Three walking pals -- Anne Wong Holloway, Linda Shaw and Shirley -- were most upset and worked up last Thursday morning to find a cage baited with a chicken leg in the Botanic Gardens. Beside the cage was a sign that advised anyone seeing a cat in it not to release it but to telephone a pest control company.
Anne told me that her friends called the pest control company who told them that they had been engaged to trap the cat and hand it over to the SPCA.
NParks whom they also contacted said that someone had complained about the presence of the cat. The person they spoke to suggested that they wrote in on behalf of the cat, and they did.
Linda told NParks that the car "has been a resident and a favorite mascot of regular visitors to Botanic Gardens."
She questioned the need to remove the cat which "is harmless and adds to the character of the Gardens."
Apparently, there had been a complaint that feeding the cat would attract other strays and that plastic bags of food left by well-meaning people was unsightly.
Linda said: "This cat has been here for many years and we have yet to see any other strays coming in to that particular area -- the services entrance of the Orchid Pavilion --- because of the food. Besides, the cat appears to have been neutered. As for litter from leftover food, that can be taken care of in your routine maintenance, as with all other human litter.
"Surely this Garden does not merely exist for a few animal-phobic human beings whom I am sure are a minority.
"I urge you to call off your pest control people and get them to remove the trap. I also hope you won't resort to poisoning either."
Anne's email to NParks argued: "My friends and I have seen human visitors to the Gardens --- some of whom are less fastidious than this cat. They hawk and spit or leave litter.
"Since your maintenance crew have to pick up after human visitors, surely a small container left over from feeding the cat should not present a major problem.
"I can understand trying to trap and get rid of it if the cat were a monkey because some of them can be aggressive and do terrorise adults and children alike --- as a child growing up in Singapore I was terrified by the monkeys that used to roam freely in the Botanic Gardens. But this is a harmless domestic animal."
NParks obviously was swayed by the women's explanations and arguments. It wrote back promptly to inform them that the trap had been removed.
The next time you see a white cat with ginger patches in the Botanic Gardens, remember that it is still there because of Anne and her walking pals. Bouquets to these three women.
And also to NParks and Botanic Gardens for acceding to their plea.