Saturday, June 4, 2011

HDB to look into the possibility of allowing cats in flats

04:47 AM Jun 04, 2011
by Amanda Feng

SINGAPORE - The Government will look into the possibility of allowing cats in HDB flats, Minister of State (National Development and Manpower) Tan Chuan-Jin told MediaCorp yesterday.

Brigadier-General (NS) Tan was responding to MediaCorp's queries following National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's blog post yesterday on encouraging cats to be sterilised instead of being culled.

Adding that BG (NS) Tan will help him tackle the issue - given the former's interest in this area - Mr Khaw said he would like the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to "seriously consider reviewing its culling programme for cats".

Mr Khaw noted that killing the cats was not the best solution. The right thing to do is for cat lovers to own the problem and to eliminate problems caused by irresponsible behaviour, he added.

When contacted last night, BG (NS) Tan said that allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats was one of the issues they were looking into.

According to the HDB's website, flat owners "are not allowed to keep cats in HDB flats, as it is generally difficult to confine cats within the flat premises". It added: "Nuisance caused by cats such as shedding of their fur, defecating/urinating in public areas or even the caterwauling sounds that they make can cause a lot of disturbance, which affects the environment and disrupts neighbourliness in our housing estates."

Cat Welfare Society vice-president Veron Lau welcomed BG (NS) Tan's comment but she said the society would like to work with HDB and AVA to educate people to be responsible cat owners.

Last year, the AVA put down 5,100 stray cats.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) executive director Deirdre Moss said it was "already very happy" that Mr Khaw brought up sterilisation as an option instead of culling.

Said Ms Moss: "In addition to this good news, we are overjoyed that (BG Tan) has agreed to look into allowing cats to be kept as pets in HDB flats. It's very encouraging that the minister is promoting kindness to animals." AMANDA FENG