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Expanded Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme

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  • EMERGENCY AMBULANCE
    QX179R's Avatar
    80,548 posts since Feb '08
    • Expanded Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme starts in July

      SINGAPORE: Starting from July, the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme will be expanded to cover industrial and commercial areas as well as private estates, and participating animal welfare groups will be able to submit their claims for sterilisation performed from April onwards. The programme had previously been limited to stray cats in HDB estates.

      Under the expanded programme, volunteers like Ms Jeane Ang will be able to take stray cats to selected veterinary clinics where they will be sterilised and microchipped for free.

      For the past four years, she has been taking care of some 50 stray cats at an industrial site tucked away in a corner of Tai Seng.

      But two years ago, the 38-year-old, who works as an administrative assistant in the area, noticed a sharp increase in the cat population. To control the population, Jeane and her colleague decided to take the strays for sterilisation.

      “We had only about 20-over cats in 2012. But we saw the numbers increase tremendously - the population almost doubled,” she said.

      In total, they spent about S$4,000 to sterilise 13 cats. “It’s too expensive,” Jeane said.

      She then decided to rope in the Cat Welfare Society, which provided free sterilisation for more than 30 cats.

      However, the free sterilisation came at a hefty cost that the Cat Welfare Society had to bear. Last year, the group spent about S$270,000 sterilising 4,960 cats, with the bulk of them coming from commercial, industrial areas and private estates.

      The animal welfare group will soon get some relief. During the Committee of Supply in April this year, Minister of State for National Development Koh Poh Koon announced the expansion of the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme to cover commercial, industrial areas and private estates.

      EXPANDED PROGRAMME HELPS ANIMAL WELFARE GROUPS SAVE ON STERILISATION COSTS

      It costs between S$30 and S$100 to neuter a cat and another S$20 to microchip it. The cost will be funded equally by the AVA and either the Cat Welfare Society or the SPCA.

      Previously, the programme covered only stray cats in HDB estates.

      With the expansion of the programme, president of the Cat Welfare Society Thenuga Vijakumar estimated that more than 5,000 cats will be sterilised each year. It would also help defray 30 to 40 per cent of the sterilisation costs borne by the group every year.

       “The bulk of the sterilisation - about 80 per cent - is actually conducted in industrial, commercial and private residential areas where there are usually many, many cats because the population is entirely left unchecked,” said Ms Thenuga, “whereas many of the cats at HDB (estates) have already been neutered because they are very well-managed by volunteers on the ground."

      SPCA, which joined the programme in the middle of last year, has spent about S$8,000 sterilising some 320 cats. With the expansion of the programme, the animal welfare group is expecting to save up to 60 per cent of the cost annually, said SPCA’s executive director, Dr Jaipal Singh Gill.

      “Just focusing on the HDB areas was never going to be as effective. Because we still get cats breeding in private estates and in industrial estates, and when the numbers get high, they will spill into the HDB areas,” he added.

      STERILISING MORE EFFECTIVE THAN CULLING: CAT WELFARE SOCIETY

      Since 2011, about 2,000 stray cats have been sterilised under the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme, said the AVA spokesperson.

      Through the expanded programme, the AVA hopes to sterilise 20,000 more stray cats over the course of five years. The current stray cat population is estimated to be about 60,000.

      The programme has also proven that there is a more “humane way” in controlling the stray cat population, said Ms Thenuga.

      She cited the fall in culling figures: “If you look at after 2003, we are looking at an approximately 13,000 to 14,000 cats being put down in one year. Last year - in 2015 - we brought the number down to under 1,000.” The AVA euthanised 888 cats last year.

      Jeane too, has noticed the benefits of sterilisation.

       “I think sterilisation has helped control the cat population. At least when we feed them every day, we know how many cats we have. We roughly know how much food to prepare for them,” she said.

      - CNA/jq
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