Follow-up on Bendemeer construction site – last year’s TNRM project

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Many of you contributed towards the TNRM project at the construction site situated near the PIE at Bendemeer Road. We neutered a total of 20 cats over 2 rounds – 9 during the first, 11 during the second – as well as rescued and re-homed 2 kittens, Phoenix and Cassie (who are now doing well in their new homes and have been neutered by their owners too!)

Map of the construction site at Bendemeer Road

After neutering, all 20 cats were relocated to the residential area across the road to keep them from the imminent dangers of the construction which was progressing rapidly.

The cats that were left behind were 2 groups – a small feral colony that was under the flyover across the road from the construction, and a few kittens that were too feral to re-home and at the time too young to neuter.

So, what happened after?

Thanks to the eyes on the ground via the feeders and other concerned citizens, we know that a few things have taken place after that project.

  • Some of the relocated cats made their way back to the construction site. 
  • Their relocation site, even though actively managed by caregivers, suffered a series of culling across the entire estate during the following months. 
  • The construction is progressing even more.
  • The young kittens have matured and reproduced. 

Perhaps you may be wondering why didn’t neuter the remaining cats earlier. Here is why.

In light of the facts that came to us – the cats returning to the construction site, the relocation sites being at risk – we realised that relocation after neutering was not going to be viable anymore. Yet we feared that if we were to sterilise the remaining cats and return them to the site, that they would die soon after either from dangers of construction or from culling when the building management calls pest control in. Likewise for the problem of the neutered cats returning to the construction site from across the road.

This was a serious consideration not only because lives were at stake, but also because we believe that your donated funds should get the full mileage and resolve problems effectively and over the long-term. We had to spend time researching, discussing and brainstorming on how to resolve the issues this colony of cats is facing before acting.

Here is the result of our resolution process.

We compared case notes with Cat Welfare folks on similar cases involving construction sites. Behaviourally, stray cats especially feral ones that live in non-residential sites without human contact like in such construction sites, actually learn to avoid the construction noises and activity through hiding, only coming out at night when it is quiet. They also learn to move to other areas if their territory is no longer going to be habitable. Empirically, this meant that when we neuter the remaining cats at the Bendemeer construction site this time around, we can return them there without worrying that all of them will die from construction accidents. We can also harbour a larger possibility that the neutered cats returned here can move to adjacent areas. Being feral, they would also be more likely to escape before pest control tries to trap and cull them if that should happen.

How about relocating all the neutered cats to a cattery or shelter? We don’t approve of this because catteries are already overcrowded, lifetime sponsorship of these cats will be needed for their shelter expenses, the cats will be sentenced to being shelter-cats for life, and they are too feral to re-home. We believe that stray cats should be managed on-site as far as possible, unless triage dictates otherwise, to ensure their well-being.

After the research and discussion we have decided that we will be doing a final round of TNR at this site for the remaining cats. If there are young kittens that are not feral we will rescue and re-home them.

The final TNRM round for this Bendemeer construction site will take place on Sunday, 6 March at 8:30pm

At last count according to the feeders who go there 2-3 times a week, there are about 10 cats that are not neutered there. We have instructed the feeders not to feed the cats this coming Monday so we can trap more easily. We hope to finally conclude the TNRM cycle for this colony!

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