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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Residents speaking up

Say I work in a shop and I have clients who buy merchandise from this shop. Now should any of these clients have a problem with my service, or are not happy with my merchandise and they complain to me, I'll take this seriously. After all, if not, they may complain to my boss who owns the shop about me and I might get fired. So it's in my interest to keep my clients happy.

Now say someone else walks into the shop and they have several things they're unhappy about and they bring them to my attention. They don't buy anything and aren't clients. If I have the time (or I'm a smart employee and want to keep everyone happy), I'll take their feedback into account. However if I'm not so far-sighted, or if I already have too many clients to handle I may disregard the complaints from this third party. After all, this person is not a client - and if I am keeping my clients happy and not able to cope with other third parties, I can't be blamed.

The point of this analogy is this : substitute the employee in the shop for TC officers, the clients as residents and the third party who doesn't buy anything for CWS and you'll see what I'm getting at.

I spoke with some people today who kept saying that since we're CWS we have a certain amount of power among the TCs and I told them that they're mistaken. The reason that most TC officers and TCs even speak with us is that we are calling to speak with them about their residents - ie caregivers who live in their estate. Of course they're usually happy if we are able to come up with solutions to their problems, but if they have a very angry resident who wants the cats removed, versus CWS asking them please not to do so, most of the time, they'll listen to the resident.

This is why it's so important for residents to speak with their officers. One woman today told me that she did not know why the cats were caught. It turns out she and the others in her area all liaise with the officer through another woman, who often cannot be reached so she has no idea if there were complaints in her area. I told her that she should let her TC know that she is there and willing to help.

Another wanted us to pass a message to her TC because we're CWS - I told her it's more important that she's a resident and they'll take what she says seriously.

We're more than happy to help caregivers and TCs but TCs are sometimes in a difficult position as well. If it's perceived that their residents are complaining about the cats and want them removed, and no one is speaking up FOR them, then it puts them in a tough spot.

It's also not a good idea to do a 'surprise attack' on a TC. A feeder arranged a meeting for Wednesday and he wants us to come, but he (1) did not tell the TC he asked us and (2) did not even tell the TC what he wanted to see them about. Be upfront with your TC just as you expect them to be with you.

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Harmony Pillar Mockup


Harmony Pillar Mockup
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Corbie showed me the mockup that she planned for the Harmony Pillar. She has put in a lot of hard work into the pillar and painstakingly cut out the letters for the signs you see at the top of the photo, despite feeling ill of late.

Thanks Corbie!

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Harmony Pillar

Am heading down to Corbie's place now to work on the Harmony Pillar design!

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Acting before there is a complaint

It is a good idea to act if you think there is a problem in your area before a complaint comes in. For example, there is a potential problem in your area, do try and deal with it before someone lodges a complaint with a town council.

I texted a feeder this morning as there was a complaint about a cat running into his unit. There were no further details so I emailed the complainant to ask for more information. In the meantime however, I decided to alert the feeder first.

The feeder wrote back to say that he knew that there was a cat that ran upstairs all the time but he wanted to be sure it was not their cat. I asked why this cat was running upstairs. He said that there was probably someone feeding upstairs.

I advised him to try and handle problems before they cropped up.

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Powers of welfare groups

I just received an email from a woman who wanted to know about the kitten on the string (I have been getting more emails about this case of late). She wanted to know why we left the kitten with the man. She was surprised when I explained to her that the SPCA, ourselves and any of the other animal welfare groups have no police powers. We cannot seize an animal or arrest someone because we do not have that power under the law. The only people who do have the power are the police and the AVA.

By the same token, if there is an abuse case, while it is good to keep the animal welfare groups informed, again none of us can arrest the perpetrator. The only people who can do so again are either the police or the AVA.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Letting TCs know there are caregivers in the estate

I had an email from an officer asking us to let him know how many cats in the estate are taken care of by CWS. He said that we are to remove all the cats on a certain date at a certain time because cats found in the area will be removed. I wrote back to check if he meant sterilised cats too would be taken but have not gotten a reply.

I have noticed that there is a tendency among some TC officers to assume the cats 'belong' to CWS or are somehow part of our portfolio. I am beginning to think this leads to a situation whereby when there is a problem, they feel that these cats should be referred to us to be removed as it's part of our job to do so. It's almost as if we are another authority that they can refer situations to - ie litter to NEA, housing issues to HDB, etc.

What doesn't come across then is the fact that these cats are part of the community and the environment and are being managed by the TC's own residents. This is made worse when the caregivers either have not contacted the TC or do not wish to do so. A feeder contacted me today and said that some other feeders had called her and wanted her to call the TC because some of their cats were missing. She then asked me if I could call. I asked why they were not contacting the TC and she said they did not know how to do so.

I told her I would be happy to speak with them and give them information on how to contact the TC but that they need to speak with their TC directly. If not, there's a sense that the cats don't really 'belong' to the community and aren't really looked after by residents - after all in these cases, the residents never call the TC. This gives the impression to some TCs that the only people who care are CWS, who seem to be the only ones calling. And we're not even residents there and not part of their constituency!

This clearly isn't the case - we KNOW there are a lot of people who care for the cats and look after them and that's why it's important for all these people to speak to their TCs and let them know that they are out there.

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I have to let my cats out

I just spoke with a woman who said she was getting visits and letters from the TC and HDB. She had several complaints (since last year) about her cats as she let them out to sit in the nineth floor corridor. However it seems that she ignored these warnings because she said the cats looked 'sad' sitting indoors. Now she is thinking of sending them to a cattery to live in.

I asked her why she kept letting the cats out despite knowing that the neighbours had a problem with them going out. She insisted that her cats are very good, they are cute and harmless. She said they never give any problems. Then she said that the main thing is that her neighbours on both sides don't like her and that they are using the cats as an excuse though she has never spoken with any of her neighbours.

I said that in that case why give the neighbours extra ammunition? I said that if she kept them indoors, then at least she eliminates this aspect of it at least.

She kept insisting that it's important to let them out to enjoy 'nature' and see the sun and the birds. I asked her what nature she expects them to see on the nineth floor since she insists they never go down besides the floor below.

In addition, a few of her cats had disappeared - but of course the current lot she has won't do so because they're 'responsible'. I told her that it's safer for the cats to be kept indoors. She said that they might meow to be let out. I told her that a baby might cry to be allowed to run into traffic - but a responsible parent would not let the baby do so. She said that was different, as that was dangerous behaviour. I told her letting a cat out was just as dangerous in some respects.

Then she complained about how people pose the most danger to cats. I told her that may well be the case - but in that case, isn't it better to keep the cats in?

In the end I told her it's her decision. I told her if it's so important for her to let the cats out and run the risk, that's entirely up to her. I told her though that I think her cats which she says are timid, would be happier indoors rather than in a cattery with a lot of other cats they don't know.

She also told me that she had picked up kittens and brought them to the SPCA because she felt bad they were crying downstairs. She knew that the SPCA has no choice but to put most cats down, but she felt as they were kittens they would be fine. She said that she could not take the sound of their crying. I suggested just feeding the kittens downstairs next time.

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Kitten on string update


Kitten on string update
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I dropped some brochures by MUIS, went to drop some photocopying off and went to buy envelopes as Rebecca is running low as well.

I stopped by to look in on the kitten. Unfortunately now, in addition to a collar the man is using a metal leash which he attaches to the kitten. I asked what was wrong with the harness and he said that people had snipped it off six times (not quite sure how he fixed it back together). He says this is safer for him. I tried to tell him that it's not very safe for the cat but he showed me he checks the chain every day and that there is leeway for the kitten (there is). The kitten looked quite healthy. The man of course was right next to the kitten.

He told me again he's thinking of leaving and will give me the kitten when he does.

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Sterilisation brochures

We're ordering new sterilisation brochures because we're running out of brochures, especially as MUIS has kindly offered to take 3000 in English and Malay to distribute to the mosques. We're ordering more brochures and Moove Media has also offered to help us put some in their taxis. I'm heading down to MUIS now to give them the brochures I have on hand and will give them the rest once they are printed (in about two weeks).

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Hand Foot and Mouth

There's been so much (unnecessary) worry about cats affecting children's health - but look at what has really been affecting children's health :-

688 cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Recorded Last Week

Singapore hasn't seen end of Hand Foot and Mouth Outbreak

If there were 688 cases of any disease in one week related to cats, you can bet there would be a mass killing.

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Asking the right questions

I received an email from a TC officer yesterday night about some complaints. One of these complaints had been forwarded previously. A caregiver went down and could not find the cat which is purportedly lurking on the third floor and walking into the complainant's home daily.

Now I don't doubt that the cat may well be there and have been walking around, but as I pointed out to the officer, we sent them a checklist of questions to put to the complainants so that we would have a better idea of what the problem was.

As we had explained to this particular TC (and they had agreed to get all their officers to use the checklist), they don't need to fill out every single question as per the list as long as they understand the gist of what they need to ask. For example, with this cat on the third floor - what time is the cat seen, what colour is the cat, does the complainant know of anyone who may have a free-roaming pet cat or who is feeding the cat upstairs? The complainant may know the answer to some or all of these questions and it would be very helpful in solving the problem.

Referring the same problem with no further information is not helpful. How many times does the officer want the caregiver to go down? If she goes down three times and does not find the cat, what then? It may be that the cat only comes out at a certain time (for example when the owner lets the cat out). Would it be so difficult to ask for this information?

It does strike me as odd sometimes about the fact that so little information is solicited by some officers. In one case I recall, the complaint was that there were 'cats'.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that in order to try and solve the problem at the root, we need to try and find out as much relevant information as possible. I know not every officer may have any knowledge of cats and that's perfectly understandable. That's why we have the complaint checklist to provide them with the sort of questions they need to ask. To be honest, some officers have not needed to use it because they have been able to ask for the right sort of information - and I would guess these officers would be more efficient in handling any type of complaint, cat related or not.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Talking to the TC

One of the caregivers called me today to ask me to speak to a young woman who was feeding some cats in an area. There had been complaints there and the young woman had in fact already started sterilising. The caregiver offered to be the mediator between the complainant and the woman and said that the complainant was agreeable to the cats being sterilised. The complainant thought the cats were taken away and adopted and did not want them killed. At the same time, the young woman will feed further away from the complainant's ground floor flat. The caregiver was trying to get her to get in touch with the TC. However this young woman was reluctant.

I spoke with her and told her that it was really important for her to get in touch with her TC. This is because firstly, she is a resident there and it's good for her to get to know her officer. That way if there are any problems, they can call her directly as well. Secondly, it's good to build up a personal relationship with your officer. While I speak with many officers, the problem is that it's very hard for me to build up any kind of relationship with too many of them just because of the sheer number of officers. If you have one officer you deal with all the time though, you can (and should) get to know the well. Quite a few caregivers have good relationships with their officers and this can make a lot of difference. Officers are more likely to cut the caregiver more slack or even warn caregivers of problems that crop up. If the officer doesn't know you though, they're unlikely to do this.

Another reason which I pointed out to her is that if none of the caregivers want to get in touch with the officers and the TC, it gives a very unbalanced view of the situation. It may seem as if a lot of people are complaining about the cats but very few who like the cats or care for them. If the TC sees that there are a lot of caregivers, it will influence how they react too.

She agreed and said she'd call them up.

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My cats are Cool


My cats are Cool, Copyright Robert McClintock
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This lovely postcard was one I picked up at the gallery of Robert McClintock who does 'digital art'.

Here's a link to his website and his cat works.

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MUIS taking brochures

Rebecca and I were speaking today about the outreach programme to religious institutions. I had sent an email to MUIS earlier in the month but did not get a reply. When I wrote again today, it seems that the person I corresponded with had already sent out the brochures by email to the different mosques. I asked if physical brochures would help and he said that they would so I'll be sending over brochures to them. Looks like we need to print more!

The gentleman also asked if any of the mosques would let us speak with their congregation on sterilisation but so far there has been no response.

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Anonymous blog comments

I've had feedback from several people in the past about not allowing Anonymous postings in the comment section. I've hesitated in the past as I want to make it easy for people to post if they so wish without having to register. However, I do feel it is getting a little confusing as has been seen in some recent posts when there are several Anonymous people all posting at the same time. It's hard to tell one person apart from another.

As a result, I'm going to ask that if you post a comment that you please add your name or nickname to it - you can do so by clicking the "Other" button. You do not need to register. This will make it easier to tell different people apart. You can also choose to sign your name off even if you post as Anonymous. We'll see how this goes and if it works better!

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AVA reply

The AVA wrote back about their policy change over the weekend and we sent a reply today.

The AVA said replied that they felt it would be irresponsible to return the cats after the TCs have caught them should the cat be found to have caused a nuisance of be found near a food centre. They said that in the past, they had returned the cats when a letter was furnished by the TC.

It was stated that during SARS when the cats caught was quite large that they returned them to the caregivers. However this practice was not found to be working well. Also they felt that circumstances had changed and that the TCs did not trap as many sterilised cats now.

The email also stated that the TCs had met with the AVA recently and that they had complaints from the TCs about irresponsible and demanding feeders who were abusive to the TCs.

We replied that as far as we were aware, caregivers were allowed to claim the cats back with or without the letters - the difference was in whether the cats had to be microchipped or not. Also, if the cats are taken off the streets and into caregivers' homes as an undertaking for the cats to be returned if there was no letter.

In addition, we stated that to cancel a programme because the TC deals with a few difficult residents is a shame. At the same time, we see the TCs dealing with difficult residents who complain about the cats all the time. We reiterated that we felt that difficult residents, whether they be complainants or caregivers, should not be dealt with and this will help solve matters. It's a matter of common courtesy - not something to do with the cats.

It is unusual that the TC should feel that these cats which cause 'nuisance' are removed from the streets and are still causing them problems. Perhaps these aren't even the same cats causing the problem, the vacuum effect is coming into play or that the problem was not resolved at the root cause. If not, and the cats are removed, then why should the TCs be unhappy? As far as I know, most caregivers do not release the cats back onto the streets again if they were caught because of fear that the cats will definitely be put down if caught again. If so and removal is working so well, then why is there still an issue?

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Project Million Lotus

I'm back to work today.

CWS has been asked to take part in Project Million Lotus and part of this project involves working on a Harmony Pillar. We've been asked to decorate the pillar and would like to ask for your help with contributions and stories. Committee member Corbie has kindly agreed to be in charge of this and will be handling submissions. We're asking for stories of around 300 words each though we can't promise to use each and every story. We'd certainly like to promote sterilisation on this pillar but would be open to other stories and stories of compassion, responsible caregiving, etc. Do drop us an email if you'd be able to take part!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Exhibition

I went to see a very interesting exhibition today :-

Home and Beast

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Pet Food probe

This just gets stranger and stranger :-

Pet Food probe turns to possibility of fraud

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Have a good weekend


Have a good weekend
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

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Abuse and witnesses

This has been written about and I know some of you probably have heard this for the nth time, but I do think it's important enough to write about again.

Someone wrote in to say there was a problem with cats getting abused in an area. However she heard it from someone who heard it from someone she knew who was the person who allegedly saw the abuse occurring. I understand the person who wrote in really wanted to help and to stop the abuse. The most important thing however is that the witness has to come forward. There have been many cases where there are people who hear about the abuse and want to do something but the person who actually witnesses it is not willing to do anything. In that case, I'm sorry to say that nothing CAN be done.

So what do you do if you know of someone who saw a cat being abused (or a friend of a friend)? You have to ask the witness to make a police report. Does this make it difficult to prosecute? Yes it does. Does it make it tough to find evidence? It does as well. However there do have to be checks and balances - otherwise innocent people could potentially be found guilty of something they did not do. If an accusation was all that was needed, many innocent people could be found guilty. Hopefully the witness will come forward because it could stop cats from being abused.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Claiming cats back

I just had an SMS from a feeder who wanted to know how to reclaim a cat that had been trapped. The officer said that they were willing to write a letter apparently but did not know what was needed.

Basically if a cat you are looking after is trapped, call your officer and ask them to write a letter saying they have no objection to the cat being released to you and have them send it to the AVA. I believe that is all that is needed as we have been told of no additional requirements.

Our email to the AVA has not been responded to yet and we'll have more information once we get that.

I also got an email from a reporter asking about this but right now we really don't have very much more information either.

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Natural Balance Recalled

Another pet food gets recalled. Thanks Ivan and Aminah for sending this in :-

Natural Balance recalled

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hotmail accounts

We're having some problems emailing hotmail accounts since the server migration. For some reason, it has been bounced back by hotmail and they will not deliver the messages from our domain name. It is being looked into and we apologise for any inconvenience. In the meantime please do email us from an alternative account if you have one.

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Pet Shop SMS

Thanks Eslina for sending this article in about the SMSes about the dogs. It just goes to show how good intentions (and SMSes) can really get twisted :-

Pet Shop SMS

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Post Boxes

Some of you may have read about the post boxes that were to be decorated. Here's a series of those post boxes. Note the one called Cats in Red Lights :-

STAMP

We may need your help with designing a pillar soon. More details once we've firmed up plans.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Better than Botox


Better than Botox
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I liked this sign very much! In the background, you can see the buildings of downtown Chicago (incidentally a beautiful city!).

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Window front


Window front
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

The window front of the adoption centre looks out onto a street downtown so people walking by can look in and see the animals.

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Cat up for adoption at the Anti-cruelty Society, Chicago


Cat up for adoption at the Anti-cruelty Society, Chicago
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This lovely cat is up for adoption at the Anti-Cruelty Society at Chicago and the little pink string is tied to the cage for the cat to play with.

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Pet Shop SMS causes stir

Here's the article in today's Digital Life on the Pet Shop SMS. Apparently no one has been able to trace the person whose name was in the SMS.

Pet Shop SMS causes stir

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Registration desk


Registration desk
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is the registration desk for the conference - my flight got in a little early so I was one of the earlier people there. The conference was held at the Anti-Cruelty Society and the building and facilities were impressive, especially their adoption facilities, photos of which I'll post a little later.

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Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago


Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I spent the day in Chicago on Friday attending an Alley Cat Allies conference and meeting with some people working with cats from all over the USA. It was a lovely opportunity to meet and talk to people -and it also reminds me that despite all the differences in culture, geography, etc that many of the same challenges face us all.

I have to add that the people I spoke with loved the term community cats! :) I first heard it at the Asia for Animals Conference myself when the Asian countries spoke of community animals.

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Pet Shop in Joo Chiat

Several of you probably got an email about a pet shop in Joo Chiat closing down and needing to rehome some dogs as I received several SMSes from people. TarsierGirl called them up and no one answered. Apparently the SPCA was unable to get through to them too.

She also looked up pet shops in Joo Chiat and there seems to be only one - and they said it wasn't them. Thanks Tarsiergirl for looking into it. Did anyone else get through?

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Server migration

Hello everyone - if you've been emailing and cannot get through, our apologies. We migrated servers over the weekend and tI had some problems configuring my email (still am but it's coming through now!)

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Cats in flats in Parliament

Here's the recent debate about cats in HDB flats in Parliament. You might find the questions and answers fairly interesting.

This is from the NMP, Siew Kum Hong's blog.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

PM's Donation to Charity

I'm sure many of you have already read the Prime Minister's very generous decision to donate his pay rise for the next five years to charity. I wonder if animal welfare organisations might be the beneficiaries of his largess? Perhaps we can write in and ask if he might consider giving some money for sterilisation if not to a specific charity?

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Cat Getting out of a Bag


Cat Getting out of a Bag
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I bought this cute comic book on cats.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Retrieving cats

I just spoke with a feeder. Some caregivers in another area found out there were complaints in this area and wanted to see how they could help which is very kind of them. I managed to speak with the feeder today. She mentioned that she does feed the cats, but they're not really her cats - and as a result, they may get angry with her if she tries to trap them. I explained she should consider using a cat trap. However, she said that she did not think this was feasible. She also told me that even if she sterilises them, they might get caught by the TC.

I asked if the TC knows that she is the caregiver there and she said no. She did not have the time to get involved as she has grandchildren. She also said that she thinks her family might not be happy.

We've just sent another email to the AVA to ask about their policy of not returning cats without letters from the TC. However in the meantime what can be done is that caregivers should really try and contact their TCs and let them know they are managing the cats there if they have not already done so. This new policy will actually not have very much impact on people are already working with their TCs as I mentioned in an earlier post. It will however affect people like this feeder who do not wish to work with their TC.

Some people have mentioned that their TCs are unsympathetic or difficult. I do sympathise but then it's important to seek the advice of your MPs. Often what happens is that the TC gets complaints from people who do not want the cats - but no feedback or little feedback from the caregivers. In addition, the MPs do not hear from caregivers, nor are many of them aware that their own residents are putting in time, money and effort to get the cats sterilised. If they are aware of this, many if not all, are sympathetic and helpful. It is important to understand why sterilisation and management are better options so you can explain it to your TC or your MP. If you have need of any information on TNRM, do drop me an email or go to the Society's website and email us there.

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ST (11-4-07)

Thanks to Corinna for sending this in :-

Praise for cat lovers who spend time caring for strays

Another nice letter.

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Cat taking a bus

Here's a fun article about a cat that has learnt how to take a bus - though of course I don't think this would be very welcome in Singapore, and from the comments in the article, may not be very welcome in England either!

Mystery Cats takes regular bus

Thanks Simian for sending this in.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Abuse cases in Lianhe Zaobao

Kootoo Monster sent me an article from the Lianhe Zaobao today. It seems five cats were found dead - a cat was thrown from the twelfth floor in Clementi and apparently in a very gruesome find, someone called the SPCA to report that a mother cat had her belly slashed and three 3-month old kittens were found with their skulls cracked.

How someone can think that an abuser of animals is just 'angry at cats' is beyond me when the violence done can only be disproportionate to anything the cat could possibly have done. The cat is small and essentially defenceless compared to a person. I can't imagine that it would take all that much for that same someone to be angry enough to commit violence against another person.

Thanks Kootoo Monster for the article and translation.

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ST (10-4-07)

Another letter on bringing back the SCRS :-

Baffled by AVA's response to free sterilisation request

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Monday, April 09, 2007

AVA replies

I received an email from the AVA today. It says that since the SCRS was cancelled in 2003, that the cats cannot be returned unless the town council has given a letter to the caregiver to redeem the cats so to speak.

This is very odd as caregivers used to be allowed to take cats out as well but with microchips inserted and they had to promise not to return the cats to the streets. CWS bought microchips and left them there in fact for this very reason so that caregivers would be able to reclaim their cats.

I'm writing to them again to enquire about this.

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Feeding and Hunting

Someone wrote in today to say that they had met someone who again said that they were with CWS. This person apparently drives into his estate at night to feed the cats there. He says that the cats are making a lot of noise at night and that the woman, when he spoke to her was very rude and said she was just showing compassion.

He did say he thought she was spoiling their natural instincts by feeding them and that they should be hunting for their own food and this was damaging their genes. I wrote back to explain that cats hunt because of instinct, and not because of food, and that whether they were fed or not, they would continue to hunt.

I did add however that the cats ought to be sterilised and that if she was a responsible caregiver that she should be doing that.

After a lot of rescheduling (the person with the cats was sick, his mother was not well, etc), Rebecca picked up all the rest of these cats last night. She also released the first batch of cats who are now well enough. We hope that they'll be okay.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

ST (7-4-07)

Good letter in today's papers that tackles abandonment :-

Town Councils please educate irresponsible pet owners

Thanks Vegancat for sending this in.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Kitten on a string


Kitten on a string
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Thanks to Angela for sending this in. She went by and checked up on kitten on a string. She said he looked well.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Cat released

I just spoke with this caregiver and she was able to get a letter from her TC and her cat was released.

However all the concerns raised are still worrying. How long will the cats be held for? I am sure that they still need to be held for a certain number of days at least, which was what happened in the past - but how long? Will that be affected? What if as someone said, the TC cannot be contacted?

I am not sure what brought about the policy change which is why we need to find out.

The best thing though you can do is to contact your TC and let them know that you are the caregiver there if you have not already done that. If the TC has an arrangement with you, then the cats should not be caught in the first place - and if there is a mistake, they should write you a letter.

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Change in policy?

I just spoke with a caregiver who said that one of her sterilised cats was caught by mistake when the cats were trapped in her area. There is a persistent complainant there and I advised her to seek help from her MP.

On approaching the AVA to have her cat returned, she was allegedly told that the policy has now changed and that the AVA will not return tipped ear, sterilised cats unless the TC issues a letter to say that the cats may be returned. I have just written to the AVA to clarify. In the past of course, any sterilised cat could be returned - if the TC was agreeable, the cat would be returned. If the TC was not agreeable, the cat could still be released but had to be microchipped and could not be placed back on the street.

This does not mean that there will be increased trapping or an mass culling exercise. This does however mean that it may be very difficult for you to claim your cats if they are mistakenly caught and if the TC will not issue a letter to release the cats to you. Do be extra vigilant about your cats till we find out what is happening.

In theory, those caregivers who are already working with the TC will not be affected even if this new policy is true. For these caregivers, the TC would have first contacted them for help to handle the complaint. Failing that, the caregivers would either remove the cat or ask the TC to step in. As such, no sterilised cats will generally be caught. If a cat is caught by mistake, caregivers working with their TCs will generally already go to the TC and ask for a letter and the cat will be released without a microchip.

However this does have implications for caregivers who do not want to work with their TCs or whose TCs either do not want to work with them, or will not release these cats. They will then not be allowed to claim the cats even if they are sterilised.

It does also mean that it's even more imperative for caregivers to work with their TCs as we have been saying. I just had a feeder write in and tell me that she did not want to alert the TC to the fact that she was managing the cats there for fear of attracting unnecessary attention. She may in fact be achieving exactly what she does not want. She herself may not get the attention- but her cats may - and negative repercussions could follow if there are complaints and no caregiver that the TC knows of in the area.

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Birthday party


Birthday party
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Thanks to E_cat for sending in this lovely photo he took over the weekend. This is Napoleon who as you can see, has found a loving home :)

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Feeder wants cats removed

After speaking with this difficult man, another caregiver just emailed. It turns out that he called her this afternoon and said that if the TC or anyone from CWS calls him again, he is going straight to his MP to complain about the cats and insist that he wants them removed.

The caregiver told him that if he has a problem with feeding, then he should just STOP feeding. However he insisted that he has a right to feed and that everyone should leave him alone because he has family problems.

The caregiver is now very worried that he'll start stirring up (even more) trouble for the cats. I told her that I think we should bring this up to the TC and let them know about him.

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Difficult parties

I just emailed this TC officer again. I had been asking him if he could speak with the feeder as the feeder was rather difficult. I had emailed on Friday to ask if the officer would speak with him and had reminded him yesterday and said that I would get his number if he was willing to do so.

The officer wrote again today to say that they wanted the cats removed by this week or they will move in and 'curl' the cat. Now we have an understanding with this TC that they will help out if there are difficult residents who will not speak with or listen to the caregiver (and most officers are fhelpful about this). I asked if the officer was willing to help. He said if I got a number that he can call during office hours he would do so. I have since passed him the number.

I also got hold of the alleged feeder. Rebecca and I had both been trying. First I was passed to his father who kept saying he didn't feed, then it turned out whomever answered had passed me to the wrong person. When I got hold of the middle aged feeder, he started to tell me he was having problems. They were getting evicted from their flat. His father was scolding him (I could hear the father in the background) and he felt unwelcome in his own home. He started asking me if we can just deal with it as he is having enough problems. I asked if he was feeding the cats upstairs. He denied it, but I told him some other residents had pointed him out. He then told me again he's facing a lot of issues. I said I was calling to ask if he might want to remove the cats (one of the caregivers had heard him say so). I said the TC was threatening to otherwise. He then asked us to take care of the cats. He said he has enough issues on his own. Then he hung up on me.

So far the funny thing is that despite what the TC officer has said, the complainant seems to be the most reasonable person of the three. I spoke with him just now, explained the holdup and said we would keep him updated once we heard from the TC. He seemed agreeable.

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CWS flyer on notice board


cws flyer on notice board
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Eslina sent this photo with the CWS brochure on her council notice board. I was very glad to see it!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Discrimination?

I just spoke with a complainant who was quite upset about the cleanliness in her block. She said that there was defecation on her car as well as cat food. I told her that it was highly unlikely that the cat would defecate on her car and that it might be someone throwing food and defecation out the window. She said that it was quite possible that was happening.

I think the main problem is that she has brought this up to the TC several times and that there was no response. It's only when she's starting to get very very angry that something is being done (the block was washed today). She said that she had to threaten to go to the MP and the forum page before they did anything. She asked me if it was because she was a minority. I told her that I doubted that she was being discriminated against based on her race. I also explained that while she had been complaining for a while, the caregiver had just been told about the situation today and asked for some time to look into it.

She was agreeable. She also said that it wasn't the fault of the cats.

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Rebecca demonstrating use of the trap


Rebecca demonstrating use of the trap
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I'm out of the country for a holiday at the moment but will update if there is anything of interest. Here's another photo of the workshop - Rebecca is demonstrating the trap to some of the participants.

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Workshop


Workshop
Originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here are the participants at the workshop on Sunday watching a video on TNRM by Alley Cat Allies. We were glad that so many people came down and had a chance to meet each other.

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