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Dedicated Caregiver Award Winners

Ivan:

It is CWS’s pleasure to announce to everyone that we are giving out five Dedicated Caregiver Awards.  The receipients of these awards were nominated by other caregivers and CWS.  The award winners are from various parts of Singapore.

These five individuals were selected because of their hard work sterilising community cats over many years and their constant efforts working with their respective Town Councils in managing the community cats.

The award winners are (not in order of preference):

1. Mrs Neo aka Tay Bee Leng of Upper Changi

2. Foo Wei Fong of Bedok North

3. Mdm Soon of Boon Lay

4. Helga Gamp of Yishun

5. Susan Lee Kum Lan of Teban/Pandan Gardens

Receipients who can make it to the Tea session this Saturday (2nd Aug) will be receiving their awards from our President, Dr. Michelle Lee.  Those who cannot attend will have the awards dispatched to them. 

Let’s all congratulate the above caregivers for their awards and their hardwork helping fellow caregivers and community cats.

Finally, I just like to highlight that there were other caregivers who were shortlisted but they prefer to give up their nominated status so as to give opportunities for similarly deserving caregivers to be nominated for the awards.  These nominees were Dr. Tan Chek Wee (Bedok), Goh Boon Choo (Woodlands), Corinne and Florence (Pasir Ris), and Rebecca (Tampines).

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Shifting to 2nd gear for me, Chinese Delegates & Membership

Ivan:

With the completion of hectic July doing outreach projects, I am shifting to a slower 2nd gear with CWS’s taks for August as I am involved in the judging of the Animal Protectors Grant which requires several meetings in the month of August.  Moreover, school starts for me so I need to hit the books and do my research.

CWS just got an email asking us to speak to some Chinese Animal Welfare Delegates.  We were asked to speak to them about the larger and finer issues with regard to caring and controlling the population of community cats in Singapore (so that they can bring the understanding back to China and apply them). 

LiTin and I are the assigned Mandarin liasions for CWS and we are discussing if we should take up this project up as it happens in August when I am busy with the grant judging and LiTin with merchandise/website projects.  Having said that, it is likely that we take it up as the plight of the community cats in China is really very sad, especially with the street strays cleanup before the Olympics (cats were caught and left to die) and cats/dogs eating in Canton.  The sharing of knowledge about implementing and managing TNR programmes in Singapore will help our Chinese partners with their plans to more effectively reduce the population of stray cats in China.  This in turn will minimise the harm done that could possibly be done in the future when there are other street clean-up exercises and killings for cat meat (since there will be less cats on the streets due to effective TNRM programmes). 

An elderly caregiver I met when I was in the Eastern part of Singapore just called me as I blogged this entry.  He was asking about his membership status as he has not got a reply from us.  CWS does not issue receipts but we give out membership cards to applicants for CWS membership.  The cards are being made ready and will be sent out in August.

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Merchandise and Outreach Collaboration: Hitting the shops

Ivan:

Li Tin and I have allocated half a day tomorrow to hit the shops.  Earlier, I have contacted two pet shops that are currently selling our merchandise about the stocks that they have left, and if they wish to carry more items.  At the same time, I have approached another 2 pet shops and a cattery and they have agreed to carry our items too. 

So far, we have the following shops participating: Pet Essentials (Opposite Ten Mile Junction), Loving Pets (Upper East Coast), Sundream Petland (Far East Shopping Centre), All Breeds (Chip Bee Gdns – Opp. Holland Village) and Siaping’s Cattery (Lim Chu Kang).  Please watch our Merchandise Webpage for the updates shortly and you should be able to go buy our items from late August/early September from these shops.  LiTin will in the next few weeks go down to these shops to pass the merchandises to these shops.

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Cats and Asthma Misconception

Ivan:

I just got off a long conversation with someone about cats and asthma.  There is a general misconception that cats if there are any being kept at home is the cause of asthma.  Rather than pointing finger at one’s home pet cats straight away, it is necessary for asthma patient to request the Ear-Nose-Throat Specialist to help perform an allergy test.  An allergy test involves drawing blood and then the lab technician will test it against several common allergy causing things, e.g. dust mites, cat’s dander (dead skin flakes), dust, cockroach droppings, etc.  The blood test outcome will reveal what the asthma patient is allergic to and to what degree for each allergent.  Only then, the real cause(s) will be revealed.

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Local news and letters

Sarah:
Wanbao article

Wanbao had a report on the Class95 DJ incident. It came out on the 19th, Vesak Day. I can’t get a scan of it, so this will have to do. My Mandarin isn’t very strong, but essentially it’s a round-up of opinions about the issue of cat feeding.

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Thank goodness for responsible feeders who sterilise

Sarah:
One of the cat feeders was approached earlier today by some unhappy neighbours. Apparently, a woman told her that the cats were scaring her, and wanted to make a complaint to both the police and town council.

The feeder acted sensibly, and explained to the woman about responsible feeding. The woman wasn’t happy though, and called her husband down to scold the feeder. In the end, the commotion grew, people started gathering, and the feeder had to call the police to help calm the situation down.

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Class 95 calls for fines for cat feeders

Ivan:
Just got word today from an ex-committee member who said that her mum heard the Class 95FM’s Morning show. DJs, Glenn Ong and Flying Dutchman were talking about stray cats again. This time, they compared feeding of stray cats to the feeding of monkeys. They added that cat feeders should be fined heavily as their monkey feeders counterparts. The DJs also said they have seen people feeding many cats and stray cats mess up the rubbish bin and leave their poo around. They were inviting listeners to send in sms or call in till 10am today (7 May). CWS is drafting a letter to the local press to address this issue.

Note from website editors: This is not the first time Class 95 has expressed themselves in this fashion. There was the 2003 incident, where the same DJs suggested that cats should be drowned en masse, or sent to Peru to be eaten. In 2007, the same DJs spread inaccurate information about community cats, undermining the goals of animal welfare activitists.

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Looking back and looking forward

Michelle, President of CWS:

The first three months of 2008 proved to be a challenging time for the Cat Welfare Society because of a number of organisational changes that took place, most significant of which was the resignation of Dawn Kua, our Director of Operations and only full-time staff. As a result of these changes, we were at times unable to respond as promptly and efficiently to requests from our members as we would have liked. We apologise for that, and thank you for bearing with us. We have, however, managed to convene a new committee and expect to get operations running up to speed in the next month.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on March 27th, 2008. During the meeting, we went over the key highlights of 2007. These included:

Spay Day: We conducted our 2nd annual Spay Day event and outdid our efforts in the previous year with a 23% increase in the number of cats sterilised. A total of 160 cats were sterilised, with the participation of 20 vet clinics that kindly offered us subsidised rates, and with the help of tireless volunteers who saw to the logistics of the entire operation.

Promoting TNRM: We continued to give talks and conduct Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage (TNRM) workshops, provide traps on loan, and work with vets to provide subsidised rates for sterilisation of community cats. More importantly, in recognition of caregivers’ efforts and to provide further incentive to sterilise, we raised our sponsorship of sterilisation to $20 per cat and full reimbursement (up to $60) for the 5th cat sterilised.

We’ll be sending out our membership renewals anytime now – in fact, some of you should have gotten them already. Your membership is important to us and lends the Society help and encouragement in its work to provide for the welfare of community cats in Singapore. Your annual subscriptions and donations help pay for the sterilisation and medical treatment of hundreds of cats, and contribute towards the running of education and awareness programmes to promote tolerance and respect for animals. There is much more that still needs to be done for the welfare of the community cats that live among us. We hope that, with this in mind, you will continue to support our efforts with your membership.

So for, 2008 has been a bumpy year for CWS. However, thanks to tireless volunteers who stepped in, we were able to get reinbursements out, to those equally tireless caregivers out there. Here’s wishing everyone – and every cat – a great 2008.

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One at a Time

Li Tin:

The life and death of community cats in Singapore – that could be our primary concern as the members of Cat Welfare Society, more so if we are committee members.

However, that cannot be the case. We look at the bigger picture and try to fill in the gaps by means of education, mediation and many other things, but sometimes we are not able to plug the leaks as efficiently, or as quickly than we’d like it to be.

On a personal basis, I am a small-time, newbie caregiver in my area. Please pardon my poignant tone, but last night I got news of a death in my area. Not of a cat, but of a stray female dog whom I am looking out for. For months and months, she has been barking downstairs in the wee hours of the night to chase away a notorious pack of dogs. I had been working to get her to a shelter before some harm befalls on her tame, docile soul… and then I heard of her being bitten badly in a field just one street away and is presumed dead.

Had been rather worried that her barking might get her in trouble with the authorities eventually, if just one person were to make a complaint, but in the end, it was the dogs that got to her first. As guilty as I am for not acting fast enough, I knew perhaps, I had made a difference by patting her head while she wagged her tail.

I guess what keeps me sane now, is to tell myself, “We Cannot Save Everyone.”

That, by the way, is also the plight of the community cats in Singapore. Apart from complaints, we’ve got abuse, and we’ve got ignorance to combat.

So many times I have seen on forums “Help! I found a stray cat! What should I do with it?”, and then we see a very helpful reply “Don’t worry, Cat Welfare Society will do the job.”

People have to understand that we are not doing this as a job, in no way we are able to attend to every single case simply because we have our names tagged to the Society. If we could have such a wide and omni-present reach, there won’t be any homeless kitties in the streets anymore. We actually really hope so, but reality is something we have to come to terms with.

The truth is, more cats are being born as we speak. As people who care about the population and of course, the welfare of stray and community cats alike, we are constantly battling against the numbers. We sterilise some, while litters are being born elsewhere. We’d hate to be running around in circles, but we just have to keep going.

One of the kitties got run over by a car, we’d acknowledge that, mourn a little, and we move on to manage another one. There is no room for just so many of them. As pragmatic as I may sound, being part of the committee is important to spread the word about the causality of everything that could involve our community cats.

Even if just one stranger heard our message, understand the cause, and goes away as an informed friend, we have succeeded. We hope to change opinions, garner more support, rope in more like-minded people to push the cause forward, one step at a time.

But for now, let me gain the kitten’s trust first, before we snip her and prepare her for a life of hardship out in the streets of fast-moving Singapore.

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Cat Welfare Society

At Cat Welfare Society we believe every cat should live a life free from fear and suffering. This is why we exist, to help those who can't help themselves.

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