Category Archives: Cats Online

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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.)

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Kittens looking for homes

Heidi was rescued from a drain.

Bereft of mother’s TLC, she cried hard and loud for the first days she was fostered. She’s adjusted to the strange new place she’s in now. And in addition she has playmates to distract her from missing her mummy.

Care to give Heidi or her playmates a home? Visit Heidi on her blog and contact her rescuer.

CWS organising TNRM Workshop in March

Great opportunity to see how TNRM can be applied practically (ESPECIALLY sterilisation), speak to CWS for advice and help. Also get to know others trying to do their bit for cats.

From Dawn’s blog:

Friday, February 09, 2007

TNRM Workshop in March

We’re going to be holding a TNRM workshop in March on 4th March at the National Library at Bras Brasah Road in the Imagination Room on Level 5. If you would like to attend, please email me and let me know your name, contact number and how many people you will be coming with, or if you’re coming alone which is absolutely fine too! The workshop will run from 2 – 5 pm.

Labels: ,

posted by Dawn @ 6:14 PM

Click on the blog post link and reply by leaving a comment on the post itself or write directly to CWS at info@catwelfare.org.

See you.

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

TNRM – more than just sterilisation

What TNRM? What commitment does it require? How much effort TNRM in your neighbourhood requires depends on the situation and what or how much is needed to stabilise the cat population.

But really, your contribution should be at a level you can manage (as you’ll see from the blog post by Dawn that I appended). In our group, there’s one very dynamic grrl who helps mediate and offers to help transport cats for sterilisation or vet visits. She doesn’t do the full TNRM herself as she felt she couldn’t commit to regular feeding routines etc, but it doesn’t lessen her contributions or cheapen her efforts, does it?

TNRM got a mental airing in my head as someone contacted us and said she wanted to send some kittens she saw at a certain place to us as she doesn’t have the cash to sterilise them. I responded to tell her that we don’t have the resources to help her – our own TNRM and rescue efforts are already stretching our resources to the limit – and also asked why did she want the kittens sent to us.

Instead, as I did this wonderful lady who wanted to start TNRM in her condo, I asked her to contact CWS to see if there are caregivers there already doing TNRM or at least work with CWS to get the kittens and their mother sterilised.

I also told the person who contacted us about the kittens that she should not be so hasty about removing the kittens. For one, their mother’s there. For another, she need to know what she wants to do, and understand what the implications are. For example, if she wants to rehome them, she needs to consider if their temperaments are suitable first. Of course, there’s the question of boarding/fostering, screening adopters, etc. I told her whatever her decision, it will invariably involve some money.

To cut a long story short, we corresponded a bit more, and I realised she doesn’t have a good understanding of what TNRM is. So I sent her the link to a TNRM explanation post on Dawn’s blog. She then responded to say she realised she cannot commit to TNRM. I in turn responded to tell her that contacting CWS doesn’t mean she’s obliged to do TNRM, or at least not the full suite of TNRM. She can get involved and help in other ways – eg TNRM matters: mediation etc, CWS business: roadshows etc.

As for the cats, even if she just sterilise the mother and her kittens, the benefits to them is many-fold: health, life, some security against complaints, and it will help other cats there who are sterilised too. In the end, she said she’ll contact CWS, and that she’ll help cats in the way she’s done before, by donating to some catteries she know.

Here’s the whole of Dawn’s post explaining TNRM for ref. We are, ourselves, very mindful about overreaching our limits and burnout.

Monday, September 11, 2006

TNRM – more than just sterilisation

When I first volunteered with CWS, I met a caregiver. She was quite unfriendly and distant, and I wondered why. In the years since, I’ve gotten to know her quite well and her attitude has changed completely. She’s very friendly and helpful. I wondered about the change in demeanour but it soon occured to me why that was.

The thing is the caregiver had seen too many people come and go. Many people offered, with the best of intentions, to try and help out. Soon though, other things in life popped up, and they faded from the scene. Others just burnt out completely and gave up helping.

The reason I bring this up is that I’ve noticed a new trend – that some people are asking others to sterilise more and faster.

There are several reasons why this could backfire – firstly, and this is the most important thing I tell anyone who comes for our workshop, everyone has limits. It’s much better to do a small area and do it really, really well, rather than to do a few areas and do a bad job in every single area. And if you do a few areas, chances are you ARE going to a bad job. One caregiver I know who is amazing, started sterilising so many areas, that she ended up having to give them up one by one, because the feeders there didn’t want to do look after the cats after. She couldn’t handle the complaints the town council kept throwing her and the feeders there didn’t want to help.

And this brings me to reason number two : if you see people feeding in the area, the best thing you can do is to make THEM responsible. If not, you are just going to end up doing everything for them. You can keep sterilising, and a number of brave souls have done so, but this doesn’t encourage the feeders in the area to sterilise OR manage the cats. After all, you’re there to do it – so why bother sterilising? Soon it won’t just be the sterilising, it’ll be the supplying of food, collecting the cats when they are caught, taking the cats to the vet if they’re sick, etc.

Which leads to reason number three : Sterilisation is just the first step but Management is the glue that is going to hold your programme together. That’s why it’s called TNRM. Sterilisation is very important, but if you don’t handle complaints, let the town council know that you’re there and basically be responsible managing the cats, you won’t HAVE any cats left – they’re going to be removed when the next complaint comes in. And the next complaint IS going to come in, because sterilisation, while it lessens complaints, doesn’t make them go away. This is because most complaints have to do with the people behaving irresponsibly (leaving food around, letting their pets out)- not the cats.

Everyone has a different role to play. Some people are excellent trappers, some people are fantastic mediators (like the caregiver in AMK I mentioned today). Some people can do a very good job feeding responsibly – work as a team and feed off each others’ strengths. Some people who are great trappers are some of the worst mediators or vice versa. Do what you’re good at within the team. If you are working alone, then limit your area, and try and do a bit of each aspect of TNRM. Make sure you sterilise the colony you feed, and then let whomever is in charge know you are there so you can handle complaints. Don’t try and over-extend unless you are very sure you can cope. Even one block is better than nothing – and one block done well, is better than five blocks done badly.

The last reason is burnout – I have seen many people completely burnout. They tried to do everything and in the end, they just could not cope. Try sterilising and running around every night for three months – still do-able. Now try doing that for the next three years, or the next thirty. These are far better people then I’ll ever be who burnt out and I can see how doing too much exhausted them. One of them, an ex-comm member, doesn’t want to even hear the word ‘cat’ mentioned to her anymore. She was so tired from dealing with the feeders that she gave up helping altogether – and she was one of those running around every night for literally years. It wasn’t so much the cats – it was dealing with the feeders who wanted her to do everything that ultimately tired her out.

So do what you can – and do it within your own limits. Take some time out for yourself. This isn’t a 100 metre dash – this is a marathon you’re likely to be running for the next few years of your life at least. Watch a movie, have dinner with friends. Those few hours you take out, could make you a more productive individual working for the cats.

posted by Dawn @ 3:14 PM

Our Valentine’s Day Pledge for the Stray Cats

From the PawPledge folks:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Special Valentine’s for the Cats

Why not get something unique and customized for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day? See our new collection of tees. The proceeds from these t-shirts go towards stray cat sterilizations (calsifer’s note: see below for details for urgent TNRM project appeal) as well as animal rescue.


All tank tops are hand-drawn by volunteers who stayed up late nights to rush out these tees for Valentine’s. No two pieces are identical.

In addition to the tank tops, we also have these beautiful Venetian Glass Hearts for sale. These Glass Hearts are all individually hand-made and brought in by a volunteer from Italy. There’s only 1 of each piece and the stock is limited. We have only about 10 pieces. These will make beautiful gifts for Valentine’s and also go well with the tank tops.

How to order:
To place your order, please email your orders to pawpledge@yahoo.com. Include your contact number and address. We’ll definitely call you to confirm your order.

Price:
Tank tops (Orange, White and Grey in S, M, L) –
$20 per piece (postage included); $18 per piece (self-collection)

Venetian Glass Hearts –
$25 per piece (Heart pendant only)
$50 (Heart with beaded necklace)

Delivery Terms:
– Orders will be mailed out every Thursday.
– For self-collection, Pick up location will be Bt. Timah Plaza 1 -8 pm
on Saturdays only
– No postage charges for Glass Hearts if ordered together with tank top. For Glass Heart order only, please add $4 for postage and handling. No postage charge for self-collection.

Payment Terms:
– For postal orders, please transfer the payment in advance. The order will be mailed out as soon as funds are received.
– For self-collection, cash on delivery.

All proceeds go towards stray cat management and sterilization. Please visit us at www.pawpledge.com.

posted by Paw Pledge @ 10:14 PM

Further details on urgent TNRM project appeal received via email today:

Hi all,

The latest PawPledge project the volunteers are embarking on is to sterilise cats at Kampong Eunos. This is a private estate and the feeders are not willing to sterilise the cats. As a result, the cats keep multiplying and the coffee shop owners are planning to call in Pest Control to remove all the cats. One of our volunteer has negotiated with the coffee shop owners to spare the lives of these cats but in return we agreed to mass sterilise al the cats so they will not multiply. There are about 30+ cats in the area, and we’re actively raising funds to reimburse part of the costs. The balance of which will come out of the pockets of the volunteers themselves as well as kind contributors.

Threat to cats: H5N1 aka deadly strain of Bird Flu

Remember SARS? And how the paranoia undid the good work of the local and officially sanctioned version of TNRM, SCRS because of high-ups in the government who decided it was good policy to cull cats upon hearing that it may have originated in civet cats, exotic meat, eaten in Guangdong, even though civet cats are no more related to cats, feline catus, than those of us in the primate family?

Bird flu had, and still has the potential to become kiasu-kiasi-triggered death sentence no 2 for cats. But really, after all that is said and done, bird flu IS a virus of our own hatching. Before Singapore goes cull-happy again, we should really look at WHAT is the root cause of the thus-far theorised pandemic, lest we jump the gun, to our detriment, like this.

According to Dawn, reason seem to be prevailing thus far. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

H5N1

There was some alarm because there have been reports in the local press that H5N1 was spread in cats in Indonesia that were found in area with infected birds.

Here’s an article from the New Scientist :-
H5N1 and cats

Here’s what we already knew :-

Cats can catch the disease. So can dogs. So can pigs. So can birds. So can people. As I said in an earlier thread, I wouldn’t be surprised if most mammals can catch it.

As such, I’m not surprised that cats would have caught it if they ate infected birds. Note also that these cats didn’t HAVE the disease they had the antibodies to it. In fact, the cats were released back onto the street after they had been tested. Presumably it must mean the cats were all pretty healthy.

It also doesn’t mean that cats will spread it to people.

In addition, read what Dr Osterhaus had to say at the end of the article. He said that killing cats will not solve the problem. He says that the impact could send the infected animals elsewhere and lead to a population of disease-carrying rodents.

Perhaps another thing to do would be to stop returning potentially infected birds to the people to eat!

Deadly H5N1 may be brewing in cats

24 January 2007

From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

Debora Mackenzie

Bird flu hasn’t gone away. The discovery, announced last week, that the H5N1 bird flu virus is widespread in cats in locations across Indonesia has refocused attention on the danger that the deadly virus could be mutating into a form that can infect humans far more easily.

In the first survey of its kind, an Indonesian scientist has found that in areas where there have been outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry and humans, 1 in 5 cats have been infected with the virus, and survived. This suggests that as outbreaks continue to flare across Asia and Africa, H5N1 will have vastly more opportunities to adapt to mammals than had been supposed.

Chairul Anwar Nidom of Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia, told journalists last week that he had taken blood samples from 500 stray cats near poultry markets in four areas of Java, including the capital, Jakarta, and one area in Sumatra, all of which have recently had outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry and people.

Of these cats, 20 per cent carried antibodies to H5N1. This does not mean that they were still carrying the virus, only that they had been infected – probably through eating birds that had H5N1. Many other cats that were infected are likely to have died from the resulting illness, so many more than 20 per cent of the original cat populations may have acquired H5N1.

This is a much higher rate of infection than has been found in surveys of apparently healthy birds in Asia. “I am quite taken aback by the results,” says Nidom, who also found the virus in Indonesian pigs in 2005. He plans further tests of the samples at the University of Tokyo in February.

Amin Soebandrio, head of medical sciences at the Indonesian ministry for research and technology, confirmed the report. He says that the infection has also been found in dogs and cats on the Indonesian island of Bali, which has also had outbreaks of H5N1. The new findings follow reports that unusually large numbers of dead cats have been found near many outbreaks of H5N1. “Javanese farmers even have a word for the cat disease,” says Albert Osterhaus of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was Osterhaus’s lab which in 2004 found that cats can catch the H5N1 virus. Like humans, some cats die, and some recover. But unlike humans, infected cats shed large amounts of the virus and pass it to each other.

Infected cats may not directly increase the danger of people catching the virus, as humans seem to catch the current strain only with difficulty even from birds, which they kill, pluck and eat. The main worry, says Osterhaus, is that as the virus replicates in cats it will further adapt to mammals and acquire the ability to spread more efficiently to people and from person to person, unleashing a human pandemic.

Nidom’s findings are the first to indicate what proportion of cats can become infected by H5N1. No cats have been tested in Hong Kong or China. In Bangkok, Thailand, all the cats in one household are known to have died of H5N1 in 2004. Tigers and leopards in Thai zoos also died, while last year two cats near an outbreak in poultry and people in Iraq were confirmed to have died of H5N1, as were three German cats that ate wild birds. In Austria cats were infected but remained healthy (New Scientist, 18 March 2006, p 6).

Though Osterhaus says Nidom’s figures must be confirmed, he says they aren’t surprising, and is even encouraged that they aren’t worse. A higher percentage of infected predators than prey makes sense, as each predator eats many prey animals. “At least that percentage shows the virus has not completely adapted to cats – yet,” Osterhaus says. If it had, all cats in a stricken area should be infected, as with ordinary flu in humans.

Osterhaus emphasises that the cat infections still pose a potential threat. “We know the 1918 pandemic was a bird flu virus that adapted to mammals in some intermediate mammalian host, possibly pigs,” he says. “Maybe for H5N1 the intermediate host is cats.” If similar percentages of cats are infected at every outbreak location, there must have been many thousands of cat infections since the virus emerged, compared to 267 confirmed cases in humans. Every sick cat is a chance for the virus to adapt, and with renewed outbreaks this year in birds, people or both in China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria, it is getting plenty of such chances.

Killing cats won’t solve the problem, Osterhaus warns. Like shooting wild birds, it is unlikely to have much impact and could send infected animals elsewhere. It would also lead to a population explosion of disease-carrying rodents, which the cats normally keep in check.

“Cats must just be kept from eating sick chickens,” Osterhaus says, though this will be a tall order in open-air markets across Asia and Africa, which are typically swarming with hungry cats. In Jakarta this week, officials are slaughtering thousands of banned backyard poultry – then handing them back for their owners to eat. Some of the birds could well be infected despite appearing healthy. It is hard to imagine the local cats not getting their share.

Will the drugs still work?

In late December, a man and his niece died of H5N1 flu in Gharbiyah province in Egypt’s Nile delta. Both had been taking the antiviral drug Tamiflu and both were found to be infected with a virus containing a mutation that makes it partially resistant to the drug. They had been on Tamiflu for only two days, so the virus may already have been resistant when they caught it.

This is a worrying development. Tamiflu-resistant strains are not usually contagious because the mutations that make the virus resistant usually also cripple it. Countries with stockpiles of Tamiflu had been hoping this might limit the spread of drug-resistant strains during a pandemic, but resistance mutations have recently been seen that don’t slow the virus’s spread so much.

Marc Lipsitch and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston have used a computer model to assess the likely impact of such mutations. They showed that if a drug-resistance mutation emerges during a pandemic that cuts the virus’s fitness by 20 per cent or less, the resistant strain will have so much advantage over non-resistant viruses that it will spread until perhaps a third or more of all cases are drug-resistant (PLoS Medicine, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040015). This will happen, they predict, even if such strains emerge very rarely.

“This may mean fewer deaths, or more, depending on how the resistant virus behaves,” says Lipsitch, who points to an unexpected bright spot of his team’s findings. “What surprised us is that even if the resistant strain spreads quite widely, its emergence will delay the peak of the pandemic by as much as a year.” This happens because the resistant strain is less fit and also because it takes time to get going.

This is good news because as much as possible needs to be done to provide a breathing space at the beginning of a pandemic. “The whole point is to delay the pandemic until we can get a good vaccine made,” Lipsitch says. The model showed that it should be possible to extend such a delay by closing schools or giving people a partially effective pre-pandemic vaccine against H5 flu.

An even bigger computer model of a flu pandemic published in the same journal (PLoS Medicine, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040013), echoes these findings. Alessandro Vespignani at Indiana University, Bloomington, and colleagues found that as long as every person infected with pandemic flu infects fewer than two more people, antivirals could delay the pandemic peak by a year. During the 1918 flu pandemic, each infected person is thought to have spread it to 1.8 people, on average.

Since few of the countries where a pandemic virus is most likely to emerge have adequate stockpiles of antivirals, rich countries will need to pitch in to achieve this. Strategically sharing just 10 per cent of their stockpiles should be enough to make this strategy work, the study suggests.

From issue 2588 of New Scientist magazine, 24 January 2007, page 6-7

Printed on Wed Jan 31 05:37:58 GMT 2007