In Singapore, most housing is government subsidized and have been nicknamed HDBs by locals. Since these units are government subsidized housing, there are a lot of rules and regulations regarding them. Those rules extend to pet ownership beyond the laws that already exist in Singapore regarding what types of pets are legal to own. I’ll go into that in another post. For now I just wanted to draw attention to one particular issue.
Cats aren’t allowed to be pets inside HDB housing. Some of the reasons for this is that cats are supposedly noisy and dirty. Really that just boggles my mind. Cats are required to be spayed or neutered in Singapore at around six months of age. If this is done then house cats rarely make any noise at all. The majority of the noise a neutered or spayed cat will make is when it’s confronting another cat in its territory. That’s not likely to happen inside of a home, is it? Unless you’re just in the habit of letting random cats come in and out at their leisure. Dogs, which are allowed in HDBs, will often bark very VERY loudly for little to no reason at any given hour of the day or night. Also, cats are not dirty. Well, not any dirtier than dogs anyway.
It all comes down to responsible pet ownership. Bathing your cat and cleaning its litterbox regularly are just something that a person should do, and if it’s being done the house won’t be any dirtier than a house without cats, or a house with a dog. In fact, cats always use a litterbox. Dogs on the other will crap and pee all over the floor if not let out and that will sit there all day if no one is home. To me, a pile of crap on the floor, with a breeze blowing the odor to other homes, is a lot filthier than a covered litterbox. That’s just me though.
This weird obsession with cat persecution extends to outside of the HDBs as well. One complaint is that cats rifle through garbage and make a mess. I don’t see how. The HDBs use a garbage chute system, where the garbage winds up behind a locked door on the ground floor for collection. There are a few regular trash cans under the buildings but they rarely have food waste thrown into them to start with, and I’ve never seen a cat in or even near one. I suppose part of that is that even outdoor cats in Singapore are well cared for by people in the community.
The animals that do make a mess of the ground floor of HDB estates are actually people. It’s insane how disrespectful and prone to littering people are here lately. When I first moved to Singapore it was usually spotless, but over the last year and a half or so it’s been getting progressively worse. I’ve posted a photo of the mess people typically leave behind before. It’s usually kids and young people doing it, but even still you have to wonder what their parents are teaching them that make them feel it’s ok to make this sort of mess. There are very poorly paid foreign workers that go through the HDB estates every night, cleaning the areas, but is that an excuse to simply toss your garbage on the ground? Especially when you’re right next to a trash can?
Anyway, what made me think about all this is that I was downstairs and saw this disaster below where I live:
It’s like this on a nightly basis, and usually worse. I’m pretty sure it’s not cats that are doing it. The difference here is that this goes unremarked, while cats are rounded up and killed at the slightest provocation.
It seems to me that the HDB rules need to be revised to allow cats into the buildings. There’s no logical reason why they shouldn’t be there. And instead of fixating on rounding up and routinely killing cats, they should focus on rounding up and routinely fining people that are actually ruining the cleanliness of HDB estates.
There are groups here in Singapore, like Cat Welfare Society, that regularly take the time to try to educate people and Town Councils about real cat behavior and that’s great. I, like other bloggers who like cats, am just doing my part in pointing out an ongoing issue.