Frequently Asked Questions
Community Cats & Caregiving
Pet Cats & Cat Ownership
A community cat is commonly known as a stray cat, but we think the word ‘community’ better describes these cats. Calling them stray cats gives one the impression that these cats don’t have a home -- but they do have a home, which is the environment they live in!
Some of these community cats have been residents in the environment for much longer than some of the residents. Community cats are a part of the community too!
We would advise you NOT to remove a community cat unless it’s in danger. Most cats are fine where they are. If you'd like to help it, do consider getting it sterilised if isn't already and return it to the area where you originally found it.
Furthermore, due to the vacuum effect, more cats will just move into the area to take the place of cats that have been removed.
There are not enough homes and shelters to house them all. So please do not take a healthy community cat away from its home!
No it is not. Feeding cats is perfectly legal. Littering however, is illegal.
Please make sure that you feed responsibly and that the area is cleaned up after you are done with the feeding. If you have been stopped by residents or officers from feeding even though you observe good feeding habits, do carry around print outs of the following to educate them:
3-Step Responsible Feeding
Responsible Feeding Brochure (Front)
Responsible Feeding Brochure (Back)
If the harrassment escalates, call the police.
There may be irresponsible feeders in your neighbourhood that are causing the negative perception of all cat feeders. These feeders either do not clean up after feeding or they invite cats upstairs by feeding along corridors. If you come across any irresponsible feeding, do try to educate them as their actions may be the cause of complaints in your estate that is leading to the removal of cats for culling.
Feeding does not lure cats into the area -- food and territory are not the same.
A cat may live in one area and eat in another. Also, there are cats everywhere -- these cats were already in the community in all likelihood before someone started feeding them.
Imagine this -- is it more likely that someone stood outside every day with a plate of food hoping a cat would show up one day, or that the feeder saw a cat or cats and started feeding them?
It’s not fun to feed -- to do it properly takes a lot of time and commitment. Most feeders do so out of a sense of compassion and would be happy to stop if there were no cats that were hungry and waiting for them.
Sterilisation is the surgical removal of part of the reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus of females and testicles of males) from an animal so that it can no longer reproduce. It is a safe and quick procedure that is performed by a veterinarian. The cat is under general anaesthesia the entire time, so it will not feel any pain. The procedure takes 5-15 minutes and the cat is back to normal in 1-2 days.
Sterilised community cats can be recognised by a tipped left ear. Tipping is done during the sterilisation surgery while the cat is still under anaesthesia. It is a universally recognised way of marking a sterilised cat so that it is not neutered twice.
There are thousands of cats and kittens living on the streets of Singapore and there are just not enough homes for all of them. Some live in terribly harsh conditions whilst others are lucky enough to be community cats and cared for by a committed feeder. This is why sterilisation is very important in order to humanely control the existing stray cat population to ensure sustainability.
At what age should a cat be sterilised?
In general, cats are sterilised when they are 6 months old. However, some female cats do come into heat at an earlier age. Signs of heat include increased appetite, restlessness, being more affectionate than usual and emitting short low calls. At this point, she will also start to attract males.
Tom cats, when they reach sexual maturity, will instinctively spray their surroundings with strong-smelling urine. Look out for these signs and take your cat to be sterilised immediately once you see them.
Yes. They will benefit health-wise and you will gain when they stop trying to leave your home to mate, spray urine around the house and get into fights with each other. Also, you will not have unwanted litters of kittens on your hands. A breeding pair can produce 3-5 kittens, 3-4 times a year. That would result in 9-20 kittens being born in a single year.
With so many cats in the house, owners then feel overwhelmed not just by the sheer numbers, but by the time and effort it takes to take care of so many, as well as the financial cost of food, litter and veterinary bills. Many then decide to abandon their cats. Abandonment is a major factor in hindering the efforts of volunteers to control the cat population in Singapore.
Isn’t it cruel to deprive my cat of a chance to have a family?
Cats do not mate for pleasure. They have no control over their mating i.e. they are slaves to their hormones. Studies have also shown that it is actually a rather painful experience for the female cat. It is more cruel to let the cats breed when we cannot find enough homes for their litters. Many cats, including kittens, have been abandoned by their owners who end up with more cats that they can handle. Most do not survive.
I don’t think I can afford to sterilise my cat.
The question you should ask yourself is "Can I afford NOT to sterilise my cat?" Your cat may have kittens and finding good homes for them will not be an easy task. If you do keep all of the kittens, the cost of food, litter and medical bills may prove to be a heavy financial burden. Abandoning your cats or kittens when there are too many to handle is simply not an option.
Cats that are abandoned often do not have the skills and instincts to survive on their own and you will be directly causing their suffering or death from starvation, being knocked down by cars or caught by pest control to be culled. Sterilisation is a vital personal responsibility of a cat owner.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone who is found guilty of pet abandonment can be imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined up to $10,000, or both.
The cat must not be given any food and water from 10pm onwards on the night before surgery.
After surgery, keep the cat in a quiet place and observe its behaviour. You may release it only when it is fully alert and eating well. A male cat usually takes 24 hours to recover, while a female cat might need 48 hours.
The MUIS Fatwa Committee states: "Fundamentally, all mazhabs (Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence) allow the sterilisation of animals. After analysing the arguments and position of the different mazhabs and medical opinion from the Society of Prevention of Cruelty Againts Animals (SPCA), the Fatwa committee decides that sterilising cats on the basis of 'maslahat' (general good) is harus (permissible)."
Sol Hanna, President of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia says: "There is nothing in Buddhism that indicates that sterilisation creates unwholesome kamma. While the female cats may experience some suffering after the operation, this is relatively mild, and is inconsequential next to the wholesome kamma of preventing the future suffering of cats that are without homes and being destroyed by the authorities. Plus there is good kamma in helping all the tom cats restrain their lust!"
You can try luring the cat into a cat carrier with food. There are professional services that you can engage that provide the full service of trapping, transportation and boarding. Please contact
Tel: 98410307 (Belle)
Professional Cat Trapper
Tel: 94897626 (Vincent)
Sunshine Pets & Fish Services
Tel: 96956931 (Richard)
We have sterilisation support programmes to help you with the sterilisation of the cat.
Anyone involved in a hit-and-run accident can be fined up to $3,000 or jailed up to a year under the Road Traffic Act. This is applicable even if the victim is an animal.
The Road Traffic Act mentions that hitting a dog, cattle, a horse, ass, mule, sheep, pig or goat could be a crime. While it doesn't cover cats, there are grounds for a charge of cruelty to be responsible for the injury of an animal and not provide adequate help.
In the event that a driver hits an animal, the driver should slow down, stop the vehicle and check on the animal. As far as possible, the driver should take the animal to the nearest vet clinic as time is often of the essence.
Those with little experience in handling animals can call the SPCA emergency hotline at 62875355 ext 9. They should wait for SPCA staff members to arrive, while alerting motorists to slow down and drive cautiously - the traffic police will generally assist in this area.
It is illegal to sell animals without a license. If you have evidence that someone is breeding animals for sale in their home or on unlicensed premises, please alert the AVA at 1800 476 1600 or email@example.com.
If you are confident to do so, make contact with the seller by posing as a potential client. Do not reveal your agenda but ask pertinent questions that a buyer would legitimately ask and note down the responses.
- Where did the animal come from?
- Is the animal tested, sterilised or vaccinated?
- What kind of care would the animal need if I adopt/buy it?
- The price quoted seems expensive, why does the animal cost so much?
- How do I pick it up?
If you are able to secure a meeting with the person, alert the Cat Welfare Society so that we can inform people in the area to assist. When you have enough information about the seller, close the deal with money and goods exchanging hands, preferably recorded in photos or videos. Cases are made or broken by the quality of information that is gathered.
Keep your cool and do not reveal your agenda or you close the door on further investigations by alerting the suspect. Most importantly, exercise caution at all times.
There are many different options out there for securing your windows and gates to prevent your cat from escaping or falling out.
Check out the blog from GRILLES & GLASS that explains the various options that are available to keep cats indoors.
Plastic mesh - Plastic mesh is the most common method as it is readily available in hardware stores and can be easily tied to existing window grills using cable ties. For larger orders of full-sized rolls, visit Lai Xin Feng & Sons Hardware at Jalan Besar or Kelantan Lane.
Metal mesh - For more durable metal mesh, you can also visit Lai Xin Feng & Sons Hardware at Jalan Besar or Kelantan Lane with the measurements required. They have a wide range of both plastic and metal mesh. More information can be found at http://www.meshlxf.com/.
For prefabricated mesh, you can visit Daiso or Wah Yew Shelving & Racks at 592 Serangoon Road. More information can be found at http://www.wahyewshelving.com/.
Magnetic screens - Mosquito screens can also be used with the dual purpose of keeping your cat safe. More information about the screens can be found at http://www.magicseal.com.sg/ or http://www.magneticscreen.com.sg/.
Custom grills - Many cat owners have decided to go for custom grills instead. These are normal wrought iron and alumimium grills but customised with narrower gaps. The gaps can be customised to as narrow as 1.5". One available solution is Qittun DIY Services.
- Invisible grills - Invisible grills can be customised to a narrow gap for cat owners. More information can be found at http://www.legate.com.sg/. If we love our cats, we would not take the chance of our cat escaping to be culled or abused or to fall out of windows risking injury or death!
Please consider carefully before giving up your pet cat. The reality is that there are not enough homes for many of these cats. Also adult cats do not stand a good chance of being adopted.
Please also remember that pet abandonment is a crime. It is considered a form of abuse because many pet cats cannot survive on their own. They are at risk of starvation, injury, even death as they do not have the survival instincts to fend for themselves against the weather, cars, pest control, abusive humans and/or other cats. When you abandon your cats, you are also passing on your problem to a hapless caregiver who has to take care of your cat at their own expense and face the emotional burden when your cat suffers injury, death or being rounded up by pest control. There is a limit to the number of cats that an estate can tolerate.
If you must give up your pet, you can:
Put your cat up for adoption on the CWS Cat Adoption Board.
Consider short-term or long-term boarding options at shelters such as:
80 Lim Chu Kang Lane 1 (inside Globe Eximport Pte Ltd)
Tel: 97958995 (Sia Ping)
Mutts & Mittens
11 Pasir Ris Farmway 2
- Surrender your pets to SPCA or AVA only as a last resort. With the high number of cats that they receive every day, the chance of your pet being euthanised is high.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore is the body overseeing the import and export of personal pets. Information about relocation of pet cats can be found on their website.
You can also consult and engage the following relocation expert to assist you in the matter:
Pets are for life. Please consider your relocation plans before you adopt a pet.
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