Time to lift HDB ban on pet cats

Pet cats should not be banned in Housing Board flats, as they can be confined happily within the flat if they are trained ("Spotlight on cat ban after HDB notice"; Jan 13).

The root of the problem is irresponsible owners who allow their pet cats to roam out of their homes.

I hope that the HDB will review its policy on this.

By working closely with the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), pet owners can be educated on responsible ownership of their pets.

If the HDB officially recognises cat ownership, the different animal welfare organisations can step up enforcement on those who do not comply with the rules.

Errant pet owners should be fined, and a ban might be necessary in such situations to protect the welfare of the animals.

Complaints need to be addressed through discussions with residents, the HDB and animal welfare groups.

The authorities might also want to consider making the Love Cats programme in the Chong Pang area permanent, due to its effectiveness.

Funding should not be a problem, as the Government should be working with the CWS to extend it to other residential areas.

More collaborative efforts between the Government and animal welfare groups will help more street cats find permanent homes.

There will also be more resources available to minimise cat-related nuisances.

By lifting the ban, there will be more opportunities and benefits in helping to rehome the animals, tackling complaints and decreasing the number of pet abandonment and abuse cases.

More support from government agencies such as the HDB is necessary to improve the welfare of animals and to spearhead consistent education efforts on responsible pet ownership.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Time to lift HDB ban on pet cats'. Print Edition | Subscribe