Friday, November 23, 2007

The cats have a home

We just had an email from a group of students who want to go a project on sheltering cats because they feel sorry for the cats and wish that the cats have a home and that they have proper food and shelter. While it is very admirable of them to wish to help the cats out, sheltering isn't the way to go. Besides the obvious thing which is that sheltering only picks up on the after-effects of the problem (and this editorial in Animal People deals with it very nicely), which is that the cats are breeding too quickly on the street, and spends a lot of money which could be used more effectively to tackle breeding through sterilisation, here's a thing I think we often overlook. The cats HAVE a home and their home is in our communities. It is on our streets, under our void decks, in our carparks, our schools, etc.

We often think we are being kind to take these cats in and we do it for the best intentions, but often cats are so much happier on the streets than in shelters. Having visited shelters, no matter how well run, often the cats on the street look so much happier and healthier. Conversely community cats lounging around the neighbourhood often couldn't look any happier or more contented.

By saying that cats should be taken off the street we also deny them their rightful place in the community - we are in essence agreeing that they should all be 'taken home' as detractors often say. Of course ideally one day every cat will have a loving home off the streets - but that's an eventuality that isn't going to happen anytime soon. It is also something that is going to make a lot of cats unhappy in the meantime if we try and put them somewhere we think is better for them, but which is not necessarily the case.

We should realise that many cats already have a loving home - and that just because it doesn't fit our definition of a home in the traditional sense, doesn't make it any less so.

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13 Comments:

Blogger calsifer said...

Well-said! If only we have you for Minister of National Development! I'd vote for you, and you can coulnt on every tail too - long, short, stumpy, everyone!

23/11/07 10:57 AM  
Anonymous long tail said...

the kids won't know how to care for the cats even if you build them a cattery. Been to a school and the rabbits were very sickly, poo piled to the living space, no water and principal said money wasted. An abandoned project, rabbits left to die slowly...

Better to let the sterilised cats roam the school compound and notice board to remind kids the cats belong to the school as part of it's moral education programme. They get CIP points. Better still, a vet fund as well to teach them about expenses.

23/11/07 11:06 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I'm not sure if they actually ARE trying to run a shelter or are just doing a project on one. If they want to get the cats sterilised, we'd be happy to pay for it. I have written to them at any rate.

23/11/07 11:20 AM  
Blogger EJ. said...

Singapore's winterless weather is suitable for cats in the community.
The big fears are human complaints leading to trapping and sent to AVA, abuses and vehicles.
If not, I believe community cats are happier in the communities.

23/11/07 2:05 PM  
Blogger Surferket said...

Seriously, I fail to see cats having a good time as community cats living under HDB blocks. When it rains they have no real shelter. They are subject to abuse from animal haters and sickos as well as their sicko kids. They are hunted down by TCs to pacify complaints from sickos who say the cats are raping their kids.

I'd noticed that the cats around my block are disappearing in large numbers and I refuse to believe many kind souls took them into their homes. I'm literally watching cats disappear on a monthly basis. So I disagree that streets are great homes for cats.

They don't know their days are numbered but I do. I'm sure their feeders are dreading the days when their cats disappear and not turn up during their meal times.
Try the blocks around AMK 202 and I'm sure their feeders will have horror stories about missing cats.

Rare are the block cats that are left alone to live to a ripe old age.

23/11/07 7:11 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

surferkat - cats RAPING kids? This is the first time I've heard that one I have to say.

Here's the flip side - I see a lot of cats shoved into cages and tiny rooms (and sometimes in cages IN tiny rooms or even bathrooms or corridors) by people who think that life on the street is miserable. I can tell you that having seen too many of those cats that their lives truly look miserable - when you don't have room to stand, and you sit in your own urination, and you die of disease because you're stuck with a lot of other cats ina dirty, badly ventilated room.

I don't think that people are taking cats into their homes either at your area - chances are that they're being caught because there are complaints. Have you spoken with your TC to find out what's happening there?

As for caregivers in that area - I don't know any though I recall there being some complaints in that area a while ago. Have they ever been in touch with the TC?

All cats days are numbered - so are ours. Sometimes the difference is in HOW we choose to live and not just the fact that we're alive.

23/11/07 7:42 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

dawn, i think what surferkat means is - those 'ugly singaporeans' behave AS IF the cats are raping their kids :-) ... the way they shield their precious children from the stray cats ...

to all - ideally, each HDB flat is home to two happy cats (not more, please) ... and the cats are kept safely indoors ... since life is seldom perfect, the next best solution is cats living in the void decks who are well taken care of, without ugly singaporeans complaining abt them all the time ...

23/11/07 8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ideally cats belong indoor, cuddle by owner and sleep in warm comforter during cold, raining season.
Outdoor cat has a shorter lifespan, pest control just grab the friendly ones and claim profits. If you question their moral ethics, they could say they are only doing their ( murderous )job.

One part of coastal Singapore, cats are being routinely killed by pack of stray dogs, tiny kittens eaten by dogs. Feeders came face to face with 9 stray dogs at 4am.

23/11/07 9:17 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Belle - I stand corrected if that's what Surferket meant :)

Anonymous and Belle of course that's the ideal but right now that's not what is happening as Belle said. If people keep taking cats and putting them into homes/shelters, etc, it doesn't solve the problem of overpopulation. In other words you are playing catch up - and will never be able to, because for every litter taken off the street, nothing is done to stop the mother reproducing.

I still think a lot of the reasons why cats AREN'T safe is that there are still quite a few caregivers who are not working or trying to work with their town council or management. So when there is a complaint the cats are caught. Pest control should not be called in at all - and that's certainly easier to achieve for now then ensuring every cat has a home.

23/11/07 9:31 PM  
Blogger EJ. said...

'One part of coastal Singapore, cats are being routinely killed by pack of stray dogs, tiny kittens eaten by dogs. Feeders came face to face with 9 stray dogs at 4am.'
by anonymous.

This is scary and sad. Hope something can be done to protect the tiny kittens.

24/11/07 7:38 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Not every place is a good situation and place for the cats to be - but relocation should always be the last resort. I'm not sure which coast this is on but I do know another coastal project where sterilisation is going on well. The problem now is to find management afterward.

24/11/07 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all, I think besides trying to ease the HDB ban. There is the topic of obsession with predigree cats. This is a topic that is a flame bait each time it is discussed but I will still go ahead anyway as I feel its time we talk about it honestly.

The main issue here is that there are a significant number of cat owners, cat lovers etc who feel that predigree cats are better. Even though some have domestic cats as pets, they take them as subsitutes till they have the montetary means to buy a predigree cat. In adoption forums, mention local cat and not much interest is generated. While else just mention the magic word siamese, persian and your inbox and phone will ring non stop from "interested parties". Also I have heard statments like "Cats in the streets are not of my doing and that shouldnt stop me from getting the breed that I want"

I have nothing against predigree cats but is it not ironic, we have so many friendly and perfectly adoptable cats out in the streets simply because they are not the right "breed". To make matters worse many predigree cat owners dont neuter their cats as they feel predigree cats should be left intact as they are of a "superior" breed. Often they also breed their cats so as to "ensure the predigree breed carries on" Result? More babies....

Perhaps we should start educating these people, some of which are children that the "street cat" is not different from that "Persian, Siamese, Shorthair" that they must get.

24/11/07 2:14 PM  
Blogger Surferket said...

The problem with "branded" cats is that if the owner is living in a HDB flat then the chance is very high that branded or not cat/s is/are likely to become one of the countless pitiful abandoned community cats that care-givers end up trying to help once their high-class uppity owners get cold feet over AVA ckecks.

24/11/07 10:26 PM  

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