Permanent solutions or Bandaids?
The caregiver I was speaking with today mentioned how she was having problems with irresponsible owners in the area she manages. She said that she spoke with one family about their wandering male cat. As there is dumping in her area, she is concerned that there may be a new female cat that gets pregnant before she has managed to get it sterilised (I believe the other cats have all already been done). She asked the family to allow her to get the male cat done, but they refused. She asked them to then please keep it in. Again they refused because they said the cat never goes downstairs. Of course what happened is that the caregiver saw the male cat chasing some of the already sterilised females downstairs.
Someone else wrote in to say that his neighbour's cat was using his doorstep in lieu of a litterbox. He did not want the cats removed but said he was quite worried about what could be done. He had gone to speak with his neighbour but the neighbour had told him that it was impossible to keep the cat in. I told him that was clearly not true. He was grateful to be told he could try using crushed mothballs where the cat urinates and chopsticks for his plants because he felt at least this might help solve his problems.
Yet another person told us today that their neighbours were letting their cats out. One cat even had a collar. These cats come into his house and urinate on his doorstep. When he spoke with the town council, they trapped a cat - and guess what? The urination didn't stop. He's having the same problems he had before the cat was trapped. A caregiver spoke with the families involved yesterday - both insisted their cats did not urinate outside their homes though one was definitely feeding a cat upstairs.
Two issues here - one, irresponsible owners are a big, BIG problem. Something really needs to be done to tackle this - and HDB and TCs ignoring the problem of the owners does NOT make the issue go away.
Two, catching the wrong cat time and again has been shown not to help. Surely if the person comes back and complains again that the same problem of urination is cropping up days after the cat was caught must show that randomly trapping cats does not help (either that or it's proving the vacuum effect). Why then is it done? Does anyone look into whether these problems are actually solved? Or does the fact that some action was taken constitute doing the job? How much money, time and lives are being wasted here?
It really does worry me that band aids and quick fix its are being used. We have to look at this problem together - TCs, HDB, caregivers and other residents and address it together. Pushing it to someone else to handle, either by getting pest control in, or getting residents to take care of the issue without any help - is not going to work.