Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flaws in the argument

Here's AVA's response to an article about Dr Tan Chek Wee that I missed earlier.

I'm glad AVA has said they support the sterilisation of community cats. On the other hand, I know I'm not the only one who thinks their argument is pretty much full of holes.

Dogs are being killed, even though we don't have rabies in Singapore, in the event that the disease might enter Singapore. One shudders to think what this means for the birds, chickens and other fowls - after all, they might get avian flu! Or worse, what if there is another outbreak of SARS? We'd better kill all the people preemptively then - they might get it too!

Also how on earth is educating the public on pet responsibility supposed to help with community animals? While I can understand the importance of stressing responsible pet ownership, these animals we are talking about are already on the street. All the education on the world is not going to change that fact. And even if it could be argued that AVA meant that they want to 'educate' people to open their homes to take in community cats and dogs, most people won't be legally allowed to even own them. Proves a bit of a conundrum doesn't it?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cats making eye contact

This is what some people who are afraid of cats complain about :-

Get Fuzzy comic strip

The real reason in all likelihood is that cats don't like it when people make direct eye contact with them. As a result, the people who DO like cats and are trying to get their attention are the ones the cats view as most threatening. On the other hand, people who are frightened and avoiding eye contact are seen as 'safer'.

Same old excuse

Okay seriously now - how often is HDB going to trot out the tired excuse about cats being 'nomadic by nature' and 'difficult to be confined' to justify not changing the HDB rule?

Since this has been raised yet again, let me refute this one more time, especially for people who may have come to this blog for the first time :-

1. Cats are excellent apartment animals. Why? They don't need to be walked and they are small. They entertain themselves. They are pretty quiet most of the time and are generally much quieter than dogs. More than 30 local vets signed letters attesting to the fact that they are wonderful for people in apartments.

2. What on earth is being nomadic by nature? If you let a dog, rabbit or child run around with supervision, I would not be at all surprised if they wandered out of an HDB flat too. Don't believe me? Just leave that door open :)

3. This also applies to cats being difficult to confine. Really? My cats are all confined indoors and they don't go out. Ever. It wasn't difficult at all to keep them in. All it took was some time and effort on our part to cat proof the place. Think of it as akin to baby proofing a home.

I know many people who have cats who never, ever go out. Most responsible people with cats do not want their cats to wander in the first place - there are all manner of dangers out there. Also as responsible neighbours, many realise not everyone likes their cats as much as they do and that it is better to keep their cats indoors.

So instead of a ban how about just focusing on responsible pet ownership? The problem isn't in the inherent nature of cats - it's in the irresponsible behaviour of some cat owners. Plus right now what incentive is there for being responsible and keeping the cat in? It just means that if the HDB comes along any cat owner can be fined (or possibly evicted) if any cat, no matter how well kept, is found in their flat. If the cat is outdoors though, that isn't a problem with the HDB at all - but it may be a huge problem for your neighbours.

What's the solution? Allow people to keep cats - but ensure that these people are responsible. Make sure that the owners are responsible for sterilising their cats and keeping them indoors at all times. Also a limit could be imposed on how many cats are kept in a flat. This also allows the HDB to better use their resources to monitor genuine cases when there is a problem. Currently, they have to have to inspect flats every time there is a complaint, whether that complaint is valid or not. The mere presence of a cat is enough to get a cat owner into trouble - and also means that the rule can, and has been subverted, by neighbours to get even with each other. Instead of promoting harmony, this rule is doing the exact opposite.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kibble Kat

Thanks to Tarsier Girl for sending this in - you can only answer one question a day, but if you get it right, food gets donated to an animal shelter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Backyard birds

This article was very true - I've actually seen this happen in my backyard (minus the hawk eating the little birds - yet!). I'll look out and suddenly there are no birds anywhere. Once I saw what I think was a kestrel sitting just over the bird feeder.

It reminded me of the woman who wrote in about the East Coast cats and how she wanted the birds and the butterflies but not the cats. Here's the thing people often forget - nature often is very cruel. For every beautiful hawk out there, there is also a little creature that has to die for it to survive.

It also makes me wonder about people who claim cats kill wildlife and therefore the cats should die. First of all, I have two cats who come over and sit right under my bird feeder - the birds pay the cats no mind, but they take off at first sight of a kestrel of hawk, which makes me think the birds know the cat isn't something to get too worried about. In addition, I've never seen the cats ever catch a bird. So why is it that people get very upset when a cat happens to kill a bird, but don't say anything when a bird kills another bird? Aren't both part of the same cycle? Both are tragic - I would hate to lose a bird to either a cat OR a bird - but you have to think that is life.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spot the cats

Spot the cats, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

You know how cats always get into everything? Here's something funny - how many cats can you spot in this photo? :)

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone who is celebrating! I hope that the year of the ox will be a good one for all of you and all the community cats.

Friday, January 23, 2009

ST (23-1-09)

A letter from CWS on the East Coast cats as well - glad to see they wrote in. One of the caregivers said that the Big Splash has been pretty co-operative so far and that they are not inclined to see the cats being killed either. If anyone wants to email and ask Big Splash to please continue working on a TNRM programme, and to thank them for continuing to support a humane and effective cat management programme, here's the email address :-

The manager is a Mr Justin Tan.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ST (22-1-09)

Nice response from the SPCA on the Big Splash cats.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I spoke to a caregiver today who told me that she had a problem with her TC. Her TC knows her well - she is an extremely responsible caregiver so they are usually very happy to refer cases to her.

Unfortunately there was a new officer in one of the areas that she doesn't manage, but the feeder in the area asked for her help. She and some other caregivers went down to speak with the officer as some cats in this area were caught.

The officer told her that he would need to refer to his General Manager though he was fairly polite. Then he came out with a very difficult man, who told the caregiver they could not get the cats back. What tops all of this though is that this man wasn't the GM - the caregiver has met with the GM on several occasions when we had meetings with him and it wasn't the same man.

She's now trying to lodge a complaint with the TC. One can get into serious trouble for impersonating a TC officer - so what happens when a TC officer misrepresents his own role in the TC?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ST (20-1-09)

Two letters in response to the letter about the cats at the Big Splash last week. One urges tolerance, while the other claims cats charged at him. I have yet to see cats 'charge' at anyone.

Friday, January 16, 2009

ST (16-1-09)

Thanks to Chinky who sent this in - unfortunately this is another case of a single complainant writing in and probably endangering all the cats there. I am also amazed how selective the writer is - she wants birds and butterflies, but not cats because cats apparently in her view, are not part of nature. One wonders what would happen if the birds did something unwelcome - for example, eat from the same upturned litter bin that the writer complained the cats did. Would they then also be complained about because they weren't acting 'naturally'?

This isn't a Disney movie with birds and butterflies flying around you. If you've ever gone hiking, or on a nature trek, you'll notice that nature is full of insects that can and do bite you like mosquitoes. In the US and in many other larger countries, you also need to be careful of deer ticks that carry lyme disease (a friend of mine caught lyme while camping), snakes, bears and other animals that might be far more 'scary' than a few cats. They'll all part of nature too. Nature isn't the sanitised version that the writer seems to want - if she does, it's better that she stay at home and watch it on television.

Cat banned from Post Office

Doesn't this sound familiar? One person complains and the cat gets killed, or in this case, kicked out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Cat, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

There was an article in today's Straits Times about building more studio flats for the elderly. It's good that more attention is being paid to our aging population. There is however one area where more could be done, with very little time/effort invested.

I went with the ex-adoption volunteer to visit this cat and the gentleman the cat lives with yesterday. The man is blind and has diabetes, and Chinky was kind enough to ask for some help to supply the man with some cat food and necessities.

The man lives alone in a small flat - his whole world is basically contained in one room. The cat is his only companion and he looks after it very well. Apparently, as was reported in the papers a while ago, the cat does the same - when the man fell, the cat ran to get help.

At a time when we our population is aging, doesn't it make sense to allow companions for our older citizens like this man and his cat?

Monday, January 12, 2009

TNP (11-1-09)

Thanks to Chinky for sending this in - it's amazing to see how much time, money and effort caregivers put in. I am constantly astounded by their dedication.

Friday, January 9, 2009

ST (9-1-09)

Here's a letter in the forum page complaining about cats in HDB flats and more importantly that the rule doesn't work - which it doesn't. Does anyone besides the HDB (and people who complain to them) still trot out the cats are nomadic rule? The fact is anything can be 'nomadic' - so are dogs, or babies left unattended. The problem is the irresponsible owner - and honestly the owner is just being smart. If cats are not allowed, then the cat which wanders isn't IN the flat and hence he is not breaking any law.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This is a very interesting story about hornbills nesting on Singapore. Nesting boxes are a great way to encourage birds that it is a safe place to lay their eggs. These look like magnificent birds - if you get a chance to see any, let me know!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tainted dog food

Another scare with tainted dog food. With all the food scares these days, it makes you want to just cook for your cats and dogs, but with most people having little time and/or too many animals to manage cooking, it is tough. Do any of you cook for your animals, and if so, what do you do?

Friday, January 2, 2009

ST (2-1-09)

Nice to know we're just into the New Year and already we have a letter advocating the HDB rule be removed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone and let's start the year by hoping, as we always do, that this year will be a better one for the animals. Good health to you and yours and may it be a good one for all of you.