Former Cat Café Owner Jailed

Cuddles Cat Cafe

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This story unfolded in Singapore. The former owner of the Cat Cuddles Café, Jonathan Tan Wei-De was convicted of being in breach of the Agri-Veterinary Authority (AVA) licensing conditions in failing to keep the cats at the café in good health; seven of the thirty cats died before the café opened. A poor record and clearly a failure. The café is now closed.

I am interested to see that he was also convicted for failing to ensure that all the cats were free of toxoplasmosis before they were employed at the café.

I would bet my bottom dollar that the authorities in Europe, UK and the USA do not check cat café cats for toxoplasmosis. I don’t believe that there is a need to as a substantial percentage of cats and people have been exposed to the disease with no symptoms.

It is, though, a zoonotic disease so you can understand why the AVA insisted upon this condition.

Tan falsified cat health records when applying for the AVA license to open his café. It would seem he was convicted and sentenced for this crime as well. As I understand it the punishment for falsifying records was 2 weeks imprisonment. The punishment for the AVA breaches was a fine of $3,500. I presume that that is in Singapore dollars which equates to $2,504 USD.

I believe that this is the world’s first conviction of a cat café owner and subsequent imprisonment. Perhaps it had to happen sometime. There are special challenges in ensuring the welfare of cats and people at a cat café.

Combine commerce and cats and the cats can come off badly.


2 thoughts on “Former Cat Café Owner Jailed”

  1. Testing for toxo is hit and miss because they can harbor it, but not be shedding it at the time a fecal sample is collected. That said, almost every adult has been exposed to it at some time in their lives, and the threat of becoming ill is slim to none. Practice basic good hygene, hand washing, and it should not ever be a problem.


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