Cat owners urged to keep pets indoors

Cat owners urged to keep pets indoors
Cats caught in an AVA-issued cage trap. The authority lends these traps to residents who complain about cats causing a nuisance in the neighbourhood. Those who borrow the traps can use them only within their own premises, and must provide food, water and shelter to any animal trapped. They should also inform the AVA immediately.

CAT owners should keep their feline pets indoors, avoiding cage traps which could injure the furry ones, said the authorities and animal activists.

This is to prevent the cats from creating a nuisance in the neighbourhood, they added.

"A lot of the complaints arise when cats are let out to roam," said Cat Welfare Society vice-president Veron Lau.

"Because they are domesticated cats, they will not be familiar with going to a soil and grass area to defecate.

"There are many people who keep their cats indoors, and it is perfectly fine as long as you provide them enough stimulation and affection."

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) agrees. In response to queries from The Straits Times, it said pet owners should keep their pets indoors.

This is to prevent their pets from disturbing the environment and from getting injured or sick.

The discussion comes amid concerns raised by animal lovers and pet owners over the risks of cat traps.

Last month, a reader wrote in to The Straits Times Forum page, saying that his cat had been trapped twice by a neighbour using cages supplied by the AVA.

On both occasions, the cat was returned traumatised and with bad cuts on its face. The reader also argued that making pets stay indoors is "far from healthy and normal for the animals". Another reader said the "crude" traps should be designed better.

This is despite the number of cat-trap loans going down, from 760 in 2010 to about 410 last year. The loan service has been available since the 1980s, and is free.

The AVA said it offers advice on how to keep the cats away. For example, residents can use a sonic repellent, or mediation if they know who the cat owner is.

"If the different methods to deter the cats are not effective, we offer cage traps for loan if requested," said an AVA spokesman.

Residents who borrow cage traps can use them only within their own premises, and must provide food, water and shelter to any animal trapped. They should also inform the AVA immediately to collect the animal.

The authority will then check the animals to ensure that they are in a "satisfactory condition" and will trace their owners through various means.

In a separate incident, a stray dog was killed on Thursday during an operation in Ang Mo Kio after complaints were made.

AVA yesterday said investigations showed that the trap used by the contractor had been modified and was not approved for use in stray-dog control operations.

The contractor also did not monitor the trap, a requirement to ensure that any trapped animal is removed quickly. AVA will be taking enforcement action against the contractor.

This article was first published on September 6, 2014.
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