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Singapore’s clandestine kitties get their place in the sun

A Ragdoll cat named Mooncake sits in a cat tree in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat in Singapore December 19, 2023.

A Ragdoll cat named Mooncake sits in a cat tree in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat in Singapore December 19, 2023.

REUTERS/Edgar Su

Across the famously law-abiding (or at least law-enforcing) city-state, thousands of rogue cat lovers have defied a three-decade ban on feline friends in public housing — but as of this summer, the cats are out of the bag.


Around 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing, which comes with some pretty strict rules: Quiet hours between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m., no smoking, and you best not get caught naked with your blinds up. Pets, however, have generally been allowed, including dogs, parrots, chinchillas, turtles, you name it. Just not cats, thanks to a 1989 law that blames them for tending “to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds.”

But after an official survey in 2022 showed 90% of Singaporeans feel cats are appropriate pets, the government finally decided to pull its claws in. It’s now working on some rules (naturally!) about how many cats can be in an apartment, and what steps owners will need to take at the vet to keep kitty street-legal.

After scratching at the door for an hour, a spokescat for Singapore’s feline community briefly sniffed the free air outside, turned around, and fell back asleep.

GZEROMEDIA

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