Category Archives: Mojo Robbery Care Package / TNRM

Kitty mojo robbery compleat care package aka Trap-Neuter-Release-Management (TNRM). Exclusive tipped ear clan membership

Area1: Schwinger Central

The Snippety Happy bunch are back. They arrived shortly after 10pm this evening. All looked good, though wide-eyed from the trauma of their abduction and mojo-robbery.

Before their homecoming btmao and I went around the area, hoping to encounter the absentee kitty aka Rapunzel, who didn’t join the happy snippees on Monday. As luck, or probably the kitty deities, would have it, that kitty did appear. So V secured the lucky one before releasing the snippety bunch.

Four schwingers de-mojoed, and Rapunzel in the bag. But is it really over, for now at least? btmao say the new kitty in the hood seemed to be a different one from the schwingers rounded up.

More details, naming headaches and yes pictures to come.

Area1: Snippety Happy

We thought we had a new kitty in the hood… what do we know.

The kitty we confirmed about 2 weeks was an agouti female – she was sitting right outside our door, on the ninth floor, on a night when btmao returned home late, thus confirming herself to us. Like Isam when he first appeared, and Brenda, she seemed to trying to find her home, going up and down in tireless frenzy the blocks in the ‘hood.

Around the same time, we spotted a new silver spotted tabby male, young but with fullly ripe “grapes”.

Available adult female, add virile adult male. Bad combo. But as ever, they were scaredy-attention seeking (typical of newly abandoned pets), elusive and refused to give us their daily agenga. Talk about guerilla warfare.

This morning, we spotted the female downing some cooked rice strewn on the muddy roots of a tree. She ran off as I approached. So this evening we decided we would try to nail someone, anyone, to some sort of kitty schedule.

We got more than we ask for… different than what we hoped but definitely more.

We met a new kitty. A striped female with a stumpy tail and surprise of surprises – a tipped ear. She’s a carpark denizen and completely friendly.

Then while btmao fed her, I went round the neighbourhood. The silver spotted tabby boy was out and about, up to his usual frenetic search up and down the blocks looking for a home. But at least he was calm enough and friendly. We decided to call V to come collect him, not least because his loudmouth tendency wasn’t doing himself any fabours.

Thankfully V was available to swing by, ETA 9-ish. The silver spotted tabby boy wouldn’t know what hit him. He’s friendly, bright-eyed but definitely putting on the coy. His call even sounded like he’s wanting to show some lucky gal what a lover he was. And his advertisement was being answered. We were standing at the foot of a block. I heard someone responding to him, but it took btmao’s 6/6 vision (she went home for supplies), to spot the furry Rappunzel up on the third floor, upper body clear over the ledge and at the ready to fly down.

I went up to take a look. It was the rice-gulping agouti-female. But she was right on the ledge and let out a very scared howl. So I left her, and btmao to juggle her watch. btmao had to chaparone the loverlorn twosome as I had to go home to finish up some work. I also told her she just missed Brenda trotting by a while.

btmao just got home and gave me the surprise of week. When I went looking for the spotted tabby boy, he had climbed to the second floor of another block (he’s got the Isam’s initial run-up-and-down-every-block bug), where I had spotted 3 young cats in front of a flat (which occpuants refused to open and talk), 1 friendly ginger and 3 SCAREDY dilute gingers. The friendly I could see was a boy. That was in March. Since then I’ve not caught sight of them except for a chance encounter with one of the dilutes at the foot of our block in the compromised position of pooping. So tonight I requested Vincent to see if he can nab any of the threesome as well. Vincent took care of the spoted tabby boy. btmao met a Malay man who said he feeds nightly using styrofoam plates which he clears (he felt sorry for the many cats around and was angry at irresponsible people who dumped them, ostensibly just “downstairs”) and had just left food for some cats at the ginger’s block. He told her the flat where  where I found the ginger and dilutes loitering belonged to a macik who claimed she doesn’t own them, just fed them as they kept appearing at her door. (The macik, had annoyingly, been trying to lure the spotted tabby boy away while btmao was chaperoning him for V’s arrival) Even Brenda is a regular visitor to her kitty soup kitchen.

So btmao went to see and saw…

… the ginger, one dilute/white cat, and 2 more cats!

V grabbed the friendly ginger and was nearly lynched by the Malay man and his wife/relative on the way back to his van. V kept saying “Sterilise, sterilise” and btmao was luckily there to help defuse the situation too. Ultimately, V got 3 boys from there. The dilute/white was a girl who the Malay man said is already sterilised despite the lack of a tipped ear as he had seen the surgery scar on her. Someone besides us were sterilising kitties in the vicinity it seems (and the Malay man agrees), but who we have no idea, and why was the girl’s ear not tipped? Mysteries.

Sadly, the rice-gulper was not to be found. A minion’s work is truly never done. But now that we know a feeder, who seems responsible, we can try to harness the power for good. Entrapment is the key now.

So in total 4 boys are going to lose their mojo tomorrow. The spotted tabby boy, the ginger, a new tabby white, and a new big-headed agouti tabby tux. The Malay man and his family seemed determined to be there to receive the tom kitties when they return from the event of their lives. I too am looking forward to meeting the new kitties, the responsible feeder encik and make arrangements for the area1 kitties, females or otherwise, still at large. Photos to come too.

But for now we have the task of a lifetime - a ton of names to come up with. Anyone with suggestions for names beginning with C and I? We need about 3 for girls, and 5 for boys. F is also another alphabet we’re using for area1.

Here’s the list of names already owned by our area1 kitties:

Area 1 (135)

Homeseeker: Josh

(Must read: Cat care refs.)

Josh is a young ginger spotted tabby white male cat with lovely amber eyes.
Josh_20100327_009xJosh_20100327_010x

He is very affectionate, calm, and loving. He is not afraid of other cats but is non-aggressive. In fact will try to be friends with the cats he meets.

Of all his paws, Josh only has 1 ginger patch on his left front paw.
Josh_frontpaws_20100327_010x

Eagerly waiting for his real forever home, Josh is estimated to be about 1 yrs old. He is sterilised and litter-box trained.
Josh_20100327_005x

More pictures (click to view larger version)
Josh_20100327_004x Josh_20100327_007x Josh_20100327_002x Josh_20100327_001x

Josh’s story

josh_20100316_sideprofile_full_01xJosh was first sighted in Area 1 very late last year, he was probably about 8 months old at the time. Scaredy and scrawny, he would run away when approached and appeared occasionally, when we were not prepared to nab him for mojo-robbing.

It was only beginning in February that he allowed contact, but even then he was a bit wary. Finally, on 16 Mar, he came up to us, approaching us voluntarily for the first time. He was limping and his left shoulder/frontleg/paw seemed to be disabled and he could not put any weight on it.

He was brought in to the vet, and sterilised on 17 Mar while having his injured leg x-rayed. Thankfully, he merely had an inflamed wound on the shoulder as suspected. It was probably inflicted on him by one of the alphas as he scrounged for food. He was moved to Foster Mum’s after discharging on 18 Mar as he needed to be fed a 2 week course of antibiotics, and we were not confident of meeting him regularly. Josh has recovered fully.

He has also turned out to be a calm, gentle and loving cat who wants to be friends with everybody. So we’ve decided to try to rehome him instead of releasing him back to Area 1 where he may very well sustain similar injuries again.

josh_20100316_drinking_pawxjosh_20100316_drinking_paw_closeupx

To visit Josh
Email us at sephycat at gmail dot com, with your name, contact, and a brief intro of yourself/your family.

Genuine, serious adopters only please.

(Must read: Cat care refs.)


Click here to see other home-seeking kitties.

Could you bear it if it happened to a human child or your beloved pet?

While reading the papers 2 sundays ago, my eyes were drawn to a tiny article tucked into the inner bottom corner of the right page.


How cruelly ended was this cat’s life!  What a senseless, wanton waste of life!

Philly_Rheilly_20090128_004_DSCN4481x

Tabulously spotted Philly and agouti Rheilly

But it was more than grief and outrage I felt. I was also deeply disturbed. Because this cat looks very much like our Philly.

It boggles the mind.

Philly_20091027_010x

Philly trying to get a grip

Why would anyone even contemplate such a sick thing? The poor kitty was strangled to death with a rafia string just behind a block of HDB flats. The rafia string had cut 1″ deep into its throat, probably causing poor kitty a very slow painful death. How could such a painful death be unnoticed when the poor cat was struggling for a long while in the midst of densely populated human habitats?

Rheilly_20090128_017_DSCN4502x

Rheilly: So scary!

Could a human child have died the same death unnoticed?

Can you imagine the same happening to your beloved kitty?

It could happen to any cat. This kitty isn’t the first or the only cat who met a cruel end by any stretch of the imagination.

Remember Bedok South, then Old Airport Road, followed by Jurong East, and Pasir Ris, Choa Chu Kang?

Teddy_20091029_007x

Teddy: Philly annoys the hell out of me EVERY SINGLE DAY, but even I wouldn't wish this on him

I am still boggled by the attitudes of those who claim to love cats, then leave their “beloved pets” to roam outside 24/7 unsupervised, exposed to the dangers of animal abuse, road accidents, pest control roundup and AVA culling, poisoning, injuries and sickness from scuffles with other cats, and unwanted pregnancies (conveniently discarding the unapproved young lives that result from their cavalier attitude towards responsibility). Would these people allow their children to live the same risks?

This isn’t just a cat who died. He had caregivers, he had a name.


His name is Pui Pui. And he did not die an easy death.

Bloody signs of Pui Pui's last moments of life

Pui Pui's blood seeped into the ground as he struggled for his life

Thanks to Pawpledge, Pui Pui is not a nameless cat to be forgotten. Nor will his death be just another statistic in Singapore’s annual average of 700 reported (and rising) animal abuse cases if Singaporeans CARE. Pawpledge has sketched a chilling but not unsalvageable reality of the dangers Pui Pui and the cats in the area live in. Sterilisation, and TNRM of course figures prominently. Please help if you can.

Joey_20091025_003x

Joey: I really really don't like Philly but no cat (or dog) deserves to die so horribly

Animal abuse takes every form. Already, between the AVA and SPCA, 21,000 dogs and cats are put to death annually. And official policies or officious support and subsidies of certain behaviours isn’t anything NOT wrong. Not when the real core root, the cause and effect are not even bothered with.

BamBam_20091023_017x

Bam Bam: I'm the resident evil... I can't bear to look!

Are the issues complex? Sure, any issue involving people evolve complexity. But are they uncomprehensible? I don’t think so – if a foreigner who read a short, simple but true rendition of the plight of Singapore’s community aka homeless cats can go on to write it in his own words, no one needs high qualifications from officially sanctioned university brand names nor be called Mr Minister or Mr MP to claim authority and weight on the issues, not when they’re plagued with the head in the sand syndrome.

Rheilly_Philly_20091025_012x
Philly: So sad, that really looks like me
Rheilly: Anyone who wants to mess with you has to go through me first

As for Philly, and the rest of the slackers, I am glad they are safe. But please, let’s keep our eyes out for the voiceless ones who are only striving to eke out a living on the harsh streets of Singapore

You can’t keep the cats swiped off the streets of Singapore

Natural attrition and the vacuum effect. These are very important concepts relating to TNRM for kitty minions. The reality is that there will always be people on both sides and the silent majority on the fence, taking the butt-poke, well, silently. But there is always the question of information and awareness too.

Marty_20090214_001_DSC_0008x
Marty, old-man-of-the-rails. 8 year Area3 alpha. Best friends with grand dame Henna.

As much as human-animal-issues can’t be legislated away, spreading the word is vital to get people to SEE. Some people will refuse to see, and in fact, take pleasure in perpetuating their misconceptions and taking matters into their own hands, sometimes even tag-teaming, but why should they be the only ones to shout out their misguidedness?

Benji_20090214_019_DSC_0052x
Benji. 3 year veteran resident in Area2. His best friend-brother Kenji disappeared in 2008

There are more humane ways to deal with cat issues than actively setting traps on one’s property and getting the cats so trapped to be put down by the government agency dealing with animal issues on the tax-payer’s tab.

We can shout back and louder because logic and reason is on our side. But we must know what we’re saying and why we’re saying what we say. Natural attrition and the vacuum effect are 2 important TNRM terms. In fact, they are on the tec library’s “coming soon” list. Of course I did not have the time to get round to it, but things do catch up in their own way. Filched here is a very nice blog from Dawn about both and why it’s important to understand the lingo of our own yammer:

Thursday, July 23, 2009
The vaccuum effect and natural attrition
Today’s post is about two phrases we bandy around a lot :- the ‘vacuum effect’ and ‘natural attrition’.

Here’s a definition of the vacuum effect from Alley Cat Allies. Here’s a definition of attrition. Now that we have our definitions out of the way, we can talk a bit about what they really mean to us in terms of TNRM :)

Some people deny that this happens – and most of the time it’s because they’ve never dealt with a colony being removed.

However, most people who DO work with cats, or who have had issues with the cats will have noticed that the vacuum effect is very real. This includes a condominium I know that used to spend a few thousand a year getting ‘rid’ of the cats or town councils that asked why there are new cats coming in when the existing ones were removed and killed. This also includes a caregiver I know who removed the cats from the area thinking it wasn’t safe on the streets. When she went by the next day, there were four new cats waiting.

We see how nature abhors a vacuum every day in nature. We see it when water floods in to fill an empty space, or when air does. I’m sure one day we may even understand WHY it happens, but we can already see its effects. We may not all understand how gravity works exactly (or maybe that’s just me:)), but we don’t deny it exists.

Many people may not have much exposure to cats – and that’s where caregivers like you guys come into play. That’s also why it is so important that caregivers are accurately able to explain concepts to people who may not know much about cats.

I spoke recently with a caregiver who said that natural attrition would kill off all the cats in the area. It’s natural (no pun intended) to be confused when so much literature tells us that natural attrition will kill off the cats. BUT, if you accept that the vacuum effect exists, then there is no way that natural attrition can kill off ALL the cats. Will natural attrition kill off cats? Yes, of course it will. Cats can’t live forever after all. It may even, when coupled with sterilisation, bring the population down dramatically depending on the size of your colony. But to have NO cats in the area? Not if you accept the vacuum effect because logically new cats will move in when there is a vacuum.

At some point, the colony numbers after the cats have been sterilised, will drop to such a point that the territory CAN accommodate more cats – note I said, territory, NOT food. Even if you try and remove all newcomers, new cats are going to keep showing up. Some of you may remember the analogy I once gave. If you have a castle with four entrances, and you have five or six guards posted at each door, chances are you’ll be able to defend the castle. If you have two guards, chances are that some intruders are going to sneak in. It’s the same with the cats.

The vacuum effect does not respect your intentions, good or otherwise. The vacuum effect does not care whether you removed the cats to adopt them or relocate them. It does not care if the cats died a natural death or were killed in animal control somewhere.

Some of you may wonder why I’m splitting hairs about this, but it’s very important that a person or organisation who agrees to a TNRM programme knows what to expect. Some expecting that all the cats will die out after they have lived out their natural lifespan and that there will be zero cats is going to be in for a big shock. They might well think the programme is a failure.

Some complainants may also ask why not just remove all the cats NOW. If they are all taken away, then why wait for them to be sterilised and eventually die. In other words why wait for natural attrition to kick in, when we can have UNnatural attrition?

I know some people will say that complainants may not want to hear that the cats are always going to be there. I believe that if you’re honest right up front, but say that a managed, sterilised, cared for colony will create less issues than an unmanaged, growing cat population, most people will see the sense in that. Yes, the colony may always be there – but it doesn’t NEED to cause any problems. Removing the cats and killing them just means the same issues come back over, and over again. It may of course take more than one conversation to get someone to agree but don’t give up. There’s tons of resources online and it’s a good idea to take the information with you – one good resource is ACA’s website.

At the end of the day, your argument has to be logically consistent to you, before you can convince someone else.

Posted by Dawn at 3:28 AM Comments

Mary_fence_20090214_008_DSC_0027x
Mary, 5 year veteran Area3 resident

Timely refresher: TNRM and how it can work

Of course this is no guarantee that following what Dawn said guarantees your TNRM to work, but having positive contributors to the situation surely add that much potential for success than disincentives. But well, it can be rather discouraging and sometimes feelings of indignation, injustice and wasted effort and hopelessness wells up. Especially following the recent spate of kitty letters and articles in the press, online and some RL issues.

Henna_20090314_004_DSC_0067x
Dr Henna-Jekyll contented after a good breakfast and some attention from btmao, still going strong after 5 years and who knows how many litters before her mojo was finally stolen. Ms Henna-Hyde will return shortly.

For a wild child like Henna, who still is wary of close contact with people after years of btmao tlc, one must ponder: Adoption – always the best thing for a cat?

But whatever the current situation, we must not forget it’s about the Tipped Ear Ones that we minions do what we do – feed responsibly, care for and sterilise them aka TNRM because real progress has been, and is being made, even though sometimes it feels like running on the spot. So here’s a timely refresher on TNRM, with emphasis on M=management.

Area2: Jet the semi pet cat

Meet Jet, whom we mentioned here, he whose mojo was removed by his owners who took the perpetrator of Area’s disappointing state of things seriously.

Jet_20090128_011_DSCN4469x

These were taken in Brina’s tuft in January, when his mojo was still newly robbed. We’ve sighted him far from home, for a sterilised cat, a few times since. But in the last month, he seemed to have settled down and no longer haunts Brina’s tuft. Yay for sterilisation!

Jet_20090128_009_DSCN4457x

Today 20090326: A little compassion will help pet owners

Another follow-up to TODAY 20090316: Rise in lost dogs, despite laws. This was sent in by a friend. She’s a dog-owner who also does TNRM. It is a bloody shame that her comments on the cat stats in the report were all taken out. I’m appending her original letter after the printed version for reference.

But before reading the letters, here’s an idea: after reading it, please follow the letter link on today online and post comments there. Do the same for the other letter, which is online only. Maybe we’ll get more some visibility about the facts behind the stats in the print version.

Today Online Voices Logo

A little compassion will help pet owners

Thursday • March 26, 2009

Letter from Lilian Teo

I REFER to “Rise in lost dogs, despite laws” (March 16).

The Housing and Development Board only allows one dog per flat from a list of small-sized dog breeds. The abandoned dogs reported by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals may have been owned by those who have had to downgrade from private property to public housing.

Also, large dogs may have been bought before the change in rules, and their owners feared running afoul of the law. For them abandoning their pet was the answer.

Exceptions should be made for such cases where the dog is not a dangerous breed.

Part of the problem is that behavioural training is not mandatory. Most dogs require instruction in how to behave around people.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority should legislate behaviour training for dogs and make it compulsory for pet shops to counsel dog buyers to send their pets for training. This is so as to reduce the number of dogs abandoned for being unmanageable.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

Here’s the original version:

Subject: Response to “Rise in lost dogs, despite laws” (Mar 16)
To: news@newstoday.com.sg; cheekong@mediacorp.com.sg

Dear Editor and Mr Loh,
This report gives me mixed feelings as I am a dog lover who also manages the community cat population in my neighbourhood.

I believe the reason why the tighter dog-licence rules are proving ineffective is due to these rules being out of synch with the aspirations of the modern Singaporean who wants to have pets.

HDB only allows 1 dog per flat from an approved list of small-sized dog breeds. The abandoned dogs reported by SPCA may be former HDB pets or pet dogs whose owners have had to downgrade from private property to public housing and got hit by this rule. Also, large dogs may have been bought before the new licencing rules, and had owners who fear running afoul of regulations. For them abandoning their pets was the answer.

Therefore AVA and HDB should show compassion and empathy, and make exceptions for such cases where the dog does not come from a dangerous breed.

I also feel that part of the problem is that behavioral training is not mandated. Despite their image as obedient animals who are eager to please their human masters, most dogs do require “schooling” in order to know how to behave among people. The AVA should legislate behavior training for dogs and make it compulsory for pet shops to counsel dog buyers to send their newly bought pets for training to reduce the potential of dogs being abandoned for being unmanageable.

While I do not need the statistics for cats to confirm the success of my Trap-Neuter-Release Management (TNRM) programme, which is self-financed, it is good to see formal statistics affirming TNRM at the national level.

TNRM is both humane and effective. It will be even more successful if our leaders and the government agencies they run acknowledge this fact and support sterilisation instead of removal and culling, which is ineffective in managing cat issues. For example, Town Councils instinctively round up cats without first verifying the validity and true cause of cat-related complaints, leaving TNRM managers like me to sterilise the new cats that appear because of the vacuum effect.

HDB’s cat ban also causes problems: how can cat owners be made aware of their duty to be responsible if their pet cats are “illegal”?

Obviously, Singapore ’s pet rules have much room for improvement.

NewPaper 20090327: Seletar Hill residents get catty over strays

The ghosts of the 45 dead cats of Seletar case are still haunting the estate it seems, and have exposed a long open can of worms. Us-vs-them doesn’t work, but obviously these folks aren’t willing to sit down and talk. It doesn’t help that

Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control, said those troubled by strays are informed about AVA’s free loan of cat traps and free collection of trapped cats.

Hello, vacuum effect? Is this conveyed to the aspiring trapper? Are aspiring trappers also told the cats are killed once they reach AVA? And who is paying for the costs of such trapping and killing? How about actually suggesting effective options like the Scarecrow for a change? Options that happily, also happen to be humane?

‘The borrower is informed to ensure that the trapped cat is not subjected to ill-treatment or injury and that it is an offence to subject an animal to cruelty,’ he said.

Yes, public service announcement. Well and good. But who ensures the trapped cat really wasn’t ill-treated? What action is taken if such ill-treatment is discovered? Who checks the trapped cats for signs of ill-treatment or injury before they are sent into the kitty murder room in AVA grounds?

For complaints on a large number of cats in a house, an AVA officer will visit to check on the number of cats and their welfare, and advise the owner to confine them within the premises, sterilise them and also to reduce the number by re-homing them.

At last, some recognition that sterilisation and keeping kitties indoors is the way to go. But why are such simple pre-emptive measures not suggested and promoted BEFORE such a case happens? And once again neighbours should be told about the impact of vacuum effect rather than offered the free traps upfront. It doesn’t take much to convey the message, especially if it’s men-in-uniforms doing the conveying.

Re-homing them… what is the likelihood of successful rehoming? What aid is given to ensure the re-homing is done properly and the cats’ new homes are genuine refuge for them where the risk of abandonment or neglect is minimal? Otherwise, what is the point of ‘advising’ the owner to re-home? Lip service? I hope not.

Here’s the article for your vigorous exercise in logic

Seletar Hill residents get catty over strays
Cat lovers & trappers divided over hygiene & stench problems
By Teh Jen Lee
March 27, 2009

SELETAR Hills Estate residents are getting increasingly divided over stray cats.

np_images_jlfightr2t
TNP ILLUSTRATION: FADZIL HAMZAH

On one side are animal activists who insist that it’s fine to keep cats in large numbers. They feed strays and take them home when they are sick.

On the other are neighbours aggrieved by problems such as the stench when too many cats are kept in one place.

Since the start of this year, three of them have resorted to trapping strays and sending them to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to be put down.

When 45 cats were found buried in the area, accusations started flying between the two camps.

The New Paper received an e-mail from a resident who accused her neighbours of animal cruelty because they were unhappy with her keeping stray cats. Two of her cats were found with their tails injured.

Another resident was fingered as the culprit for the cat burials because he is known as an avid cat trapper.

Netizens posted his address online and threatened to harm him.

We’re not naming those involved because we do not want to aggravate the situation.

Other residents who are neither cat lovers nor trappers feel caught in the fracas.

Humane

One resident told The New Paper: ‘Cats are okay but it’s more of a cleanliness and hygiene issue when there are many cats in one house.

‘I was told that NEA (National Environment Agency) officers almost puked when they entered (one such) house, so you can imagine how bad it was. The person must be an ardent cat lover to be able to withstand the smell.’

The woman, who requested anonymity, said Jalan Rengas in the estate is famous for its cat stench.

Mr Lim Kuan Zhong, 24, a marketing executive who raises money for stray cat caregivers in Seletar, said: ‘I’m not a resident but I do know there is a conflict. However, I’m for the keeping of community cats.

‘Some problems are due to residents’ intolerance or lack of understanding of what caregivers are doing. They spend money to neuter. I see this as a practical benefit, controlling stray numbers in a humane way.’

Sterilisation also decreases the likelihood of caterwauling, he said.

Caregivers also medicate strays so that disease doesn’t spread to other cats, including domestic cats, added Mr Lim.

He said when strays are adequately fed, they don’t go into people’s houses or rummage through rubbish bins. They help keep the population of rats and pests down.

But what if they are so well-fed that they don’t go after rats? ‘It’s not necessarily true. It’s in their nature to catch lizards, cockroaches, rats and moles, unless they are so overfed and obese that they are sedentary.’

What about cats that defecate indiscriminately?

Mr Lim said: ‘Actually, by natural instinct, they will dig the soil and cover up after defecating. They do this even when they have diarrhoea. However, they may not cover it that well.’

He felt that dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets cause a bigger problem.

What about too many cats in one house?

Mr Lim admitted that more than 30 cats was excessive, but said: ‘There are limited shelters and houses to keep cats in Singapore. The Housing Board should repeal the ban on keeping cats.’

Another Seletar resident, who declined to be named, said a neighbour who lives near a house at Jalan Rengas with 80 to 90 cats told him that four neighbours sold their homes and moved away.

‘The matter has gone all the way to our Member of Parliament but there’s just no solution. It has been a problem for the past five years,’ he said.

The MP, Dr Balaji Sadasivan, told The New Paper: ‘Whenever complaints about cats are received, the complaints are referred to AVA.

‘Cat lovers have also voiced their concern about the need to treat cats humanely and this has also been relayed to AVA.’

When The New Paper visited Jalan Rengas, only one resident was around and willing to speak with us.

Renovation work was going on around the house with many cats and the contractors working next door were acutely aware of the smell.

Mr Xu Shu Long, 46, said in Mandarin: ‘I’ve been working here for almost a week, it’s very bad. This is the smelliest site I’ve worked at since I came to Singapore four years ago. Even in China, such a stench is very rare.’

Mr Percy Jeyapal, chairman of the Seletar Hills Estate Residents Association, takes the position that ‘we must live and let live’.

‘Obviously, we don’t encourage stray cats all over the place as it does propagate disease and can be a nuisance.

‘We must also ensure that cats are not abandoned. Having a large number of cats is a problem but we can’t interfere with people’s lives. Those living close by need to suffer certain inconveniences.’

House visit

Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control, said those troubled by strays are informed about AVA’s free loan of cat traps and free collection of trapped cats.

‘The borrower is informed to ensure that the trapped cat is not subjected to ill-treatment or injury and that it is an offence to subject an animal to cruelty,’ he said.

For complaints on a large number of cats in a house, an AVA officer will visit to check on the number of cats and their welfare, and advise the owner to confine them within the premises, sterilise them and also to reduce the number by re-homing them.

Mr Jeyapal said owners must show some responsibility on hygiene and smell issues.

He said: ‘If they can’t manage… then they have to keep cats in moderation.

‘Those with more than 30 cats, we acknowledge their love for cats, but there must be some places such as farms where cats can have a better life.’

TODAY Online 20090323: Pet issues can’t be legislated away

A follow-up to TODAY 20090316: Rise in lost dogs, despite laws. (Links and emphasis mine)

Today Online Voices Logo
Online Only – Pet issues can’t be legislated away
04:16 PM March 23, 2009
Letter from Goh Boon Choo

I refer to “Rise in lost dogs, despite laws” (Mar 16).The dog abandonment statistics released by the SPCA is alarming but not unexpected. When the tighter dog licence rules came into effect on 1 Sep 07, there was an immediate increase in large dogs being abandoned. I wrote a commentary on Singapore’s pet issues for TODAY, “Pet project: Let’s work together”, which was published on 7 Nov 07.

The SPCA statistics show the situation for dogs, and to a large extent cats, has not changed since then. 85 per cent of Singaporeans and Singapore residents stay in HDB flats, where only certain breeds of dogs are allowed, determined by size when temperament should be the determining factor.

HDB also categorically bans cats as pets even though animal experts and the AVA have said sterilised cats make perfect flat pets. Though HDB’s ban applies only to flat interiors, the Town Councils took it upon themselves to extend it to the streets.

Most cats surrendered to the SPCA are homeless, or community cats. That the number of cats it receives has dropped to 300 from 500 monthly is concrete testament to the success of efforts by residents who sterilise, stabilise and manage their neighbourhood’s community cat population. This is TNRM: trap-neuter-return-management. It is humane and effective, compared to the AVA and Town Councils’ penchant for cat killing.

In Singapore, TNRM is commonly self-funded. I am one such Singaporean and I have been running TNRM for 3 areas in my estate for 10 years.

However, TNRM programmes are still not recognised by Town Councils, nor even some of our Members of Parliament as active citizenry, organic community building at its best. In fact, successful TNRM programmes are sometimes undermined by Town Councils’ enthusiasm to respond to all manner of cat-related complaints by rounding up every cat in sight to be killed at the AVA, without even investigating the root cause. It is a vicious cycle as the removals create a vacuum effect, leaving the neighbourhood open for new, often unsterilised, cats to take over. Resident volunteers like myself have to sterilise the new cats if we don’t want to see our TNRM programmes down the drain.

Despite more than 2 decades of cat culling, new cats keep appearing. Town Councils and the AVA need to address the pertinent question: where are our community cats coming from?

Out of Singapore homes, just like the abandoned pet dogs.

With changing demographics, Singaporeans’ needs and wants for a cuddly pet will continue to evolve and grow, ban or no ban.

The Singapore Government needs to recognise pet issues, like every other problem, cannot be legislated out of existence. The key is in acknowledging that people want to keep pets, that cats and dogs are very popular pet choices regardless of what type of residence they live in, and to manage the situation accordingly.

Myanimalfamily averted hoarder crisis

[EDIT 20090329] MyAnimalFamily: Animal hoarding in Singapore


Today, myanimalfamily blogs about a temporarily averted hoarder crisis.

I believe this is the same case V mentioned he was doing the transport for when we were making arrangements for Bradley and Saba as the details match, from the house filled with scaredy ginger-coloured cats, its unforgettable ‘fragrance’ and a retarded resident who needs help.

Hats off to the woman of myanimalfamily for managing this case, helping the cats and the people. I believe it is telling that transforming the sentiment from

… an entire floor of residents to band together crying for blood

to

They in fact, came to their own conclusion that it was not possible to take away all the old woman’s cats without causing her much pain and suffering and finally only asked that the situation with the smell be resolved.

One neighbour even spoke up to say that even though she was affected, she would not complain against a lonely old woman, causing some sheepish looks from the others.

was no mean feat. It helped that the woman was able to describe the situation inside the flat.

It was a good opportunity to ask them for their understanding of the old woman’s situation. Obviously, no one knew she was alone with no children, looking after a retarded brother.

Most people are reasonable and tolerant. Most people with complaints or grievances want the source of their pain taken care. Most people don’t want to see lives snuffed out or cause another to lose heath and home if there’s another way about it. There can be no better example than this case. So why do Town Councils still tend to be so trigger happy when it comes to cat-complaints?

The TC and even HDB officer in this case exempted of course. Give credit where credit’s due. Go read the account now.


[EDIT 20090329] MyAnimalFamily: Animal hoarding in Singapore

TODAY 20090316: Rise in lost dogs, despite laws

[EDIT 20090324]

Follow-up chronology:


A fallout of the tighter dog licencing rules that didn’t give due consideration of the actual situation. I am surprised though that the impact is still so acute since the rule changes were effected in 2007. Perhaps economics was also a factor. It is great to know less cats are being sent in, but it is sad that the situation for dogs has deteriorated.

Here’s what Dawn said about it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Less cats sent in, more dogs

Thanks eslina for sending this in! The good news – the number of cats surrendered to the SPCA seems to have dropped. 600 less cats are coming through their doors, according to the article. It is fantastic to think TNRM is having an effect.

The bad news – that more dogs are being surrendered. I think most people involved in animal welfare were to the contrary, worried about dogs being dumped once the new rules on licensing came into effect. Once the penalties are greater, the irresponsible owners are more likely to get rid of the dogs, not to license them.

Click on the title to read the comments there.

And here’s the article


Rise in lost dogs, despite laws

Monday • March 16, 2009

LOH CHEE KONG

cheekong@mediacorp.com.sg

DESPITE recent laws making it compulsory for dogs to be licensed and implanted with microchips,the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) received more lost dogs last year, even as the population of stray cats appears to be under control.

The ruling, which animal activists hoped would discourage pet dumping, took effect in September 2007. But it did not stop the SPCA from receiving 1,162 lost dogs last year, a marginal increase as compared to 2007, according to its latest statistics.

Last week the SPCA said in a press statement that most of the lost dogs were “pedigree or pedigree crosses and the majority had no microchip or identification”. Only just over a third was claimed by their owners.

The dumping of such dogs — a concern the SPCA had flagged last year — continue unabated, with 1,550 purebreds received. Mindful that some could have been lost pets, the SPCA reminds owners to microchip their dogs at veterinary clinics.

“More importantly, they must license their dogs with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority for the microchip to be effective,” it said. Jack Russell Terriers, Maltese and Golden Retrievers were some common breeds surrendered or abandoned, as well as a “considerable number” of Huskies.

The Society receives around 700 animals each month, with only two out of every 10 possibly finding new homes. The good news is that the number of cats coming through its doors has dropped by 13 per cent — or 600 cats — year-on-year. The average number of cats taken in each month has also fallen from 500 to 300.

Such a “significant change” was likely due to more stray cats being sterilised, the SPCA said.

Since 1991, the SPCA has implemented a free voucher scheme under which it pays for the sterilisation of neighbourhood cats brought by volunteer caregivers to participating veterinary clinics. More than 2,000 vouchers were distributed last year.

“Although the demand for vouchers always exceeds the supply, many community cats are being sterilised, which ultimately means the number of births should decline,” the SPCA said.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

Area2: Bradley and Saba joins the tipped ear moggies

Bradley and Saba came back from their initiation, delivered by V of course. They looked well, and were released back into their home tuft at about 7 this evening.

Bradley_20090322_004_DSCN4705x
Bradley was released first, and he scooted off without a thought for the food we laid out before his carrier door. We did get some shots of him before he shot off. It’s not apparent from these shots, but he has grown quite a bit. But his paws still seem a bit oversized for him, which means he has still some room to bloom in, maybe reaching his suspected sire, Stanley’s stature.

Bradley_20090322_001_DSCN4702x

Then we moved on to Saba’s “home”. She was a loudmouth, and because she was on heat when she was sent in for her surgery, there was a surcharge on her operation.

Saba_20090322_003_DSCN4709x

To avoid attracting attention, I quickly took a few rather un-well-framed shots before she was released.

Saba_20090322_001_DSCN4707x

Like Bradley, she took off without a glance at the food in front of her.

Since the food was untouched and there wasn’t any cat around, we brought the food back for Ivan. He wasn’t around either. But at this time, D called to say she located Bradley, and didn’t have food. So back we went.

Here are some more pics of Bradley, taken the last time we saw him in the daytime about 1.5 months back.
Bradley_20090131_001_DSC_0102_01

Bradley_tree_20090131_001_DSC_0099_01x

Drain cat instinct
Bradley_20090131_005_DSC_0112_01x

Typical drain cat dining
Bradley_drain_20090131_001_DSC_0171x

He had just found and joined Brina’s family then. At this time, btmao and I have tried to get him once too many times and he wouldn’t let us near him.
Bradley_BY_20090131_001_DSC_0117_01x

But his newly adopted family’s acceptance helped him calm down and settle in.

Bradley_20090131_004_DSC_0108_01x

Bradley_20090131_003_DSC_0107_01x

Plus A, D, and J went out of their way to earn his trust, which is why we could finally nap him for his sterilisation. How much more organic can you get with active citizenry, community building? Kudos to community spirit! One for the meowies.

Bradley_20090131_002_DSC_0105x

With Bradley and Saba’s induction into the tipped ear clan, all the known kitties we know and are still around in Areas 1, 2, 3 are sterilised. Let’s hope the status quo keeps for a while.

MYPAPER 20090309: CAT-WELFARE GROUPS CAN BUILD BONDS

Read this on my daily commute and been meaning to post it. I was pleasantly surprised. Best part is this is from a man, so it cracks the stereotype of such suggestions coming from women.

My Paper

MY SAY
MONDAY MARCH 9, 2009

CAT-WELFARE GROUPS CAN BUILD BONDS

THERE have been unfortunate cases of cat abuse, as reported in the press.

Recently, I was visiting a friend in an HDB estate and was told by some residents that a number of them had come together to look out for the welfare of the cats in the neighbourhood and to prevent them from being culled.

Perhaps town councils and residents’ committees can turn this to their advantage by promoting catwelfare groups in estates and to foster community spirit.

Mr Roger Chow

Area2 update

Quick update: Bradley and Saba have been taken earlier tonight… by V for sterilisation tomorrow. At least the situation is starting to get under control.

Brielle and Brenna however have disappeared since 9 Mar 2009. Scottie has been missing since 11/12 Feb 2009.