Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lives of two community cats: Koon-King and Koon-Rajah

A young Chinese National couple stopped when they saw Koon-King. The man squat to stroke Koon-King.
I walked over and explained what the tipped ear meant.
They were cat-friendly people. They asked about stray dogs. I said stray dogs were less tolerated and hence culled if found in a HDB estate.

Update on Kopi-Tortie

mms-video from Lily who adopted Kopi-Tortie: “This is Kopi-Tortie - first day after removing the pin from her left hind leg.”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Update on the coffee-shop's cat that suffered a fracture to a hind limb

11.38am, mms from Lily
“Hi, Coffee has her cast removed just now. Although it’s a little sore and painful, Dr James Tan said it’s very good. So to nurse another 2 weeks, then take out the pin inside.”

Photos from her album
4th December 2008

26th November 2008

9th October 2008

This "ugly" community cat is very fortunate to have met with many kind people such as the one who have her sterilised many years ago (when ears were not tipped) so that she didn't have to expend energy caring for endless litters of kittens. An increasing number of cats and kittens could reduce tolerance of some human beings for their presence resulting in complaints to the AVA or the town council and the whole lot of cats and kittens would be rounded up by a pest controller.
The other kind person in the life of this cat called "Kopi-Tortie" or "Coffee" is an Indian middle-aged lady who works as a cleaner in a nearby factory. She would offer cat food to this cat before she ordered her breakfast.
Another kind person is a young lady called Lily who works in the vicinity. She took Coffee to the vet when she saw her limping and is now caring for her at home.

Do we have a choice?


No prize to anyone who guess what will happen to cats if the noise come from them!

Complain about mess left by irresponsible cat feeders ===> CULL!
Complain about noise made by un-neutered cats when they "make love" ====> CULL!
Complain about noise made by neutered cats over occasional territorial encroachment fighting ===> CULL!
Complain about "hygiene concerns" especially by mothers with their "precious little ones" ====>CULL!

The Straits Times
STForum Online
March 31, 2009

Weekend ruined by din

I AM a long-time resident of Marine Parade. Very often, day and night (sometimes even in the wee hours), I have had to tolerate the noise coming from the amphitheatre opposite the PAP Foundation kindergarten. This has been happening ever since it was built a few years ago.

Previously, functions or events would be held in void decks and so noise levels were not so bad as they were confined to individual blocks.

After a particularly stressful week, I was looking forward to a good rest when I was jolted out of bed last Saturday by blasts of very loud music and shouts of deejays from a wedding at the amphitheatre below. The noise went on till quite late at night.

To our chagrin, the same marriage function continued again the next day with the speakers at full volume. Because of such noise pollution, my weekend was really ruined.

I would like the Marine Parade Town Council to look into the following issues:

1. Did the town council take into consideration the welfare of the affected residents and their entitlement to peaceful enjoyment of their surroundings when the amphitheatre was built?

2. Presumably the organiser of this weekend's function had applied for a permit. Why did the council allow such a function with such intolerable noise levels to last all day and night, and for over two days?

3. Are loudspeakers really necessary for a private function? Is it possible for the town council to restrict the use of loudspeakers and to confine functions to just one day if it is to be held in the weekend?

5. Can the town council look into ways to relieve residents from having to constantly suffer such noise pollution? For example, it could send reminders to residents and visitors to keep their noise level down, or stagger the holding of functions, or ban the use of loudspeakers.

Lee Kwok Weng

Sunday, March 29, 2009

He breaks his piggy bank for stray cats

HE ADOPTED a stray puppy 25 years ago and gave it all his love.
HIS DUTY TO CARE: Since he lost his pet dog in 1996, Mr K M Tan has made it his duty to be pet owner to some 80 cats in his Ang Mo Kio estate. TNP PICTURES: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

After his beloved dog, Bikee, was killed on a road in 1996, Mr K M Tan has not kept a pet in his flat.

Instead, he's become a father figure to 80 stray cats which he 'picked up' in his Ang Mo Kio estate, including 19 which he keeps at a pet farm.

Twice a day, Mr Tan, 56, pedals his bicycle around 20 blocks in his neighbourhood to feed his feline 'children'.

Unfortunately, he can't do this for much longer.

He has been jobless for almost 18 monthsand is running out of money.

Said Mr Tan, who lives in a five-room flat in Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 with his elderly parents: 'I'm going bankrupt using what little I have from my savings. But if I don't feed the strays, who will?

'It's not easy (to get a job), especially in this recession. Some employers would rather hire younger workers than me.'

Mr Tan, who studied to be a film-maker, recently advertised on Gumtree Singapore, an online forum, to look for people to adopt his cats or sponsor their upkeep.

CAT FIGHT: While he was busy feeding the stray cats in his estate last Wednesday, Mr K M Tan had a shouting match with a woman who claimed that the stray cats are 'dirty and dangerous to children'.

His plea for help, dated 6 Mar, stated that he 'can't afford to look after these cats anymore'. Some of his cats at the pet farm had flu, with three dying from pneumonia.

Three years ago, the HDB ordered him to remove 20 cats he had kept in a rented flat.

Mr Tan, who is single and undergoing training as a property agent, said he didn't want to surrender the cats to the authorities as they would most likely be put to sleep.

He earns $1,900 a month from renting out an apartment which he owns.

On average, he spends about $1,700 each month on the cats, most of it going to cat food, veterinary bills and rent at the pet farm in Pasir Ris.

But last month, he found he had exceeded his budget, with his bill coming up to $1,900.

He showed this reporter receipts for cat food purchases, medical bills and even an income tax assessment for 2008.

Mr Tan, who estimates that has spent more than $100,000 on his cats since 1996, said: 'I'm not asking for cash, but perhaps somebody can donate cat food or their time to look after the cats.

'Im in a predicament because when I get a full-time job, I'll have little time to do my feeding rounds. I may need to hire somebody to help me.'

Every day, the sound from a rusted fender on Mr Tan's bicycle rubbing against the front tyre and his whistling announces that it's 'makan time'.

From behind bushes and under park benches, the stray cats dash towards him.
Once skinny, the sterilised cats are in better shape today, he proudly pointed out.

They are fed a mixture of dry and wet food, served in a plastic bag, which he clears later.

It started when he took his dog for walks in the estate and saw many skinny and sick cats in the estate.

'They were drinking from dirty puddles and eating from rubbish bins. It was a pitiful sight,' he said.

His parents declined to be interviewed. He said they strongly disagree with what he's doing.

But in the eyes of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals executive officer Dierdre Moss, Mr Tan and volunteers like him are heroes.

Said Ms Moss: 'The point is they are making a difference by taking ownership of the stray problem.'

She suggested that he coordinate his efforts with others in the estate who feed the stray cats, which could ease his financial burden.

Some aren't pleased
Mr Tan's neighbours were divided.

Some, like Mr Saad, feel he has a 'good heart'.

The 45-year-old mechanic said: 'Few people in the estate are willing to put others, or in this case, animals, before themselves. His compassion is an example we should follow.

'Today when you walk about the estate, you will notice fewer rats. Perhaps having the stray cats is a good thing after all.'

Others, like retiree Ah Lim, 64, feel Mr Tan's problem is his own doing.

He said in Malay: 'The fellow asked for it. If he is losing money, well, he should have thought about it in the beginning.'

Two Wednesdays ago, The New Paper witnessed a shouting match between a woman resident and Mr Tan.

Upset that that his feeding had resulted in more cats appearing under her block, she told him: 'They are dirty and are dangerous to children. I will complain to the town council.'

He accepts that he will have his critics, adding: 'I hope one day Singapore does not have a problem of strays. Until then, I will try to look after them.

'I hope my luck will change when I can be a successful film-maker. Only then will I be able to provide more for my cats.'


BOYCOTT Sheng Siong

Blog EntryFish gasping for airMar 28, '09 5:30 PM
for everyone

Saw a Sheng Siong outlet in my neighbourhood and went in to see how the "food animals" such as life fish and frogs are being treated at this store. Didn't see any frogs and the tanks holding life fish seemed not to be overcrowded.... but then I saw this fish (in the centre of the photo) still flapping about and gasping for air. The smiles of the sales staff told me that this is simply the way it's done...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Book “Pawprints on my heart” by Chan Kah Yein, Ph.D.


Download the pdf version of this book from here (permission granted by author)

From being abandoned...to being a home cat

Someone abandoned him into this harsh industrial car park environment with a collar that somehow slipped over his neck and under his shoulder. Imagine the discomfort it has caused him. Fortunately he was trapped for neutering and the collar was taken off!

Released on 22nd November 2008 bearing a tipped ear

21-01-2009: Over time he lost his fear of human and became trusting and affectionate. As his partner had mysteriously disappeared, it was feared that he could suffer the same fate, hence decision was made for him to be boarded in a shelter, hopefully to find a home.

He was adopted on 21st March 2009

28-03-2009: Photos from his guardian, Kenneth

Thursday, March 26, 2009

From being an abandoned community cat to being a companion in a loving home

Billy awaiting adoption in a shelter (22-11-2008)

Celebrating his first birthday in a loving home

To being King of the house!

Billy's diet is Natural Balance (Green Pea and Duck Formula) and his toilet is a bin of Breeder Celect (pellets from recycled paper).

Redemption offer

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Redemption offer

Redemption Book Cover

Redemption is a fantastic book - and I've passed my copy around to several people. Here's an excellent offer - now all you have to do is try and get your TC officers to ask for it AND read it :) Easier said than done I know, but I was just reading an email from someone with a sympathetic TC officer who is putting up animal welfare posters. Perhaps those are the people we should try and target first.


Introducing Cats to New Homes : Introducing Cats to Other Animals

Introducing Cats to Other Animals

When introducing a new cat to a home, keep social interaction between yourself and cats safe and fun for all the animals. Ensure a new cat socializes well with tips from an animal shelter worker in this free video on introducing cats to new homes.

A little compassion will help pet owners

Today 20090326: A little compassion will help pet owners

2009 March 28

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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pet issues can't be legislated away

Today Online Voices Logo
Online Only - Pet issues can’t be legislated away
04:16 PM March 23, 2009
Letter from Goh Boon Choo

I refer to “Rise in lost dogs, despite laws” (Mar 16).The dog abandonment statistics released by the SPCA is alarming but not unexpected. When the tighter dog licence rules came into effect on 1 Sep 07, there was an immediate increase in large dogs being abandoned. I wrote a commentary on Singapore’s pet issues for TODAY, “Pet project: Let’s work together”, which was published on 7 Nov 07.

The SPCA statistics show the situation for dogs, and to a large extent cats, has not changed since then. 85 per cent of Singaporeans and Singapore residents stay in HDB flats, where only certain breeds of dogs are allowed, determined by size when temperament should be the determining factor.

HDB also categorically bans cats as pets even though animal experts and the AVA have said sterilised cats make perfect flat pets. Though HDB’s ban applies only to flat interiors, the Town Councils took it upon themselves to extend it to the streets.

Most cats surrendered to the SPCA are homeless, or community cats. That the number of cats it receives has dropped to 300 from 500 monthly is concrete testament to the success of efforts by residents who sterilise, stabilise and manage their neighbourhood’s community cat population. This is TNRM: trap-neuter-return-management. It is humane and effective, compared to the AVA and Town Councils’ penchant for cat killing.

In Singapore, TNRM is commonly self-funded. I am one such Singaporean and I have been running TNRM for 3 areas in my estate for 10 years.

However, TNRM programmes are still not recognised by Town Councils, nor even some of our Members of Parliament as active citizenry, organic community building at its best. In fact, successful TNRM programmes are sometimes undermined by Town Councils’ enthusiasm to respond to all manner of cat-related complaints by rounding up every cat in sight to be killed at the AVA, without even investigating the root cause. It is a vicious cycle as the removals create a vacuum effect, leaving the neighbourhood open for new, often unsterilised, cats to take over. Resident volunteers like myself have to sterilise the new cats if we don’t want to see our TNRM programmes down the drain.

Despite more than 2 decades of cat culling, new cats keep appearing. Town Councils and the AVA need to address the pertinent question: where are our community cats coming from?

Out of Singapore homes, just like the abandoned pet dogs.

With changing demographics, Singaporeans’ needs and wants for a cuddly pet will continue to evolve and grow, ban or no ban.

The Singapore Government needs to recognise pet issues, like every other problem, cannot be legislated out of existence. The key is in acknowledging that people want to keep pets, that cats and dogs are very popular pet choices regardless of what type of residence they live in, and to manage the situation accordingly.

Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

We are rewriting a sad story of Smalley, a kitty in Singapore. It seems that Singapore does not want cats kept in public homes, nor do they want cats kept out of homes.

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…

Our version:

“A borned kitty named Smalley opens her eyes after a few days. She senses love as her mother licks her with a warm wet tongue and cuddles her from the cold and rain. She was the only one of the litter that survived. They live in a natural shelter of a tall wide hedge. It protects them from the hardest rain, but they are never completely dry in those rains.

But they have each other, and that is important. Smalley feels love from the Momma; Momma feels love from Smalley. They are content to survive in the hedge; two against the world.

An old Bein walks past the hedge one day and discovers the Momma and Kitty. He taps his cane as a signal that they come to recognize. He is allowed to scratch them from familiarity and because he gives them foods. The foods are valuable to Momma and Smalley because they have been depending on insects and such.

Momma goes out to hunt for food for Smalley, but one day she does not return. She has been captured as a “pest”. Smalley is starving. She can find no insects to eat in the hedge and she dare not wander out from there.

Two days later, Smalley hears the familiar tap of the Beins cane. She peers out through the hedge. A warm hand reaches in to comfort her, and picks her up. Small foods are offered and gratefully accepted.

Smalley is carried to a wondrous warm and sheltered place with a nice Bein to care for him. It is the best days of her short life and she is so happy, though of course still missin her momma. There is always food, always nice water and always a warm lap. There are even toys… Smalley sleeps deeply for the first time ever and fears not the thunderstorms and cold nights.

The bed is small, but there is room enough for the Bein and Smalley to sleep. It smells a bit, but not so bad as the outside sometimes does. And there are no fears in Smalley’s young life. Life is good…

Then one day, a strange Being comes to the door. He says that all cats are pests and must be removed. He says cats are “not allowed in public housing”. What harm has little Smalley done but sleep quietly and play with the 2 toys the Bein has made of string and paper? She has not made loud sounds or made any messes…

The Nice Being cries, but takes Smalley back outside to the hedge. The Authorities require it. He may not shelter a “pest”.

His tears fall down on Smalley like a shower and he says he will visit every day with food and attention scritches. Smalley cries loudly at bein left alone again in the cold cruel outside. The Nice Bein cries as he walks back to his suddenly empty "public housing".

Smalley spends a terrible few days in the hedge, hiding. She does not know how to catch food, how to shelter from the cold, how to hide from the rain. She is miserable and cries out to her Momma and the Nice Being. The Nice Being does come by every day, but cannot stay long. He leaves food, but it is not enough. The Nice Being doesn’t have much food that a cat can eat that he can leave out that won't attract predators. He feeds food by hand, but dare not leave any behind.

Then one day, the strange Bein finds Smalley in the hedge. He sets up a trap cage. It’s his job, but he also enjoys it. He doesn’t like “pests”.

Smalley senses that the cage is dangerous, but the fishy smell inside draws her inside. She needs food. Then, suddenly, a door closes behind her and she is trapped. All night she stays in the trap crying for someone to let her out. But the Nice Bein doesn’t come until mid day and the strange Bein arrives at dawn. Smalley is taken away with many other little kitties. They all cry for their Mommas, their Beins or even just other friendly kitties.

They have no hope.

The Nice Bein finds Smalley gone, and weeps.

All the kitties like Smalley were taken away and killed. The ones that found Beins in "public housing" in Singapore were forced back outside and then considered “pests” because they didn’t have homes. The ones that didn’t find homes to begin with were just “pests” too.

Smalley is assuredly dead by now… There is also assuredly a Nice Bein that weeps over the forced eviction of Smalley through no fault of either of them.

The original (better-written) story is HERE. I just wanted to put the story into different terms. Maybe a twice-told story has more impact than a once-told story. But mostly because I was so sad that I needed to tell the story a different way to get the pain out of my heart.

There are so many Smalleys in the world… And so many that shouldn't be Smalleys.

The Big Thing

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

True story of a vegetarian stall's cat called Lin-Lin

Photos taken on 9th March 2006

The stallholder and the lady employee of a vegetarian stall in a HDB coffee-shop love cats. They brought the cats in the vicinity for sterilisation. They were especially fond of one particular tortoise-shell cat that came to reside in the stall.
Perhaps this being a coffee-shop in an old mature estate with a higher percentage of residents, the cat was well tolerated, not only by the other stallholders but by the coffee-shop's customers.
The stallholder was aware that Lin-Lin would be rounded by the pest controller if just ONE customer complaint but he was prepared to bring Lin-Lin home then.

A year since the photos above were taken (2007), the coffeeshop was closed as a result of en-bloc. The stall relocated to another coffeeshop within the estate but a far distance away.
Lin-Lin adjusted to the new location.
Then this coffee-shop was closed for refurbishing for some weeks. The stallholder, who lives in another town, decided to bring Lin-Lin.
Unfortunately Lin-Lin escaped from the carrier upon reaching the stallholder's block.
Despite searching for hours every night and occasionally catching glimpses of Lin-Lin in the drain, who seemed to be gradually losing weight, Lin-Lin didn't seem to recognise the stallholder out of fear and disorientation. A pet taxi guy was engaged to trap Lin-Lin but many attempts failed.

Today is 2 years since Lin-Lin was lost.

I stopped by this stall this late afternoon.

The lady employeer recognised me after a while as I have not patronised this stall for a year. She then exclaimed that Lin-Lin was found. She said that on a rainy day, Lin-Lin just appeared in front of her boss, the stallholder! He just carried her home! Lin-Lin was skinny by then. A year has passed since that eventful day and Lin-Lin is now a fat cat enjoying life in a safe home!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shame on Singapore!

News @ AsiaOne

Thailand dugongs hunted and smuggled to Singapore

Each dugong commands a price of $2130 on the black market. S'pore is the biggest market for this trade. Dead dunongs are used to produce medicine and amulets. -The Nation/ANN

Mon, Mar 23, 2009
The Nation/Asia News Network

Trang's fishermen have asked the government to strictly control the illegal dugong trade after they found many foreign mariners hunting the animals and smuggling them out to Singapore for Bt50,000 (S$2130) each, villager leader IsmaAnn Ben SaArd said.

The illegal hunt is being carried out by foreign fishermen especially from Satun province. They throw bombs into cairns or near coral reefs, with the resulting explosion towing up many fish, he added.

IsmaAnn explained that some wayward local fishermen have pointed out the area to foreign fishermen.

25 killed in a month

Moreover, they also use seine and large fishing nets to hunt stingray and other kinds of fish two kilometers from the coast. They use a local fishhook called "Rawai" to hunt dugong, killing more than 25 of the creatures during the past month alone.

Trang authorities have announced that Rawai is an illegal piece of fishing equipment for it endangers dugong and sea turtles.

He said each dugong commands a price of Bt50,000 (S$2130) on the black market, with its bones and teeth going for Bt30,000 (S$1278). Singapore is the biggest market for this trade. The country uses the dead dugong to produce medicine and amulets. --The Nation/ Asia News Network

"Stray cats in the neighbourhood" from "Our Home" (AMK-YCK Town Council publication)

Perhaps some residents brought the community cats for neutering and hence a decrease in number?

What hygiene issues? Fear of contracting some fatal diseases from cats? Humans are at greatest risk of contracting diseases from fellow humans, so should we remove humans even if they are now "quiet and harmless". Does he know that "removal" means the "quiet and harmless" are killed at the AVA?

Where does Ranee expect the cats to urinate? If they pee on concrete surface, they sure kanna complaints! Is Ranee so sure the smell came from cat urine and not dog urine or even kids who are helped by their parents to pee onto the grass patches?
Again does Ranee know that removal by the town council means the cats are killed at the AVA?
Some residents think that the town council removes cats to some retirement paradise!

Asthmatic Cats May Be Allergic To Humans, Say Vets

Asthmatic Cats May Be Allergic To Humans, Say Vets

In a complete turnaround, instead of pets being blamed for causing allergies and breathing problems amongst people, human lifestyles are potentially triggering asthma attacks in cats. (Photo by Paul Vlaar)

In a complete turnaround, instead of pets being blamed for causing allergies and breathing problems amongst people, human lifestyles are potentially triggering asthma attacks in cats. (Photo by Paul Vlaar)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2005) — In a complete turnaround, instead of pets being blamed for causing allergies and breathing problems amongst people, human lifestyles are potentially triggering asthma attacks in cats. Cigarette smoke, dusty houses, human dandruff, pollen and certain types of cat litters can all create inflammation in cats' airways and worsen asthma. Now, in a first study of its type in the UK, feline clinicians at the University of Edinburgh's Hospital for Small Animals will look at the part played by a specific bacteria found in the lungs of asthmatic cats, with a view to improving treatments.

Feline asthma is a common disease, with around one in 200 cats suffering from the condition, which causes cough, wheeze and shortness of breath. Pedigree oriental breeds like Siamese cats are more prone to the disease, and the disease is worsened by household irritants.

Nicki Reed, Feline Advisory Bureau senior clinical scholar at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, based at the University's Hospital for Small Animals, explained: "Cats with feline asthma syndrome can be made worse by living in a household where people smoke, or where there are other potential allergens or irritants. We find that bringing asthmatic cats into the hospital here and removing them from the standard 'triggers' like dust and smoke can improve their condition. Also, changing cat litter from granules to a newspaper-based product can help some asthmatic animals."

Recent work in the field of human asthma has suggested a link between bacterial Mycoplasma infection and a worsening of asthmatic symptoms. Research in the United States and Australia has shown this bacterium is present in a fifth of all lung fluid samples from asthmatic cats. The Edinburgh team now seek to study 50 cats with asthma to identify the incidence of this bacterial infection in the UK and improve treatments. The cats will be sent to the Hospital by referring vets.

Cat hair not necessarily bad for kids’ health




A YOUNG mother recently filed a complaint with the town council in her area, saying that hair from stray cats in the neighbourhood would adversely affect her newborn’s health.

Fortunately, residents in her estate who volunteer to assist the town council with feedback about cats received her complaint.

They included me in their correspondence with her.

I wrote to her explaining that conditions such as asthma could be triggered off by cat hair only if a child was living with cats and was also allergic to cat hair, which had been contaminated with saliva or urine.

I also quoted her results of a study quoted in the magazine ScienceDaily, which illustrated that early-life exposure to cats may reduce the risk of childhood allergies and asthma symptoms.

The study found that children with cats in their homes were more likely to have formed allergy-related antibodies to cats.

Children at three who had formed antibodies to cats early in life were more likely to have wheeze, a respiratory symptom associated with asthma.

However, by age five, the same children who had grown up with a cat were then found to be less likely to have wheeze.

I shudder to think what would have happened if the complaint had not been picked up by a resident volunteer.

If the town council had received the complaint instead, would it have arranged for the cats in the complainant’s neighbourhood to be culled?

I appeal to flat dwellers to be reasonable when making complaints about cats.

I also hope town-council officers are able to distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable complaints.

Dr Tan Chek Wee

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cat Management Poster

Life with Zacky

Cat Bag

Originally uploaded by s1gen.

Here is Mr Zacky deciding to exert his property rights over any objects in the hosue (including humans which incidentally happens to be around or can be called upon to perform duties).

He particularly likes plastic bags, without much regard to the contents. Of course, if the contents are interesting, it is an added bonus.

He just sits on it. Period. After a while, he will abandon it for something for exciting or new, whichever comes first.

Email to a Senior Property Officer (SPO) of a town council

Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:44 AM
Subject: Complaint at ********

Dear ****
I received your email to CWS as I am also a resident of **** under your town council.

I do not live at Blk ** but am involved in "cat management" in my own neighbourhood. The other people on the cc list are also involved in such management in their own neighbourhoods.

I believed Mr *** is in contact someone who knows a caregiver in Blk ** and the matter is being looked into.

However I would like to give my suggestions on how you can handle the complaints you received as they are common complaints.

1)As you mentioned, the cats are already sterilised. This is a good as it means there will be no more breeding, less fighting over mating and no noise from mating. Noise from mating cats used to be a common cause of complaints. Barring any more new cats from irresponsible owners who abandon cats, the number of cats will reduce over time.

Sterilised cats mean you have residents who care enough to put in their own money, time and effort to trap the cats, bring to vets for sterilisation and bring them back. Usually these residents are aware of "Responsible Feeding" of cats and will, if they meet other residents who mess up after cat feeding, educate them. Some months ago, I happened to be at Blk ** and I saw a young lady feeding two sterilised from food placed in a paper bowl. She cleared the leftover in the paper bowl. She told me that she used her own money to sterilise the cats.

The problem with cat feed leftover is littering and I suggest putting up the attached "Responsible Feeding" flyers and one of the "Responsible Feeding" posters in the notice board to educate irresponsible feeders.

Removing these sterilised cats will, in fact, lead to more complaints in future. It is a matter of time, before new cats move in (this is called the "vacuum effect"). These new cats being unsterilised, will result in more annoyance for residents and hence more complaints to you.

So kindly convey the fact that the cats are sterilised.

2) I too have a car and in my car park, there is a cat that likes to sleep on the top of cars. However, as Mr Goh pointed out, sometimes they do leave mud prints but these are eaily wiped or washed off. These mud prints are not as bad as scratches from vandalism or dents caused by opening of doors from adjacent cars. Fortunately my fellow residents who park their cars in the same carpark as I, are fond of this cat and we also accept that there are risks of parking cars in public areas.

As for cats scratching cars, refer to this

More often than not, the scratches are noticed by the owners when they see a cat on top of the car. Cats do not usually scratch cars as the surface is smooth and the cats keep their claws retracted when they walk on smooth surfaces. Even if they do scratch such as in a hurry to escape when threatened, the scratches are superficial (just the waxed layer) and easily removed with a simple waxing or some "remove scratches" spray from car accessories shop.

The ideal solution would be to use a car cover that will protect against other elements of nature as well, including bird shit that can corrode the paintwork.

3) I too have potted plants outside my flat and I often have to clear litter such as cigarette butts, used tissue papers and empty can drinks. I accept these are the risk of putting pots of plants in a public area. However these are the resources to keep cats away from his plants.

1) How To Get a Cat to Stop Pooping in Potted Plants

2) Keep Cats Out Of Planters

If Mr Goh lives on a high floor, then the cats that rumage his pots may be from an irresponsible owner who let his or her home cats roam out. Again it will be more effective to identify the owner of these "free roaming" home-cats and speak to owner to keep the cats indoor, such as by meshing up the window and door grills. Removing downstairs cats, of course,would be ineffective.

4) Motorbike seats and cats. A simple solution: a motorbike cover that I have seen on many motorbikes in my neighbourhood. They not only keep cats away but protect against bird shit as well.

With regards

From comments
eve+line said...

I'm a motorbike owner and I visit a local motorcycle forum daily. Many motorcycle owners are not rich and doing a re-cover of the seat will cost $20-40, which is a big chunk of money to them. Seat covers are very cumbersome (there isn't much storage space in the bike for seat covers) and do not stop cats from going under the seat cover.

I usually suggest to the bike owners to apply medicated oil like hong you on their seats to repel cats. Most of the seats covers are synthetic leather so it should not damage the cover. I've not tried it myself, but my own cat can smell Tiger Balm from a mile away so I think it should work.

You can suggest this to the Town Council officer if he receives another complaint. By and large most motorcycle owners have nothing against cats except when their motorcycles are damaged.

Don’t snatch them out of the wild ...



Don’t snatch them out of the wild ...

Weekend • March 21, 2009

Letter from Louis Ng

Founder and Executive Director

Animal Concerns Researchand Education Society (Acres)

I REFER to the report “Petition to stop captivity (March 13)” and the Marine Life Park statement issued on Jan 9.

The main issue should not be whether the dolphins or whale sharks that Resorts World at Sentosa plans to acquire are listed as “endangered” or “least concern” or “vulnerable”.

How endangered these species are is important, but what Acres feels is most important is the individual animals that will be and are affected by Resorts World at Sentosa’s decisions.

According to news reports, 18 dolphins have already been snatched from the wild and are currently in the Philippines for training. Catching dolphins from the wild is a terribly invasive process — stop and think for a moment how frightened these dolphins would be.

I doubt the dolphins care that they will be looked after by a team of professionals and experts. We hope that the resort owner will change their plans before a whale shark is similarly captured.

Acres remains committed to maintaining our dialogue with Resorts World. They have taken the progressive step of leaving sharks fin off their menus, recognising the importance of protecting wild marine life. Acres sincerely hopes they make a moral and similarly progressive decision of not gambling on the lives of dolphins and whale sharks and cancel their plans to acquire these animals.

It really is not just about simply abiding to regulations, but about maintaining the moral integrity of the company.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another complaint to the town councils is about cats scratching the seats of motorbikes

Any vehicles, including motorbikes, parked in public areas, are at risks of mishaps, ranging from being hit by other vehicles, being vandalised by human beings, being smeared with bird shit and of course being visited by cats to rest on them and sometimes scratching on the motorbikes' leather-covered seats.

Again there is NO NECESSITY FOR THE TOWN COUNCILS TO KILL THE CATS in response to such complaint.

Have the courage to explain the inherent risk of parking any vehicle in public and of course, suggesting a cover!