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N. Sivasothi,
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Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.

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Thu 04 Aug 2005

Feeding the cat: sustainable stray cat population management

Category : animalwelfare

Dawn Kua has been writing regularly and educating many with her "Working with the Cat Welfare Society" blog. And people are reading; just last night someone remarked they now understand some of the activity in their neighbourhood. And it's not all doom and gloom as the photo on the left depicts - "it was love at first sight" for the cat and the adopter's child.

Her blog is well illustrated with new examples from her work, and as you read, you can pick out the many issues involved in sustainable stray cat management.

One aspect of it is the role of responsible feeding. Simply put, its:

Responsible feeding -> Trust between cats and feeder -> Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) -> Cat population controlled/stable, recognisable -> Few new cats enter estate -> New ones easily recognised -> Responsible feeding

So responsible feeding coupled with TNR leads to population control. Welcome to the world of the CWS (see an industrious example at VeganCat). Dawn and CWS volunteers have been talking to estate managers and town councils about precisely this, and recuiting and converting feeders.

Do note that each of the steps listed above compresses considerable detail, and could be expanded further. You can fit in the pieces as you follow the blog.

Extracts from a recent post about feeding an estate's cats:

"Many irresponsible feeders do so out of a sense of compassion - they don't realise they are endangering cats when complaints come in."

"It's always easier to get through to these feeders if they feel that the other person speaking to them likes cats, rather than an official or authority figure whom they may perceive to hate cats and worse, who may have been killing their cats."

"We notice that when signs go up to say to stop feeding, the converse happens. The responsible feeders stop and the irresponsible ones don't want to get caught, so they become what we call 'ghost feeders' - ie they throw food surreptitiously in corners, from windows, and scuttle off before they're caught."

"It's important to let people know that feeding is okay - as long as it is done properly. It prevents cats from scavenging from food in bins, it allows for a level of trust to be built up so it's easier to trap the cats for sterilisation and it keeps the cats healthy. And of course, it has to be coupled with sterilisation."

Posted at 3:50PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news