Category Archives: Caterati

Cat-ducation, Catculture appreciation

Mark’s Mews: Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

I read a beautiful telling of Smalley’s story.

The original

This is the message I left for the author:
“Thank you for this moving rendition of Smalley’s story. You got it right on the kibble. It is amazing that someone halfway around the world from Singapore gets it so thoroughly with just a simple 6 page story, when we’re facing the gigantic wonder that the Singaporean authorities who have enforced the “no cats outside, no cats allowed inside laws” for decades fail consistently to connect the dots.

Thank you again for telling more people about our Smalleys. Thank you.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

Doesn’t that mean no cats anywhere?

The last time Beins were so stupid to try to eliminate cats from their lives, they suffered the terrible Bubonic Plague. Stupid Beins killed most of the cats, there were no cats to kill the rats that carried the fleas that carried the Plague, and up to a third of all Beins in Europe died as a result.

So Singapore wants to kill all the cats. Those who don’t know history suffer the repetition of it…

So we want to restate the story of Smalley as a warning of how cat-hate starts, knowing that you now know the consequences of that hate…

(Click here to read Mark’s Mews‘ version of Smalley’s story and thank him for telling his readers about Smalley.)

Book: Cats in Love

Cats In Love by J.C. Suarès and Jane Martin
(available for loan from the nlb)

Light without being whimsical, heartwarming without being saccharine, thought-provoking without being ponderous.

This pictorial book about cats and their relationships with other cats, non-cats, and even minions, is a great bedtime read. Or maybe see is a more appropriate word, because every picture accompanying each one-page narrative (which are simple and easily digested too) will have you getting all the yawn-kinks in your jaw worked out with the awwing you’ll be doing. Just be sure kitty doesn’t catch on that you’re admiring other cats!

Though there are kitty and kitty-and-buddy pictures aplenty, my favourite story is the one without an accompanying photo of the protagonists, “The Cat and the Grizzly”. Read it and tell me if you feel the same.

I am also partial to “Beau”, “The Grinch and the Burmese”, “Love to a Cat”, “The Easter Cat”, “Tender Ziggy”. But the fact is, every story, evey picture tugs like a yarn being pulled in different directions by playful kittens.

(I shall now privately bemoan the fact the the only time Philly and Rheilly chose to entice me with a cheek-to-cheek embrace photo moment of their own was that one occasion in the dead of night. Ref pictures on 1st page and page 27 of the book for what my comatose brain missed that night months ago)

[Search Keyword: KittyBooks]

Book: Is your cat crazy?

Is your cat crazy? Solutions from the Casebook of a Cat Therapist by John C. Wright with Judi Wright Lashnits
(available for loan at the nlb)

Is your cat crazy? Despite the innate instinct to say “no”, you’re probably nodding your head at the same time.

This succinct, easy-to-understand book is light on theory but generous with relatable anecdotes and thoughts. Part of the reason must be the fact that the writer, Dr Wright, is also a cat minion to two females (Domino and Turk) himself. Right off the bat, he laid bare his minionly soul in chapter 1: “In search of the Perfect Cat”. And it is such a comfort to be reading about Dr Wright’s own search that an instant comaraderie coalesce.

Of course, this isn’t a self-help DIY gig to uncrazy your cat. There’s no such elixir-in-a-box. But it s a great help to getting a grip on what your cat does, why he does it, and your part in setting him off. Even if your cat’s this side of crazy, this book is an enlightening read for keeping him here.

Personally, I do find some discrepancies between Dr Wright’s opinions and diagnoses, and our experience – eg his seeming acceptance of declawing, which to his credit did seem viable given the circumstances, plus this book was printed in the 90’s – more is known now about the damage, both physical and psychological, that declawing inflicts on the poor cat. But well, cats aren’t factory-line products, so aside from the declawing bits, who’s to say what the good doctor says isn’t the rule of thumb?

On the whole, he makes a lot of sense and confirms more than negates the things we’ve learnt. For eg, the importance of a proper introduction for the new cat you’re adding, litterbox basics, keeping cats indoors and reducing the myriad sources of psychosis, the importance of vertical space to a cat’s sanity (especially if it’s a colony you’ve got), the importance of stability and familarity and so on and so forth.

Yet, despite all his experience, Dr Wright’s observations and case conclusions often carry the caveat that each cat is different from the next and therefore the circumstances and the program that works for one may not work for another (yup, say it with us: cats are not not factory-line productions). For example, after saying:

Researches have found a direct relationship between the number of cats in the household and the probability of spraying by one or more of them. One survey of 150 cat owners revealed that in a household with one cat, there was a 25 percent chance it would spray; in a household with ten cats, that likelihood jumped to 100 percent – there at least one sprayer in every such bunch. It’s something to think about if you value the quality of life for all your pets – not to mention the smell and sanitation of your home.

Dr Wright goes on to point out that “… I see households with numerous cats having no probles whatsoever. If each has sufficient space to be separate from the others, enjoying his own special location where he feels comfortable and can cope successfully witht the stresses of daily living in his territory, there is less likely to be a marking or stress-induced urination problem.”

Of course this is then balanced with “But I’ve seen big problems in households filled with cats….”

The bottomline is that where cats are concerned, generalisations are just that. Individually, they will not all conform to stereotypes. A very big part of who they are, how they behave, what’s wrong with them, and the hows and whys of getting them normal again has to do with the persons in their lives. Yes, the human mums and dads of any crazy cats. Don’t laugh, this might just be you.

Even as a TNRM minion, there were a few noteworthy quotes. Namely this one:

“… a recent study that gives us a good idea of typical feline home ranges, if they have the opportunity to travel as far as they want to each day. tom cats – unneutered male cats usually in search of fetile females – ranged over an area equivalent to about rwo acres, whereas neutered cats of both sexes used about one-tenth the home range of intact males.”

(Dr Wright defines the home range as an area which “extends to the farthest point away from home base the cat will normally go, but not necessarily defend” and territory as “an area he roams throughout and will defend”)

And this one:

“… feral (outdoor unowned) cats live an average of two to two-and-a-half yeats, whgile indoor cats now average seventeen years. Theres’ something to think about before opening the back door.”

I found his insights about “The Crime of Punishment” especially insightful too.

Dr Wright closed the book’s introduction thus:

The other day I saw an article in a newspaper from one of the world’s most sophisicated cities. It contained the mind-boggling statistics that 70,000 animals had endned up at the city’s SPCA in 1990, and 5,000 were “put down” at the owners’ request… reasons pet owners gave for giving their cats and dogs an almost certain death sentence (only 17,000 were adopted):

“I’m allergic.”

“My apartment’s too small.”

“I’m moving.”

“I’m going on vacation.”
My practice. amd this book, are a tribute to thoses cat owners who don’t consider a trip to the Bahamas a good reason to have a companion animal put to death. Before they find help their homes may look like battle zones or smell to high heaven; their cats may be hated by the neighbours; their limbs may be covered with scratches and bites; their patience and resources may be nearly exhausted.

But here are the people who cared enough to give their pets one more chance, and the cats who have made it all worthwhile.

So to all the genuine cat parent, too-shay, and don’t forget to give this book a go. You’ll find that even if you’re nodding in agreement with what’s written, the guilty twitch isn’t quite so bad – you are not alone in thinking your cat just might be crazy. But before you indict him or her, check yourself. If necessary, do it at Woodbridge.

[Search Keyword: KittyBooks]

What Cats know about War

Humans are so insidiously spread throughout this world, that any conflict between us affects not just the ones we want to inflict pain or suffering on. It will leave very deep impact on the animals who happen to be on the scene too, like the Gorillas of the Congo. The Iraqi conflict spawned efforts to rescue zoo animals in its initial aftermath (photos); some of the animals were in the private collection of the dictator and his heir-designate. It’s not just animals living in the wild or trapped in zoos that suffer for our follies. Read this post by Dawn and go and read the “ What Cats know about War” article.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What Cats know about War

Thanks to Mezzo for sending this in. This must be extremely hard to NOT be able to do TNRM at all because there are no vets available :-

What Cats know about War

The military apparently does have very strict rules about animals, and it seems that it doesn’t seem to be enough to stop people who DO grow very attached to animals. When you think about it, why would bans on civilians in NON-war time then work? For another case of a marine who smuggled a dog back to the US (and who had a range of military people, journalists and Iraqis helping him), there’s also this book : From Baghdad with love.


posted by Dawn @ 12:17 AM

Here’s another informative article: The Animal Victims of the Gulf War

[Search Keyword: KittyBooks]

Book: Know your Cat’s Purr Points

Know your Cat’s Purr Points by Margaret Woodhouse
(available for loan from nlb)

This delightful little book is a biblical must for any cat minion. It will impart the knowledge and skills ape hands need to reach kitty purr points just right. And this little tome does it in illustrious simplicity, with carefully annointed pictures of kitty anatomy and hand positional aids.

Technique is everything, and so is minion sensibility – not only do you need to know when to start, step up, slow down, you have to know where to adminster the purr pointing, and even when to stop and retreat too.

The Purr Register is a very helpful aid to knowing how well your minionstrations are being appreciated by kitty.

The slackers’ Our favourite purr points are (in no order of priority) “The Rumbler”, “Chin Lifter”, “The Flamenco Guitar”, “Double Doses”, “The Plunge”, “Dancing the Limbo”.

More reviews on

[Search Keyword: KittyBooks]

More pet food recall news

(Companion post specific to the Natural Balance recall: Natural Balance specific pet food recall info and news. Added 20 Apr 07)

With regards to Yahoo News 20070317: Animal owners frantic on pet food recall (and also ref this: TODAY 20070319: AVA probes US pet food recall), a list of informative and insightful stuff found on the blogpound (reverse in chronological order, earliest post dated Mar 12, latest Mar 23)

Incidentally, please note that details and latest info can found on and Pet Connection. (Thanks to Leigh-ann of the blogpound)

List of articles/blog entries on blogpound (updated 13 Apr 07)

(Updated: 20 Apr 07)

TODAY 20070321: P&G awarded $29 million over Satanism rumours

I’m no fan of corporate animal-testing advocates like L’Oreal and P&G (or Pain and Greed)

And hot on the heels of news about the US pet food recall that affects major P&G pet food brands Iams/Eukanuba/Science Diet, comes this tidbit about Pissing Apathetic Goliath hounding little Davids to the end of the earth. I do not think much of bullies, and corporate bullies takes the cake.

Please think about your impact as a consumer. For a list of corporations you might want to stop supporting and consumer impacts, see these links:

And here’s the shameful details of the Goliath crushing Davids antics (emphasis mine).

This story was printed from TODAYonline

P&G awarded $29 million over Satanism rumours

Wednesday • March 21, 2007

CINCINNATI — The world’s largest consumer products company, Procter & Gamble (P&G), has won a jury award of US$19.25 million ($29.38 million) in a civil lawsuit against four former Amway distributors accused of spreading false rumours linking the firm to Satanism.

The US District Court jury found in favour of the consumer products company in the 1995 lawsuit, one of several P&G brought over rumours alleging a link between the company’s logo and Satanism. Rumours had begun circulating as early as 1981 that the firm’s logo — a bearded, crescent man-in-moon looking over a field of 13 stars — was a symbol of Satanism.

P&G alleged that Amway Corp distributors revived those rumours in 1995, using a voice mail system to tell thousands of customers that part of P&G profits went to Satanic cults.

Amway is involved in direct selling through independent business owners in over 80 countries and territories around the world.

The former Amway distributors thought they would be exonerated and were shocked by the jury’s verdict, said Mr Randy L Haugen, one of the defendants.

“It’s hard to imagine they’d pursue it this long, especially after all the retractions we put out,” said Mr Haugen, a 53-year-old businessman who maintained that P&G was never able to show how it was harmed by the rumours. “We are stunned. All of us.”

Mr Haugen said he forwarded another person’s account of the Satanic rumour to other Amway salesmen on a common phone-message system, then circulated the retraction. The original message, however, found its way to P&G.

Referring to the defendants in the suit, Ms Kate Makled, a spokeswoman for Alticor Inc, Amway’s parent company, said: “Despite the public apology, P&G has spent 12 years destroying their lives. P&G is a US$68-billion company. What they got out of this case was what they could earn in about two-and-a-half hours. We think that’s shameful.” — AP

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

ST 200702021: The cat’s out of the bag

This is definitely argument FOR allowing people to keep pets. The Lus have previously written a letter in support of cats as pets and to ask fro the HDB to scrap their ridiculous ban.

(Companion piece to ST 200702021: The healing powers of animals)

The cat’s out of the bag


Straits Times Interactive, Mind Your Body, 21 February 2007


Six cats under the same roof have provided a family with companionship and brought relief to a sick man. By Shelagh Mahbubani

Most people would think that six cats taken in by a loving family to be getting the better end of the deal.In fact, the Lu family feels that it’s the other way round.

The six cats that live with them have blessed them in more ways than they imaginable, said the Lus.

They are especially thankful of any blessings they have received since Mr Edgar Lu was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 1993.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that causes the death of nerve cells and hence the paralysis of voluntary muscles.

In 2000, Mr Lu, 54 and a former IT consultant, became completely bed ridden.

Three years later, Mr Lu and his wife Gina got their first cat, Gandalf.

Though they bought Gandalf to help their son Kevin, who was going through depression, they found that having a cat helped everybody.

The cats also help Mr Lu deal with his condition.

He is unable to move, except to smile and speak in a voice incomprehensible to everyone but those who know him. He has to be constantly under watch, as there’s a risk of him choking on his saliva.

‘Prior to the arrival of the cats, he was more focused on his own problems,’ said his wife, Mrs Lu, 47, a systems analyst.

Now, Mr Lu can watch the cats while he lies on the bed placed in the living room.

It’s very comforting to have them lie on the bed, he said through his wife’s translation.

Aside from providing emotional comfort, they even help to reduce his physical pain.

A cat lying on his hip can be more effective at relieving the pain than a hot water bottle, said the Lus.

The cats have also helped the whole family bond in a way that they couldn’t previously.

Mrs Lu said that because of her husband’s illness the family wasn’t able to spend as much time together as they wanted.

As the two sons grew older, they had less in common to talk about.

‘The cats indirectly serve as a link for the family,’ said Kevin, 20, a student at LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts.

Perhaps most important of all, the cats have helped the rest of the family get through hard times.

They really are, in their own way, members of the family.

Having Gandalf around helped Kevin get out of his depression, which hit him just around his O levels.

Gandalf is like a pal to her son, said Mrs Lu.

Kevin prefers to call Gandalf ‘an animal version of a soulmate’.

‘We understand each other,’ he added.

Both mother and son say the cats understand orders.

‘It’s uncanny,’ said Mrs Lu. For example, they will go into a room if she asks them to.

And whenever they are asked to do something they don’t like, the cats will respond with an indignant look.

And while one would think that keeping six cats in the house would create a mess, Mrs Lu said the opposite is true.

‘They’re very clean and well behaved,’ she added.

All they need is for fresh water and food to be left around the house and their litter boxes cleaned. That’s not much to ask.

February 21, 2007

ST 20070221: The healing power of animals

ST should be printing more of such features, not wasting ink on drivel like this.

(Companion piece to ST 200702021: The cat’s out of the bag)

The healing power of animals

Straits Times Interactive, Mind Your Body, 21 February 2007

Many animals from dogs and cats to horses and dolphins have played a role in the healing process.

Sigmund Freud, considered by many to be the father of modern psychology, once wrote to a friend of the sympathy his dog Jofi showed him while he was undergoing cancer treatment.It would be of no surprise to Freud that today, animals are used in therapy.

Mr Charlie Ho, the co-founder of Therapy Dogs Singapore, says that ‘dogs can do much more than us to help’.

Indeed, studies are now showing that to be true.

A study conducted in the United States at the University of California, Los Angeles, last year, showed visits by dogs to be more beneficial to patients with heart failure than visits by humans alone.

Patients who were visited by a dog and human showed a 17 per cent drop in epinephrine, a hormone produced by the body when stressed, after a 12-minute visit.

Those visited by a person alone showed only a 2 per cent drop in epinephrine levels after the 12 minutes.

Mr Ho has witnessed beneficial effects first-hand when visiting nursing homes, hospices and schools with volunteers and their dogs.

He tells the story of a lonely and depressed dementia patient who, having experienced business failure and family rejection, refused to talk to anybody.

But once they got the dog to do a few tricks the man started laughing.

Ms Kwok Yee Siang, an executive director at Bethany Methodist Nursing Home, adds that ’some residents who won’t even talk to the person in the bed next to them will talk to the dogs’.

An unhappy woman at Peacehaven Nursing Home wept one day because she was moved to the common area to meet canine visitors.

But her ‘tears turned to joy’ when a friendly dog licked her face, says Ms Angeline Ng, leader of the Singapore Kennel Club pet therapy team for the Peacehaven Nursing Home.

Dogs aren’t the only animals that can be helpful.

At Riding For The Disabled Association of Singapore (RDA), the elderly and disabled have a chance to ride horses in a safe and secure environment.

Ms Bee Wee, the head instructor, recounts how the first word a mother heard her disabled child speak was the name of the horse: Fraggle.

And while not all riders bond as effectively with their horses, the act of riding the horse imparts benefits.

‘For a kid who can’t write an essay, to control a 2,200kg animal is a huge boost of self-confidence,’ says Ms Kathleen Weidler, a former teacher who’s been volunteering with RDA since September. ‘It’s something even their parents can’t do,’ she adds.

The same effect can be seen in mentally disabled children working with dogs, says Madam Girija Nambier, a volunteer management executive for the Asian Women’s Welfare Association educational services.

Learning how to walk the dogs boosts the child’s self-confidence, she says.

Riding a horse can also be of great help to the physically disabled by improving their core strength, muscle tone, coordination and balance, says Ms Wee.

Mrs Jodi Bonnette, a 48-year-old teacher at the Singapore American School, certainly thinks so. She says her son Zachary, a 12-year-old with Angelman’s Syndrome, a rare neuro-genetic disorder, can walk much better after having done horseback riding for a few years.

‘His posture’s better, as well as his stamina,’ she says.

Although he does physiotherapy a few times a week, she thinks that the RDA ‘has been the best programme for him’.

Learning to ride a horse can also help concentration.

Ms Wee recalls how a hyperactive autistic boy, unable to stay in one place, was sitting still on a horse by the end of the fourth session.

And if nothing else, working with animals makes people happy.

As Mr Ralph Haering, a 29-year-old RDA volunteer, puts it: ‘The children come in nervous and they leave happy.’


February 21, 2007.


Who needs a babel fish when we’ve got the messybeast‘s trusty tome of meowslations?

Copyright 1995 – 2006 Sarah Hartwell

Can cats talk? Many cat owners would like to think so and some even claim that their cats speak a number of recognisable words. A Brazilian cat takes claims one step further by apparently being able to sing a number of well known songs while the Fortean Times carried a report of a cat which speaks several words in Turkish and suggested, with tongue firmly in cheek, that the reason many owners cannot understand their cats is because the cats are speaking Turkish. But before cat-owners rush out for phrase books, are these cats really speaking or are their owners just talking turkey?

For humans, the terms ‘speech’ and ‘talk’ are not restricted to vocalization, but encompass human body language (which most of us read without realising it), gestural languages (sign language) and tactile languages (of deaf-blind individuals) which are equally expressive among those fluent in their use. Further, human language comprises both verbal and non-verbal components (including the written extension of body language through gestural substitutes such as the <VBG >, :-) symbols within Internet communication).

The cat’s vocal apparatus differs from our own and is not designed with speech in mind. However cats need to communicate, both with other cats and with owners. They “speak” to each other through body language, communicating feelings and intentions through posture and facial expression. Scent is also an important component of cat communication. In addition, they have a vocabulary of sounds ranging from caterwauls to mewing sounds, from hisses to the “silent meow” which is probably a sound pitched too high for human ears to hear. The familiar “miaow” is used mainly for communicating with humans as we are evidently too thick to understand anything other than kitten-talk.

The remainder of this article will be concerned with vocalizations – the vocalizations used in cat/cat communication and the vocalizations used in cat/human communication. For more detailed information on feline body language and non-vocal feline communication, refer to Cat Communication. You may also wish to read Do Cats Have Emotions?


In “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, Lewis Carroll wrote “It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens that whatever you say to them, they always purr. If they would only purr for ‘yes’ and mew for ‘no’, or any rule of that sort, so that one could keep up a conversation! But how can one deal with a person if they always say the same thing?”

On the other hand, “Your Guide to Cats & Kittens” (1973) produced by Pedigree Petfoods/Peter Way Ltd wrote that “mew” did not do justice to the cat’s wide vocabulary – ranging from greeting to plaintive – and went on to compare the different vocalisations of several popular breeds: Siamese, Burmese, Longhair (Persian) and British Shorthair.

Lewis Carroll, it seems, was not a keen observer of cats, otherwise he would have noticed that cats do not always say the same thing! They make a variety of different sounds which, among humans would be called “words”, but in our belief that we are naturally superior to “dumb” animals, we don’t call cat-sounds “words”. Since the sounds don’t conform to our notion of grammatical structure, it simply appears that cats lack language.

To the uninitiated, and probably to Lewis Carroll, the simple “miaow” is an all-purpose word. Most cat-owners, however, are aware that there are a whole variety of miaows that differ in pitch, rhythm, volume, tone and pronunciation. Jean Craighead George attempted to categorise these according to the cat’s age, gender and situation:-  READ ON… 

If there’s ever a kitty+minions  cats+ parents get-together, surely some sort of foolproof secret password would have to be called into service. Before then, we’d best start revising.

H5N1… kill ignorance and panic before all else

H5N1 new development: The American Embassy in Indonesia, H5N1 hotsplotch, has issued a warning to citizens about contact with stray cats on 7 Feb.

But as you can see from posts by Dawn: Cats and H5N1, and Budak: Before the culling starts, to target cats, felis catus, now is just either ignorance or foolhardiness, unwarranted, a wanton waste of lives, and resources (funded from taxpayers’ money). It may also cause other problems, like a rat population explosion.

I hope that the Singapore Government has gotten over its iron-fisted trigger-happy-complex contracted during SARS, and that reason will prevail this round. Bottomline: THINK before acting, don’t be so hasty to kill, like South Korea.

Ref: Threat to cats: H5N1 aka deadly strain of bird flu

938live talkback at 8.15am 2nd Feb is about cats in flats

In the 1st Feb TODAY edtion, Voices section:

Do cats have a place in our HDB estates, if proper regulations are in place and cat owners take responsibility to keep their cats indoors?

Tune in to 938Live’s Talkback from 8.15am to 8.45am tomorrow for a debate on the issue raised by TODAY readers this week.

Call 66911938 to share your views.

How to participate:

We open the phone lines every weekday from 8:10am for you to call in and share your feelings about issues that concern you. Call 66 911 938 or email and we’ll try our very best to get your views heard. Or listen to some of the programmes again on podcast.

The reference letters in TODAY:

These ST letters are also great reference:

Prior history and background here.

Upsetting the balance

Another interesting entry from Dawn:

Upsetting the balance

I just read this off the Alley Cat Allies website.

One of the remote islands off Australia decided they would get rid of the cats on the island because they were preying on the birds. It turned out to be a huge mess because then rabbits and rats started becoming an even larger threat to the birds. Now they’re trying to kill off the other animals there too!

Cull upsets ecological balance

posted by Dawn @ 3:53 PM

Read the comments. quite an interesting discussion going on.

Rescue considerations

Two entries on Dawn’s blog give much cause for pause. What price rescue? Is it for one’s convenience or ease of conscience? There are half-baked rescues, just like there are feel-good karma feeders and emotional blackmailers.

This type of people leave problems for others to solve, because of what I call wilful myopia. They expect others to clean up after them forever, causing more problem than some of the irresponsible pet owners or unreasonable complainants.

Before I’m accused of speaking from the highhorse, I want to make it clear that I too used to think that one call to the spca saves the animal and ease my conscience, ie we all start the same way.

But you can bury your head in the sand for only so long before you have to come up for air. Scratch the veneered surface of this type of thinking (brittle as it is, it breaks at the merest touch). Then take a GOOD whiff.

Nothing’s ever easy or for free. There’s always doubts, and there’s always worry. Ultimately, the question is: how far are you willing to go with your ‘rescue’? Face it, no one likes shovelling poop, but we all got our own lot to deal with. So what’s so special about you and the lot you took on yourself that you expect others others to shovel it for you?!

(EDIT: Also see Starter Kit and FAQ for the Kitty Foster/Rehomer)

Entry 1

Monday, January 29, 2007

Stop ‘Rescuing’ cats!

I keep getting emails from people that ask for someone to rescue cats. This includes people who say their management is going to remove the cats that they are feeding because there are complaints. One woman wrote in today to say that she is moving, the block is going to be sold en bloc, and the mother cat just gave birth. She wanted to know if they will be ‘rescued’ and removed from their mother.

The woman who is moving away said she had been feeding the cats but was not taking them with her. If for example, she could continue to come back and feed and more importantly start sterilising, the situation could be managed. I told her their chances of survival now without the mother cat would be very slim. She wrote back to thank me for the advice.

When I write back and say that we would be happy to talk to managements with the residents to allow the cats to stay and help them to start up a programme in their own estates, often though, the people don’t write back. For them to ‘rescue’ the cats means they will be removed and taken somewhere to be adopted. They then no longer have to worry about it.

Rescue however is meant to save the cats’ lives – and hopefully not just THESE cats but the cats that will surely move in after. Say the cats are removed. Where do they go? Where are all the adoptive homes? What happens to the new cats that will move in due to the vacuum effect? What are the people who started feeding them in the first place going to do?

If they honestly didn’t know about sterilisation and management, we’re happy to help out to teach them what to do. We are happy to speak with management with them and set up a programme. To expect someone to bail them out though (by taking away all the cats for them), or to send the cats to be ‘rescued’ in already over-crowded shelters is just not going to work. Nor is it rescue.

posted by Dawn @ 12:45 PM


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Rescue considerations

We have been getting a few requests for reimbursements for treatment of cats for a variety of problems. The Society generally does not reimburse and right now, with the clinic coming up, we have to be even more careful with the money we spend.

I realise that a lot of people understandably want to save every cat out there, especially people who are fairly new to rescue work. They are kind souls who are trying to do everything to save every cat, but the sad truth is that not every cat can be saved.

This is a really difficult decision to make and everyone of course has to come to a decision that they can live with, all of which are deserving of respect as long as the cat’s welfare is always paramount. I believe however there are several factors to consider when the cat is being rescued/saved (leaving aside religious beliefs) :-

1. What sort of life will the cat lead after – will it be able to sleep/eat/play and live a normal life? This could include cats with various handicaps who are able to still live normally and not be subject to a life of perpetual suffering after;
2. Where will the cat go? Is the caregiver going to take it in? I wrote earlier about how hard it is to find adoptive homes – for handicapped/injured/sick cats, multiply that by ten. If the cat is for example, an abuse case going back on the street again only to get abused or killed, then what is the point? The cat has to be taken in by the caregiver and if they are not prepared to do so, then the chances of finding the cat a permanent home are very slim;
3. What is the best course of treatment for the cat? This depends on what the vet suggests – and the vet is the best person to advice you on the course of treatment;
4. Is the caregiver able to give appropriate medical care? I’ve seen caregivers unable to properly look after kittens and cats, take in even more rescue cases only to have most of them die because of pre-existing diseases within their homes which they do not have the resources to treat. A life on the streets is definitely better than almost certain death in these homes;
5. Can the caregiver afford medical treatment? Again taking in a cat that you cannot afford to treat means the cat is going to suffer and die. In addition to the cost of paying for that cat, the opportunity cost is saving many more cats out there. For example, if you spend $1000 on one cat, you could have sterilised at least 20 cats. These 20 cats will then not reproduce. They will be less likely to get cancers and FIV and FELV – they will not spread it on to any offspring, which means that you will actually be saving far more than 20 cats. Unfortunately finances are finite – and as with everything else, resources do have to be allocated in the most efficient manner.

This is why I firmly believe that maximum allocation of resources to sterilisation is the best way of saving the most number of cats. If everyone sterilises, we WILL make a dent and less cats will have to die every year.

posted by Dawn @ 10:02 PM

TODAY 20070129: Do cats belong in our HDB estates?

These letters are interesting to say the least. The first 2 are against. Letter1 is misguided, Letter 2 looks like it could have been a HDB template reply (refer to point about HDB ban below). UPDATE: Response to letter 2 printed on 30 Jan here.

The next 3 makes more sense. Time for more letters!

If you would like to respond, there are 2 ways:

  1. Write a letter and send it to
  2. Click on the article link provided, and look for the “F” in a dialogue bubble icon on the top right hand corner to reply online. It’s the 3 rd icon to the right of the print icon. (Do remember to compose your response on a word application and cut and paste onto the response area to avoid losing your thesis!)

However you choose to respond, do please remember to be coherent and keep it short, as in less than 400 words. Do also include

  • Your Name
  • Contact Number
  • Address

If you need some reference materials, you can go to Dawn’s blog and search for past entries about this. Meantime, here’s some right here on tec.

Reference letters/articles. :

  • From Today. These are the recent ones that related or precipitated the letters directly:
  • From tec’s store
    • HDB should ban tolerance and harmony in hdb flats
    • ON the HDB ban and the template replies: Government (ir)rationale for banning cats from 85% of homes
      HDB bans cats, period. Doesn’t matter what you keep in your flat, as long as it’s not prohibited by AVA, is not a large dog nor a cat.Here’s what the HDB says about pets, on its website: Home > Keeping Of Pets > Overview

      HDB has to consider the overall sentiments of the HDB residents when setting policies and rules. Not all residents like pets, or are comfortable with neighbours keeping pets. HDB has allowed one dog of an approved breed to be kept in an HDB flat. The approved breeds of dogs are the smaller dogs which are generally more manageable. Please click here for the list of approved breeds of dogs.

      Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats. HDB also allows flat owners to keep other pet animals such as fish, hamsters, rabbits, birds, etc which generally do not cause nuisance to the neighbouring residents. (source)

      Chronically, HDB refuses to look the flaws of its’ cat-ban in the face. It continues to insist that

      cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and it is difficult to confine them to flats. Cats can shed fur, dirty public places, make noise and cause disturbance. Despite the prohibition on cats, HDB has been receiving from residents numerous complaints relating to cats.

      As our priority is to promote a pleasant living environment and good relationships for all residents in our housing estates, HDB will maintain its existing policy on not allowing cats to be kept in the flats.

      Contrast the leeway allowed to keep other fur-shedding animals, and even nuisance causing yapping small dogs. How does HDB dodge the issue? Let us count the ways: (read on for more)

    • On the SPCA kill-rate: 5012? Actually there’s 8,000 more
    • On culling aka killing and TNRM: Singapore’s Love-Hate Relationship with TNRM

And here’s the letters (formatted by me due to confusing layout on the actual page):
This story was printed from TODAYonline

Do cats belong in our HDB estates?

More owners, more abandoned pets Stray cats pose risks Legalise pet cats so you can regulate owners Use funds to sterilise Culling ineffective

Monday • January 29, 2007

Several letters over the past week, urging the authorities to go beyond euthanasia and culling to control stray-animal populations, have sparked a debate among readers. Do felines have a place in our heartlands, whether as pets or “community” cats?

Letter from Yan Wai Keet
I REFER to the letter by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), “Forced to put on the coat of Dr Death” (Jan 24). The SPCA wishes to increase the number of pets allowed in HDB flats to reduce the surplus population of strays. This sounds perfectly fine, until one starts asking why the animals were abandoned in the first place.

Loss of interest? “Accidental” mating resulting in offspring? Whatever the reasons, these owners do not seem to be responsible in sterilising their pets or taking care of them for the duration of their life. Would allowing more pets in HDB flats solve the problem? I think the opposite might just happen.

Even so, I am heartened by the recent sprouting of animal lovers’ groups who are taking public and proactive steps in providing resources for the management of the stray population. I look forward to the day such groupings grow strong enough to work with SPCA to achieve the desired equilibrium.

Letter from GOH KIAN HUAT
I REFER to the letter, “‘Because cats scare me’ is not a good reason” (Jan 20-21). While I appreciate Dr Tan Chek Wee’s care and concern for stray cats, I do not understand the reasons for not supporting the way stray animals are treated — qualified veterinarian consultants carry out euthanasia humanely by lethal injection.

HDB dwellers are not allowed to keep cats as pets as they are nomadic in nature and it is difficult to confine them to flats. They shed fur, dirty public places, make noise and cause a disturbance.

While community cats could perform an important function in catching mice, their role is diminishing with the decline in the rat and mouse population in cleaner housing estates.

There are different “categories” of stray cats: Ranging from lost tame pet cats to aggressively feral ones. There are various diseases and parasites cats can get, some of which they can pass on to humans.

I believe there are no real benefits to having stray cats around. As long as such cats are killed professionally and not in a “cruel and abusive” manner, it is socially acceptable.

UPDATE: Response to this letter – TODAY 20070130: True, we can do with fewer cats… through sterilisation

Letter from Khoo Hwee Boon
I HAVE written numerous times to the HDB to review its cat ban policy. Each time, I get a template reply: “Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and difficult to keep confined within the flats. The nuisances caused by cats, such as the shedding of fur and defecating and urinating in public areas, would affect the environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates.”

Cats do make perfect pets for flats. From years of interaction with them, I know cats can be domesticated and kept strictly indoors. They are clean and they are quiet when sterilised — more so, in fact, than dogs. They can be trained to do their “business” in a litter tray.HDB’s anti-cat policy just doesn’t wash with the more educated resident. As long as HDB refuses to acknowledge this, cat lovers will keep cats illegally. The consequence of this is that the irresponsible ones will continue not to sterilise their cats which therefore continue to caterwaul and procreate. It also leads to pet abandonment.

But if HDB legalises cats as flat pets, then it can also regulate cat ownership — such as through compulsory micro-chipping and licensing. This will help to increase responsible pet ownership and reduce pet abandonment. Isn’t this a win-win situation for all?

Letter from Rebecca Ho Shu Ling
THE authorities have made the removal of stray cats convenient and cheap for residents — just 10 cents to make a call, and you get speedy service to your doorstep.

In contrast, volunteers who use the humane sterilisation method fork out their own money and time. Sterilising a cat involves booking at appointment with the vet, trapping the cat, keeping it overnight, sending it to the clinic the next day, picking it up afterward, caring for it for two days after surgery and releasing it back to the original location.

I applaud these dedicated caregivers. Results have shown that sterilisation effectively reduces the cat nuisance and population over time.

The Town Councils should divert their pest control budget into a sterilisation budget, if its residents are willing to start a Trap-Neuter-Release programme in the neighbourhood. The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority should resume the Cat Rehabilitation Scheme suspended in 2003.

Letter from Shirley Goh
BY IMPLEMENTING and recommending the Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage programme, the Cat Welfare Society has provided a humane and effective way of managing the cat population in a particular area.

As noted by CWS’ Ms Dawn Kua, culling cats will only lead to new, unsterilised cats moving into the vacated turf. This is hardly an effective long-term solution, more a myopic one.

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