RC members to check on Fernvale cat hoarder monthly: MP Lam Pin Min

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SINGAPORE: Residents’ Committee members will pay monthly visits to a woman who kept 94 cats in a two-room flat in Fervale Link to “check on the situation, as well as her condition,” MP for the area Lam Pin Min said on Tuesday (Jun 27).

Dr Lam, who said he learnt of the issue last week, added that grassroots organisations are helping the woman to clean up the flat. It is understood the woman in question lives in the flat with her mother.

“We have referred her to the Family Service Centre and Social Service Office for further counselling and assistance,” the MP added. 

The Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and another group – Saving the Siameses – rescued the cats in an operation on Monday. CWS described the scene as “sheer madness”, while the Saving the Siameses volunteers said the cats’ fur were stained with urine and caked with poop. “In addition, there are many of them with wounds of pus, some with missing eyeballs, and a whole lot of them are having cat flu,” they said.

These items were found at the void deck of 470B, Fernvale Link, where 94 Siamese cats were rescued from a two-room flat on Jun 27. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

NEIGHBOURS UNAWARE WOMAN HAD SO MANY CATS

When Channel NewsAsia visited the block on Tuesday, a strong smell of urine and faeces hung in the air and two women were seen disposing of soiled furniture and other items at the void deck.

Neighbours said an elderly woman and her daughter lived in the flat with the 94 cats. The two women moved in at the beginning of this year, although neighbours barely saw them, they said, adding that they were not aware that there were so many cats in the flat as well.

One neighbour, who declined to be named, said: “The house has always been very smelly. I have never seen the cats come out, but the smell was still unbearable.” So bad it was that they could smell the stench from within their rooms, even when their doors were closed.

“The few times we encountered the smell from the house, we suspected it was maybe the smell of a dead cat or that the elderly lady had passed away also,” another neighbour said.

Neighbours were not aware that the two-room flat had so many cats, although they could smell a stench, even when doors were closed. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

Channel NewsAsia understands that two neighbours first complained about the cat issue to the Housing and Development Board in May this year. HDB officers paid a visit to the woman and informed her that cats are not allowed in HDB flats, and that she would have to find new homes for them.

HDB then linked up with CWS and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on the case. AVA is currently investigating.

Asked why they did not complain earlier, a neighbour said: “We never complained or called anyone to come down because just four families live in this section. It is really not nice if we do that.”

CWS said that of the rescued cats, 61 are with Saving the Siameses, 18 with CWS and 15 are with vets.

Two volunteers from Saving the Siameses said in a Facebook update on Tuesday that they are overwhelmed with messages from people offering support or to adopt or foster the cats, however the cats are not up for rehoming or fostering yet, as they are not in good shape. 

“All cats have to be bathed and groomed, and some even need a shave-down too. They also need to be free of parasites (such as fleas, mites and worms) so as not to affect the human household(s) and/or existing pets,” volunteers Angela Ling and Fiona Loh wrote. The animals also need to be isolated to contain the spread of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) or parvovirus if they are infected. Updates on the cats would be posted on their Facebook page, they added.

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