Tag Archives: homeless animal population control

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.

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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)

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.

Japan Taiji dolphin slaughter – good news for 1 Sep at least

How wonderful for the dolphins, at least for 1 day.

Urgent Update from Taiji: September 1, 2009, A Good Day for Dolphins
Posted by Guest Contributor on September 1, 2009 at 2:05 pm

200353827-001Editor’s Note: This piece was written by guest contributor Richard O’Barry of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition.

As TakePart reported earlier this week, O’Barry is currently in Taiji, Japan with European and Japanese journalists in anticipation of the annual dolphin slaughter that usually takes place the first week of September.

Today is September 1st, the first day of the dolphin slaughter season in Japan. But when I arrived today by bus from Kansai Airport with media representatives from all over the world, the notorious Cove from the movie was empty. There were no dolphin killers in sight.

So today is a very good day for dolphins!

I vowed to be back in Taiji when the dolphin killing began. I’ve often been here alone, or accompanied by a few environmentalists. Sometimes, I was able to talk a major media organization into sending someone.

But the people of Japan never learned about the dolphin slaughter, because none of the media in Japan (with the exception of the excellent Japan Times) have ever sent reporters to the killing Cove. Until today!

… click here to continue reading

Imagine if the same were to happen for Singapore’s community cats and dogs – that celebrities and journalists take an interest in, and film pest-control round-ups of cats and dogs, citizen trapping and film the euthanesia process anmd conditions in AVA. Then maybe people will wake up and look real hard at the more humane ways in dealing with stray cats.

The need to spread the word about how Singapore deals with community cats and dogs looks to be gaining urgency, when even Town Council general managers think they are merely despatched to the AVA for “assistance“. What sort of assistance did the TC bigwigs expect from AVA? Housing grants or rights, maybe to eke out a living on some unnamed offshore island nobody cares about? Time to pull the cotton away from those blinkered eyes. Where’s the LAW?

REFERENCE

(PS: I’ve promised furry-do… no worries, it’s to come)

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?

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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.

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.