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AVS seeking views on proposed cat management framework with mandatory licensing for pet cats and a two-year transition period

02 Dec 2023


- Under proposed framework, each HDB household will be able to own up to two pet cats and all new pet cat licence applicants will need to complete a free online responsible pet ownership course

Framework is now up for public feedback; public can share feedback through online survey before the framework is finalised next year


The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster of the National Parks Board (NParks), announced the proposed framework to improve the management and welfare of cats today. The proposed framework comprises:


a)    A licensing and microchipping scheme to enhance the welfare and traceability of pet cats;

b)    A Trap-Neuter-Rehome/Release-Manage (TNRM) programme for community cats; and

c)     Education and outreach on responsible pet cat ownership and community cat caregiving.


The public can find out more about the proposed framework and share their feedback through an online survey at


Proposed cat management framework


The proposed cat management framework aims to enhance the traceability and welfare of cats, safeguard public and animal health, and promote responsible cat ownership and caregiving. This follows extensive public consultation, comprising a two-month public survey in end-2022 and focus group discussions in 2023 with a diverse range of stakeholders including cat owners, non-cat owners, community cat caregivers, cat fosterers and rescuers, veterinarians, representatives of animal welfare groups, and relevant agencies.


The proposed framework has incorporated the wide-ranging views of stakeholders and members of the public. It strives to improve the welfare and management of pet and community cats, while striking a balance between accommodating some residents’ desires to own pet cats and maintaining a harmonious living environment for all.


The proposed framework includes a mandatory licensing and microchipping scheme for pet cats, expanding the Trap-Neuter-Rehome/Release-Manage (TNRM) programme for free-roaming dogs to include community cats, and new education and outreach efforts on responsible pet cat ownership and community cat caregiving. A two-year transition period will be introduced to allow pet owners ample time to meet the licensing conditions.


The online survey will be open from today, 2 December 2023, until 1 February 2024. AVS will review the feedback received when the survey concludes and further refine the framework where needed, before launching the finalised framework next year. Please refer to the Annex for more details.


Outreach to the pet community at Pets’ Day Out


The proposed cat management framework was shared at the 23rd edition of Pets’ Day Out, held at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. A signature event of AVS, Pets’ Day Out serves as a regular platform for animal welfare groups, pet businesses, veterinarians, and pet lovers to come together. Visitors can look forward to an adoption drive by our animal welfare group partners, Pets’ Day Out’s signature programme Petzmania, and a marketplace for pet-related retail products. At the event, the public can also learn about pet care tips and animal health through informative exhibitions, talks, and workshops.  


AVS will continue to strengthen its relationships with the community, promote responsible pet ownership, and raise awareness on best practices for animal welfare. This is in line with the vision to transform Singapore into a City in Nature, for which community stewardship is a key thrust.


– End –

Information accurate as of 2 December 2023








The details of the proposed cat management framework, which is open for public feedback through the online survey, are as follows:


(1)   Mandatory licensing and microchipping of pet cats


a.     Pet cat licensing conditions and prerequisites


The proposed pet cat licensing scheme includes the following licensing conditions. These will enhance traceability, safeguard public health and animal welfare, and help minimise potential disamenities to the community.


·       All pet cats will need to be microchipped before they can be licensed.


·       All first-time cat (or dog) licence applicants will need to complete a one-time free online pet ownership course before they can be issued a cat (or dog) licence. The course will cover basic pet care skills and responsible pet ownership and will be made available in the four vernacular languages.


·       Cat owners will need to ensure that their cats are kept in a safe environment and take reasonable steps to protect their cats from hazards indoors and outdoors (e.g., by installing window grilles, mesh or other barriers to prevent cats from roaming or falling from height).


·       When in public, pet owners will need to ensure that their cats are kept under control (i.e., not allowed to freely roam), such as by using a harness or placing their cat in a carrier.


b.     Two-year transition period for existing cat owners


To allow cat owners ample time to license their pet cats and meet the licensing conditions, a two-year transition period is proposed.


During the proposed transition period


As pet ownership is a lifelong commitment, current cat owners will be able to apply to license and keep all of their existing pet cats. AVS may conduct house checks to ensure that the pet cats are kept in proper conditions, their welfare is not compromised, and that the cats are not causing disamenities to neighbours, before issuing the pet cat licences if these conditions are met. When applying for the pet cat licences, owners will also be required to declare that their cats were owned prior to the commencement of the transition period. It will be an offence to keep unlicensed pet cat(s) after the transition period.


The sterilisation of pet cats will be strongly encouraged. The sterilisation of cats prevents unintended breeding. Sterilisation also has health and behavioural benefits, as it reduces the risk of some cancers, and sterilised cats are less inclined to roam and caterwaul.


All cat owners will be able to apply for free cat licences during the two-year transition period. The licences will have lifetime validity for sterilised cats and limited validity for unsterilised cats. After the transition period, licensees who have not sterilised their cats will be subject to higher licensing fees on a renewal basis. As part of the public survey, members of the public are invited to share their views on the sterilisation of pet cats.


After the proposed two-year transition period


To strike a balance between accommodating some residents’ desires to own cats, and maintaining a harmonious living environment for all, AVS is proposing to set limits on the number of pet cats that each household can keep.


AVS is proposing the following limits:


·       Two cats (and one dog of an approved breed, as per the current limit) for each HDB premises;

·       Three cats or dogs, or a combination of both (i.e., a maximum of three cats/dogs in total), for each private premises.


The keeping of additional pets will be subject to approval by AVS, as well as HDB (for HDB residents).


Pet Cat Sterilisation Support (PCSS) programme


AVS plans to roll out a Pet Cat Sterilisation Support (PCSS) programme in 2024, to provide free sterilisation and microchipping for pet cats belonging to low-income households.


This follows a successful pilot in November 2023, where AVS sterilised and microchipped over 80 pet cats belonging to low-income households, in collaboration with the Cat Welfare Society, the Singapore Veterinary Association, and Temasek Polytechnic. The pilot was partially supported through the Garden City Fund, NParks’ registered charity and IPC, with contributions from individuals such as Dr Tan Hwa Luck as well as corporate organisations such as MARS Petcare.


AVS intends to build on these partnerships to establish a permanent PCSS programme. The proposed programme will aim to stem the unintended breeding of pet cats belonging to households that are unable to afford sterilisation, by facilitating early intervention. In doing so, the programme will also seek to address downstream animal welfare issues and disamenities arising from the overpopulation of pet cats. More details will be shared when ready.


(2)   Expanding the Trap-Neuter-Rehome/Release-Manage (TNRM) programme for free-roaming dogs to include community cats


Under the proposed Trap-Neuter-Rehome/Release-Manage (TNRM) programme for cats, AVS will build on the current Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme (SCSP) under which AVS has been subsidising the sterilisation and microchipping of community cats since 2011. AVS plans to enhance funding support beyond sterilisation and microchipping, to include areas such as the trapping and boarding of community cats. Sterilised cats will be rehomed where possible, while the remaining cats will be released back into the community, where they can continue to be responsibly cared for by community cat caregivers.


AVS will continue to work closely with veterinarians, animal welfare group partners and community caregivers who have been actively supporting the SCSP and looks forward to more partners coming on board the planned TNRM programme.


(3)   Education and outreach on responsible pet cat ownership and community cat caregiving


AVS plans to organise roadshows and community events and conduct school education programmes to raise awareness on cat-related topics, such as responsible pet cat ownership and living with community cats in our neighbourhoods.


AVS also plans to work closely with its partners, including those in the pet care industry, to raise awareness on how to safeguard cat welfare, and to share AVS’ efforts to manage cats in Singapore.


AVS is also proposing to work with animal welfare groups, caregivers, agencies, and Town Councils to develop principles and guidelines for responsible community cat caregiving. The principles may include promoting the health and welfare of community cats, reducing community cat-related disamenities, and increasing the acceptance of community cats. The guidelines may include the feeding of community cats and the placement of cat accessories (e.g., cardboard boxes) at appropriate areas, to reduce disamenities at high-traffic areas such as lift lobbies and staircases. The guidelines will be made publicly available through AVS’ website and other platforms when ready.


Members of the public can share their feedback on the proposed cat management framework with AVS at


Last updated on 02 December 2023

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