilise pet cats. People adversely affected by cats will vote against. Neighbours of responsible cat owners will not know they "benefited" to vote in favour of cats.
Unlike voting for upgrading, not everyone is affected to vote justly. If voting occurs in a bird-flu hysteria or another SARS civet-CAT scare, no prize to guess where the votes will swing.
HDB should consider lifting the ban based on current effectiveness of the ban, rather than subject this to a vote.

22/1/07 8:27 PM  
Anonymous profpig said...

Sigh... Allergy to cats ah? Did I say many are allergic to pet haters?

Move to Mars lah. No community there. No cats there. No pets there.

"All looks yellow to the jaundiced eye"

22/1/07 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me say i love dogs.
If cats have to be "voted" in to stay in hdb flats, many people with no like/dislike of cats would rather stay with the status quo of no cats.... and this will probably be the majority. This does not mean the majority do not want cats - they have no contact with cats. If i am asked to vote to have a sauna installed in the void deck - i will probably say no as i do not know what it is. It does not mean i do not like/dislike it -i have no clue - so why vote for it?

If a vote is taken for dogs - do not be surprised if dogs are not appreciated in flats too. Then does it mean that dogs will be banned in hdb flats?

If (just if) i am asked to take a hdb vote on cats, dogs, singing birds, majong, voice lessons etc and i have no connection with the above list - will i vote YES? Of course not. I will only vote for "my" kind.
And people who own cats are few.

22/1/07 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Narrow-minded and kay poh, why would neighbours try and find faults with people with cats. Don't they have better things to worry about then pretend to care about allergies and health matters.
Hypocrites. The only way they will shutup is when a katrina hits Singapore.

22/1/07 10:38 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Bottom line? It's your flat. We've been talking so much lately about making Singapore your home - if your own home isn't somewhere you can kick back and relax, then what more Singapore? As long as you are not a nuisance to your neighbours (and current laws already protect neighbours), then why not let people do what they want to do?

22/1/07 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You stay in HDB, they control your lives, become petty and make choices for you like you can't own cats, if dog, cannot be larger than certain inches and so on.

Then give stupid, negative reasons that cats are freeroaming, do they expect cats to be stationery? Maybe they will allow cats someday and come up with another stupid condition, that cats must be kept in cages and owners have to put up with huge deposits like $4,000/-

But I believe they can't even reach this point. Totally beyond them, too difficult, too unimportant.

23/1/07 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Till the dawn of time, will HDB ever understand why people need cats as reliable companions?

23/1/07 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Autumnpiglet said...

It certainly does not make sense to put this to a vote.

Next thing you know, they'll also be voting whether dogs are allowed. Then what will happen to current dog owners if their estate votes to ban dogs? Do they expect the dog owners to give up their dogs or to give up their flats?

And then what? If they say no cats. Does that mean they'll start culling all community cats?

I do believe this kind of policy should not be put to a vote. It's not a matter of democracy. It's a matter of humanitarianism. But I guess the HDB is trying to hide behind the facade of democracy as they do not want to take a stand.

Basically cowards if you ask me.

23/1/07 8:38 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

You know I don't think it's a matter of democracy - precisely because I don't think it's anyone else's business. It's your home. If we're talking about deregulating the HDB estate, it'd be nice to start with your own piece of it first.

Plus as you mentioned, what if people decide they don't like dogs? Or if people think durians are too smelly to be eaten at home (like on the MRT)? What if someone doesn't like plants (they might breed mosquitoes!)? What if.... the list can go on and on? Almost everything you do could cause nuisance to someone else if they're not prepared to give and take a little.

23/1/07 8:55 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

On the hdb ruling, I'm wondering if it's because they do not want the hassle of deploying extra manpower to oversee the licensing or micro-chipping, etc. Not only manpower, it could also mean extra costs and time on their part.

If that's really their concern, and if CWS or SPCA could step in and say ok, we will help with that, would it then be easier for them to lift the ban?

23/1/07 10:20 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

rachel - we did. We envisioned having the RCs help out by just keeping a register - if you have a cat, you just go down and register it at your local RC, bringing your sterilisation certificate and microchip number. This is the easiest, cheapest and most convenient way for everyone. Should there be a problem, the HDB can just call up the RC in the area and get the owners' details.

As HDB will not be the one microchipping the cats or ensuring they are sterilised, I don't see the manpower issue really. At the moment, they do have staff clearly looking into the complaints on cats already which is already taking up manpower. This means for example, they would only need to go down if there was a genuine complaint - ie the cat is causing a nuisance, and not just because someone OWNS a cat,which they now have to do. That would actually cut down a lot of work.

We envisioned they might be worried about how it might work out so we suggested a pilot project of 10 blocks to them. This would let them see if it really WAS extra work. The CDC and TC in this area were onboard but they turned us down.

23/1/07 10:33 AM  

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