A trap meant to catch rats caught an innocent kitten yesterday at a neighborhood market, sparking calls for the cruel and ineffective traps to be banned.
The 3-month-old moggy’s cries in the early morning led to its discovery at 9:30am trapped and terrified in a glue trap meant for rodents at the Tampines Street 81 wet market. It had been trapped for seven hours.
The tabby, whose mother is one of the neighborhood strays, was discovered by a resident about five hours later covered head to tail in a black sticky adhesive. Its eyes were bulging and was meowing weakly, exhausted from trying to free itself.
The trap was laid out by the wet market’s management to catch wandering rats.
“I think glue traps are very cruel. They capture other animals instead of the ones they’re intended for,” said local resident Grace Chai, who shared a video of the ensnared kitten yesterday to the Support Tampines Cat Caregivers Facebook group.
The video was filmed by a friend who found the cat but couldn’t stay to help it because he had to go to work. Chai alerted animal welfare group Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA, at 11:20am, and it dispatched a rescuer within an hour.
The cat was then brought back and freed from the trap, ending the terrified kitten’s long ordeal. The kitten is now recovering at the animal group’s rescue center.
Adhesives can usually be removed by applying cooking oil to the fur.
“There have been past reports of snakes, cats and birds caught in glue traps. I think they should be banned,” Chai added.
She said she contacted Tampines MP Desmond Choo about the case, who promised to discuss the matter with the market’s management.
The wet market was unavailable for comment. The National Parks Board has not responded to Coconuts’ request for comment.
Anbarasi Boopal, co-chief executive of animal welfare group ACRES, said that glue traps are one the cruelest forms of animal abuse.
“Whether a rodent, our community animals or wildlife, once stuck they experience extreme stress and fear, death from dehydration, starvation or even self mutilation trying to escape,” she told Coconuts.
ACRES has rescued many wild animals stuck in glue traps, but not every animal can be cleaned well enough to be able to survive in the wild, she said.
Besides cats, other animals that were recently found in glue traps include an endangered hornbill, a pair of Black-naped orioles, a python, a cobra, an owl and a paradise tree snake.
Boopal said rodent infestations happen mainly because of food availability, so there’s little point in laying rat traps unless the root cause of the problem is addressed first.
“I hope property managers have site-specific measures to address the root causes [of rat infestations]. This may take sustained effort from all the residents in an estate [to observe better hygiene practices], but this is not an excuse to consciously let animals suffer by using glue traps widely,” she said.
Boopal said she hoped regulations would be introduced for glue traps to limit or control their use.
A glue trap can be bought for as little as three dollars in almost any general store island-wide.
Editor’s note: Robin Hicks is a volunteer with the wildlife rescue group ACRES.