The Mews (January-February 2012)

January-February 2012
volunteer with us!

The Cat Welfare Society is entirely volunteer-driven and we're on the lookout for dedicated individuals with a passion for cat welfare. Animal welfare is not a breeze. You may not get a verbal thank you but you will get the sheer joy and satisfaction of walking past your community cat and sayang-ing him or her and knowing he or she is safe and cared for.

We are looking for individuals with long-term vision and commitment. You should be independent and self-reliant. The ability to be objective and focused on problem-solving is also useful

Here are two of the most important groups of volunteers for which we are actively recruiting:

1. The backbone of cat welfare is our community of caregivers. They look after specific estates, usually their own or neighbouring, to ensure that community cats in those areas are sterilised, healthy, and properly fed. They ensure the safety of the cats. Several caregivers also mediate within their communities.

2. Mediators are one of our most indispensable assets and the spotlight has recently shifted to the work they do. Part crime-buster, part educator and all-round problem solver, they understand firstly that not all complaints are invalid. Then they investigate the issue, speak with the complainants and engage the neighbourhood authorities and in tandem with all parties, come to a mutually acceptable solution. As one of our mediators Suzana sums up: "mediation is important and a rational approach is required to deal with various mindsets. Without mediation, the cats will have to be removed."

If time is an issue or you're not sure about long-term commitment but you would still like to get involved, it's easy. Here are some things you could do:

1. Educate your friends and neighbours

There are countless ways in which we can help our community cats just by helping our friends and neighbours. Oftentimes, we have more knowledge of cat-related issues and solutions to any problems. If not, we will know where to find the answers. So feel free to share the knowledge and help correct any misinformation about cats.

Common examples: If someone wants to know how to prevent cats from pooping in their garden, google some natural cat-repellents and show them the site. If they need help finding a vet, locate a list for them. If they are feeding the community cats the wrong foods (like chicken wings and fishballs), explain that these can choke a cat and show them where they can buy some cat food.

2. Help your neighbourhood caregiver

Ensure that they are feeding responsibly and the cats are sterilised. If they are not, teach them how to feed responsible and emphasize the importance of cleaning up. Help get the cats sterilised by chipping in a little if the caregiver is unable to afford it. If the caregiver is unwell or out of town, offer to do the feeding round for those few nights and make friends with your community kitties

3. Spread the word

Even small actions, such as linking to our website, rallying support for our campaigns or running little fundraisers amongst your friends will help us help the kitties.

Cat welfare is not about a select group of individuals - it's about everyone in the community who comes across a cat. Get involved. Today.

For more information on volunteering for CWS, visit http://www.catwelfare.org/volunteer or join us on 19 Feb for our volunteer meet-up. More information below.

feature

Time for some myth-busting in this issue of MEWS

It’s the new year and we thought we’d bust some of the myths surrounding our community cats!

Myth 1: SARS was spread by stray cats

Truth: According to medical microbiology sources SARS probably originated in a non-human host. It was amplified in the palm civet - which is actually a rodent-like animal and not a cat at all despite being misidentified and called a civet cat at times - and transmitted to humans in live animal markets. Because civets and cats are totally different species, there is actually no link between SARS and domestic cats.

The virus itself is highly species-specific and usually does not spread between animal species or animals and human beings. In the rural regions of Southern China where SARS broke out, the people and animals lived in inordinately close contact and there was widespread use of wild species for food and traditional medicine, along with little testing available to catch new strains of diseases, the conditions there promoted the emergence of the virus.

Myth 2: Cat bites and scratches can cause infections

Truth: Infections are caused by bacteria which are introduced to the site of the bite or scratch when the skin is broken, so any wound can potentially become infected. Cat bites and scratches are almost always superficial because they might have just been overly playful. Superficial wounds do not require as much medical attention as deep wounds but always wash any wound with running water and if apply a little antiseptic to the wound. If the cat felt threatened and reacted by biting or scratching more deeply, wash the wound immediately and apply some topical antiseptic. See a doctor if you feel the need to.

Myth 3: Pregnant women should not come into contact with cats

Truth: There are no issues with pregnant women coming into contact with cats. What they do have to avoid is the pathogen toxoplasma gondii, which is spread more commonly by raw and undercooked meat and can also be found in cat poo. If ingested, the pathogen can cause harm to the mother and child. But this pathogen takes 48 hours before it can cause an infection, so make sure your meat is frozen at -20 degrees Celsius or heated to 50 degrees Celsius and that the litter is cleaned daily (as it should be) by someone other than the expecting mother and there should be no problem.

in the spotlight

Life is better with a cat!

Last month, the Cat Welfare Society launched “Better With A Cat,” its first ever social media campaign. Carrying the message that life is better with a feline friend, the campaign features light-hearted webisodes portraying owners of unsuitable “pets”.

It also includes video testimonials from local artiste Melody Chen and Lee Amizadai, better known as Minion to office cat Duke Orange. In their videos, both ladies share why they are satisfied cat owners.

The “Better With A Cat” campaign was produced as a charity project by media agency MediaCom Singapore and creative agency Daydream, in collaboration with sponsors Wildfire and Iams.

In conjunction with the campaign, CWS held a “Better With A Cat” photo contest, where Facebook fans can submit their own cat photos and share why their life is better with a cat. Winners received 1 kg of Iams cat food.

To learn more about our “Better With A Cat” campaign, visit http://www.facebook.com/catwelfaresg. Watch the campaign videos on YouTube, and read Duke Orange’s blog entry on the campaign here.

upcoming events

CWS Volunteer Meet-Up Session 19 February | 2 – 5 pm | Seminar Room @ Blk 231 Bain Street, #04-41 Bras Basah Complex (S) 180231 Our first volunteer meet-up session for 2012 will begin with an overview of CWS and our exciting plans for 2012 before breaking out into three groups to cover Mediation, Education, and Admin roles.
If you are interested in these areas, do come and share your ideas with us. To register, email volunteer@catwelfare.org with your name and contact number, and with 'Volunteer Meet-up Session' as the subject heading.

“Better With A Cat” Adoption Drive 5 March | 3 – 8 pm | Pet Safari Vivo City Give one of our rescued friends a forever home. Drop by our next adoption drive, a partnership between CWS and Pet Lovers Foundation.

Annual General Meeting 17 March | 2 – 5 pm | nvpc Boardroom @ Central (Clarke Quay) Do join us for this important meeting where we’ll discuss what we achieved in 2011 and what we want to achieve in 2012.

fun stuff

Gizmag.com’s Pet Gizmos Gizmag.com recently came up with a list of top 10 cat gadgets, including a DJ’s turntable that’s actually a scratching pad, and a lightweight camera you can attach to Kitty’s collar. And while you’re on the site, check out their iPad app picks for cats!
support cws

Make a donation through PayPal, bank transfer, cheque order, or at any AXS Station. Volunteer with us in your areas of expertise. We can always use extra human hands! Adopt a cat and give him/her a loving home for life. Click the link to see our adoption board. Be a CWS member and enjoy sterilisation subsidies and perks at our partner establishments!

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." – Jean Cocteau

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