TODAY 20070129: Do cats belong in our HDB estates?

These letters are interesting to say the least. The first 2 are against. Letter1 is misguided, Letter 2 looks like it could have been a HDB template reply (refer to point about HDB ban below). UPDATE: Response to letter 2 printed on 30 Jan here.

The next 3 makes more sense. Time for more letters!

If you would like to respond, there are 2 ways:

  1. Write a letter and send it to
  2. Click on the article link provided, and look for the “F” in a dialogue bubble icon on the top right hand corner to reply online. It’s the 3 rd icon to the right of the print icon. (Do remember to compose your response on a word application and cut and paste onto the response area to avoid losing your thesis!)

However you choose to respond, do please remember to be coherent and keep it short, as in less than 400 words. Do also include

  • Your Name
  • Contact Number
  • Address

If you need some reference materials, you can go to Dawn’s blog and search for past entries about this. Meantime, here’s some right here on tec.

Reference letters/articles. :

  • From Today. These are the recent ones that related or precipitated the letters directly:
  • From tec’s store
    • HDB should ban tolerance and harmony in hdb flats
    • ON the HDB ban and the template replies: Government (ir)rationale for banning cats from 85% of homes
      HDB bans cats, period. Doesn’t matter what you keep in your flat, as long as it’s not prohibited by AVA, is not a large dog nor a cat.Here’s what the HDB says about pets, on its website: Home > Keeping Of Pets > Overview

      HDB has to consider the overall sentiments of the HDB residents when setting policies and rules. Not all residents like pets, or are comfortable with neighbours keeping pets. HDB has allowed one dog of an approved breed to be kept in an HDB flat. The approved breeds of dogs are the smaller dogs which are generally more manageable. Please click here for the list of approved breeds of dogs.

      Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats. HDB also allows flat owners to keep other pet animals such as fish, hamsters, rabbits, birds, etc which generally do not cause nuisance to the neighbouring residents. (source)

      Chronically, HDB refuses to look the flaws of its’ cat-ban in the face. It continues to insist that

      cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and it is difficult to confine them to flats. Cats can shed fur, dirty public places, make noise and cause disturbance. Despite the prohibition on cats, HDB has been receiving from residents numerous complaints relating to cats.

      As our priority is to promote a pleasant living environment and good relationships for all residents in our housing estates, HDB will maintain its existing policy on not allowing cats to be kept in the flats.

      Contrast the leeway allowed to keep other fur-shedding animals, and even nuisance causing yapping small dogs. How does HDB dodge the issue? Let us count the ways: (read on for more)

    • On the SPCA kill-rate: 5012? Actually there’s 8,000 more
    • On culling aka killing and TNRM: Singapore’s Love-Hate Relationship with TNRM

And here’s the letters (formatted by me due to confusing layout on the actual page):
This story was printed from TODAYonline

Do cats belong in our HDB estates?

More owners, more abandoned pets Stray cats pose risks Legalise pet cats so you can regulate owners Use funds to sterilise Culling ineffective

Monday • January 29, 2007

Several letters over the past week, urging the authorities to go beyond euthanasia and culling to control stray-animal populations, have sparked a debate among readers. Do felines have a place in our heartlands, whether as pets or “community” cats?

Letter from Yan Wai Keet
I REFER to the letter by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), “Forced to put on the coat of Dr Death” (Jan 24). The SPCA wishes to increase the number of pets allowed in HDB flats to reduce the surplus population of strays. This sounds perfectly fine, until one starts asking why the animals were abandoned in the first place.

Loss of interest? “Accidental” mating resulting in offspring? Whatever the reasons, these owners do not seem to be responsible in sterilising their pets or taking care of them for the duration of their life. Would allowing more pets in HDB flats solve the problem? I think the opposite might just happen.

Even so, I am heartened by the recent sprouting of animal lovers’ groups who are taking public and proactive steps in providing resources for the management of the stray population. I look forward to the day such groupings grow strong enough to work with SPCA to achieve the desired equilibrium.

Letter from GOH KIAN HUAT
I REFER to the letter, “‘Because cats scare me’ is not a good reason” (Jan 20-21). While I appreciate Dr Tan Chek Wee’s care and concern for stray cats, I do not understand the reasons for not supporting the way stray animals are treated — qualified veterinarian consultants carry out euthanasia humanely by lethal injection.

HDB dwellers are not allowed to keep cats as pets as they are nomadic in nature and it is difficult to confine them to flats. They shed fur, dirty public places, make noise and cause a disturbance.

While community cats could perform an important function in catching mice, their role is diminishing with the decline in the rat and mouse population in cleaner housing estates.

There are different “categories” of stray cats: Ranging from lost tame pet cats to aggressively feral ones. There are various diseases and parasites cats can get, some of which they can pass on to humans.

I believe there are no real benefits to having stray cats around. As long as such cats are killed professionally and not in a “cruel and abusive” manner, it is socially acceptable.

UPDATE: Response to this letter – TODAY 20070130: True, we can do with fewer cats… through sterilisation

Letter from Khoo Hwee Boon
I HAVE written numerous times to the HDB to review its cat ban policy. Each time, I get a template reply: “Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and difficult to keep confined within the flats. The nuisances caused by cats, such as the shedding of fur and defecating and urinating in public areas, would affect the environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates.”

Cats do make perfect pets for flats. From years of interaction with them, I know cats can be domesticated and kept strictly indoors. They are clean and they are quiet when sterilised — more so, in fact, than dogs. They can be trained to do their “business” in a litter tray.HDB’s anti-cat policy just doesn’t wash with the more educated resident. As long as HDB refuses to acknowledge this, cat lovers will keep cats illegally. The consequence of this is that the irresponsible ones will continue not to sterilise their cats which therefore continue to caterwaul and procreate. It also leads to pet abandonment.

But if HDB legalises cats as flat pets, then it can also regulate cat ownership — such as through compulsory micro-chipping and licensing. This will help to increase responsible pet ownership and reduce pet abandonment. Isn’t this a win-win situation for all?

Letter from Rebecca Ho Shu Ling
THE authorities have made the removal of stray cats convenient and cheap for residents — just 10 cents to make a call, and you get speedy service to your doorstep.

In contrast, volunteers who use the humane sterilisation method fork out their own money and time. Sterilising a cat involves booking at appointment with the vet, trapping the cat, keeping it overnight, sending it to the clinic the next day, picking it up afterward, caring for it for two days after surgery and releasing it back to the original location.

I applaud these dedicated caregivers. Results have shown that sterilisation effectively reduces the cat nuisance and population over time.

The Town Councils should divert their pest control budget into a sterilisation budget, if its residents are willing to start a Trap-Neuter-Release programme in the neighbourhood. The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority should resume the Cat Rehabilitation Scheme suspended in 2003.

Letter from Shirley Goh
BY IMPLEMENTING and recommending the Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage programme, the Cat Welfare Society has provided a humane and effective way of managing the cat population in a particular area.

As noted by CWS’ Ms Dawn Kua, culling cats will only lead to new, unsterilised cats moving into the vacated turf. This is hardly an effective long-term solution, more a myopic one.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.



2 responses to “TODAY 20070129: Do cats belong in our HDB estates?

  1. penguinfortminor101

    Ummmmmmmmmm do Toygers shed?

  2. Ummmmmmmmmm do cats shed?
    Geez. Ask your favourite toyger breeders, why don’t you.