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Saturday, January 4, 2014

OFFICIAL LAUNCH: TNR Project for Condominiums and Private Apartments in Singapore

Stray cats thrive almost anywhere in the urban jungle that is Singapore. That also includes condominiums and private residential apartment estates around the country. Many residential condominium complexes are homes to colonies of stray cats. Without proper management, stray cats will reproduce unchecked and may engage in nuisance behaviors such as fighting, howling, and spraying.


What is an MCST? Its an abbreviation for Management Corporation Strata Title, the name given to a management group (made up of proprietors/residents/tenants of the said property) that governs any private apartment, HUDC estate or condominium, as constituted under the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158)The MCST is the condominium town council and they are the go-to people to complain about anything that goes on within the estate. That includes the presence of stray cats. There are four options that apartment, condominium complexes can pursue to manage stray cats: 1) ignore them, 2) trap and remove, 3) institute a feeding ban or 4) trap, neuter and return (TNR)

1) The first option, while clearly no solution at all, is the one that is all too often chosen: ignore it and it will go away. Two cats become twenty in no time and the problem just gets bigger and bigger.

2) The second option, which at first glance may appear to be a solution, has its own shortcomings, one of which is the Vacuum Effect.

3) The third option, enacting a ban on feeding outdoor cats, is also one that condominium MSCTs feel will solve the problem. However, a prohibition on the feeding of stray cats will not guarantee a decrease in the number of cats if there is still a food source available, intentional or otherwise.

The above three options are the ones most employed by condominium/HUDC MCSTs in Singapore. If they actually solved the problem, Singapore would not have its current stray cat overpopulation crisis.

The only workable solution: TNR

The fourth option, Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), is the internationally accepted, effective and humane method of controlling stray cat populations. It is a full management plan in which outdoor stray cats, are humanely trapped and sterilised by veterinarians and evaluated. Healthy adult cats are returned to their familiar habitat, unable to reproduce. The numbers of cats will gradually reduce further as the cats naturally die off. New cats will be fended off by the existing cats, thus reducing the Vacuum Effect.

A comprehensive TNR program, in conjunction with a broad-based education program for residents or tenants, will result in fewer to no births, reduction of nuisance complaints by residents, the alleviation of public health concerns and reduced unnecessary culling.

Love Kuching Project will encourage condominium MCSTs to employ TNR and we have devised a costing plan that compares the cost savings of the TNR versus conventional pest control and culling. We aim to present TNR proposals to condominium MCSTs directly, through explaining both the vacuum effect, and how TNR is a more cost-effective pest control measure.

How You Can Help

Contact us at sterilisation@lovekuchingproject.org with the name of your condominium/HUDC complex, number of stray cats not neutered, name, and contact number of cat feeders (if any). We will thereafter contact the management to conduct TNR.

By pitching directly to condominium MCSTs that you link up with us, we can initiate TNR measures in your condominium or private estate from the top down, and link mediators with them to manage resident complaints. This will change the landscape of TNR in condominiums and private estates in Singapore. Help us make a difference for condo cats.

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Vacuum Effect with Stray Cats.

A few weeks ago, we were explaining the gist of what TNR is about. In today's post, we will now tell you more about the vacuum effect that happens in stray cat populations after a culling exercise has been carried out to cull cats.

Removing (which means, killing) stray cats from an area/estate is not only cruel – it’s ultimately pointless and futile. Remember the time when Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) had a cat-culling programme in the early 2000s? It failed terribly. Stray cats are still everywhere. The NEA has now wizened up and begun to admit, albeit to a certain degree, that it has been blindly perpetuating this belief that catch-and-kill works. It does not. 

Scientific evidence indicates that removing stray cat populations only opens up the habitat to an influx of new stray cats, either from neighbouring territories or the offspring of survivors. Each time cats are removed, the population will rebound through a natural phenomenon known as the “vacuum effect,” drawing our communities into a costly, endless cycle of trapping and killing.

The vacuum effect is a phenomenon scientifically recognized worldwide, across all types of animal species. Here is an example of the urban fox culling programme in the United Kingdom, which has also, obviously, failed. 

Well-documented among biologists, the vacuum effect describes what happens when even a portion of an animal population is permanently removed from its home range. Sooner or later, the empty habitat attracts other members of the species from neighbouring areas, who move in to take advantage of the same resources that attracted the first group (like shelter and food). Killing or removing the original population does nothing to eliminate these resources; it only creates a “vacuum” that will inevitably draw in other animals living nearby.

This vacuum effect happens in every estate where catch-and-kill programmes are practiced. Cats are removed from the premises, and residents feel relief, but four-five months later, surprise! New Wild Cat Spotted!

Some irresponsible resident in the estate might abandon a pet cat or, seeing that the area is now vacant, a cat or a few cats see the opportunity to expand their territories. We have to remember cats are territorial creatures. And there is nothing we, as human beings can do. We share this planet with other living things as well.

Love Kuching Project is appealing to residents of condominiums, HUDC and private apartments to work with us so we can advocate to your respective MCSTs about the Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programme that we regularly carry out in order to control stray cat populations around Singapore.

Make a financial gift via a deposit to our POSB savings account 188-52652-7. Find out more. Become a monthly giver to help ensure our rescues continue getting their needs met. Feed and provide litter to the cats we foster via our corporate sponsor The Water Dish.  Follow on us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New adopters' discount code for pet supplies purchased on The Water Dish [@thewaterdish]

Update: Adopters' code promotion ceased operation w.e.f. 14 July 2014.

This year, our corporate sponsor The Water Dish, online pet supplies delivery has rolled out a permanent discount system for Love Kuching's new adopters, using an online discount code. Yes, permanent! That means that as a new adopter, you can use it more than for just your first purchase, which was our previous discount scheme for adopters.
How to get your TWD 10% discount code after you adopt from us:
Upon adoption, email Maxine at maxine@thewaterdish.com.sg with your email address as filled in our Adopters Agreement.
When verified, you will get a discount code.
Use the same email address to log in to The Water Dish website at www.thewaterdish.com.sg to place your orders each time, and at checkout, enter your discount code to apply the 10% discount to your cart.
Together with The Water Dish, we hope your adoption experience with us will be even more pleasant and fulfilling!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

[ATTN: Donors] Opening of the new financial year #lkp2014

Edited 6 Jan 2014 to reflect payments for 2013 expenses 0n or after 1 Jan 2014

We haven't gotten our official date of incorporation from Registry of Societies yet, but we are starting the financial year according to the calendar year as of now.
In 2013 many of you have given to various Funds, but some of the Funds (especially Operations and Sterilisation) have seen more expenditure than income, and are in the red. (In total for 2013 we have 5 Funds: Boarding, Veterinary, Stray Cat, Sterilisation, Operations).
For a clean start therefore, we are using the total balance of cash in bank and petty cash and dividing it equally across the 5 Funds. Stray Cat Fund is being renamed as Emergency Response Fund. We will share more about the ER Fund in a later post.

Bank Balance as at 1 Jan 2014: $1581.85
Petty Cash Balance as at 1 Jan 2014: $649.00
Total Balance less payments cleared after 1 Jan 2014: $1842.09
Opening Balance per Fund (Boarding, Veterinary, ER, Sterilisation, Operations) =$368.42

As per normal, Operations Fund should not have spending more than 30% of total expenditure. Even though we had to move some of your donations slated for other Funds to start the new year with each fund at the same balance, rest assured that when it comes to Operations expenses such as advertisments, transport and volunteer management, they will not ever exceed 30% of total expenses for a financial year.

We did not manage to recruit a steady Accounts Volunteer till the end of last year, and thus reporting was limited to a sporadic nature. We deeply regret this, because financial transparency has always been a strong belief of ours from when we were founded in 2009. The daily runnings of our rescue work started to overwhelm us and it became increasingly difficult to publish proper financial reports.
This year however, our new Accounts Volunteer, Soya, will change all that and give all of you cat angels an even more transparent look into our spending. Donation protocols will also see an improvement, as will the reporting of the balances for each Fund, to guide us even more precisely in our fundraising measures. We will have a new bank account soon once ROS incorporation is completed, but the existing one will remain until we can transit donors' standing instructions smoothly to the new account.

Every year we raise the bar in working to love cats better, 2014 is no different. To all the cat angels: THANK YOU. For joining us in our work, for believing in us, for saying things like, "Use the funds as you see fit, where the need is," showing us you believe in our financial prudence. We are humbled by your trust, and hope 2014 will strengthen your belief in us as we love the cats in our lives and neighbourhoods.