Last year we heard there has been a lot of sterilisation work by independent caregivers going on in Geylang Bahru because of a cat population explosion. Many kittens were rescued there by various members of the community. Neutering was ongoing and an uphill task.
|Geylang Bahru is under Jln Besar|
We received word again recently that there was still a stray cat population crisis there, so we decided to take a look to see if it was viable for us to step in to conduct TNR projects there to help out.
We visited the cats, armed with Fussie Cat (the favourite food of stray cats everywhere!), around blocks 50-70 of Geylang Bahru.
One of the caregivers in Ubi (Auntie Can) actually feeds the cats in this estate, around blocks 62-63. She has sterilised almost all the cats there, and also relocated some of them to Ubi. We confirmed with her where she has sterilised and wanted to check out the other blocks she has not worked on.
We did try to touch base with other caregivers in the area too. One of them did not answer our calls. Those we met there today avoided us like the plague even when we brought up helping them to sterilise any cats, and even though we were also toting cat food just like them. There are a lot of feeders, each covering a small area, like one to two blocks.
The bulk of the population is around block 68-70 where there is a small town central containing an NTUC, an old cinema, a hawker centre, and the town council office. We spotted 5 un-neutered cats who likely just matured not long ago. We also spotted 6 cats already sporting tipped ears. The cats here were mostly friendly except the hawker cats.
|Hanging out outside the Town Council office|
|Feeding the Town Council cats|
|3 Town Council cats – not neutered|
|Jalan Besar Town Council building|
|Hawker centre is located next to TC building|
|1 of the 2 neutered cats spotted at the hawker centre|
|2 un-neutered cats at the cinema|
|1 of the neutered cinema cats|
After the central blocks we went to the residential blocks. Each one of the residential blocks has at most 1-2 cats, mostly sterilised, all very skittish, all fed and not very hungry.
|Blk 61 where we saw 1 cat…|
|…who was hiding behind the block|
|A number of blocks line the river and park|
|1 cat near this river residing outside a flat|
|Cat whose feeder ran away when she saw us…|
|… he hangs out near the RC with another cat|
|2 cats spotted at this block|
|1 of them curiously sniffing our scent of cat food|
The cat count per residential block is, on observation, about 1-2 cats per block, they are fed, and they are skittish.
We concluded that it is not viable for us to step in in Geylang Bahru to conduct a mass TNRM project. This is because
- The cat population is low and therefore not in crisis. We focus on sterilising cat populations where there are crises.
- The cats have caregivers that already handle sterilisation.
- The cat population is sparse and therefore hard and uneconomical to conduct a mass trapping, especially where every cat has a different feeder and different feeding times.
In case you are wondering, we try to work on cat colonies that have about 7-8 cats and more, in the same location. This type of situation is where the most breeding, illness, endless kittens, and massive complaints arise from. Also, anything 7 cats and more seems to become a sterilisation situation where lone caregivers without funds find hard to solve. Any cat-count of less than 7 un-sterilised cats is usually very well-managed by the caregiver, be it through SPCA vouchers or toting 2 carriers at a time to the vet themselves or focusing on neutering one gender at a time. (How did we come up with the magic number of 7…? Nothing scientific, just our observations from meeting caregivers and visiting stray cat colonies.)
So for this month we are looking at another stray cat colony that needs help – update right after this post!