After 34 years, a reprieve and blessing for Singapore’s clandestine cats

The news:


The fluffy ragdoll lives with Sunny in defiance of a 34-year-old law banning cats in the government-built apartments that house the vast majority of Singaporeans. Luckily for Mooncake, Singapore plans to scrap the ban later this year, freeing Sunny from the threat of a S$4,000 (RM13,974) fine or her pet’s potential eviction.

“Cats are so much quieter than dogs. If they allow dogs, I don’t understand why not cats,” said 30-year-old Sunny, who works in marketing and asked to be identified only by her first name because she didn’t want to risk her cat being taken away.

Photo credit: Reuters and Malaymail

Collateral damage in human disputes:

The ban does, however, make things difficult: because they technically shouldn’t exist, HDB pet cats like Mooncake are not eligible for pet insurance. Lawmaker Louis Ng, who has campaigned to revoke the ban, said the regulation sometimes becomes leverage for warring neighbours.

“A lot of times, the cats are collateral when there’s neighbourly disputes,” he said. “The neighbour will just say: ‘Oh you’re keeping cats, I’ll go and alert (the authorities)’.”

Gosh, how low can humans go? What has the humans’ disputes got to do with the cats? Goodness gracious!

And about neutering:

Some cat lovers say the new regulations don’t go far enough.

Thenuga Vijakumar from the Cat Welfare Society wants the law to mandate sterilisation. Cat rescuer Chan Chow Wah, 50, also wants penalties for irresponsible owners. He said he had to take care of a cat that fell from the third-storey and whose owners refused to pay its medical bills, as well as another cat that was abandoned after being diagnosed with heart disease.

“I end up taking over these cases. Basically, I look after them until they pass away,” said Chan, estimating he spent S$60,000 on vet bills in 2022.

But for many cat owners like Mooncake’s “mama” Sunny, the law is a blessing that will bring her peace of mind.

“I think it’s a good thing and it’s a step forward after 30 years,” she said.

Yes, to mandating neutering for all pets and rescued animals.





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