NUS PEACE established the NUS Cat Cafe programme in NUS with the agreement of NUS Office of Estate and Development in 2009, making our campus a kill-free zone for cats. Postgrads Keven Ang and Ng Weiling have been manning the fort for more than a year now and with the new batch of NUS PEACE students emerging, it was critical for them to receive their first exposure to the most active aspect of the Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage programme.
A female and her kittens which appeared at the NUS Business School had to be trapped, neutered before release for monitoring in the area. Here, Kylie recounts their experience when a group os NUS PEACE students came back on Hari Raya Haji to observe the NUS Cat Café programme in action.
TRNM Trapping of Business Library’s Kittens – Success!
Mon 07 Nov 2011 @ NUS Business School
By Kylie Koh
“It was a rejuvenating morning and a few of our NUS PEACE members were back to school for an important mission! Back in September, the ‘Mummy Cat’ from Business Library was successfully sterilized and released back to the same area. Good or bad, it’s now time to do the same for Mummy’s kittens, who were then too young to be neutered.
The trapping session was planned and coordinated to be held at a timing where the adorable kittens are often spotted, that is in the early morning before 8am. As cruel as it sounds, we had to starve the kittens two days prior to the trapping, in order to increase our chances of successfully luring it into the trap with its food. The kittens’ regular feeder, who they were familiar with, was also present to lend a helping hand!
This was a chance for us to learn so there were several of us around. This is not really ideal since cats, being smart animals, will become suspicious when too many people appear, hence we had to be extremely careful and quiet. And of course, extremely patient in waiting for the cats to step into the trap or to even come out in the first place!
Happily, these were, perhaps, less experienced kittens and the first kitten was caught shortly after the traps were set up. Frantically, it hopped and knocked against the cage in an attempt to escape the confines of the cage. Wei Ling, from NUS Cat Café, took the opportunity to point out this is why we were careful to ensure the trapping cage is free from sharp points, so as to prevent injuries to the cats.
Since the kitten was rather quiet, it was thought to be rather gentle and easy to handle. Still, it took us some quite some time to persuade the frightened kitten to move into the carrier. The second kitten eventually appeared and after some time, was finally trapped as well. So two cats were brought to the vet for sterilization.
It was certainly heartbreaking to see the kittens panicking and struggling in the cage. Nonetheless, we were clear about the reasons for the exercise and kept that in mind. By managing the cat population in NUS with a TRNM programme, we will prevent minority calls to kill strays.
It would be a couple of days before the cat trapper Damy, would contact us for the post-operation release. Hang in there kitty, you’ll be back with Mummy soon!
Besides the cats at the Business Library, we dropped by several other locations, including the Yusof Ishak House, University Cultural Centre and Eusoff Hall. We did not spot any cats, so perhaps this was not the best time to look for them, since they are usually not visible at this time. Still in bed, maybe?
Overall, it was an eye-opener for many of us who were witnessing this for the first time. Special thanks to Damy as well as the feeder for making the effort to come over on an early morning of a public holiday!
And lastly, to all our muslim friends, SELAMAT HARI RAYA! :)”