Saturday, March 26, 2011

A caregiver's anguish expressed in an email to Hong Kah Town Council:

Date: Friday, 25 March, 2011, 3:32 PM


I'm a caregiver in Jurong West and it's deeply unsettling to learn from another caregiver, Miss S, that pest controllers are PAID for every cat that is rounded up in the community. These cats are NOT feral animals that nobody takes care of. These community cats are being cared for by caregivers like us who invest money and time in them- to make sure that they are fed so that they don't rummage through rubbish bins to look for food, brought to the vet whenever they're sick or injured and sterilized so they don't populate, cauterwaul and create nuisance for people.

For we are a network of volunteers, we all have day jobs and commitments and we hope you would understand that time is required for us to investigate every complaint case that is passed on to us. Most of the time, complainants would understand the nature of the nuisance created and would be satisfied with the usage of repellant along their corridor and express that THEY DO NOT WANT the cats to be killed. They just want the problem to be solved and not the lives of these innocent cats to be taken away.

I've been a caregiver long enough to witness that it is indeed POINTLESS to remove existing cats from the community as newly abandoned cats will take over the now 'empty' territory. Cats are very territorial animals. They do not tolerate new cats invading their territory and will chase the new ones away. This is one natural way of controlling the population of cats in the community. Cat complaint cases are usually settled with the usage of repellant and scaring tactics to deter cats away from complainants' units. There will always be a few cases of persistent complainants whom just want the cats to be 'gone' because they are fearful of them but seldom do they want the cats to be killed. Most of these complainants have often asked the cats to be 'taken away to a safe place'. After explaining to them that there are no such places for cats to go to, most of them will benignly agree to 'close one eye' on the issue.

When such complaint cases can be settled by mediation and investigation with time, why should Property Officers take the easy way out by deploying pest control team to KILL all these cats, PAY for such services and NOT solve the underlying problem. Yes, this method is fast and easy but it is inhumane, ineffective and unfair for the helpless cats AND caregivers like US.

We, caregivers, do not just invest our time and money on these community cats. We love them and we obviously care for them. To just deploy pest control team and round up all the cats in the community, it is causing us caregivers undue stress and trauma. We volunteer our time and money to care for these cats. We mediate complaint cases to solve citizens' cat issues. But one call from Town Council to pest control team and everything will just go down the drain. Where is the trust? Can we wake up and go to work with a peaceful mind from now on? No. We will always be fretting and worrying for our community cats. Our quality of lives will be affected. Is this fair to us?

Caregiver in Jurong West