Category Archives: Community Spirit

Simply “Heart”. Or good neighbourliness and tolerance and compassion.

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)

Appeal for Homeless Pierre: going blind and needing a home

Remember Pierre, tec honorary clan member in Area3?
Pierre_20090221_003_DSC_0378x

He has been in foster care since early March in a home in Area2. A, his caregiver from Area 2, is spearheading the efforts to care for him.

The sad thing for Pierre is that he is going blind and his home is being destroyed. So he needs medical help and he needs a forever home. While they are trying their best, A and her friends who are kitty caregivers in area2 are struggling to keep up with the financial cost of supporting him – they need help with his medical bills as their individual financial situations are not fantastic, and they still have the resident colony of 8 to care for.

Us minions have helped to set up and start a blog to help appeal for help and to highlight Pierre’s need for a home, and to assist with managing his blog and his online appeal. (Not much else we can do to help as we’re also strapped, what with the slackers’ lengthening string of medical bills since last year and the ongoing upkeep of our lot at Foster Mum’s.)

Please go to Pierre the Singapore homeless cat needs help, blog url: http://keepingpierresafe.blogspot.com/ to read about his story and his current status. Please do help Pierre by spreading the word on his need. Thank you very much!


Pierre’s adoption notice submitted to the Cat Welfare Society’s adoption board on 12 Apr 10.

Pierre_20100330_002y

Pierre is the sweetest homeless cat ever! He behaves as if he’s been a homecat who has only known TLC all his life.

But he is now really in need of a home as he is losing his sight. He is about 8 years old and is otherwise healthy.

His caregivers are valiantly trying to give him the medical attention and love he needs, but their finances are limited and they still have a colony of 8 to care for. So they are appealing for a loving and accommodating family to adopt Pierre.
Pierre’s new family will have to take over both his daily needs and his medical requirements as well.

Genuine adopters willing to accommodate the special needs of sight-impaired cats who may potentially go blind only please.

Please visit Pierre’s blog at http://keepingpierresafe.blogspot.com/ to read his story and know him better.

Pierre_20100330_007y Pierre_20100330_016y Pierre_20100330_019y Pierre_20100330_010y

(Must read: Cat care refs.)


Click here to see other home-seeking kitties.

Help: Save the pigeons living in Singapore

Pigeons_20100317_006x Unless you’ve been living under Singapore River, there’s no way you are unaware that living among Singaporeans in this cold home of concrete that demands we give and give and give, is another “homeless” animal who has been targetted for the Singapore brand of population and complaint management.

The letters that have seen print argue for both sides of the coin… but it seems like as soon as “potential hazard” or health concerns are trotted out, that’s the end of the argument. Is that valid? There was even a letter that tells of the letter-writer’s father brush with death due to inhalation of dried, power-form pigeon shit. While I feel sorry for the letter-writer’s father, I am concerned at the myopic nature of her call to arms as it were. Yes, pigeon shit caused the problems her father suffered, but the pigeons were just being pigeons, but the true cause? Human neglect. Yet the letter writer does not go after her neighbour for negligence leading to the “perfect storm” that hit her father.BirdStatue_20100317_002x

There is too much fear-mongering, what-ifs, laziness, illogic, blame-shifting and complacency in this matter.

Sounds familiar?

Let’s extend our empathy for our homeless kitties’ fellow victims of the Singapore brand of population and complaint management.

Help the pigeons sharing our homeless kitties’ space, check out savepigeons.blogspot.com to find out how.

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

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.’

Area2: New Cat! Erm… foster, anyone?

Bradley has barely turned putty tat, and we’ve already got a new kitty on the block.

We sighted her as we passed by the Area2 carpark. She was resting against the windscreen of a car, cool as you please. Knowing the penchant of car owners to blame cats for scratches on their car, we decided to try to get her down and away from the minefield.

She perked up at our approach. And instead of needing to be coaxed down from her perch, she came forward, purringly, and allowed btmao to lift her onto the ground.

Jenny_20090325_001_SNC00036x
Green-eyed beauty… her soul windows look yellow here due to the flash. (Her left ear spots the tip)

After a few failed attempts to get a decent shot, I lifted her again and carried her out of the carpark, about 10 metres or so. She was non-resistant and purring the whole way. Definitely a home cat, or ex-home cat.

Jenny_20090325_002_SNC00037x

It’s not clear from this photo, but despite being much smaller in size and build, and her having a 1/3 tail compared to his stumpy excuse for one, the first thought that crossed our minds was her resemblance to Jerry. Her tabby markings, her longer than shorthair but shorter than midlength fur, and her friendly nature are Jerry hallmarks. So we decided to name her Jenny.

As I continued to try taking pics of Jenny, an auntie walked by. She seemed a bit suspicious. Then she revealed something shocking: some time back, she couldn’t recall exactly when, someone had discarded a pair of badly beaten up cat carcasses by the exit of the carpark! A police report was made and there was quite a commotion.

I then called D to alert her to the new cat. And she said that she had already sighted Jenny late last night and thought her one of our “handiwork” due to her tipped ear. D had seen her trying to follow a young couple for a short distance, but the couple gave no sign of acknowledging her.

Anyone willing to adopt or foster Jenny while we try to look for a home for this sweet sweet girl?

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