Monday, April 30, 2007

Insisting on letting cats out

I spoke with a caregiver today who went to speak to someone who was letting their cat out to wander and who lived on a fairly high floor. Apparently this person knew whom the complainant was - the complainant had approached the cat's 'owner' and asked if she could keep the cat in as she was frightened of cat.

The 'owner' complained to the caregiver that she only let the cat out from 10 pm to 6 am and that since the complainant only went out later in the morning, she should have no cause for complaint. Of course, this means that from 10 pm to 6 am, the complainant should basically not come out of her home if she is frightened of the cats.

Now I think there should be a certain amount of give and take between neighbours. If the complainant has asked the 'owner' to keep the cat in, it doesn't mean she wants the cats killed or removed - she has a phobia and while it may be difficult for some people who like cats to comprehend, asking the person to just live with it is NOT going to help the person get over the phobia.

What I don't understand though is why people insist on letting their cats in the first place if they know it is unsafe for them. Cats are perfectly happy indoors and can live very happily inside. People keep complaining that their cats need to go out to be 'happy' but I don't think these cats are going to be very happy if they're trapped or if the owner gets a letter telling the owner to get rid of the cats.

What eludes me even more is cases where people know perfectly well there is a problem and continue to insist on letting their cats out. If anyone has figured this one out, let me know.

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Anonymous belle said...

Actually my own cats are not completely happy indoors. They have 'asked' me whether we could all migrate to New Zealand and live on a farm, but i told them that is not possible.

I mean, who (cat or human) is happy living in a tiny HDB flat ? At least we humans get to go out but cats have to stay indoors all the time.

I got my cats neutered, and hug them everyday to make them feel better about being cooped up. I give them their favourite food. But I know they still long to go out and run in the wind and chase birds. Especially at night, they have this urge to roam ....

HDB dwellers shouldnt keep too many pet cats. Then its easier to 'persuade' your furry friends to remain indoors for quality-time with you ...

sigh ...

30/4/07 7:49 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

saw an abandoned cat juz now ... ear-tipped, grey striped female ...

it was looking last, meowing, & standing near the main road ... ushered it away from main road & cars towards the HDB blocks/grass patch ...

didnt know what else to do :-(

30/4/07 8:04 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

i mean - it was looking lost ...

30/4/07 8:06 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

belle - I think that cats CAN be happy indoors. Most cats sleep 18 hours a day anyway. They might as well sleep indoors safely in your own place.

30/4/07 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think some home cats sleep more than they otherwise wld cos they have nothg else to do... if i knew that my cats cld roam safe somewhere i wld gladly let them out. i think they wld be much happier exploring and playing outside, even if that meant they had a chance of getting killed by wild animals or snakes.

but here in urban s'pore, with all the cars and cat haters and what hv u, letting cats out is simply not an option. under these circumstances i think keeping them indoors is the responsible thg to do.


30/4/07 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only cats can tell you what makes them happy. If given a choice of being happy and being safe, what would be their response?
I don't know if comparing smoking & cats being let out is reasonable. Both are not safe, but both have degrees of happiness to some parties.
A boring day is good - no stress of being rounded up or wild dogs in the middle of the night. My cats, like me, love uneventful days - they are predictably safe and comfortably boring. Bring on the boredom - it is an acquired happiness.

30/4/07 9:22 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

JK - I agree, if you lived in the country and had wide open spaces, your response might be different - and even then as you said, there might be wildlife that kill the cats. However in Singapore with our very urban landscape I wouldn't say it was safe.

Anonymous I think a better analogy for smoking would be letting a child smoke. Would it make the child happier? It might - but th vast majority of parents would not let their children smoke.

Similarly we're assuming cats have the ability to make the decision with all the relevant factors. Are they aware for example that they're at risk of abuse or trapping by the TC when we let them out? I'm not convinced they do - so it's up to the people to make a decision in the best interest of the cat.

30/4/07 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from a indoor cat owner. Tips to keep one's cat happy.

Keep not too many cats so that they dont strive to get out of each other's way

Play with them whenever you can to subsitute for their night forays.

If u really need to. Let them out SUPERVISED for a short while, perhaps 15 mins to half hour. SUPERVISED means u follow the cat and keep it near your front door. Let it sniff, mark its scent on the wall via bunting its head on the wall. And smell the air.

Put a stand next to a mesh window for them to see what is happening outside.

Just some tips. It works with my two cats.

30/4/07 11:52 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Anonymous for the good tips - good idea to make sure you have nice understanding neighbours too (and not ones who will secretly complain about you to the TC or HDB).

1/5/07 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for me my neighbours suspect I have some kind of pet but to play it safe I only let the cat out at night at 3am when everyone is asleep. Sometimes put it this way, even if they know and are okay about it now. Never know when they will turn around and bite u in the back when some "new" article pop up on the news saying cats could carry this or that disease. Or neighbour gets pregnant and mother in law who comes for visit decide to complain to HDB in case the neighbour's cat affect her unborn grandchild. sigh....

1/5/07 2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to say let out at 3am means SUPERVISED.... not let out to walk around by itself... I am the indoor cat owner

1/5/07 2:05 AM  
Anonymous VC said...

The fishes in a fish tank.
Some people think the fishes are "poor things", being confined to a limited space.
But would the fishes in a tank be "happier" being safe from predators, and having regular meals.
Fishes released into the "wild" might be gobbled up by bigger fishes and get caught onto hooks.
In this present days of lurking dangers from paranoia human and unthinking cars, I think the cats would prefer the safety of a "tank".
Or we "thinking" human should know better.

1/5/07 7:27 AM  
Blogger EJ. said...

It would be ideal if all cat owners live in one block and non-cat owners live in a different block. This would be a harmonious arrangement.

1/5/07 7:46 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous is right - a situation may suddenly change. Very often everyone in the block is perfectly happy, then a new family moves in, or someone has a new addition in the family and the problem starts.

vc good point about the fishes.

ej - maybe people with cats should try and buy flats next to other people who do too :)

1/5/07 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I see it, having pets is like living with young children. Sometimes you have to do what you know is best for them, not give in to them when they whine, throw tantrums etc

1/5/07 3:50 PM  
Anonymous T said...

Ok, truth be told, I'm one of them. I used to feed and care for a stray. This stray loves to be indoors and keeps clawing the gates to be let in. Had her for close to 1 year. But my family was not willing to buy more necessities for a cat who spoiled my leather sofa and whatever parquet flooring we had nor willing to clean up after her. So we leave her outside whenever no one is at home or at overnight. (We feed her in the house)

Didn't know my neighbour didn't like cats until that day the pest agency came and told me to keep her indoors. Before I could plead my parents to keep her, she went "missing".

My family loves animals but are not prepared to care for a cat who seemed, in this case, to like the indoors more.

Well, learnt my lesson. Hard one. At least I still have pictures of our fond memories together.

2/5/07 12:10 AM  
Anonymous t said...

To answer your question, there are many people out there who sincerely care for cats but are unable to have sufficient means to keep them as permanent pets.

2/5/07 12:20 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

T - I'm sorry to hear about your cat, but perhaps in that case it's better to have the cat as a community cat rather than bringing the cat home. After all, while it is sad for you to lose your pet, it's infinitely sadder for the cat which is likely to have lost its life.

Feeding a cat downstairs means the cat won't come into your home and make your family unhappy, but also means that it is safe from the danger it attracts by coming upstairs.

2/5/07 12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If these people love cats but cant keep them as permanent pets then one has to choose.

Either you take the responsibility and keep the pet for life or you dont keep it at all. There is no such thing as keep a pet to your convinence. Cos end of the day, these so called pets will develop feelings for you and they will suffer when you discard them. They are not a toy or a game that you can put aside when u are sick of it. Or a hobby that u give up cos of work committments.

Why am I saying all this? Cos we have people who want to feed, pet, stroke cats but dont want to keep them as pets on the pretext. "I dont have time for them" or expats that tell you when u screen them for adoption. "I will be posted here for only 3 years, at the end of my contract, when I leave, could you kindly help me rehome the cat? I only want it to keep me company during my time here...."

When u feed a cat and let it hang around outside your house, you are not loving the cat, you are marking the cat for death.


2/5/07 1:20 AM  
Anonymous fin said...

I feed my cat downstairs but sometimes I still find them up or even sitting outside my door! One even pooed at my doorway!
I do unkind things to them, spray water, beat them etc... just to keep them down.. If I just stamp my feet and scold, they will just roll down and play dead.. sigh..

4/5/07 12:53 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

fin - I'm glad you're feeding them downstairs.

May I ask if you used to feed them upstairs?

4/5/07 1:07 PM  
Anonymous fin said...

No i never did feed them upstairs. I made a typo last note, one of them "peed" not pooed on my doorway :9 No one feeds upstairs but still they "visit" me once a while..

5/5/07 11:24 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

That is unusual - do keep trying to discourage him from coming up. Do you live on the second floor by any chance?

5/5/07 12:28 PM  

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