Friday, February 12, 2010

We created the problem. Why should they have to pay for it with their lives?

The burden of stemming the tide of destruction largely falls to cat caregivers – regular people with a big heart.

Singapore, 10 February 2010 | For Immediate Release

The proliferation of stray animals in our communities is a human-created problem. They are here as a direct result of human-driven activities – a thriving live pet trade, irresponsible breeding and pet abandonment. As we enter the year of the Tiger, animal welfare agencies and organisations have a big concern - the number of animals that are going to be cleaned out with the trash during spring cleaning. This trend is mirrored in more than one turning of the year on a multi-cultural calendar – Hari Raya and New Year’s Day. And we are already seeing it happen with the next Chinese New Year around the corner.

On January 30 2010, 8 cats were abandoned in their filthy, rusty cages. When community cat caregivers received the tip-off, only 2 very frightened cats remained. The rest had gone to hide in the drains. Our experience with home cats that have been abandoned is that they have very little chance of survival. Some stay put in their hiding spot refusing food until they waste completely away.

Cat caregivers are those who sterilise and manage their community cats and work closely with the Town Council to resolve cat-related issues. They are volunteers who give of their own time and resources to care for the welfare of community cats.

The current measures in addressing the problem of stray cat proliferation includes

Pet Cat Ownership
* Improving standards and practices of pet shops by the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority (AVA)
* Education and awareness campaigns on responsible pet ownership by government agencies and animal welfare organisations
* Banning cats from public housing by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) (therefore pet cat abandonment is not a crime)
* Face-to-face mediation with cat owners, sterilisation assistance and rescue efforts by cat caregivers with the support of the Cat Welfare Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

Stray or Abandoned Cats
* Sterilisation of community cats by cat caregivers with the support of SPCA and the Cat Welfare Society. Approx. 4200 sterilised through the support of the Cat Welfare Society and SPCA in 2008.
* Boarding at overtaxed animal shelters in Singapore
* Surrendering of animals and destruction at the Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) – Approx. 4500 surrendered in 2008
* Impounding and destruction by the - AVA Approx. 3500 culled in 2008

And still we had to put down 8000 cats last year. An average of 10,000 cats has been put down every year for the last 10 years.

The current measures put the considerable burden of addressing the problem of irresponsible cat owners squarely on cat caregivers. They also offer irresponsible cat owners an easy way out by abandoning and surrendering without consequences. The number of cats destroyed is gradually coming down, but the burden on cat caregivers continue year after year. The decreasing numbers is also a testimony to their efforts.

Many cat owners are driven to keep cats to save them from the streets, pest control and abuse. The percentage of people with local cats picked from the streets far outweighs the ones with pedigrees. Not regulating ownership not only penalises responsible owners who help keep cats off our streets, it puts irresponsible owners out of reach of the long arm of enforcement. Currently, government action against cat owners is confined in large degree to eviction. The pet cats then often join the community cats on the street.

Addressing the problem of irresponsible supply and demand, breeding and abandoning of pets has to come from a direct and concerted effort by government agencies, animal welfare organisations and the community of concerned citizens and pet owners, through legislation and enforcement, awareness and education and community peer pressure.

It is our aim at the Cat Welfare Society to support this steadfast and devoted community. We are celebrating their labours, the spirit and their compassion at the Tiger Show.

More information about the event at

Singapore's first Tiger Show

The Cat Welfare Society, together with the Post-Museum, is organising a week-long art and advocacy event from 21 - 28 February 2010.

The provocatively titled "Tiger Show" welcomes the year of the Mighty Cat in celebration of our humble Community Cats. It will bring together people from all walks of life who have a passion for animal welfare, and most certainly, a soft spot for our feline friends, to gather, to share, to learn and to party!

The line-up for this exciting week is as follows:

21 Feb (Sunday) 7.30pm - The Tiger Show Opens
Join us for the opening of our week-long feline-inspired Art Exhibition and Bazaar!
Free, by invitation.

The show is a gathering of renowned cat artists like Paul Koh of Catmasutra, Ng Ling Tze of Sloth Studios, the team from Cats of the World as well as other local artists like multi-disciplinary visual artist,Tay Bee Aye and ceramist, Michelle Lim. Many feline-inspired collectibles will also be on sale at the show!

Exhibition opening hours 6-10pm (Tue-Fri), 12nn-10pm (Sat-Sun).

25 Feb (Thursday) 8.00pm - "I am Cat. Hear Me Roar"
An advocacy and mediation workshop for the welfare of cats

Be part of an open and honest discussion with SPCA, Action for Singapore Dogs, Cat Welfare Society and guest panelist Mr Siew Kum Hong about where animal welfare, especially for domestic animals, stands in Singapore - our progress and our stumbling blocks, with insights into the role of new media in advancing our collective cause. Our line-up of speakers include Jaipal Gill from SPCA who will be speaking on animal sentience, Kelly Then on managing disputes and November of Leafmonkey Workshop on new media advocacy.

$8 with a non-alcoholic drink
$12 with an alcoholic drink

26 Feb (Friday) 7.30pm Animal People Singles' Night!

It's a party so let the fur fly. It's time to break out the alcohol and the party heels. If you have ever lamented that you met this wonderful person to find out they hate your dog or your hamster, you won't have this problem here. And did we mention the vivacious Maia Lee is performing? (Strictly humans tonight, please!)

$12 with first drink

28 Feb (Sunday) 12 - 5pm Cat's Day Out

We are reviving this popular gathering of cat people and their cats! Join our favourite host, Melody Chen in search of the most beautiful domestic cat that day! Also look out for cat grooming services, cat and owner photo portraiture taking, cat training workshop and a very special symposium cum visual performance by the one and only Smiling Yogi Bala Matchap -- Cat Yoga!

$30 per ticket (for one person accompanied with or without one cat. Tickets for each additional cat is $5)

Register early!
Space is limited so register with early.
Visit their Facebook Event Page to leave a comment and word of support!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How do you recover from this?

Two old aunties rushed down to AVA after they found out that their cats were caught. A mother and her baby.

The officer brought the cats out but said he could only release one. The aunties had to choose.

The cats jumped for joy at seeing these familiar loving faces, not understanding the anguish and the tears.

They chose the mother. Because they had seen her as a baby, as a young playful adult and then an unwitting, unsavvy young mother. Then they witnessed the baby frantic, hysterical in the cage as she was carried back into the unspeakable backrooms.

How does anyone make such a decision? How do you expect them to recover from it? This happened some time ago but the aunties will never ever forget this.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

great kitten migrations,

Breaking News: Ninja adopted and lovin' it! Adopted, Rejected, Adopted again: Someone coming for Ranger tonight!

It's hard to keep track of the comings and goings sometimes but we try.

The woman made a long overdue house visit, so here's another before and after from Ah Ma's Gruesome Foursome...

Big handsome boy still behaves like a kitten. When he was smaller, he used to fish out, play with and cuddle their hamster every night when everyone was sleeping. Now that he is so much bigger, they decided not to risk it by locking poor hammie up in a cat-proof cage. I hope Big Boy still visits his friend often.

The last of the foursome turned up at the CWS Cat's Night Out in July.

Small rules his household from the icy north pole. When you scold him, he will face north (or anywhere where you aren't standing). He can do it for up to 3 days. I am nowhere near that cool.

This is the kitten the woman catnapped from Ah Ma's. We were all prepared to overlook the sudden presence of this ugly cat in our midst but as a stroke of luck will have it...

Melody cuddled the Cat's Night Out mascot all the way home! Now they have to contend with his constant sucking habit, muahahahaha. They love him lots, despite.


Can you believe these kiddos have not found homes yet?!

Moo and Boo. You can barely tell them apart except for the straight tail and the kinked tail. (Update: Moo and Boo adopted!)

as predicted, their two white siblings went to new homes first.

Whitley here was almost adopted but for her kinked tail. It's not her fault, swear!

and mystic ocean

Someone left these 5 babies in a plastic bag outside Ah Ma's front door. Why ever did you do this?? Fosters tried but none of them made it. Goodbye, we will be seeing you again soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

before & after kittens

The horror show in the video has thankfully been averted through the efforts of volunteers from Pawpledge, Vineyard Community Church and others. The flat is painted, cats sterilised and kittens evacuated to the animalfamily.

Previously, White Challenger and Mixed Ranger were confirmed for adoption. Wallflower's condition was touch and go.

Since then, White Challenger has been rehomed. By a twist of fate... Wallflower has also been rehomed, leaving Mixed Ranger and Black Ninja still in our midst.

"Did you think I wouldn't recover? I am all pretty now!"

"My adopter found abandoned kittens in her neighbourhood so she doesn't have room for me anymore. I am happy for the kitties but someone please adopt me!"

"yes, i'm still here too..."

remember this formless lump that was heartlessly left by the dustbin?

He was lovingly raised by Bukit Purmei's P.A.W. Vet Centre, then a super foster. When he became all cute and plumb, he found his way back to the animalfamily and immediately decided to lose his appetite.

Only after some frantic panicking did we realise that Boo Boo did not like being quarantined on his own so he was thrown in with Mixed Ranger and Black Ninja. They hate him but he sure is loving it. Appetite returned and plumbed up again!

He goes to his new home this weekend.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

these old ladies, so cute you gotta love them

*Wendy* the functioning schizophrenic and *Maggie* her senile partner in crime rescued an injured cat during one of their nightly feeds. The tom got better and Wendy decided to keep it but wouldn’t sterilise because she felt he might have too weak a constitution to survive it.

The tom thanked her by turning his full libidinous and destructive nature on - copulating with her young kittens causing a miscarriage, launching bloodbaths on her other cats and he sprayed, everywhere.

After the umpteenth inconveniently-timed call from Wendy to lament about how much stress the cat is causing her and looping labyrinthian arguments about whether to sterilise the cat or not, the woman decided to cut Wendy short on one of her voluble and outrageous wall of consciousness monologues. She hung up.

Her colleagues were momentarily confused. Didn’t the woman tell them she didn’t have kids? She was all “Are you listening? I am going to hang up now if you aren’t listening. When you are ready to listen, then call me back.”

It worked. When Wendy called back, she was considerably calmer. She paid attention and finally agreed for the woman to come collect the cat for sterilisation. They did have one problem, the cat was so hostile he wouldn’t let anyone near him.

The cat trapper was called in and Wendy annoyed him by telling him that if she couldn’t catch him, he couldn’t. And she wouldn’t let them move any of her mountainous possessions that clutter all available space in the flat. She simply wouldn’t shut up. All the while, the cat teased us by darting from one victorian knick-knacks nook to ethnic trinkets cranny.

The woman had to be bad mammy again. “The trapper can’t work if you keep talking. Go to the back room and sit there. Don’t come out until the cat is trapped.” “But…” “Hupp, go back”. She did as she was told.

It took the trapper, the trapper assistant and the woman one hour to get that delinquent cat with the help of a torch, a net and 2 of Wendy's Indonesian decorative poles. Every time Wendy sneaked out, the woman went ‘Hupp, back.” She trotted back. These old ladies, they can be so… cute.

Before they left, she gave them one of her Christmas trinkets with thanks, - a porcelain cat sitting on a gift box.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

litter of critters

4 out of 6 of the leukemia caregiver's kittens have been adopted! they still had remnants of the cat flu so only 2 went straight off for their home trials with the more confident adopters. The rest were packed off here for recuperation and fattening up.

A pretty little head on a bag of bones, Mixed Ranger has to pile on the pounds before heading to her new home. But she is the least worrisome, all brass and sassy attitude!

Perk up, little wallflower. She was burning hot when she got here and dehydrated. She gave the woman a scare by lying limp on her lap. After a couple of squirts of water, she finally looked up with her big sad eyes. She hasn't caught any adopter's attention yet.

White Challenger doesn't sweat it, he has a new home waiting for him when his adopter comes back from vacation.

Black Ninja's conjunctivitis is clearing up. He wonders why black cats are the last to be adopted, if ever?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ah ma & leukemia caregiver update

The woman was BANNED from Ah Ma’s place because she catnapped a kitten held hostage by that incorrigible hoarder.

So she kept away while Ah Ma fumed and hissed. (The kitten has since been adopted.) It looked safe to resurface again this week although Ah Ma, as befuddled as she is, remembered. Quite surprisingly, she only asked the other volunteers if the woman was there to take anymore of her kittens. They said no and they all moved on from there - Ah Ma back out to her favourite coffeeshop and the volunteers back to work on the cockroaches.

And it wasn’t even a surprise to find Ah Ma with 2 more kittens.

It’s tempting but the woman will try to accumulate more brownie points before pulling another catnap. After all, there is no end to the supply as long as people in the neighbourhood treat Ah Ma as a dumping ground. Since the start of the clean-up - 13 new kittens - 1 dead, 5 rehomed. The rest are where they are but thriving at least.

They headed over to the leukemia sufferer with 30+ cats after Ah Ma’s. The situation was already very much under control with most of the old furnishings cleared out and adult cats sterilised.

The old auntie was tired, overwhelmed, almost resigned. One kitten, degenerated to skin on bones, had to be rushed to the hospital. The others were in fairly good shape but teary. In her state, the soul is willing but the flesh is weak. She is just not able to keep up with the care the little ones need right now and we are desperately seeking new homes for these sick babies.

As soul-gutting as these cases are, it is hard to be upset with these old caregivers turned hoarders. No one taught them any better. And they themselves suffered enough for it. So I save my wrath for the ones not sick, not old, just dim, who cling on to archaic ideas that cats must roam and that neutering is evil and immoral.

On one of her trapping days, the woman had to fight off a teen who insisted one of the trapped cats is his. When it roams, pal, it is fair game. She offered free sterilisation for his other 2 cats. He said no. She shrugged. She will get them on their next wandering.

That makes 15 new young cats discovered, caught and sterilised this month alone. 50 and counting since January in a 10-block area. Half of them from homes. It’s hard to reconcile sometimes why we have let other people’s responsibility become our own. But in cat welfare, their problems often become yours. After all, if they are not sterilising, they are either a hoarder or a chronic abandoner and some one has to pick up their pieces eventually. We can at least take heart that some people are coming to their senses before it is too late.

And quite unexpectedly, they become your newfound cat welfare neighbourhood watch. This one-week old kitten was dumped next to a dustbin wrapped in a tissue and saved by our neighbour’s 7-yr old daughter.

It is with the vet, fighting for a chance on this callous earth.

How you can help:
* Donate cat food.
* Foster or adopt a kitten.
* Sponsor the medical fees for the 2 hospitalised kittens.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

this is what I think of teeth scaling

So I had a little gum inflammation, didn’t bother me much, but you thought drooling very unbecoming of a cat.

For that, I made you spend the night with me on the sliver of cold hard floor between the utility cabinet and the junk you keep in the backroom. Because I won't suffer quarantine on my own, not quietly anyway.

You brought Fruitcake in with you, which was a nice touch. We had fun playing hide and seek in your sleeping bag while you were sleeping. So much so you were surprised that we were nowhere to be seen when you woke up the next day.

You called for us and we took our time before we popped our heads out from the top of the cabinet in unison. Gotcha.

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