Monday, March 28, 2011

Helping Cats by Su Mei Lenden-Hitchcock

I have always loved cats, so much so that my last two boyfriends said I was borderline obsessive and were sure I would become one of those old ladies wandering the streets feeding cats in the alleys. They were wrong about the age though. I’m only 20 and have already begun the process of becoming a “cat lady”. And like many “cat ladies”, I go that little bit further, from just feeding to neutering.

I started catching cats for sterilization in light of the recent spate of cat murders and abuse cases. I didn’t want to bring more cats into the world just to see them being preyed upon by some sadistic person. It is a tragedy, in a sense, that we have to end lives prematurely in the womb or before they are even conceived, so as to protect them from the harsher lives they would have faced in this cruel world.

Spaying of our local cats is important. By stopping the cats from reproducing, we in turn stop the problems that come with their increased numbers. Fewer cats mean fewer fights for food, ensuring that these animals will live healthier lives with enough to eat. Cats that are full are also less likely to scavenge though our refuse bins, overturning them and spilling rubbish everywhere. This will in turn help prevent the spread of pests.

The long term benefits of spaying/neutering out-weigh the initial inconveniences by a large margin. I therefore find it hard to believe why people would still resort to outright culling and removal when these 2 methods are both inhumane and ineffective.

In the midst of it all, I learnt 2 important lessons;

1) To catch cats, you need fast hands and a sturdy carrier. Doggie carrier bags won’t do. Especially if your captive cat doesn’t want to cooperate and has fast, sharp claws.

2) This job is a lot harder than I realized. And it isn’t in terms of the physical work but the choices you have to make. According to a cleaner in the vicinity, one of the cats had already given birth; and I had already caught her. I had to make a decision whether or not to sterilize the cat and have the kittens starve to death, or let her go without the guarantee that I would be able to catch her or her kittens in the future and so, allow the reproduction to carry on. Thankfully, it was another cat that had the kittens, not the two little girls I had just caught. But the point is, the power to choose who lives or dies is in our hands, even if it is indirectly. And having to make that choice is terrible as it weighs on your conscience. And I can sincerely say, to all in this field who have to make these choices- you have my utmost respect.

Special thanks to Nicholas Lee, whose help I couldn’t have done without. To Natasha Suraidi, who helped take the cats to and from the vet. To volunteers for their time and advice. And of course to Noah’s Ark CARES for making all this possible!


Anonymous said...

You are doing what I'll call a very great and selfless job. With people like you, at least I know there is still hope in a cruel world like ours. I am not an old lady, but I am also feeding cats at a corner of void decks. Lucky for me those few little sweeties are already sterilized when I started feeding(tip ear means spayed, right?)
Please keep up your good work! And on the behalf of the kitties..thank you very very much!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am also a not so old cat lady, trying to sterilize cats to stop abuse and overpopulation. It is tricky catching them, but the satisfaction of seeing one sterilized cat is tremendous. Let's motivate each other and aim to have zero unsterilised cats in Singapore!

Beneficiary of Animal Merchandise :)

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