Friday, December 30, 2011

Walking Cats on Leashes

I know some cats that already walk on leashes but here's a good article if you're trying to see if your cat is a suitable candidate.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Local dogs to be let into HDB flats

It was lovely to hear that local dogs may also finally be allowed into HDB flats. The pilot project starts next year. It never made sense that dogs were excluded based on whether they were 'pure bred' and hopefully this will pave the way for more dogs to find homes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cats in flats finally?

It's good to know that there are now plans for more cat cafes in Chong Pang and that a pilot project may be run next month to allow cats in HDB flats there.

While is it better late than never, one wonders what exactly has changed to bring this about. Way back in October 2001, CWS had sent an earlier proposal in where another Town Council and CDC were interested in starting a pilot project. HDB's response then? That a pilot project would not be reflective of the long-term effectiveness of the measures on a nationwide scale.

One could make the argument that things are much better now - more cats are sterilised and people are more accepting of cats. However, while it certainly seems that more cats have been sterilised thanks to the hard work of caregivers (and this is reason enough to cheer), I don't believe people have become any more or less accepting of cats because I believe the number of people who were supposedly so intolerant of cats was small to begin with. CWS reports that their recent survey found that 85% of people were agreeable to letting cats remain in an estate if they were sterilised. Dr Lou Ek Hee's paper published in the Singapore Veterinary Authority's Journal in 2000 showed that 96% of people were supportive of the cats being allowed to remain in the community if they were sterilised.

Does this show that people are actually less tolerant now? I don't believe so. As I've often said, we can probably argue that a small minority of people don't like cats. An equally small minority really love them. The important thing though is that most people don't want cats killed - and this hasn't changed. Most people have no objections to cats in the estate if they don't cause any problems. Even if there are issues that arise from the cats, most people don't want the cats to be taken away and killed. So the issue here isn't that peoples' attitudes have changed.

One could argue that perhaps politicians are more enlightened now, or that the HDB officials in charge have become more understanding and compassionate. This seems to gain credence because of the sheer speed with which this policy change has come about once the elections were over. The worry about this argument is this : what if the winds of change blow back in the opposite direction again? Surely there must be some way of ensuring that policies are evaluated on their merits rather than on the opinions of the current office holder. We cannot always be crossing our fingers and hoping (as we do now) that the next official who comes in may support animal friendly policies.

I am very happy to hear that cats (or ONE cat - something I'm not wild about) may be allowed into HDB flats. I just wonder why this long outdated policy hadn't been changed years ago and whether responsible pet owners could have been saved years of anxiety and fear for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can animals grieve?

This looks like it'll be an interesting book on animals and whether they grieve.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Office Cats

Thanks Imp for the heads up. This is a lovely story on office cats. I don't think this is a new phenomenon (I know of several offices that had cats years ago) but it's still nice to see more local offices becoming animal friendly. Companies like Google even have a famous dog policy - unfortunately they do mention that cats might be scared of the number of dogs on the campus.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cat found after 5 years - thousands of miles away.

Where did this cat go for five years? I know of someone whose cat returned after several months - but this is truly amazing. Also one wonders how it traveled such an immense distance.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Animals foretelling Earthquakes

Apparently the animals before the Asian Tsunami also exhibited signs that they knew that it was going to happen. They're an early warning system!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cats and dogs mentioned in National Day Rally Speech

Thanks to Imp for the heads up on the National Day Rally where cats and dogs are mentioned. The Prime Minister mentioned that as society matures, he hopes that more and more things will be taken over by Singaporeans and not left to the authorities.

That's precisely what community cat and dog caregivers have been trying to do for years. They help to sterilise, manage and mediate - and they get very little support for doing so. Instead, roadblocks have been thrown up in their path.

While I am heartened to see that the Prime Minister has helped out in a case where a dog was caught, I am a little worried that he agreed that Ministers have more important things to worry about then cats and dogs. While I can see that in the broader picture, the Ministers have many things to worry about, I hope that this doesn't give the signal that therefore cat and dog issues should be put on the back burner. After all, these are really people issues too - it is about our environment and how we live in it. I'll post a link to the English transcript when it's out. Here it is.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gathering support

I've recently learnt about a case where a previously successful TNRM programme seems to be in shambles. Several years ago, a condominium tried to outlaw cat feeding, among other things. However, there was a public outcry, and residents within the condominium spoke out against in.

In addition, the condominium decided to try and implement a TNRM programme. At the time, there were about 30 cats. The condominium management decided to fund the sterilisation of the community cats instead of spending the money (which worked out to a few thousand dollars a year) to trap and kill the cats.

At the time that I left CWS, the programme was still in place. There were some complaints, but the cats were all sterilised and the one recalcitrant feeder seemed to have been persuaded to stop. The last time I met with the management, we were told by some members on the management committee that they had seen a decrease in the number of cats and no new kittens born.

Unfortunately, as time passed, many of the caregivers moved out of the estate. I understand that now there are only 6 or 7 cats left - certainly a huge drop from the original pool of cats. However, at the last AGM, the management committee managed to change the bylaws to outlaw feeding by gathering enough votes to do so. They are not taking action against a feeder there.

This is something that is always a worry - that there are a few committed caregivers and that when they leave, the programme will fall apart. The idea of planning succession is a good one, but it isn't always easy to find someone willing to take over. Some of the time, no new caregivers come forward. On other occasions, the existing feeder doesn't like other people getting involved. Another huge problem is that while it is almost always possible to find feeders, finding caregivers isn't that easy - people either do not have the inclination, the personality or the time to be a caregiver.

What you can do however, if you are in an estate is to sign up with your Residents Committee or Management Committee. This will at least meant that you are in a position to influence what happens in your area. It also means that you are given a heads up should something be happening.

It's also a good idea to rally support early in your community. If you are a caregiver, note whom seems friendly and supportive and try and find a way to get in touch with them. It may be essential should you need to show that there are people who want to allow a TNRM programme to run.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cat Massage

Here's a funny infographic sent by Candice.

Guide to Cat Massage

Now to make my cats learn this :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Native Species

I was excited about this encyclopedia when a friend told me about it yesterday but was very disappointed to read this article in the newspapers today.

I am glad that Dr Ng realises that sterilisation is the way to go, and that this will help keep the population in check. This is exactly why a sterilisation programme is so important. What is disturbing to me is the native species argument. The real impact as I am sure we can all agree, isn't cats or any of these other invasive species - it's humans.

I was just having a conversation with someone the other day and every time I come back to Singapore, the landscape has changed so much. New buildings have popped up. Some friends of mine who were away two years recently came back and couldn't recognise Singapore anymore. Is it really the non-native species that are causing these issues, or is it the fact that we are demolishing areas in order to find more space for people and our activities? If our native species are competing for food and space, then who takes away more food and space then we do? With an increasing population, and such limited space, cats are the least of their problems.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where do the cats go after sterilisation?

Thanks to Calsifer and btmao for this link. There's going to be a huge problem if the town councils think that the sterilisation programme is to lead to cats being adopted off the streets.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sterilisation programme to be brought back

This is very good news - as one of the people interviewed said, why should it take so long to allow cats into flats? Also, the funding of sterilisation is long overdue - this will be much welcome news to caregivers!

I am still concerned about microchipping of the cats though. Who maintains this database? Will all the present cats be allowed to remain? Will there be a 'limit' imposed and who determines what this limit is? The town council? Residents? Caregivers or a mixture of all three groups? Also, what happens if there is abandonment? What steps will be taken to stem the abandonment and what happens to the cats that have been abandoned if they are not microchipped? More information would be very helpful.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Deirdre Moss stepping down

Sad news to hear that Deirdre is stepping down. She has done a lot for animal welfare in Singapore though she certainly does deserve a quiet retirement after all the work she has done. It's good to know that she will stay on as a consultant.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cats in Chong Pang

A news report on Chong Pang, the first TC to officially embark on a more humane method of managing cats in estates.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Animal welfare forum

It was nice to see so many people turned up because they felt so passionately about animal welfare issues. I heard from a caregiver that many more people wanted to speak but that they were just out of time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cat Trapping for sterilisation

Here's an interesting article about cat trapping - the good kind, for sterilisation! Thanks Lingcat for the link.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chong Pang to stop killing cats

Now the TCs are getting on board, it's only a matter of time before it starts to spread to other areas. It's really amazing what a change in political will can do. Thank you Aminah for sharing this link.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cat Management

More good news - it's interesting that MPs are now more aware of and coming forward to say that their TCs are working with CWS and caregivers publicly. Note that he mentioned that emails on the issue would all be considered when formulating the issue - so do write in!

At the same time, let's not forget the MPs who have been supportive in the past. A caregiver just wrote to me yesterday to say that her MP recently wrote to her to ask for help resolving a situation in the TC. I know other caregivers who have MPs write to them and advocate on their (and the cats') behalf. Do drop your MP a note as well to thank them for their past support if they have been helpful - and you may want to let BG Tan know about it as well if you are writing to him. Here's a nice post from BG Tan on why they are working on an issue like community cats.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thoughts on the HDB rule

Finally after all these years, there's a chance that the HDB rule banning cats in flats may be overturned. That and the fact that the SCRS may be brought back is certainly cause for celebration.

I've heard from some people that they are concerned that a change in the rule might not help community cats - that in fact, people might run out and buy more pedigree cats and that more breeders will come in and fill that demand. I don't believe that this will happen. Will some people go and buy cats? Undoubtedly. Will some breeders and pet shop owners try and sell more cats? Again, this will certainly happen. However I don't believe this is going to be a big issue.

The thing is - most people aren't really aware of the ruling at all. I still hear from many people that they are shocked to learn that living with a cat (or cats) in HDB flats is illegal. They were never aware of this to begin with. I doubt that a change in the rule will therefore lead to an exodus of people rushing out to buy pedigrees.

What does a change in the ruling actually mean then? Two very important things. One, that if you are a responsible pet owner that you no longer have to live in fear. You will not need to worry that you could be fined or worse, to lose your flat.

Two, that the Town Councils will now have a real weapon in their arsenal to deal with irresponsible cat owners. We all know that irresponsible owners exist - it's just that for years there has been no way to effectively deal with them. A change in the rule will allow for this. As we all know, an irresponsible pet owner has LESS chance of being caught under the rule because they can always allow the cat to wander and claim it is not their cat. Responsible cats owners on the other hand, who keep their cats indoors at all times, are more likely to fall afoul of the rule. A change in the rule will mean that caregivers, TCs and the HDB can work together and focus their attention on those people who are irresponsible instead of penalising anyone who owns a cat, no matter how responsible they are.

After all these years and after all the work of SPCA and CWS (and having met four different Ministers and writing three different proposals on this issue), one has to wonder if all it took was the right person in the right position. It makes me a little sad to think that this possible change in the rules may have had nothing to do with the merit of the arguments. If so, this discriminatory rule would have been overturned years ago.

On the other hand, it's quite possible that the recent general elections have played a huge part in this change. It seems that the authorities are really listening to what people are saying.

So if this rule does change (and I am really hopeful that it will), the people who deserve a huge pat on the backs are all of you. All the caregivers who went out and sterilised, managed and mediated tirelessly are the ones who made a huge difference. I notice that more and more cats now are already sterilised and without dedicated caregivers, this would never have happened. I am sure that it has not gone unnoticed how caregivers are giving back to their estates.

There are another group of people who have been instrumental in bringing about change - all of you, who wrote to your MPs, who went to Meet the Peoples Sessions, who called, turned up and made the point that you are responsible Singaporeans whose cats are part of your lives. You let your MPs know that you are prepared to stand up and be counted and to give back to the community. It is YOUR voices that have been heard - or how else would the Ministers have realised that this was something that many Singaporeans care about? No society or welfare group can bring about a sea change without the support and voices of people - and you deserve a huge round of applause for getting all of us to this stage.

Now let's work together to make sure that this rule is changed. Please write to your MPs and the Ministers in charge at and (or post on their facebook pages here and here) and let them know that it's important to change this rule and relegate it to the history books!

HDB to look into allowing cats in flats

Thanks to Siva and Sarah for this link. Could we finally be looking at this rule being removed?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Khaw Boon Wan on not killing cats

Thanks to Tarsier Girl for this link. This is a very positive development! You can also log onto the MND Facebook page to leave a comment on this.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Postal workers and dogs

My own theory as to why dogs bark so much at postal workers is that they come at usually very predictable times and while they are 'strangers' they don't seem to pose much of a threat. So the dogs feel free to bark at will!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elections and cats

I was speaking to a caregiver the other day who said that she had been trying in vain to get her town council to meet with her. There had been complaints which she and various other caregivers and residents in the area had been trying to resolve. However the town council had threatened to send in pest control.

While lamenting with her on this turn of affairs, I said to her that with elections around the corner, the town council is probably going to put off meetings for the time being. She retorted that they're too busy to meet with her, but they're not too busy to arrange for trapping of cats!

Fortunately, she and the others have gotten a temporary staying of the trapping order (but still no meeting the last I heard). What she said was made me think. Why is it that caregivers and people looking after cats are always treated as if we matter less than people who have complaints? From what I understand, there was one complainant who did not want to see any cats in the area at all. On the other hand, there are many residents who want to meet up and resolve the problem AND they want the cats to stay. Yet they are being ignored.

So here's the thing - this election season, let our elected representatives know how we feel. We are not second class citizens who matter less than complainants, many of whom are not even held accountable because they are anonymous. Caregivers are committed, concerned and ready to help - so why are they treated as if they don't matter?

When candidates come around campaigning for votes, ask them what their stance is on community cats. How will they respond to anonymous complaints and round up cats to be killed? How about their stance on sterilisation and getting the old SCRS re-started in town councils? How do they feel about the HDB policy in relation to cats? Will they work to getting that law overturned?

I know that I am not alone in feeling that these issues are important to us. Are they more important than say the standard of living to most Singaporeans? Probably not. For those of us who care for community cats however, I would say that these are some of our most pressing issues. Will our community cats be safe? When we share our homes with beloved pet cats, will we worry that the HDB will come knocking and we might lose our homes?

With so many constituencies likely to be contested, many of us will get a chance to vote at this election. Vote in the people whom you think will represent what you care for most - for many of us, that would be our cats.

In a world where diseases seem to be mutating more than they used to, God forbid that we have another SARS-like incident. If we do however, I hope that our leaders will not respond with massive hysterical over-reaction but in a measured and logical manner.

When you vote, remember the cats.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Unlicensed animal trappers

Thanks to Siva for the link.

This is something that has always been a concern and has been brought up to AVA in the past. The SPCA has in fact also been urging the AVA to send people to be trained so that at least the animals would be caught without undue suffering. The AVA maintained however there were no licensing requirements and therefore anyone could trap cats and charge money for it. One isn't surprised that this happened - it was only a question of when it would happen.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Firefighter giving kitten oxygen

This is too sweet not to share. Sadly not all the other animals were so lucky.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wellness recalled

I just found out about this food recall by Wellness. If you feed your cat Wellness, please do check that your cans are not within the lot affected. Here's a blog that writes about it too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Custody over dog?

This story in the Straits Times about a dispute over a dog was going to happen at some point or other. With relationships between people and animals lasting sometimes lasting long after relationships between people have broken up, it was a matter of time before this came up. The judge's grounds for decision will make an interesting read. As much as the defendant's lawyer seem to suggest that emotion should have no place in this because animals are property, they clearly aren't. For one thing, if the dog was just a piece of property, one could possibly just order that one party pay the other monetary compensation - something which I am sure neither party would be happy with.

Also, if this is just a case of property, how much would the dog be worth? Bearing in mind the adoption fees and the cost of flying the dog back, quarantine, food, medical bills, etc, it's still unlikely that it would begin to approach the $250000 amount that it takes for a case to be tried in the High Court. Of course there are exceptions and the judge's reasoning will be most illuminating. It is arguable at least that the High Court heard this case because it is potentially a new area of law to be explored.

It would also be hard to imagine that two people would take a matter where a piece of property was involved up to the High Court. Would you go to the High Court, where costs are considerable, over a pen or a necklace, even if they were an expensive pen or necklace? It would probably be cheaper to just buy a new one. It's about time that this area of law was clarified - after all, for all of us, our animals are not just property.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Animals in Japan

I'm sure that everyone has been following all the news from Japan - the huge loss of lives, and now the worry that the nuclear reactor situation is going to get worse. Besides all the human tragedy though, quite a few people have asked what is happening with the animals as well. Here's a link from E_Cat on what to do if you'd like to help.

There is apparently a Cat Island too - though it seems that most of the human and cat inhabitants are safe though this cannot be verified.

For people who say that animals aren't important at a time like this, tell that to this guy.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Deer, originally uploaded by dawnkua.

I've always wondered whether it was possible to run a TNR programme for deer. I'm glad to see they're trying it out now to see if it will work. I'm always sad that the deer are shot, or run over on the roads because deer, like cats, freeze when they see headlights.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

THE BIKER ⎮ It's Okay To Be A Cat Guy

I'm still a little worried about the cat bolting into traffic, but the cat does seem very happy sitting on that bike. I like the message very much though :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cats and Chemistry

Now I know why I never understood Chemistry - it wasn't taught using cats!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A dog that knows more than 1000 words

An interesting article on how a dog acquired a large vocabulary. More interesting perhaps is the idea that most dogs (and even animals) might be able to do the same.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011