Sunday 17 October 2021

Senoko Energy, Singapore, have an enlightened approach to feral cats

The Straits Times reports that 20 feral cats have made the Senoko Power Station their home last August, in the middle of the Covid pandemic, because adjacent food processing factories had closed. It is pleasing to note that the CEO and president of Senoko Energy, Mr Graeme York, is a self-professed animal lover. He understands how to deal with feral cats in a humane way. He understands TNR and he also allows some feral cats to occupy his business premises.

Beautiful feral cats trapped from Senoko Powerstation under a TNR program
Beautiful feral cats trapped from Senoko Powerstation under a TNR program. Photo: Cindy Lim.

He said that he is not against a small population of cats occupying the power station provided they are cared for. And quite rightly he says that it is important that they are neutered. The 20 cats that have come across from other businesses included individuals who weren't neutered.

This was picked up by Miss Cindy Lim, the senior vice president and head of legal and compliance at Senoko Energy. With other employees, she cares for about 10 resident cats at the power station. She said that she noticed "a few pregnant cats among the new strays. This got me worried  as, if left unchecked, cat numbers can easily double or triple in a few months."

The site is not ideal because there's lots of heavy machinery and bulldozers. There are rusty metal objects lying around and a couple of cats have suffered injuries resulting in the amputation of limbs. Notwithstanding that, they are being cared for by an enlightened management.

The company contracted with a professional cat trapper who works with the Cat Welfare Society. The unsterilised cats were trapped and sterilised and then returned as per TNR methodology. The Cat Welfare Society say that they have a backlog of TNR cases because of Covid restrictions.

There is no doubt that Covid has had quite a deep impact on TNR feral cat colony management because volunteers have been restricted in their movements. The president of the Cat Welfare Society said that they have a problem and that often businesses with unsterilised feral cats on their sites do not allow them to enter to trap and sterilise them because they are uninformed about TNR.

There seems to be need to educate certain sections of the business world in Singapore on the benefits of TNR which is also described as TNRM, with the last letter denoting "manage".

I'm just pleased to read a story about senior management in a big company being enlightened about how the deal with feral cats on their property. Other businesses would do well to learn from them. Not infrequently, the news media reports on business management employing a contractor, a pest controller, to remove and kill feral cats. This is both inhumane and less effective I would argue because you create a vacuum and more feral cats move into it. The more decent and sensible approach is to manage the population. The cats provide a service in keeping down the rodent population.

The Senoko Power Station is the largest station in Singapore. It is owned by Senoko Energy PTE Ltd. It began operations in 1976. Senoko Energy PTE Ltd is owned by Lion Power Holdings which in turn is owned by a consortium of enterprises led by Japan's Marubeni Corporation.

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