I spoke to a caregiver this afternoon who went to see her MP with a group of other feeders last night because they have a difficult complainant. This complainant is asking for all the cats to be removed. The caregiver pointed out to her TC that she has as much say as the complainant, but they kept insisting that the cats must be removed. She said that she was very disappointed at the MP's response.
She said that she had mentioned to the MP that perhaps they could share some information about cats as he might not be aware of what cats are like, and he had said that he was very aware of what cats were like because his neighbour had cats and they came into his garden and defecate The caregiver belatedly realised she should have offered to help with that situation and says she will drop him an email to that effect. He also said that many people dislike cats.
First of all, there are many ways of keeping cats out of a yard or garden, and it's a question of trying to find the solution. Blaming the cats or getting them removed doesn't solve the issue. Secondly, a house with a garden presents quite a different situation altogether from an HDB estate. Doing mediation in both, I can say that the solutions we use are almost entirely different - and in neither case does removing the cats help. Trying to use a scenario where your neighbours' cats are entering your garden and annoying you and trying to apply it to an HDB estate is not going to be very helpful - and considering the neighbours' cats are still going into his home, I would venture that a solution has not been found. To then think that this might apply to an HDB estate will not work.
The MP apparently also said that if the cats were just not fed, then they would not be in the area and would go away. Wrong again. Cats as we all know, move into an area because of territory - and not because of food. In my frequent hawker centre analogy, just as people may eat out almost every day at a hawker centre, it doesn't mean the hawker centre is their home. It's the same with cats.
The MP also apparently did agree that removing them wasn't a solution either. The caregiver asked if they could work together to solve the problem, and said that as a leader, she hoped the MP might be able to work with them to solve the problem. The MP allegedly replied that if they could solve the cat problem, it would be a miracle.
It seems to me that the main problem here is still ignorance. The fact is that the cats are here to stay. The caregiver pointed out that cats ARE part of the environment. The fact that other people dislike cats, is not the point as she told him. The point is to work together to solve the situation.
She also said that for example, if she found the burning of joss paper to be annoying as it wasn't part of her tradition, and decided to complain about this (which she wasn't), that it would be probably ignored. The MP agreed, saying that this is part of a traditional or religious rite.