Friday, February 29, 2008

Lazy Afternoon

Lazy Afternoon, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

This is especially for Eslina who said that she likes photos of Scout :)

Today (29-2-08)

Thank you to Eslina for sending in these letters in Today - more about the ban on importing dogs.

ST (29-2-08)

Here's a reader's response to the problem of pedigree dogs being abandoned in today's Straits Times. Unfortunately it doesn't solve the problem of people who already have dogs and who don't want to license them. Any imported dogs that are brought in are currently microchipped - but not dogs bred locally.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feeders unconcerned

I was just speaking to a caregiver who said that there are people putting traps upstairs in a block of flats because there have been people feeding cats outside their door. The caregiver sterilised some of these cats years ago but the cats are now in trouble because of the complaints.

The caregiver spoke to several of the people who are feeding in the area. However none of them want to help. One claimed she was too busy at work. One said that it was too difficult to claim the cats back (even though the caregiver offered to go down with them). Another said that he would offer up prayers for the cats - but will not take the cats back though he told the caregivers that some of these cats were with him since they were kittens.

This is not the first time this has happened to the caregiver - because she has taken in cats before from other feeders who do not want the cats. Her own flat is getting too crowded to take in more cats.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Senior dogs and cats

This is a great video about how in Japan, the market to provide services for senior dogs and cats is starting to boom.

Monday, February 25, 2008

ST (25-2-08)

Thanks to Vegancat for sending this in. The persistent cat complainant writes in yet again - this does go to show to me that the 'silent majority' (and I've always wondered how you can assume that they are the silent majority - if they're silent, how do you know they're the majority?) is a vocal minority. I'm quite willing to accept that the people who care for cats as much as most of us do are a minority too - but I'm not willing to accept that most people don't like cats or want them killed. In my experience, most people are against killing - they just want their problems solved, unlike this writer.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Watch this video of a woman and the lion she rescued six years ago. It's pretty amazing.

'Free' Sterilisation service

I was speaking with a caregiver who told me that she is seeing an increase of dumping in her area. However, she also noticed that when she took some of the cats for sterilisation, they disappeared the same day they were released! When she walked around to try and find out what had happened because they hadn't been trapped, she found some of these cats in homes. She asked some of these owners why they had picked the cat up, and she said they told her that they felt sorry for the cats. She said she thought it was a little too coincidental that they happened to disappear practically the minute they were sterilised - and that they had appeared in the first place as she had suspected they were dumped. She thinks they may now be using her as a free sterilisation service.

At the same time, she noticed that some of the older cats were also thrown out once they were sick or old. It's strange that none of these people would just approach the caregiver. If they were having real financial issues, she's such a kind woman that I am sure they would help out. Having to use strange stratagems like this is just dishonest.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cats save couple

These cats alerted their people to a fire that broke out. Both of them are rescue cats. Hopefully the remaining cat is found!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How animals think

Here's an interesting article about animals and the way they think. Scientists say that initial studies show that they are smart, but that they do not behave in the same way people with autism do.

Also National Geographic this month has an interesting article called Animal Minds.

Unsterilised cats caught

There have been a number of emails flying, and SMSes going around about some unsterilised cats in a certain part of Singapore since last week. The TC in this area works with the caregivers there. There are however several problems in this case.

Firstly, this area has been the subject of several complaints since last year. A caregiver went down to check it out, and spoke with the people in the area, several of whom were feeding cats outside their flats. The caregiver in fact spoke with a complainant who had a mother cat giving birth to several kittens outside her home on a high floor of the block at the time, and who did not want them killed, but who wanted to know what could be done to stop the kittens going up. She also asked the people there to stop feeding the cats outside their flats which obviously didn't work.

Unfortunately, and also understandably, no one else came forward to help because all of them are busy in their own areas. This entire area has no caregiver nor anyone else who can come forward, which happens. There are many areas fortunately that have very good caregivers - but there are also many areas where there is absolutely no one responsible in the area. This does not imply that there are no feeders - it does mean that there are no responsible caregivers.

Now either one or three cats were caught last week. There are some nice caregivers who are willing to take the cats in and get it sterilised. However as I said this poses certain issues. The town council is clearly going to wonder where everyone was when the complaints occurred - ie why did this caregivers not come forward earlier when there were complaints and offer to help then?

In addition, there are other unsterilised cats there AND other complaints. It still seems that no one knows anyone responsible in the area. So then what is going to happen even if these unsterilised cats are released? If no one goes down, helps to solve the problem AND sterilise the remaining unsterilised cats there, then this is going to reoccur.

Furthermore, I understand they are thinking of taking the cats out and adopting them out. While that's very kind of them, here's the thing. No one knows these cats nor whether they are adoptable. What happens if they are taken out and cannot be rehomed? Where do they go then because they will clearly be microchipped as they weren't sterilised?

While I am glad so many people are taking an interest in these cats and wanting to rescue them, it does make me wonder, why these cats in particular? As far as I know, no one knows these cats personally. Here's my question - what about all the other cats at the AVA that are caught? Why isn't there a huge outpour of emotion to try and get all of THEM out? Amongst them, there are some unclaimed sterilised cats too, which means that at some point in their lives, they did get some care - they were sterilised after all. There are also even more unsterilised cats whom no one has ever taken care of. Why aren't people asking for these cats to be released?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Gate, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Sometimes when you close the door to your room, it can get a little stuffy (even if there are ample windows). So we decided to try a baby gate - this way the cats in one room can look at the cats in the other room without fighting, and so far no one has jumped over the gate. These are the same kind of gates you use to keep from letting babies get out of the room. Here are Meep and Scout checking each other out through the gate.

Monday, February 18, 2008

ST (18-2-08)

Nice reply by the SPCA in today's Forum page.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dogs in Iraq

Two heart-wrenching stories about dogs in Iraq and the soldiers who looked after them. The first is an absolutely amazing story about a dog who walked seventy miles to find the soldier who looked after him. Here's a video. The second is about a soldier who died in Iraq and whose family arranged for the dogs he looked after to be brought to the US to live with them.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ikea high chair

Ikea high chair, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

For those of you who may not have gone to Ikea recently, this is their new cat stool. It's fairly pricey though and I'm not sure my cats would like it.

Today (14-2-08)

Here's a letter from yesterday's edition of Today sent in by Eslina (thanks Eslina). A similar letter also appeared in My Paper a few days ago.


For those of you who enjoyed the other Catmasutra exhibitions, you might want to go down for the latest one!

Catmasutra - Garden of Eden

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pest Control

Someone in an earlier post remarked about all the pest control companies embarking on an islandwide scheme to trap cats. I mentioned that I didn't think this was likely based on a few things. Firstly, the sheer logistics of the thing - the number of workers that would need to be employed, the vans, cages and whether AVA would even be able to take in all the cats on a single day. Also as anyone who has trapped cats knows, it really isn't that easy. It's not as if you can assemble a squad team, trapping cats from all areas on the same day? Also of course it brings up the question, why would you, considering how difficult it is logistically.

The other thing that was brought up is that all TCs hire the same pest control company by yearly tender. They do not as far as I know and from what I have heard from the TCs. This is why when you're out you see different pest control companies in different estates. I also decided to do a google search and found out something interesting this morning. Some town councils, including Hong Kah and Marine Parade, have put up their tenders online. What is interesting is the price that the pest control companies bid and also that the period is longer than a year. Also the contracts all start at different times, presumably because not every TC was set up at the same time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thanks giving Postcard

Thanks giving Postcard, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

After thinking about what happened with the caregiver this morning, I dug out this postcard that I got from Food for Thought cafe. I really liked the idea - it's a good reminder for all of us to be thankful for all the people we have in our lives, who help us out or who are there to support us in what we do.

The idea of this postcard was to ask people to take 10 minutes out of their day to write a note to someone you are thankful for.

Here's what I'm suggesting - that we take this suggestion and run with it. Please consider thanking your TC officers if they have been helpful, your fellow caregivers, your family and friends who have been supportive, your colleagues, etc. If you are a TC officer or someone in charge who may come across this, please let caregivers who work with you know that you appreciate their help.

I'm going to begin by thanking all of you who are caregivers out there, who have spent so much time and energy working for the cats. I'd also like to thank all of you who have opened your homes and taken in community cats who needed homes. Thank you for all that you do.

Working with your TC

I was just speaking with a caregiver who said that she was having some problems with the TC. She said that though they had said they would not trap the cats, apparently they had told her that she could not handle a case, because right after she had gone down to handle a case of defecation on the canopy outside a second floor flat, the complainant called up the very next day to complain it had happened again. The complainant had told her that they could not use mothballs up there as her son was allergic so she went away and felt she could not do anything.

The first thing I asked her was why the cats went up there and she said she did not know. She mentioned that it is above a coffeeshop. Later she clarified that there is a man who likes to throw food on the canopy for the cats. Apparently the man said he had been approached by TC before to stop feeding the cats there.

I told her that the main thing here is that both she and the TC were focusing on the same thing - stopping the defecation temporarily. She and another caregiver were trying mothballs, the TC by trying to either use bleach (which the complainant said worked) or by trapping the cats. However no one was tackling the real problem - ie the man throwing food and luring the cats up.

I asked her why she didn't tell the TC about this man. She said that it was because he feeds the cats and she is afraid that if he stops, they may starve. I asked her which was better - cats going downstairs to look for food, or the cats getting killed because they are in the wrong place?

If a TC has agreed to work with you, the idea is to ensure that you try your best to solve the problem. If the problem cannot be solved as in this case, because the problem is that there is a person who is causing the issue in the first place such as an irresponsible feeder (which is mostly the case), then you need to let the TC know and ask them to work on it together with you. Otherwise it looks like you have dropped the ball so to speak and cannot be counted on to handle problems. Let's put it this way - if a TC handles you problems and you consistently do not seem able to handle them, do you think the TC is likely to continue working with you?

Since then, apparently nothing has happened, nor was there any followup on the caregiver's side, until an unsterilised cat was caught in another area yesterday. She then called me and asked why the TC was still trapping cats. From the meeting they went to which I attended with them, I remember the TC agreeing not to trap the sterilised cats without giving them a chance to solve the matter first.

Again, it is important to ensure that if the TC comes to you and tells you that they don't think you're doing a good job that you handle it right away. Do not wait a month to find out what went wrong and to refute those allegations if they are false and not because a cat was caught before you do something.

I advised her to call the officer up and update him on what she had done since the last time he had called her (which unfortunately has been nothing, so she will go and try and look for the feeder again this week). I also told her it wouldn't hurt to call him up and just wish him a Happy Chinese New Year. She said she was worried he might think she's being insulting in some way. I told her that it's always a good idea to thank TC officers when they have been helpful (and one of the officers help secure the release of one of her unsterilised cats just a short while ago) because everyone appreciates a bit of gratitude and well-wishes . I'd also be very surprised that he would impute any negative intention to a simple seasonal greeting, especially as they've not had any altercations in the past.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No pest control spotted

I just spoke with one of the caregivers who went down to check the area where there was supposed to be trapping and there was no sign of pest control. It's a relief that they didn't go - and again calls into question how reliable this information is.

More rumours of trapping

More rumours floating around this morning about trapping happening in a certain area and again it is spreading by SMS. One of the caregivers in the area said he was going down to check the area out.

Again so far none of these rumours have been verified - and it does make me upset that all it is doing is upsetting other caregivers. I understand that the people passing on these rumours want to help protect the cats, but imagine you are at work, and you receive an SMS telling you that trapping is going to be happening right then. What are you going to do? Rush home from work?

In the areas mentioned however so far none of the blocks have had caregivers there. So it may be even more worrying because you know it's near where you are at, but no one is even there to verify it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ah Meng

I hope everyone had a good break over the last few days!

I am sure most of you read about Ah Meng's demise as well. She did much to advance animal welfare by making people realise that orang utans are beautiful and that just because an animal is large does not mean it is huge and vicious. It was pretty amazing to see all the people whose lives she had touched and how many people turned up to see her buried, which just goes to show what an impact a 'mere' animal can make on people.

The other animals are also obviously upset which is something any of us who have seen cats and dogs grieve would not be surprised by. However to those without much experience with animals, it does emphasise that animals aren't that far removed from us as we often like to think and that they do share the same emotions and pain.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Scout and Rat

Scout and Rat, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Here's Scout's reaction on discovering that this lunar new year will be the year of the rat. Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

ST (6-2-08)

Nice letter in the Straits Time online forum today about how killing cats is not a solution. The only thing I disagree with is that education is the key. Especially after reading Nathan Winograd's book, I feel more strongly than ever that we have the keys to save more cats right now and that education doesn't do very much (as Winograd said, millions has been spent on education over many years and nothing has shown that it is working).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Unverifiable tips

I got another SMS today from several people - and I believe it's from the same unnamed source who apparently works in pest control. The thing is that in none of the blocks so far have there been any caregivers that I or anyone else seems to know of - so to the best of my knowledge, no one has been able to verify if any of the information is true. This is the third of fourth tip that has been given, but due to lack of caregivers in any of these areas, I have no idea if these tips are reliable.

What it does do is panic the caregivers in other areas who think that there may be 'nationwide' trapping. Here's the thing - yes, trapping DOES happen. It goes on in areas especially where there are no caregivers. While it's definitely good to try and find out if there are caregivers and spread the information to them so that they can go down and try to do something for their cats, it would be even better to encourage feeders who are not actively working with their TCs to do so. This would definitely be better than rushing down to the TC after the trapping has started and where the feeder has never had any relationship with the TC.

Obviously, if you do find out that your TC has trapped despite telling you that they have agreed to do so, then you can and should do something - but you start out in a much stronger position than if there had been no prior contact with the TC. To date as well, I am not aware of any of these 'tips' as I mentioned, relating to any areas with caregivers working with their TCs at all.

Injured cat put down

Some of you may have read about the cat that was found yesterday with injuries that made the owner suspect abuse (thanks E_Cat for the heads up too). The poor cat was put down - the SPCA vet has said that they are unable to ascertain if it is abuse, or if the cat got into an accident or fell from a height.

It is always safer to keep your cat in and safe in your flat. Outdoors, especially if it is wandering around within the block, it is subject to possible abuse and accidents. I would venture to guess that pet cats let out to roam are probably MOST at risk - community cats that live in the open downstairs have a better chance of running and hiding, but it would be more difficult for a cat caught on a high floor of a HDB block to get away because it is more enclosed.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Who constitutes the general public?

I just responded to an email from someone who is running an area (not a TC) that a caregiver started a programme in. Unfortunately this officer does not seem to want to continue the programme and wants the cats removed. He went on to say that he would just have the AVA hae the cats removed repeatedly as long as he was there.

Firstly, the officer seems to be seriously misguided on several matters (including the fact that feeding the cats will prolong their life span to 12 to 16 years and even what a 'stray' cat is). The caregiver kept asking him what he was doing with regards to abandonment which they are rightly concerned about right now - and he kept saying they are not dealing with abandonment but with the end result of abandonment. What that means exactly I'm not sure - of course the cats are there because of abandonment - so what are they doing about abandonment in the first place? Removing and killing the cats clearly does not do that.

Secondly, the officer said that he did not want people from a Society to handle complaints arising from the general public. This officer kept asking the caregiver if she was from any society - and she had told him repeatedly that she was not. He also said that a society is set up without recognition or support from the government and does not represent the goals of a country.

Now that just annoys me. Clearly a society IS set up with recognition from the government - otherwise, it wouldn't be registered BY the authorities otherwise. Also, the point is that societies are made up of people - a segment of the so-called 'general public' though of course they may have common interests of beliefs. More irritating to me, how can an officer brush someone off by claiming that they do NOT hold the same common beliefs as the 'general public'. So basically the general public believes in wasting tax payers' money to repeatedly remove and kill cats? They believe that again tax payers' money should be spent when there are other members of the general public who are willing to spend their time and effort and money FREE to take care of the problem?

Plus how does this officer know what the common belief of the general public is? Has he gone out and done a survey? Spoken to everyone who uses the facilities and quizzed them on this? Or is he basically one person trying to impose what he thinks is best and then claiming this is what the majority wants? It wouldn't even be so worrying if it seemed that this person knew what he was talking about and was thus able to make an educated guess - which from his emails, he clearly does not.

I just wrote back to say that as a member of the general public, I am very disappointed to see that this is how the organisation is intending to waste tax payer's money. They are not doing anything to curb abandonment - they are just intending to get AVA to trap and remove the cats (which I have checked with AVA - and which they will not do) which costs money. Even if they do not hire pest control, this will involve manpower and hours - which could have been better spent doing something which IS within the organisation's ambit - and is a waste of money and effort.

So who constitutes the general public? Anyone who complains? Anyone except the person who is writing to them at the moment?

Cat and Bird

Here's another cute photo care of Simian - and it's not as unusual as you think. My parents used to have a cat that regularly ate with (yes, WITH) their birds many years ago. In fact, they had a photo submitted in a magazine of the two so-called natural enemies happily eating next to each other - must go dig that up!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cat among the pigeons

Here's a photo to cheer up your Friday care of Simian - the weekend is coming :) I love how cats think they've invisible :)