Addition Research (After feedback)
Istanbul: City of Cats
For the past few centuries, hundreds and thousands of strays live among the denizens of Istanbul, and they have become an inseparable part of the community. They are often seen coexisting with humans, lounging in cafes, shops, or perched on rooftops.
“Istanbulites often place bowls of food and water on the sidewalk in a communal effort that lets cats roam free. The money in the tip box at one restaurant goes toward the veterinary bill for sick or injured animals; at a fisherman’s stand, cats get to sample the tiny anchovies plucked from the Bosporus. People often feel duty-bound to care for the animals that hang around their home or workplace, despite the cool nonchalance of the cats themselves.”
from The Economist
Tashirojima (aka “Cat Island”) is a small island in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Perfecture, Japan. The feral cat population outnumbers the human population 6 to 1 on this island.
How did it come about? – During the late Edo Period (江戸時代, 1603-1868) silkworms for making silk were raised on the island. The residents kept cats to chase mice away from their silkworms.
As the cat population increased over the years, residents continued to take care and feed them. Cats eventually became a symbol of good luck and good fortune in the Japanese culture.
In Singapore, stray cat feeders are occasionally seen under HDB void decks refilling bowls of water or laying out portions of pet food. These feeders (usually elderly women) often return to the same spots regularly to feed and care for the stray cats in the area.
While the feeding of stray animals is not illegal in Singapore, littering is. Cat food left out in the open and uneatened (or half-eatened) for too long may be deemed as litter and feeders may be fined.
Unlike Istanbul and Japan, cats and dogs are not culturally appreciated here in Singapore and perhaps this may be one of the reasons that active communal care for these strays are not commonly exercised.
Below is a heartwarming article about a particularly dedicated feeder at Bedok North Ave 1: