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HDB residents may soon be able to own up to two cats per flat, as Singapore's AVS proposes to lift ban

The Animal and Veterinary Service's (AVS) proposed cat management framework also includes suggestions for mandatory licensing and microchipping of pet cats.

A cat sleeping peacefully on the lap of a woman, illustrating a story on cat ownership in HDB.
Residents of HDB flats may soon be able to own up to two pet cats per household. (PHOTO: Getty) (Isabel Alcalá via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Each Housing and Development Board (HDB) household may soon be able to own up to two pet cats, while residents of private premises can keep a combination of up to three cats or dogs under a proposed cat management framework announced by the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) on Saturday (2 December).

The proposed framework, which aims to improve the management and welfare of cats, was developed following reviews from a public survey launched in September 2022 that garnered over 30,000 responses, and focus group discussions with stakeholders – including cat owners and non-cat owners – in 2023.

AVS is currently seeking views on the proposed cat management framework via an online survey.

Included in the proposed framework is a mandatory licensing and microchipping scheme to improve the welfare and traceability of pet cats. Licensing conditions include requiring all new pet cat licence applicants to complete a free online responsible pet ownership course.

A two-year transition period was proposed to allow pet owners sufficient time to meet the licensing conditions, after which pet cat licensing conditions and cat ownership limits will kick in.

In addition, the framework also proposed a Trap-Neuter-Rehome/Release-Manage (TNRM) programme for community cats. Currently, the programme is only for free-roaming dogs.

The framework also included new education and outreach efforts on responsible pet cat ownership and community cat caregiving.

Current rules on HDB cat ownership

Currently, HDB residents are not allowed to own pet cats, and offenders may be fined up to S$4,000 if found to have a pet cat in their flat under the HDB rules. However, it is not actively enforced – action is taken only on owners whose pet cats cause nuisance to the public.

The public can now share feedback on the proposed framework through an online survey. The online survey will be open until 1 February 2024.

AVS added that it would review the feedback received once the survey has concluded and will further refine the framework where needed before launching the finalised framework in the later part of 2024.

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