Recent cat hoarding cases in Singapore

Animal welfare groups such as Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and veterinary clinics have been working together to rehabilitate rescued cats from the recent slew of cat hoarding cases in Singapore. Read on to find out more.
By Sheryl Lau
Published on Tuesday, 18 July 2017

(Photo Credit: Cat Welfare Society Facebook)

This year alone, there have already been seven cat hoarding cases in Singapore, and the volunteers from Cat Welfare Society (CWS) said that all the rescued cats were found in dire straits.

In the most recent case, CWS and a group of volunteers conducted a rescue operation on 26 June, Monday, over a span of four hours to rescue 94 cats, mostly Siamese, from a three-room flat in Fernvale Link. According to CWS executive director Laura Ann Meranda, this was the worst case she’s seen “in terms of numbers in such a small area”.

From a video released on Saving the Siameses Facebook page, it appeared that the felines were living in a derelict flat with stained walls, dirty mattresses, rusty metal fans and storage boxes stacked haphazardly. While neighbours have been sending in repeated complaints to the Housing Board, the 94 cats were only rescued a week after HDB sent a letter to the occupants of the flat. That was when CWS was roped in to help, alongside the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

During the evacuation, the cats were found to be in poor conditions; their fur was covered in urine and faeces, and they had a myriad of health conditions such as cat flu, wounds with pus and even missing eyeballs, according to the rescue team.

However, these health conditions are relatively similar to other cat hoarding cases in Singapore. Among the seven cat hoarding cases that have occurred since the start of this year, 15 kittens and 22 cats were found in a Choa Chu Kang flat last month. Amongst them, 19 passed on from deadly viruses that attacked their immune system. In early March last year, 39 cats were rescued from a flat in Yishun and four passed away while the fifth had to be euthanised. Cat hoarder Ms Roslina Roslani was sentenced to two weeks jail for failing to care for her cats.

Cat hoarding cases have been constantly on the rise, and Ms Meranda added that CWS is seeking all avenues including the law, community, social welfare and mental health avenues to most effectively address the risk of recurrence and relapse.

First-time animal hoarders can be fined up to $15,000 and a potential 18 months jail term. Members of the public can report animal hoarding cases through AVA's 24-hour hotline, 1800-476-1600, or its website (https://www.ifaq.gov.sg/AVA/apps/feedback.aspx).