The dogs versus cats debate is harder for me to answer than the Beatles versus Elvis question. As a family, we always had a pet dog in our house. Like many kids, my first experience of losing a 'family member' was when our pet dog died in the late 1970s.
Unlike many cities, Singapore does not have a stray dog problem. Neither does it have a stray cat problem, although it does have a large number of stray cats.
Unfortunately, many Singaporeans are unhappy with cats hanging around their neighbourhood. I have noticed letters and comments in the local media complaining about stray cats, urging the authorities to 'control' the menace.
Unless individuals are allergic to cat hair, I have little sympathy for such ideas (or people). Cats are independent and personable creatures; even when annoyed by kids, cats seldom turn violent.
Generally, cats tend to keep to themselves. They are easily scared off by loud noises or sharp gestures. Cats are clean animals – possibly cleaner than many humans. They rid the neighbourhood of mice and, for all practical purposes, are good community residents.
Yes, there is such a thing as a Community Cat! Cats are territorial animals and live in a particular area. In other words, they are part of the local community.
Like human neighbours, cats may sometimes irritate us. They may urinate in hallways or public areas. However, there are ways to deal with the problem without having the cat removed and killed. In dealing with neighbours and community residents, killing is never the right answer!
Humans may be a 'higher animal' but until we show the magnanimity attached with the cerebral privilege we do no favours to the animal kingdom.
PS – When in doubt, please contact the Cat Welfare Society, a Singapore registered charitable society. I am sure the society will be happy to provide guidance on how to deal with a cat related problem.