Some of you may have seen the article in MyPaper on August 25th "HDB ban on cats in flats should go". Dr Tan Chek Wee writes that he lives in an HDB flat and that he has four adopted cats - cats that were abandoned in his estate.
Dr Tan mentions that his flat is 'cat-proof' and that in addition to these cats, he manages the community cats in his area by carrying out TNRM in his estate. He adds that he believes the ban on cats is unfair to responsible cat owners like himself. He ends off by hoping that the HDB will listen and reconsider the ban.
Since the letter has been published, Dr Tan has been in contact with me. He mentioned that the HDB has contacted the newspaper and asked for his address.
I think it's a real shame that this continues to be an issue. Why is it still an issue when responsible people share their lives with cats within the limits of their own homes?
While we are told that Singapore has the highest percentage of home ownership, with rules like this, it goes to show that HDB flats really aren't owned by Singaporeans who live in them.
After all, how can these flats really be homes if there are rules and regulations about what can be done within the flat? I have been asked by several cat owners how the HDB can come into their home, which they have paid hard earned money for, to see if they own cats. The reason is that the home doesn't really belong to flat owners at all - it belongs to the HDB.
Now I am not aware of bylaws that restrict other activities within the home, as long as this activity doesn't bother others. Think about it - if I choose to live in a filthy home, hoard furniture and junk, and never clean the house, no one can do anything about it, unless arguably it becomes a nuisance/health concern to someone else. Even so, it would be extremely difficult to just bust into an HDB flat - I remember occasions when caregivers had thought someone in the apartment was dead - and even that took a lot of co-ordination and effort before the authorities could go in and check.
Yet if you own just ONE cat, the HDB can come in and ask you to remove your cat, and even throw you out and deprive you of your home. It doesn't matter how clean you are. It doesn't even matter that the cat has caused no trouble. All that matters is that you have a cat.
Worse - there seems to be no logical basis for this rule. The same tired arguments about cats being unsuitable for HDB flats, despite all evidence to the contrary, are trotted out again and again. Testimonials from vets, even support from the AVA on this matter, are all ignored. Yet the rule still stands.
What will it take to finally get this rule to be overturned so that responsible cat owners can live peacefully and unmolested by the HDB?