Friday, January 30, 2009

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.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

HDB doesn't listen. It dictates!
Why are "residents who dislike cats" given precedence over residents who like cats! This smacks of gross discrimination. Residents who dislike cats just complaints. Many people who like cats take an active role in cat management yet they are treated like pariahs!

apple said...

well said!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Apple, well said, Dawn.