NEWS AND COMMENT – SINGAPORE: About 80% of Singaporean residents live in public housing under a 99-year lease in HDB flats. At the base of these blocks of flats is a void area (no flats) and in this area you will sometimes see community cats. And some residents in these huge blocks of flats are concerned for the welfare of community cats. A trend was started to build cardboard homes for them. This was to keep them warm and comfortable during the chilly rainy season.
A kind man had provided a cardboard box to this tabby cat living near the lift. A woman provided the blanket. As you can see from the photograph the community cat was enjoying the added warmth that these items provided.
A Facebook post, dated August 24, 2021, shows that somebody removed both the box and the blanket leaving the cat to sleep on the cold, hard floor.
It seems clear to me that there is a quiet battle raging between residents who want to help the cats and those who want to get rid of them. The person who removed the box and blanket did not want this cat to be comfortable. They wanted to encourage the cat to go somewhere else. The persons who provided the box and blanket accept community cats and want to act humanely towards them.
Gracie, a resident of this block as I understand it, said: “But suddenly, her box was missing and I found her curling up beside the lift. Someone threw away her beautiful box with warm blanket leaving Gracie with no box.”
She said: “Stop removing boxes for our community cats.”
Sometimes residents go to quite lengthy steps to make HDB community cats comfortable as you can see in the photograph below. They even decorate the cardboard kennels. And they make them waterproof. In the photograph below you can see two cardboard cat houses on one of HDB block’s void decks.
HDB management make it clear that cats are not allowed in flats. There is an element of speciesism perpetrated by HDB management because dogs are allowed. The dogs have to be licensed but residents don’t need HDB’s approval.
Perhaps community cats give cat lovers the opportunity to care for a domestic cat as they are forbidden to care for their own. It appears that the ban on keeping cats inside flats is frequently broken without sanction. There are probably calls to change the rules regarding keeping cats inside the flats.
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