Friday, February 26, 2010

Australian cats

Thanks to E_cat for sending me this link. I went to the actual website of the Invasive Animal Co-Operative Research Centre and wasn't able to find the press release.

Now I can understand the need to protect other wildlife - though I hate the fact that 'native' wildlife is supposed to be more 'important' somehow than other wildlife. If we're talking about 'native wildlife' than nothing is less native than us humans. Australia, Singapore, the US and many other countries are nations of immigrants - the animals were there way before us, and if we left the area untouched, I think ALL the animals would fare better. In addition, look at the native kangaroo and the damage it causes - somehow I doubt it's 'native' status will protect it if economic interests are involved in the long run.

As I said though, I can see that damage to animals and property may be an issue. For example, I love foxes and have some in my yard - but I don't have animals that may be hunted by the foxes. I do have a friend who has chickens though - and he doesn't want the foxes to get at his chickens. The farmer I just met has the same issue - foxes got at his ducks. The solution? Not to kill the foxes - but both installed electric fences that keep foxes out.

Now I'm sure Australia's wildlife issues are vast and there are many concerns that we may not be familiar with, having not lived there. However, I don't see how killing the feral cats will help. If trapping for a TNRM programme is intensive and time consuming, what about trapping to kill?

Furthermore, while the Invasive Animal Co-Operation Research Centre states that cats threaten certain species of wildlife, on another website also managed by them, it also states that 'well quantified evidence of their impact on native wildlife on the Australian mainland is lacking'.

It further goes on to state that 'Feral cats have occupied tropical Australia, Tasmania and Kangaroo Island for well over 100 years but there have been virtually no extinctions of native animals on which feral cats prey in these areas. Feral cats may become an important factor when other factors such as land clearing and other forms of large-scale habitat degradation have restricted remaining populations of native wildlife to small island populations.' (bolding mine).

Note also that it states that the feral cat population is self-sustaining and stray and home cat populations add almost nothing to the feral cat population.

So what is really the problem here? The feral cats, which have caused virtually NO extinctions - or the land clearing and large-scale habitat degradation?

I hope that this article has just been mis-reported. Should more studies be done on the impact of cats? Absolutely. But should they be skewed or demonised without any solid evidence? Also, shouldn't a long term solution be found - removing and killing the cats, whether by toxins or any other method isn't going to solve the issue of cats reproducing.

Paid volunteers?

I had a most unusual conversation today. I spoke with someone who is trying to start a TNRM programme in the complex that she manages. She mentioned that some of the cats have been sterilised - but that not all of them had been done. We talked about my going down and speaking with some of the residents. Then she said that she knew that even though I had mentioned I was a volunteer, that some volunteers charge fees. This was a first for me! I told her there was no charge.

Then she very nicely asked if she could reimburse me for my travel expenses at least. No one has ever asked me that before - perhaps they assumed that since I was an employee of CWS that I had a transport allowance (I didn't) - nor has it happened anytime I've volunteered either :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cats on the farm

Cats on the farm, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

Some of you may remember that I mentioned reading a book, Eating Animals, that left an impact on me.

I've never been into food just because it's organic or free range - mostly because those terms are so badly defined/regulated that they really don't mean anything, except to mean you pay more in the supermarket.

I'm fortunate to find myself living now within access of some farms so we went down over the weekend to visit one of those farms and pick up eggs. It's too snowy for the chickens to come out and walk around on the pasture right now (and the clear path that the cats are lying on are because the path was cleared), but they were allowed out around the egg-mobile. We picked up some eggs - and farm fresh eggs really do taste the best.

One of the other interesting things was that the farmer and his family had feral cats that lived in the barn - they were moved there by a cat rescue. Here are the cats rolling in the sun - I also got to see a cat dig and bury in snow for the first time :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Got rid of the kid

Got rid of the kid, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

We cat-sat for a friend this weekend and I saw this sign, which made me laugh. It reminds me of all the people who give up their cats because their children are 'allergic' - ie people who give up their cats 'just in case' even if their children haven't been shown to be allergic to cats.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Law and Order Canines

So do dogs particularly like Law and Order, is it the music or the graphics? And what music would set cats off?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone who celebrates it - and I hope everyone has a good holiday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Intelligence in dogs

This is a very interesting article about a dog that can arrange his toys into shapes. Watch the video.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cat storage

This is a very cute photo - and also not untrue. Cats do love those little in-out trays that you put documents in.

Interestingly as well, more people would choose to spend time with their pet than their partner.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nothing creepy about Oscar

I've always thought that Oscar (and other cats) are just more adept at sensing things that we can't.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cat complaints and the HDB

Someone just sent me this article again - and it reminded me of the fact that we have been told in the past there are 200 complaints about cats every year. I'm assuming the number remains about stable. If there are supposedly 1600 complaints which comprise 0.2% of the HDB population,(and bear in mind that again we have no idea how these complaints are broken down in terms of repeat complaints, etc) then that means the percentage of people who complain about cats works out to 0.025% of all HDB dwellers.

Also, the Minister mentioned that often in private disputes, it is one person's word against another's and that it is often not clear who is in the wrong. In addition, he mentions that it is not possible for the HDB to resolve private disputes between residents.

I wonder what then is the rationale for the bylaws that ban cats - considering that it affects such a tiny portion of the HDB population and based on the fact that the Minister has said that the HDB doesn't step into private disputes. I agree that it is not HDB's job to step in when it comes to private disputes - but what can be more private than your decision to own a cat?