Monday, August 30, 2010

HDB update

For all those who asked to be updated, so far Dr Tan has not been contacted directly by the HDB, though they asked the newspaper for his details as I mentioned. I do hope that the HDB reconsiders the rule, rather than penalise someone who was brave enough to speak out against it and put his (and his cats) neck on the line.

The HDB has said in the past that no one has ever approached them to say they want cats in flats - but who would dare? It's like the Nazis asking Jews to please just 'register' with them during World War II.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

HDB and the cat rule

Some of you may have seen the article in MyPaper on August 25th "HDB ban on cats in flats should go". Dr Tan Chek Wee writes that he lives in an HDB flat and that he has four adopted cats - cats that were abandoned in his estate.

Dr Tan mentions that his flat is 'cat-proof' and that in addition to these cats, he manages the community cats in his area by carrying out TNRM in his estate. He adds that he believes the ban on cats is unfair to responsible cat owners like himself. He ends off by hoping that the HDB will listen and reconsider the ban.

Since the letter has been published, Dr Tan has been in contact with me. He mentioned that the HDB has contacted the newspaper and asked for his address.

I think it's a real shame that this continues to be an issue. Why is it still an issue when responsible people share their lives with cats within the limits of their own homes?

While we are told that Singapore has the highest percentage of home ownership, with rules like this, it goes to show that HDB flats really aren't owned by Singaporeans who live in them.

After all, how can these flats really be homes if there are rules and regulations about what can be done within the flat? I have been asked by several cat owners how the HDB can come into their home, which they have paid hard earned money for, to see if they own cats. The reason is that the home doesn't really belong to flat owners at all - it belongs to the HDB.

Now I am not aware of bylaws that restrict other activities within the home, as long as this activity doesn't bother others. Think about it - if I choose to live in a filthy home, hoard furniture and junk, and never clean the house, no one can do anything about it, unless arguably it becomes a nuisance/health concern to someone else. Even so, it would be extremely difficult to just bust into an HDB flat - I remember occasions when caregivers had thought someone in the apartment was dead - and even that took a lot of co-ordination and effort before the authorities could go in and check.

Yet if you own just ONE cat, the HDB can come in and ask you to remove your cat, and even throw you out and deprive you of your home. It doesn't matter how clean you are. It doesn't even matter that the cat has caused no trouble. All that matters is that you have a cat.

Worse - there seems to be no logical basis for this rule. The same tired arguments about cats being unsuitable for HDB flats, despite all evidence to the contrary, are trotted out again and again. Testimonials from vets, even support from the AVA on this matter, are all ignored. Yet the rule still stands.

What will it take to finally get this rule to be overturned so that responsible cat owners can live peacefully and unmolested by the HDB?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Belgium plans to sterilise all cats by 2016

Again I have to say - if Belgium has plans to do it, why can't Singapore? If there are so many complaints about abandonment and cats being thrown on the streets, thus adding to the cat population by the authorities, then these are the steps that are needed to be taken. I like how pet shops will be made to sterilise all cats that they sell as well.

The problem honestly is lack of political will in Singapore - if not, we could be done way before 2016. It's amazing how much caregivers have already accomplished on their own with barely any support - and if their hard work was carried through to its logical conclusion, based on Singapore's size, we would be done with sterilisation of all cats in a few years. Given the necessary logistics (both in terms of money and just support), Singapore could really have had a world first that we could be proud of.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Simon's Cat in 'The Box'

Thanks to Tarsier Girl for the heads up!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tigers and big cats like catnip

Watching this video makes you keenly aware that our little felines are related to the big cats.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Killing of dogs in Bali ineffective in stemming rabies

It's a shame that yet another government has decided to take the short term (and ineffective) approach rather than embark on a sterilisation and vaccination programme. Equally sad is the fact that there seem to be insufficient rabies post-exposure vaccines around.

As the article notes, killing the dogs is ineffective and in fact probably hurts as the vacuum effect will kick in. If you are ever in a situation where a dog seems aggressive, this article gives some tips - it also notes that ALL dogs can bite, but that they may not do so out of aggression, but out of fear.

It is also good to be careful when approaching a dog - just the other day, I bent down and offered my hand to an acquaintance's dog. However I forgot cardinal rule Number One : ask the owner first because I assumed the dog would remember me. It was twilight, and there were some other dogs barking, that stressed my acquaintance's dog out. So I got a nip on my knuckles, which was entirely my fault.