Saturday, November 3, 2007

Discrimination: This time it's the cats!

Today November 2, 2007

Enact microchipping, neutering instead of banning cats in flats

Letter by Dr Tan Chek Wee

Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat owners like myself, who wrote to the Ministry of National Development, to keep cats as companion animals were given this reply: "Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and are difficult to be confined within the flats.

"Due to the nomadic nature of cats, the nuisances caused by cats such as shedding of fur, defecating/urinating in public areas, noise disturbance et cetera would affect the environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates. In view of this, the HDB has the policy of not allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats."

During the last five years, I decided to keep three cats that were rescued when they were kittens. They are now all sterilised.

I installed door and window grills in my flat to make sure that they do not venture out. However, they are happily home-bound.

They do not make noise from mating calls, called caterwauling, in fact, my neighbours have to make noise to call for the cats so that they can stretch their hands through the grills to"sayang" them.

They are also fastidiously fussy and will do their "business" in a bin filled with recycled pellets of paper or pine dust.

Responsible owners like myself support regulations instead of a ban to compel the few "black sheep" owners to be responsible.

Regulations that include microchipping, keeping home cats indoors and sterilisation will be more effective in reducing complaints about cats and in reducing pet abandonment. It is a win-win situation for all.

Letter by Dr Tan Chek Wee
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So the Ministry of National Development has finally revealed the reason as to why cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats.

"Due to the nomadic nature of cats, the nuisances caused by cats such as shedding of fur, defecating/urinating in public areas, noise disturbance et cetera would affect the environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates. In view of this, the HDB has the policy of not allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats."

From their explanation, it seems that cats are banned because

1) they dirty the surroundings (shedding of fur)
2) defecating/urinating in public areas
3) noise disturbance

Now reason 1 is ridiculous. Humans definitely shed more hair than cats, given the number of bald men out there. Furthermore, there are far more humans than there are cats in aggregate. Thus if the shedding of hair dirties the environment, then humans are far more guilty in this aspect than cats. Perhaps MND seems to think that cat fur can serve as a vector for the transmission of disease, or that cats are just dirty creatures covered with pathogenic bacteria. Nothing can be further away from the truth. You have a far greater chance of getting ill by touching a human than a cat. Someone needs to explain to MND what is the species barrier when it comes to the transmission of diseases. Besides, what about the dogs? Don't they shed hair?

Reason 2 is just as stupid. The reason for not allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats is because they may defecate and urinate in public areas?! Isn't that why they should all the more be kept inside the flats? Well they can prohibit cat owners from allowing their cats outside the flat without supervision. In any case, only 10% of desexed male cats and 5% of desexed female cats urinate outside their litterboxes (spraying) and far fewer spray in public areas. They way NMD views cats is that after being couped up in the flat for the whole day, owners would let them out and spray urine at the door step of neighbours just for the heck of it. As for defecation, cats tend to defecate in places where they feel safe. As such it is unlikely that a cat living in a flat would want to rush out of the house and poop at the door step of neighbouring flats. They would rather do so in the comfort of their own homes. Besides, what about the dogs? Don't they defecate and urinate too?

Similarly, reason 3 is retarded as well. We do have the means of controlling noise pollution already in place. Remember when your tone-deaf neighbour does his rendition of a Singapore Idol contestant next door? Well you can call the freaking police if you have a problem. Besides, the problem of cats vocalising can be easily solved. You can alleviate your cat's boredom by providing it with toys, set up your flat to be stimulating to your cat by utilising all 3 dimensions of spaces (provide high-level walkways), implement a chasing & jumping exercise routine, scratching posts, companion cat etc.. In fact, just by desexing your cat, you can solve most of the vocalisation problems since most of the time it's to call out to a mate. It's really as simple as that. Besides, what about the dogs? Don't they bark?

In other words, NMD is just full of shit. Was the maker of this lame policy attacked by cats previously? Or maybe his/her dog was attacked by a cat. Or does he/her think that cats espouse homosexual values? From what I see, Singapore does have a thing for discrimination. Age discrimination, sex discrimination, racial discrimination, sexuality discrimination, now even cats are discriminated against in favour of dogs. You name it, we have it. Singapore is indeed a city of possibilities.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Read Cats are purr-fect pets, yes, even in HDB flats

noir chic said...

was searching for rules on keeping cats and came across ur blog.
im a cat owner n i think e regulations r absurd.n u hv explained that well.i wish more people can view this issue in e same way as u do.

貓夫人 said...

I was searching for housing-ideas for my cat, and happened to come to your blog.

Great work on this issue!

And, as a meow owner, i agree with noir chic on how others shld view this issue differently -.-