Monday, November 1, 2010

To be fair, cats also cause a lot of problems

F the Selayang Municipal Council is not amused with the increasing number of the stray dogs in the municipality because of the apathy of pet lovers there, the authorities should try living in some condominiums and see whether stray cats are less of a nuisance. Surely the stray problem that dogs the authority is no less worse compared with what my friend Khoo Ching is experiencing at his condominium.

The stray cat population at Khoo’s condominium is making him miserable. While some of the stray cats are adorable, their habit of easing themselves wherever they like is driving Khoo and his neighbours up the wall. There is cat poo in the corridors daily.

Fortunately, the sweeper isat the condominium had been very kind to both residents and cats. The Indonesian woman cleans up removes the mess without complaint. She also uses heavy-duty cleaning fluid onto the more stubborn mess to get rid of the stains.

But, on her off-daysthe days when she is not working, residents using the corridors have to tread carefully through a ad to tread through a minefield of cat poo. When the lights are out because of, many end up with smelly soles.

No one knows where the strays come from but Khoo suspects that they are from neighbouring condominiums. He has tried various means to deter the cats from easing themselves at his doorsteps. He uses heavy-duty floor cleaners to get rid of the mess and then sprays insect repellent onto the spot where the misdeed occurred.

“Cats, like dogs, leave a scent to mark their territory,” Khoo explained. “If you get rid of its scent, the cat will not return.”

Well, it didn’t work. His neighbour Ah Gong burns the cat poo with old newspaper before getting rid of it. He believes that burning the excrement leaves a scent that frightens the bravest of cats. That didn’t work either.

Khoo’s neighbour Meor throws mothballs all over the corridor where the cats like to ease themselves. The cats appear to be deterred by the smell and stayed away.

But, when the mothballs disintegrated, the cats returned and eased themselves with a vengeance.

At one time, says Khoo, when Indochinese immigrants were living at the condo, the cat population was almost decimated.

“No one knew what happened. Those who seemed to know kept the knowledge to themselves lest they hurt the feelings of animal lovers.”

Khoo asked if I had any ideas for getting rid of the cats. I said I had none because there are also quite a few strays that hang out in my condominium.

One cat lover has been very kind to the strays and feeds them. So the stray cat population here is also going up. Thankfully, the population of similar cat lovers is not.

Khoo asked me if cats could be toilet trained. I told him that cats are born toilet-trained. In the kampung, cats immediately cover up their poo with sand or soil after they are done answering the call of nature. However, the hard condo floor does not afford it similar privileges to urban cats.

I told Khoo that the answer to his problem probably lies in the garbage chutes at his condominium. Perhaps, instead of getting angry at the cats, he and his neighbours should be monitoring how other condominium dwellers dispose of their kitchen waste. The hygiene-challenged are often the culprits behind problems with strays.

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