The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore has urged the Housing Development Board (HDB), a statutory board under the Government’s Ministry of National Development, to repeal its ban on keeping pet cats in HDB flats.

According to HDB’s rules, “Cats are not allowed in flats. They are generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.”

HDB’s ban on cats is as old as the first public housing flats has been in force since 1960. While HDB had initially banned all animals from HDB flats, it later relaxed rules and allowed flat buyers to keep certain dogs and other small animals.

The ban on cats, however, was upheld. The SPCA has been appealing against the HDB ban on cats since the 1970s and has said that pet cats could be house-trained, spayed and kept indoors but HDB has resolutely refused to repeal the regulation.

Although HDB’s ban on cats is not actively enforced today, with the authority only acting against errant flat owners and their pet cats that have been flagged as public nuisances, the SPCA has reiterated its call for HDB to repeal the cat ban.

The animal welfare organisation appealed in a Facebook post published on Thursday (12 Dec): “There are already many responsible pet owners keeping cats in HDB flats without causing nuisance to their neighbours.

“We feel that lifting the ban, setting rules on responsible cat ownership, and implementing a microchipping & registration scheme, will improve cat management and welfare in Singapore.

“If we ban cats and do not officially accept their presence, it will be impossible to create a proper regulatory framework. Without making microchipping of cats compulsory, people can easily abandon their pets, causing poor welfare outcomes and eventually resulting in more complaints from neighbours.”