New era for pet cats in Singapore’s HDB flats: Understanding the upcoming changes

In a significant shift from long-standing policies, Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) residents are on the brink of experiencing a new era in pet ownership. The Singaporean government has proposed lifting a 34-year ban on cat ownership in public flats, a move that is set to transform the lives of many cat lovers and their feline companions.

The proposed framework

The heart of this change lies in the proposed framework, which allows for up to two cats per HDB flat and three cats per private residence. This decision, announced by Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How, represents a balanced approach, taking into consideration the views of both cat owners and non-cat owners. The aim is to foster a harmonious living environment for all.

Licensing and penalties

A pivotal aspect of this new policy is the mandatory microchipping and licensing of pet cats. This step is crucial for ensuring that cats are traceable and that owners are accountable, especially in cases of abandonment, neglect, or abuse. Cat owners will face penalties for non-compliance, aligning with the regulations that dog owners currently adhere to.

Transition period for existing cat owners

cats in hdb ban lift
(Image credit: Jiachen Lin on Unsplash)

Recognising that some households currently own more cats than the proposed limits, the government has announced a two-year transition period. During this time, cat owners can apply to license and keep all of their existing cats, subject to approval by the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS).

Safety and welfare measures

The safety and welfare of pet cats are of paramount importance in this new framework. Owners will need to ensure their pets are kept in a secure environment, with measures like window grilles or mesh to prevent accidents. This requirement underscores the government’s commitment to animal welfare and public safety.

Responsible ownership

The proposed changes emphasise responsible pet ownership. First-time cat owners will be required to complete an online course before obtaining a license. This educational component is aimed at ensuring that owners are well-prepared for the responsibilities that come with owning a pet.

Read more: Singapore’s trusted pet hotels & boarding services for furry friends

Support for low-income households

cats in hdb ban lift
(Image credit: Trung Pham Quoc on Unsplash)

In a move to support low-income households, the government will provide free sterilisation and microchipping for pet cats belonging to these families from 2024. This initiative follows a successful pilot Pet Cat Sterilisation Day and aims to prevent unintended breeding and promote the health of cats.

Community engagement and feedback

The Cat Welfare Society and other organisations have welcomed the proposed changes, noting the importance of public consultation in refining these conditions. The public has been invited to provide feedback on the proposed framework, ensuring a wide range of perspectives are considered.

If you have suggestions, opinions, or comments to share, AVS has a feedback form for the public.


As Singapore embarks on this journey towards more inclusive pet ownership policies, the proposed changes are expected to have a profound impact on the community. They represent a significant step towards more humane and science-based animal management and a testament to the evolving relationship between Singaporeans and their pets.

cats in hdb ban lift
(Image credit: Jiachen Lin on Unsplash)


The journey towards these changes is not just about altering regulations; it’s about shaping a society that values the coexistence of humans and animals in shared spaces. As the nation awaits the implementation of these changes in late 2024, there’s a sense of anticipation and hope for what this new era will bring for cat owners and their beloved pets in Singapore’s HDB flats.

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