Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cost of TNRM versus killing

This is a great calculator that compares and contrasts how much it would cost to do TNRM versus having the cats caught and killed. Unfortunately these figures are for the US but it's a good idea to work out rough figures for your area if you ever need to talk to the authorities or the TC.

I know it's difficult to find out how much it costs when the cats are caught and killed because AVA has not been very forthcoming with their figures. Except for one newspaper article in the New Paper years ago, I've never really seen an estimation of the costs. However from calling pest control companies, you can get a rough estimate of how much it would cost (and calling a pest control company isn't cheap if you're calling privately - one would imagine that contract rates are cheaper). Of course if you know someone within the TC, or the pest control company, that is an even better source of data.

Bear in mind though, that these costs do not take into consideration how much is saved in terms of mediation and the fact that TNRM is not one-off. It does take a lot of time and effort on the part of caregivers. Factor in that most caregivers are even willing to pay for sterilisation, and it's not difficult to see that TNRM is the most economical way to go.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


This seems rather extreme - but perhaps one day it can be used as proof to exonerate wrongly accused community cats.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fear of failure

Eslina asked a question during this post a few days ago and it's been bugging me - why is it so difficult to get more support from the authorities for a TNRM programme?

So far, despite lack of official support, and in fact a 'no-stray' policy, the number of cats killed has been dropping - it's now half what it used to be. Can this drop be attributed to killing? It is highly unlikely because that number has not dropped despite more than 25 years of killing - it's always stayed at around 13000.

One could argue it's a blip in the data, but the numbers started falling a while ago - a few years after the SCRS was launched. We've always maintained that sterilisation is a medium to long-term method of population control, and we started to see that the number of cats killed started dropping - in fact, just before SARS hit. It went back up during SARS - but came down again. Now the latest numbers show that the number of cats killed has dropped to 6500.

Now I know some town councils will say that the reason this is so is that they have been more supportive of caregivers' efforts and try not to trap. While this may well be the case, I also seriously doubt that they would not trap if they were having insurmountable problems dealing with complaints. That has always been the agreement with every TC I know - that if a complaint cannot be resolved, the TC can (and will) go in and trap. I can only conclude that less cats plus better mediation is leading to less complaints and therefore less trapping overall. As a result, less cats are dying.

So the question remains - why aren't more efforts put into TNRM? With a relatively small cat population and caregivers who are already putting in their own time, money and effort, why not invest MORE money and make a concerted effort to sterilise our community cats? I've said it before, and I think it bears repeating - Singapore is small. We could well manage the community cat population in a more effective and humane way. I don't see being a No-Kill nation being beyond our reach.

So why the reluctance? The reason, I believe, lies in the fact that the people who get to make these decisions are afraid of failure. Singapore always has to be Number One - but we don't want to be the first to do it. Look at the F1 Night Race, or the Casinos as two recent examples. We want to be able to point at other countries who have already done it, and then try and perfect what they've done. There's merit in that of course - but it's the same reason we will never be innovators. You can't be truly entrepreneurial or visionary without having failed along the way.

So what will it take for us to embrace failure? Maybe we need to also realise that being Number One isn't as important as being a pioneer. Let others perfect being a No-Kill nation - but for once, maybe we can be the trail blazers, even if it means that along the way, we might fail.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cat Cafe

A Japanese cat cafe - the cats certainly look very happy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cats and TNR

This is an interesting article about how TNR is still not allowed in a community not far from where I live - and yet it has been 'allowed' in Baltimore. Besides the fact that a law against TNR makes no sense because of the benefits of TNR (and people are going to keep arguing about its benefits), it also shows that it's impossible to enforce. Also, with so many other issues out there, why stop volunteers who are spending time and money to help solve what could potentially become an issue? These are not their cats - and yet they risk falling afoul of the law to help the cats because they cannot stand by and see the cats multiply and be killed in shelters.

Friday, May 7, 2010

SMS hoax

Good to know that the SMSes were a hoax - perhaps it was from a well-meaning person trying to get the dogs adopted, but guilt trips are never a good idea.