Friday, June 14, 2024

Singapore lifts ban to allow cats in flats

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The 35-year-old ban applies to high-rise flats controlled by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), which was established to solve the housing crisis in 1960. More than 80 per cent of the city-state’s 5.9 million people now live in these apartments.

The law is one of several that exemplify Singapore’s reputation for rules and order, but which now seem archaic. The sale and import of chewing gum, for example, remains banned.

Many have criticised the housing law for allowing dogs but not cats. When introduced, it was argued inquisitive felines were harder to contain.

The HDB originally stated: “When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.”

It’s not clear what has prompted the change in the law, but an official survey in 2022 showed overwhelming public support for it.

Nine out of 10 respondents agreed that cats were suitable pets to keep, including in HDB flats.

Under the new regulations, HBD residents can legally own two cats, provided they finish a free online pet ownership course, microchip their pets, and “take reasonable steps” to protect the cats from hazards. Anyone currently owning more than two cats will be given amnesty, as long as they apply for a licence during the transitional period.

Thenuga Vijakumar, the president of the Cat Welfare Society, told Channel News Asia: “I think responsible pet cat owners deserve to own their cats without fear of scrutiny if they adhere to the conditions of responsible ownership and licensing.

“This will put them on par with dog owners who have had the benefit of regulations.”

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