45 cats a bit too many for a family of 3?

The Straits Times
Monday, Jan 16, 2017

The family of three really loved their cats, all 45 of them.

For the sake of the felines, they moved to another flat for more space.

They even hired a maid to help take care of the cats.

The family - made up of a woman in her late 50s and her two adult children - have been keeping the cats for the last 18 years.

Last month, they received an e-mail from the landlord of the Woodlands flat that they were renting, threatening to evict them if they kept the cats.

One of the children, a 37-year-old who declined to be named, told The New Paper that they were devastated.

"We lived in our Woodlands home for three years and never had problems before.

"Then suddenly, we got an e-mail saying we had to take the cats away or pest control will take them," he said.

While the family decided to move out, the son realised things had to change. He said he did not want his life to revolve around the cats.

Before finding a new place in Punggol, he sought help from the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) to re-home the cats.

Of the 45 cats - all of which have names - 30 are now at a cat shelter and five have been fostered out.

The family still have 10 cats, although they intend to put more of them up for adoption.

The CWS is sterilising all the cats and volunteers have also connected the family with fosterers.

CWS spokesman Veron Lau said it was not advisable to own a large number of cats unless the owner is educated on cat care and is diligent in hygiene.

"Living with a large number of cats without the right knowledge leads to health and aggression issues," she said.

"We hope the owner in this case is able to keep up with payments to the shelter for the upkeep of the cats until they are adopted or die.

"There are very few options for them otherwise."

The fee at the shelter comes up to $2,000 a month.

Paying a high price for their cats is something the family is used to.

They bought their first cat in 1998 when living in Tampines. They then started adopting more cats and taking in strays.

Only 20 of the 45 cats were neutered.

At its peak, the cats cost $1,500 a month to maintain.

The son said: "My mother did not want to let go of any cat. If my sister and I threatened to give some of them up, she would not come home. Then, the number started to increase, and it became hard to give them up.

"We should have agreed to put them up for adoption a long time ago."

He finally convinced his mother to let go of the cats as he was adamant things had to change after receiving the e-mail from the landlord.

The son used to wake up at 5.30am every day to feed the cats, groom them and clean their litter trays before leaving for work two hours later.

Now that they have only 10 cats, he feels a void.

He said: "It just feels so weird not having them around because my daily tasks revolved around so many of them."

His mother said: "I love my cats like my own life. (Now that so many are gone,) I feel like I have lost half of my soul."

The Straits Times

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