The Singapore Cat

When you think of Singaporean icons, the following things come to mind: Chicken Rice is as popular as Katong Laksa. To some, Chicken Rice is as iconic as Katong Laksa. It’s also conceivable that the Singapore Zoo, Lion City Tower, or numerous other attractions are what attract them.

Places like Bukit Brown Cemetery or Joo Chiat are significant to heritage fans since they represent our community’s history. Some people may find self-identity in the engineered social spaces such as the ubiquitous void deck or playground. After all, the HDB public housing system accounts for more than 80% of Singaporeans.

Singapura cat sculpture near Cavenagh Bridge, Singapore. Image Source (JANE STREET CLAYWORKS)
Fur-midable: Singapore foils cat-in-trousers smuggling bid – SE Asia. Image Source (The Jakarta Post)

Our feline companions have been a part of the Singapore streetscape for as long as I can remember. Since the days of ancient Egypt, cats have roamed our streets. Cats have roamed our streets for the longest time, whether it’s the resident cat that hides in the same nook at your void deck or a ginger-coated gang that haunts the swings.

While Singapore Cats roam our city streets, which arguably belong to them, a few Singapura Cats have been etched into the centre of town. The Singapura Cat is a well-known breed that was chosen as a tourism mascot for the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (now known as the Singapore Tourism Board), which took place in 1990. The Singapore River was lined with sculptures of cats, some of which still exist along the river’s edge at Cavenagh Bridge.

Singapore claws back at the pet cat ban. Image Source (Asia Times)
A heart for stray cats in Singapore. Image Source (The Pride – Singapore Kindness Movement)

The Singapura Cat is also known as the Kucinta, a mix of two Malay words: kuching (cat) and cinta (love). The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board held a cat-naming contest, and Mdm Ang Lian Tin’s winning entry was Kucinta.

The Kucinta is a short-haired cat with big eyes and ears that stands out. The Singapore River cat sculptures were made to show the many emotions of cats, which might surprise some who believe sleepy is the only mood cats are recognized for. These bronzed Singapura Cats, on the other hand, will have a panoramic view of the Singapore River for decades to come. Their counterparts, however, have had a lot more serpentine adventures.

In 1998, the Primary Production Department of today’s Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) launched the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Program. Before that, Singapore’s stray cat population was controlled by culling. According to an AVA press release from May 28, 2003, up to 13,000 strays were destroyed every year.

Singapore’s cat feeder conundrum: To feed or not to feed? Image Source (Coconuts)
Here’s one thing you can do to help Singapore’s stray cats. Image Source (Her World Singapore)

In the long term, the AVA has acknowledged that sterilization and good pet management are more humane and successful methods. The Cat Welfare Society, animal welfare organizations like the National Cat Protection League (NCSL), and volunteers have collaborated to make this happen. The urban cat eradication programme has been successful in Singapore. They have aided to keep the stray cat population in check.

Not content with running the streets of Singapore, cats have also taken over our Internet. StacyName (https://www.instagram.com/stacyname) and Nikka Cat (https://www.instagram.com/nikka_cat), both rescued street cats in Singapore, have amassed a large following on Instagram.

“on a rainy day and he was limping near to my house. The veterinarian diagnosed a fractured paw after I brought him in. We went to the veterinarian every week for a month, replacing his bandage. After fostering him at home, I eventually decided to keep him,” Stacy and Olly’s rescue, and the adoption of this energetic and affectionate dog. “It was a pleasant surprise for me to discover that my cats have their own Instagram following because I just liked taking photographs of them.”

This is a community cat that calls the Singapore Management University campus home.

The SMU cat, who has over 1,900 followers on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SmuSoaCat, is another small feline celebrity in Singapore, along with Olly and Nikka. The Singapore Cat may occasionally purr or roll in front of you soliciting a belly rub. They splash and play with you on a good day, but on a bad one, they’ll swipe at you with their paw or simply ignore you as they snooze away the day. Perhaps it’s time to give your Singapore Cat a hug.

Tiong Bahru residents band together to care for stray cat, Singapore News & Top Stories. Image Source (The Straits Times)
Stray Cats of Singapore. Image source (Chan Foo’s Photoblog – Aminus3)

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