Cat museum to move out of Purvis Street shophouse

The museum's last day of operation at its Purvis Street premises will be on June 10.
The museum's last day of operation at its Purvis Street premises will be on June 10.ST FILE PHOTO

Lease not renewed; founder hopes to find permanent home in Civic District

Singapore's first cat museum will be moving out of its home in June.

The landlord has decided not to renew the lease of the second-storey shophouse unit at 8, Purvis Street.

Called The Lion City Kitty - The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion, its last day of operation will be on June 10, the social enterprise said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Its founder, former Gold 90.5FM DJ Jessica Seet, hopes to find a new, permanent location in the Civic District to restart the business by the end of the year.

"A centralised location really helps with the education process," Ms Seet told The Straits Times.

"People who are ready to adopt may be ready to go all the way to a shelter, but for most people who may be interested or just curious and having their first interaction with a cat, a centralised location has really helped us," she said.

To afford the down payment for the new location, the museum is making a public appeal to raise $1 million.

The money will also go towards funding the museum's adoption centre, education programmes, guiding potential adopters on responsible cat ownership, and plans for collaborations with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to help cats that are captured due to complaints, according to the Facebook post.

The museum currently houses more than 40 felines, comprising 20 resident cats and 24 others that are available for adoption.

INDEPENDENT

The cat museum has always been a self-sustaining project. We've never had to appeal to the public before.

MS JESSICA SEET, the museum's founder.

Since it officially opened in 2015, the cat museum has seen about 60,000 visitors, of whom about 10 per cent were tourists, according to Ms Seet.

Last September, it made headlines when several online sites suggested that the museum and its cats were being evicted by the Ministry of National Development (MND).

However, the museum, which initially took up three floors of the Purvis Street shophouse, was actually forced to downsize after an inspection by government officials.

MND said the third-storey unit had been "illegally converted" into a cat shelter and adoption centre, and an enforcement notice was issued to stop its unauthorised use and revert it to residential use.

Meanwhile, the building's landlord decided not to renew Ms Seet's lease for the units on the third and fourth storeys after it expired at the end of September last year.

"The cat museum has always been a self-sustaining project. We've never had to appeal to the public before," said Ms Seet.

"We hope to be able to restart by the end of the year and are definitely putting every effort to make a comeback."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2018, with the headline 'Cat museum to move out of Purvis Street shophouse'. Print Edition | Subscribe