Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Community Cats and Singapore’s housing estates

The dogs versus cats debate is harder for me to answer than the Beatles versus Elvis question. As a family, we always had a pet dog in our house. Like many kids, my first experience of losing a 'family member' was when our pet dog died in the late 1970s.

Unlike many cities, Singapore does not have a stray dog problem. Neither does it have a stray cat problem, although it does have a large number of stray cats.
Unfortunately, many Singaporeans are unhappy with cats hanging around their neighbourhood. I have noticed letters and comments in the local media complaining about stray cats, urging the authorities to 'control' the menace.
Unless individuals are allergic to cat hair, I have little sympathy for such ideas (or people). Cats are independent and personable creatures; even when annoyed by kids, cats seldom turn violent.
Generally, cats tend to keep to themselves. They are easily scared off by loud noises or sharp gestures. Cats are clean animals – possibly cleaner than many humans. They rid the neighbourhood of mice and, for all practical purposes, are good community residents.
Yes, there is such a thing as a Community Cat! Cats are territorial animals and live in a particular area. In other words, they are part of the local community.
Like human neighbours, cats may sometimes irritate us. They may urinate in hallways or public areas. However, there are ways to deal with the problem without having the cat removed and killed. In dealing with neighbours and community residents, killing is never the right answer!

Humans may be a 'higher animal' but until we show the magnanimity attached with the cerebral privilege we do no favours to the animal kingdom.
PS – When in doubt, please contact the Cat Welfare Society, a Singapore registered charitable society. I am sure the society will be happy to provide guidance on how to deal with a cat related problem.


  1. Dear Imran, I'm one of those who's surprised at the community hatred for cats. Understanding is not required. Knowledge is not required. They don't like cats and that's it - they should be killed. It's sickening that while Singaporeans like to think of themselves as very civilised high class people, they behave like barbarians.

  2. Dear Jezebella,

    Great to hear from you again.

    I hope that we can help to change the attitude towards community cats (of at least the people around us). I, for one, would like to see a few more cats around Admiralty. Unfortunately, there are hardly any felines in my neighbourhood.

    I look forward to hearing from you again.

    Kind regards,


  3. Dear Imran,

    I love the pictures!

    I think people are so selfish and inhumane because it all comes down to a matter of space. Space in Singapore is so limited and expensive so people just refuse to share it. In this respect, people who live in private estates are the worst (I have quite extensive first hand experience of this). I myself took in a neighbourhood cat who some kind soul had previously sterilized (clipped ear) and she has brought so much joy into our lives. She now has a pampered existence, being fed chicken breast and home-made chicken soup, which I hopes makes up for her early life of living on the streets.

  4. Hi b,

    Thank you for your comment. I am really glad that you enjoy the pictures as I do take time to try and identify the right ones to publish - from all the free content available online.

    I am sure your new found friend appreciates the good life that she has stumbled upon in your home. We all do what we can at our local level and that is enough to make a difference.

    I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    Kind regards,