Monday, May 26, 2008

Three nice letters

These are a bit old news, but I really like the way the letters are written, especially the analogy used by Celeste Lock in the first letter. The DJs ought to feel ashamed for their unnecessary comments and remarks about strays after reading her letter. ;)

I'm keeping them for reference for those times when I have to try to educate those anti-cat people or worse, those idiots like this Chinese gal in her late-20's who thinks sterilising stray cats is an act of misplaced kindness by humans, coz she thinks that stray cats should be left alone to have their own sex lives and their own family. I finally stopped trying to talk to her after I almost vomited blood.

Letter #1 : ST Online Story, 16 May 2008
DJs' remarks on stray cats not funny and irresponsible

THIS is what I think of Ms Siau Li Chao's online letter, 'Radio DJs made tasteless remark on cats' (Monday).

One does not joke about the sufferings of the others, whether humans or animals. I do not find the DJs' comments at all funny. In fact, I think they were distasteful, uneducated and reflect the lack of empathy and basic respect for the lives of others. In a supposedly civilised society like Singapore, I am deeply disturbed and saddened by such comments.

I wonder: What is wrong with being kind to the homeless animals? Kindness and benevolence are open to all, not just human beings. Is there such a thing as 'selective kindness'? It is appalling to think that a Jack Russell Terrier owner should find 'street cats should be sent to Peru to be eaten' joke funny.

If I were to give money to a homeless human beggar so that he could buy food to fill his empty stomach, should I be fined and ridiculed for my act of empathy and kindness? I cannot possibly be giving money to a cat, can I? It would save the kind and responsible caregivers a lot of work if it were possible. If cats know how to buy food with the money then, perhaps, we run the risk of being sent to Peru instead.

Radio DJs must realise that they are on national radio and should be sensitive and responsible about the comments and/or jokes they make.

A responsible act of kindness should be fine, not fined.

Celeste Lock (Miss)

Letter #2 : AsiaOne News, 15 May 2008
Sterilising is best way to prevent more strays

I REFER to the letters 'Fine for giving food to monkeys should apply to feeding strays too' and 'Stray cats near Temasek Poly' (my paper, May 14).

Responsible stray cat feeders do not leave food and then walk away. They wait for the cats to finish and they clear up the leftover food.

Those who leave food lying around usually do it out of pity for the cats or for some other reasons. They need to be educated on the proper and responsible way of feeding strays.

Cats have a natural instinct to bury their faeces and urine, and they are not usually known to urinate or defecate on concrete floor or near objects such as shoes. They might, however, do so on sandy areas and soil.

Cats may scratch trees or wood but they retract their claws when walking on smooth surfaces such as a car bonnet, so there won't be any scratches on the car when they walk on it.

The best way to prevent more stray cats is to sterilise them and, despite ongoing publicity to do so, I have met many cat owners who feel that it is a 'pity' to sterilise their cats. They think that it would deny them of having a happy family.

However, cats, unlike human beings, do not mate for enjoyment. They do so because it is a natural instinct that they have no control over.

The simple procedure of neutering the cat would also solve the issues of spraying and caterwauling at night. Neutered cats are quiet and they do not fight for territory as compared with an unneutered feline.

In short, neutered cats generally do not create a nuisance. The public needs to be educated on this.

Moreover, if you remove sterilised strays from one area, it would only leave a void which other stray cats would fill.

Adding to the problem of stray cats are people who buy or adopt pets on a whim, only to abandon them when they realise they don't have the effort, time or money to maintain them.

Mrs Grace Peh

Letter #3 : AsiaOne News, 15 May 2008
Culling sends wrong message to children

I REFER to the two letters about stray cats by Ms Florence Goh and Madam Jacqueline De Souza.

I am glad to note that Ms Goh said she certainly did not condone the killing of animals, because some town councils cull stray cats in response to residents' feedback.

Many neighbourhoods do have a cat management programme called Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage and it has been successful in the reduction of the cat population.

I am not surprised by Madam De Souza's fear of stray cats spreading diseases, as this perception has been perpetuated by town council posters on not feeding strays.

However, we are at greatest risk of contracting diseases from fellow human beings on crowded trains, buses, shopping malls, for example.

A call for the removal of stray cats in the neighbourhood would lead to the rounding up - and culling - of the animals by pest controllers.

Is this the message we want to send to our children - anything that is deemed a nuisance is to be killed?

Rather, this is a great opportunity to educate school children on how the problem can be addressed with a more humane approach which includes sterilisation.

This will certainly inculcate the spirit of compassion that is sadly lacking in our increasingly materialistic society.

Dr Tan Chek Wee

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