Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Not my cats

I was just speaking with a feeder who is moving out of her place and is trying to find someone to take over her feeding route for her. It seems someone else has been helping with some of the sterilisation, but not all the cats are done. She wanted to know if we could 'assign' someone to feed the cats there.

I explained that we don't have a pool of people waiting to be told where to go to feed and sterilise. Most people are busy with their own colonies and as such, would have not have the time to go to another area to feed the cats. I suggested she speak with the caregiver she knew to try and find someone who could help with her cats.

The feeder bristled at the suggestion that these were her cats. She kept insisting that they weren't. These were just 'stray cats' that she said were abandoned and she took pity on.

I suggested perhaps she can come back and feed the cats if she moves but she said she doesn't know where she is moving to yet.

I am glad that she at least is worried about the cats before she leaves (and I am calling the caregiver to try and see what the situation is - at the moment, the caregiver is busy but said the woman's name doesn't really ring a bell).

It is worrying though that people can feed a colony for years and decide that the colony isn't part of their responsibility or even 'their' colony. It's no wonder that the cats aren't getting sterilised when people don't even feel that these cats are really under their care and that all they do is put food out.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's not unlike the "that kitten, cat is so poor thing, let me take it off the streets but wait!! I cant keep it at home so maybe let me send it to SPCA to be put down."

5/6/07 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The attitude is "she took pity" on the cats. It is not about the cats - "not mine".
I have known of many elderly care-givers who had moved out of the area, yet they would go back to feed the cats daily. That is more than a "feel pity" feeling, that is responsibility and love.

5/6/07 1:04 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes I met a woman who moved out more than 10 years ago and takes the MRT down every day to feed the cats. In fact the original colony cats had died, but she continued feeding and sterilising the new ones. It's amazing dedication.

5/6/07 1:27 PM  
Anonymous disco cat said...

2 different feeders been feeding in one private estate and none of them sterilise. He said shopkeepers there been putting new born kittens in plastic bags and dump them in gabage bins.
More than 20 unsterilised cats under their care.

Told them of sterilisation and they said they need to discuss with each other.

If they don't do it, we will do it, could we claim reimbursement from CWS? We will trap and provide transport.

5/6/07 1:41 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

disco cat - we have a subsidy programme. Do write in so I can give you more details. Perhaps you'd also like to attend the workshop next Saturday?

5/6/07 1:47 PM  
Blogger Surferket said...

I actually take the same position as the woman in that the cats I'm feeding in my workplace are not "my" cats in that they were there way before I'd even joined the company.
For various reasons, I took it upon myself to feed them.
I'd also consider them as my "friends" rather than simply "cats". As a Buddhist, I was taught that all sentient beings that happen to meet in this life do so because of past affinity. Thus, "friends".

5/6/07 8:30 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

well surferket - that may be true, but the cats do get dependent on you for food for example. In some cases, some of the cats may never have had to look for food because they've always been fed.

When one takes on the responsibility of feeding, one should realise it's just that - a responsibility. After all, friends don't leave friends in a lurch right? :)

5/6/07 8:33 PM  
Blogger Surferket said...

Dawn, and that's why I also go back to my work place even on my off day just to feed them.
Can't bear the thought of them being hungry whilst I'm living in the lap of luxury and stuffing my face silly with food.
Even my human friends know the times when I'll be totally unavailable since I'm off feeding my friends.

6/6/07 2:43 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

surferket - exactly. The point I was trying to make in this post was more about the fact that the person feeding wasn't taking responsibility rather than the terminology she used. She basically was disowning responsibility.

6/6/07 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometimes i find it hard to "own" them. Some people ask me if they are my cats when i am feeding, i really am not too sure yes or no. I have people responding - Yes, then why don't you feed them in your house. When i tell them HDB not allowed, they tell me their neighbours have cats etc. I really don't want to open a can of worms fear of them complaining to HDB.
No, then some would "swear" at you for having nothing better to do, nicer ones would say i have a good heart..

6/6/07 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn, are most of the feeders elderly aunties? I was talking to some friends recently and we agreed that most of the people we see feeding at a few estates are quite elderly... I was thinking the day the aunties decide to feed the cats up there, what will happen to the cats here..

6/6/07 1:03 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Anonymous - what I would say is that they are 'my' cats but are my 'COMMUNITY' cats - removing them would just mean new cats move in from the surrounding areas again. You are taking care of them, sterilising them and managing the population - this leads to less cats in the area. People who ask you to take them back home don't have a good concept of what community cats really are.

As for the HDB issue, feeding and caring for the community cats downstairs really doesn't have an impact on whether you have cats at home or not. HDB is not going to come down and check on you just because you happen to care for community cats.

If people do swear at you, do try and explain what you are doing (sterilising and managing) - some may think you're adding to the problem and not realise you are trying to help.If that doesn't work, you may need to call in the police if they harrass you. Do come for our workshop next Saturday, we'll be covering issues like this and more.

6/6/07 1:07 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi Anonymous, quite a few caregivers are elderly, but there are more and more younger caregivers coming forward as well.

6/6/07 1:07 PM  
Anonymous auntie said...

penpaGuess I must be one of the many elderly aunties going around in the middle of the night feeding cats. I started stray feeding at the height of my successful career, the same lot of community cats are still alive and well after 10 years.

Though I shifted house more than 4 times in a decade I still return
to them every night.

Being an elderly auntie I do have a plan to bequest my property and funds for their wellbeing when I pass on.
Younger people must not think elderly people have nothing better to do but seek cats' companionship, we can't move as fast, our joints ache but our determination to give community cats a decent life is very strong. We are not as strong, we rather rest from years of feeding but who would be willing to feed the strays if we don't? We will try and live happily as long as possible for the cats.

6/6/07 2:04 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

auntie - nice to hear that! One of the older caregivers told me that looking after the cats keeps her young - and if you look at her, you'd certainly believe it!

6/6/07 2:10 PM  

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