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Friday, March 12, 2010

protecting urban wildlife in private condos

Dealing with the - condo's aggressive pest-control management is a real enigma. The cat feeder LY spoke to the management of her condo, only to hear from the condo manager that they will not wait for her to sterilise the cats by April, and will act immediately upon any resident complaint of stray cats by calling in pest-control.

The cat feeder there has only just begun caring for the urban wildlife cats in her estate early this year. The timing is such that though she wants to sterilise them, most of the cats are either kittens or nursing mothers, so the soonest is early April.

The condo management has been laying AVA cat-traps all over the estate and upon trapping any, will call pest-control to take the cats away.

This style of trapping does not discriminate against kittens that wander inside (the traps are not triggered by weight but by movement of the bait). Some cats and kittens already have been culled this way. We managed to rescue the two that that is Rain and Feather on our last trip there.

Tonight, we went there again because another cat had given birth in a prominent public location that will likely entice complaints. The cat feeder, had wanted to transfer the mother and her litter to her house where she set up a boarding pen, to keep them safe till she can neuter the mother cat and re-home the kittens. But she was unable to do it alone even though she did try. Being the only one there caring for the cats in her estate, Andy and I cycled to her place again to help her.

Upon arriving at the site, we realised that the mother cat had given birth under a bush. The kittens are well out of sight, but there are gardeners and cleaners visiting the site every day, and the bushes are along a pavement accessing to the various condo blocks. LY has tried to talk to the condo staff that maintain the gardens, but they scolded her.

So we tried to trap the mother cat, but again, the urban maze that is - condo and the wily mother cat eluded us. It was a delicate situation; scaring the mother may cause her to abandon the litter and leave them behind, and we did not want the newborns to become orphans. We tried to be quick yet gentle, but she kept outsmarting us. In the end, after about two hours, we had to call off the rescue mission.

LY's next step would be to spray the AVA cat traps around the estate with citrus smells and similar, to keep the cats away from the traps. She has also tried to cover the mother and her kittens with more plants; placing a box to shelter the cats from rain is not possible in a privately managed estate. They have already been soaked from the rain at least once in the few days they have come into this world.

Private facilities management is much more aggressive in pest-control methods. When mediation with condo management does not work, what is the next alternative solution? It really is not easy taking care of urban wildlife cats in a private condo estate.



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