HDB residents could soon own up to two cats per flat

Keeping them safe and sound: To encourage the sterilisation of pet cats, licensed cat owners who have not sterilised their cats will be required to renew their licences regularly and at a higher fee. — The Straits Times/ANN

People living in Housing Board flats will soon be allowed to keep cats, with a proposal by the Government to lift a ban of more than 30 years on cat ownership in public flats in the works.

Two cats will be allowed for each HDB flat and three cats for each private residence under a proposed framework on cat management announced by Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How.

Pet cats will need to be microchipped and licensed, among a slew of measures proposed to improve the management and welfare of pet and community cats.

The proposed changes will be available for further input for two months before they are implemented in the later part of 2024, he said at the Pets’ Day Out event held at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.A transition period of two years will be given to allow cat owners time to meet licensing conditions, during which cat owners can get their licences for free.

When the changes take effect, it will be illegal not to license pet cats and owners will be subject to penalties similar to those under regulations for dog owners, who can be fined up to S$5,000 (RM17,490) for not complying with licensing conditions.The limit of two cats per household takes into consideration views of cat owners and non-cat owners, and aims to maintain a harmonious living environment for all, said Tan.

HDB residents have not been permitted to own pet cats since 1989 and offenders may be fined up to S$4,000 (RM13,990) if found to have a pet cat in their flat under the Housing and Development (Animals) Rules.

But actions are typically taken against flat owners only if there are complaints of their cats causing a nuisance.The authorities recognise that some households may currently have more pet cats than the proposed limits, said Tan. As such, during the transition period, cat owners can apply to license and keep all of their existing cats.

However, this will be subject to approval by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster of the National Parks Board, which may conduct checks, he added.Pet cats will need to be microchipped for a licence.

This will ensure they are traceable and cat owners can be held to greater account if their cats are found to be abandoned, neglected or abused, said Tan.

Cat owners will need to ensure that the animals are kept in a safe environment, taking precautions such as installing window grilles or mesh to prevent cats from roaming or falling from height. — The Straits Times/ANN

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