New Paper 20090214: Serial cat culler’s cat-lover cousin supports him


So it wasn’t enough that the new paper gave Seletar’s serial cat culler his 15 seconds of infamy in relation to the 45 cats in Seletar (click on it for full chronology). In the same edition, they talked to his cousin, who is a cat lover who shares Mr Tan’s views. This is one cat keeper who has his head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. Being a cat keeper, nor one who is a member of the Singapore Cat Club and shower of pedigree cats, is no licence to opiniate on cat matters as if the world’s at his feet on this, though the new paper makes it seems so.

Again here’s Dawn‘s eloquence on the matter (save me another rant!).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ideas or just more prejudice?

I’m surprised at the misconceptions in this article. First of all, please explain to me how ‘stray animals are a health hazard’. Seriously, what disease are animals known to spread that they constitute a ‘health hazard’? Anyone? I’m sick and tired of hearing this statement made, without anything to back it up.

Secondly, there’s this nonsense about community animals rummaging in the rubbish bins, unlike birds. First of all, I don’t know where Mr Lee is watching his birds, but I’ve seen birds rummaging in garbage. In fact, if you have a garbage spill on the side of the road, chances are that its the birds that are going to get to it first. Also, the problem of animals rummaging in garbage is a problem ‘in Singapore’? I’m pretty sure animals getting into trash is a problem anywhere in the world. In the US, you have to be careful because you might get bears in the trash. So what’s the solution? How about just securing your trash?

Again, why beat up on cat feeders? Should they be stopped if they sterilise, manage and feed responsibly? How on earth are they the same as litter bugs if they clean up after themselves? That’s like saying that heroin abusers and people prescribed antibiotics for an illness are all drug abusers and should be locked up.

There is a good reason not to feed monkeys (basically the same reason as the bears). Monkeys are having their environment encroached into, and if you lure them OUT of their environment with food, they’re at a disadvantage, especially when people complain about them (ie they get killed). You basically don’t want them to get too near people because they’re not domesticated. Surprise! Cats have not only been domesticated for the past couple of thousand years, they are already IN the environment. It’s not like you walk into a forest and find a cat – they live on our streets, in our void decks and just about everywhere we live. In fact, if you want them OUT of your trash, then feeding them is probably a good way to go about it.

I’m also surprised that Mr Lee would suggest letting pet cats out at all. In fact, Mr Lee is the exact reason why the HDB is probably not allowing people to keep cats if this is what he is suggesting. It’s also in direct opposition to what he just said earlier in the article about how easy it is to keep cats indoors.

Pet cats and community cats are NOT the same thing. I find it extremely hard to believe there are estates with NO community cats. If there is a vacuum effect, there will be cats – why? Because of territory, not food. If they are territorial, yes they may be boundary incursions but newcomers will be chased out anyway if the area cannot support more cats.

Let’s take Seletar Estate for one. Mr Tan has said that he has trapped more than 300 cats over the years. Say that for some reason the estate must be home to someone who really, really like cats and enjoy bringing them all home. Now knowing that you neighbour has been trapping and killing these cats, who on earth would bring MORE cats in and let them roam around for your neighbour to kill, especially when he is so well known? So where are these cats coming from? How about the fact that they’re community cats – and they are bringing removed and killed, then there is a vacuum which is then being filled up again, and so the cycle continues.

I know someone who lives in the estate and she does TNRM there. She didn’t even like cats to begin with, but felt sorry for them. She’s not the only one who has tried to run programmes there. When they removed the cats FROM the streets so that they would not be trapped and killed, guess what happened? If you guessed that new cats come in, you’d be absolutely right.

Posted by Dawn

Click on the blog post title to read the discussion. Below is the article itself.


The Electric New Paper :

THE CAT KEEPER

He has ideas on tackling issue of strays
Click to see larger image
TNP PICTURES: CHOO CHWEE HUA

HE IS a cat lover who happens to be the cousin of Mr Tan Tuan Khoon.

Mr Lee Chiu San, 62, a former committee member of the Singapore Cat Club, have flown in pedigree cats and shown them in training competitions.

The retiree, who used to be a general manager of a car company, lets fly on what he feels should change in order to tackle the issue of stray cats.

He said: ‘Generally, stray domestic animals are a health hazard, and they are often a nuisance. They are not like wild birds who find their own food.

‘Stray dogs and cats are more adapted to living on human leftovers. If no one feeds them, they will rummage or steal from garbage bins. In Singapore, that is an issue.’

So what can be done?

Here’s what he says: Firstly, HDB should repeal the ban against keeping cats in flats because there is no basis for it.

He said: ‘HDB has always given stock answer, in the past 30 years, that cats can’t be confined. I do not agree with that.

‘To prevent them from getting out, you can put nylon mesh over the windows and door grille, it’s very cheap, only $3 per metre.’

From his experience, keeping a cat indoor is no problem.

‘In 50 years I have had about two dozen cats. The vast majority adapt to indoor life very well.

‘Even though I do not live in a flat, some of my cats have been kept indoors because they are show cats that cost me four-figure sums. Back in the 1970s that’s expensive, so I was not about to let my cats wander out and get stolen,’ he said.

Currently he has a 17-year-old Persian cat, and two stray cats that he adopted.

Contrary to popular belief, he said cats can be trained.

‘They can be trained to come when they are called. Teaching them where to defecate is the easiest because cats naturally will bury their faeces,’ said Mr Lee.

Which brings him to his second point: Defecation and smell are not issues because cat toilet products are readily available.

His third point: Cat feeders should be stopped.

He said: ‘One of my pet peeves is cat feeders. I feel they belong to the same class as litter bugs.

‘It is already illegal to feed monkeys, so why not cats?’ he added.

His fourth point: Microchipping is now carried out on dogs, rare birds and Arowana fish. It should be compulsory in the licensing of cats so that owners can be traced.

‘The onus is on them to take responsibility. If you want to feed cats, take full responsibility, get it microchipped and take it home,’ he said.

His fifth and final point: Cat feeders exacerbate the problems caused by stray cats, which fight for territory with existing domestic cats.

Mr Lee said: ‘Cat feeders attract stray cats to an area that previously had none. On the street where I live, there are about a dozen cats belonging to a number of households. Many are rescued strays.

‘Animals are territorial. Under supervision, and with understanding neighbours, new cats adopted by households do settle down and know their boundaries. But new stray cats upset the status quo.’

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