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The Student News Site of Robert Frost Middle School

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Kyla Hooshmand, Editor in Chief • February 29, 2024

Darryl George, an 18-year-old junior at Barbers Hill High School, has spent much of his school year isolated due to in-school suspension for...

Singapore’s 30 year Ban on Cats in Government Housing is Lifted Providing Millions of Felines with Citizenship

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A Singaporean citizen named Sunny has always obeyed laws and rules but for the past three years she has been hiding her cat named Mooncake. The cat lives with Sunny in defiance of a 34 year old law banning cats in the government built apartments that house the majority of Singaporean citizens. Thankfully for Sunny and Mooncake, Singapore has decided to lift the ban on cats, freeing Sunny from her pet’s eviction or a 3,700 fine. “Cats are so much quieter than dogs. If they allow dogs, I don’t understand why they can’t allow cats.” Quotes 30-year old Sunny. Authorities rarely enforce the ban, which only applies to the high-rise Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartment blocks that house 80% of 3.6 million Singapore residents. The ban does make things very difficult for cat owners because even though technically cats shouldn’t exist, HBD pet cats like Mooncake are not eligible for pet insurance. Lawmaker Louis NG, who has campaigned to revoke the ban, said the regulation sometimes becomes leverage for warning neighbors. “A lot of times, the cats are collateral when there’s neighborly disputes,” he said. “The neighbor will just say: “Oh you’re keeping cats, I’ll go and alert the authorities.” Singapore’s ban on cats in HBD living is just another example of their rule based culture like chewing gum is still banned. In 1960 when HBD was established, the government built units has many restrictions and regulations even though it has become one of the largest home-ownership rates. Cats were allowed in HBD flats until parliament amended the housing law in 1989. On their website, they justify the ban by stating that cats are difficult to obtain within the flat and they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public places, and also make caterwauling sounds that can disturb your neighbors. Though we don’t know the exact reason why Singapore changed their minds about the ban on cats, the tipping point appears to be an official survey in 2022 that showed 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that cats were suitable pets to keep, including HBD flats. Dogs however were not in ban but they were only allowed one per household and only certain breeds and sizes were allowed. For example no to golden retrievers but yes to poodles. Market research has predicted that there will be an increase in cat ownership, predicting 94,000 cats and 113,000 dogs. 

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