Unfortunately there are many people out there who do not take up full responsibility and ownership in caring for their pet cats. It is also known as semi-ownership and is a form of irresponsible cat ownership. This flippant attitude towards the caregiving of cats is highly worrying as we have seen an increase in the incidence of such cases.
CWS Mediator, Michelle, recently attended to one such case in Boon Lay where a ginger cat was kept outside a flat. The flat owner fed the cat at his or her doorstep and even left a litter tray outside for the cat to use. The cat however was not allowed in the house and took to hiding in the tiny space between the gate and the door.
Perhaps such people see themselves as performing a kind deed by providing some basic care for a cat; they possibly do not see consider themselves as owners of the cat. Regardless, such actions work on the contrary, to the detriment of the cat and are highly inconsiderate as fellow neighbours might not be cat lovers. I mean, which neighbour would endure having an uncleared litter box in such close proximity to the entrance of their flats? It’s definitely not the most welcoming sight to come home to.
And what can be said about the quality of life of the poor cat that is neither a stray cat that roams free in the neighbourhood nor a beloved pet cat that is carried and cuddled? The ginger was so terrified of people that it spent most of its time in that sliver of space.
This kind of ownership really isn’t right and should not be condoned. Like a baby, a cat is completely reliant on the person caring for it. People’s attitudes and perceptions need to change. We recognise that this will take time and can only be done through education when people become aware of the consequences of their selfish and thoughtless acts. Mediation involves an extraordinary amount of patient and repeated education. Our mediators, like Michelle, traverse the various neighbourhoods daily to reach out to different groups of people – owners, feeders, feedback providers, Town Council and Condominium Management officers etc to educate and provide advice on proper humane and caregiving practices. It is a laborious task that needs to be repeated continually each time a case pops up.
Thankfully for the ginger, with the intervention of Michelle, there has been no further feedback. We are hopeful that the flat owner has converted and committed to full ownership and that there will be no more complaints about the timid ginger.
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“To you it’s a cat, to it you’re everything.”