Thursday, February 14, 2008

Letters to the Press (English version)

A catty problem
Cats vs cars: who’s the real ‘victim’?

Letter from Tan Chek Wee

TODAY Thursday • February 14, 2008

My car is parked in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) car park. I accept the unavoidable “damages” from intentional or unintentional vandalism such as being hit by the doors of adjacent cars or the occasional bird droppings.

Most of us are unaware of the disclaimer clause on the back of a car park disc (the old paper version, not the current electronic one) attributing such damage to “acts of nature”.

Community cats, too, are part of “nature” but why are they “victims” of Town Council officers, who will have the cats removed to be killed when they receive complaints from car owners who see cats on the roofs or bonnets of their cars?

One of my friends who lives in Tampines teams up with several resident volunteers in the neighbourhood “cat management” group which helps sterilise community cats and assist the Town Council to resolve feedback about cats.

Recently, they were told by their Town Council officer to remove a sterilised cat that has been living in a car park for a long time because a resident complained of the cat sitting on his car bonnet.

The resident refused to speak with the volunteers who wanted to present him with a car cover.
The paint on a car — if it is in a decent condition — is extremely hardy as it has been baked in high heat to withstand daily wear and tear.

Cats’ claws are as hard as our fingernails. Unless you can scratch the paint off with your fingernail, it is impossible for a cat to scratch the paint off the surface of a car.

Furthermore, cats retract their claws when walking on smooth surfaces, hence there will not be any scratches on the car when the cat walks on it. The only way that a cat can scratch the car is when it tries to get traction on the surface, by — dare I say — running for its life.

This action of the Town Council officer only encourages ungracious living by pandering to unreasonable complaints.

It is also a waste of public funds as removal of sterilised cats will create a vacuum for other cats to move in.

The action of the officer is also unfair to the volunteers, who are also residents of the estate but who put in effort, time and their own money to manage a community problem.

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