Straits Times May 30:
I FAIL to understand why town councils are so ‘spooked’ by cats that they are bent on getting rid of all of them with the recent adoption of ‘Zero Strays’ policy, based on their perception that ‘most’ residents do not like cats.
Notwithstanding the killing of 13,000 cats a year for more than 20 years, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, many residents have volunteered themselves in ‘cat management’ which includes trapping and sterilising stray cats and identifying them with a surgical cut at the tip of the left ear and assisting town councils to investigate complaints about cats with resulting effective and cost-free solutions.
The impression at the grassroots level is that most residents are against killing cats and when informed there is a humane method of controlling the cat population, that is, trap-neuter-release-and-manage (TnRM), they have given the ‘thumbs up’.
Volunteer-caregivers like me, who spend much time, effort and money in TnRM, also wish for a day when there are zero cats on the streets with every cat in the safe refuge of homes.
To achieve that, we hope for the HBD to lift the ban on keeping cats, AVA to put a ban on import and sale of pets and the legislation of a law mandating the sterilisation of all pets, including home cats.
Meanwhile, we hope to be assured that the town council’s ‘zero strays’ policy is tied up with cat management and that there will not be a holocaust of cats.
A few months ago, one of my ‘senior citizen’ patients came to see me looking very distraught.
He wasn’t physically ill but he was devastated when he heard that a black-and-white tipped ear community cat that often sought out his company as he sat in the void deck was abused and killed.
Then a few weeks later, he came to see me again, this time bearing a big grin. He said ‘his’ cat was back. Someone has brought the cat to the vet for treatment. It has recovered from its injury and released back into the community.
If the town councils accede to request ‘zero strays’, I shudder to think what our ‘urban jungle’ will be like when residents request ‘zero birds’, ‘zero trees’, ‘zero bicycles’, et cetera. When does the town council deem such requests unreasonable?
American radio legend Paul Harvey said: ‘Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don’t vote.’
Is it true?
Dr Tan Chek Wee