New guidelines for cat breeders, pet shops, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New guidelines for cat breeders, pet shops

Standards for the breeding and sale of pet cats in Singapore are now aligned to conditions already in place for pet dogs, as part of efforts to ensure their health and welfare.

Speaking at the Asia Cat Expo on Saturday, Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How said the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) has now implemented the same set of licensing conditions for the breeding of cats for commercial purposes, as for dogs.

A set of licensing conditions for pet breeding and boarding services, implemented for pet dogs, had been announced in 2021 as part of a review of the pet sector.

“These conditions cover areas such as housing, diet, emergencies, transfers of animals, and are aligned with current dog breeding conditions,” Mr Tan explained.

The agency has also introduced new mandates for pet shops and breeders to sell pet cats and kittens only from licensed farms, or imported from AVS-approved sources. Licensed breeders will be inspected at least once a year, and those who breach the conditions can be subject to additional inspections.

Mr Tan said this will help to regulate the welfare of breeding cats, and reassure cat owners who are buying from pet shops.

He added that to refine Singapore’s approach to feline pets, AVS will continue to conduct focus group discussions with stakeholders, including cat owners and non-owners, caregivers and animal welfare groups, and public surveys.

These discussions will centre on cat management and its impact on feline pets and their owners.

The agency will also consider the impact on community cats and their caregivers.

“These focus groups will help us better understand your concerns, your considerations, and how to implement them effectively,” Mr Tan said.

“The (proposed) approach aims to safeguard public animal health while encouraging responsible pet ownership and caregiving.”

An earlier public survey held in 2022 garnered more than 30,000 responses, with nearly 90 per cent of respondents believing pet cats should be allowed in Housing Board flats.

Results from the survey also showed that more than 80 per cent of respondents agreed that pet cats should be microchipped and licensed, and that licensing could help to improve the health, welfare and traceability of the animals.

Asia Cat Expo 2023 was held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre from July 29 to 30. ST PHOTO: ANDREW WONG

Close to 80 per cent felt that first-time dog and cat owners should attend a mandatory short course to be equipped with basic pet care skills.

Mr Tan said: “Safeguarding animal health and welfare is a shared responsibility. We can do our part by ensuring a clean and safe living environment for pet cats and spend quality time with them.”

Around 80 per cent of those surveyed had also said that the proposed Trap-Neuter-Rehome/Release-Manage programme for community cats will be effective in managing the community cat population. As part of this plan, AVS will increase sterilisation and microchipping efforts.

“Sterilising our pet cats will prevent unwanted litters and reduce their risk of health issues,” Mr Tan said.

The ban on cats in HDB flats has been in force since 1960, as part of a blanket ban on all animals, livestock and poultry.

While the ban on cats is still in place, it is not actively enforced as HDB acts only against errant home owners whose cats are a public nuisance.