Cat welfare a priority

Cat welfare a priority
Lion City Kitty: The Cat Museum, Muses and Mansion: The Cat Museum on the second floor will feature the history of cats from around the world along with curated cat-related visual artwork, photographs and commissioned pieces. ‘Lunchtime Kitten Therapy’ sessions where visitors can totally de-stress by playing with cats in the kitten kindergarten.

We are different.

This is what the founders of two upcoming cat interaction centres say when this reporter posed questions about their businesses.

Perhaps, it is all down to awkward timing.

They want to open next month, but news broke a few days ago about a cat cafe which will not have its licence renewed as it is under investigation by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority after seven of its cats died.

The owner of Cuddles Cat Cafe, which opened three months ago in the Orchard Road area, posted on Facebook that three of the cats died due to "sterilisation and veterinary complications", while four died from feline infectious peritonitises.

Some of its former employees have alleged that staff were not properly trained to handle the cats.

SORRY

Later in a lengthy post, the owner wrote an apology expressing "regret and remorse" over the cats' deaths and sought "forgiveness from the public".

The owner of upcoming Cat Safari in Turf Club Road, Mr Derrick Tan, 33 - who is also the president of Voices for Animals, a rehabilitation society for ex-breeding dogs and cats - emphasises that his business is a social project that he has taken great pains to research.

About 30 cats, "specially picked and slowly integrated so they get used to humans and to each other" will be the stars there.

To ensure his felines are not over-stimulated, Mr Tan's therapy centre will open only three days a week.

"There will also be rules set and a limit to how many people can be inside at one time. No one is allowed to carry any of the cats. Staff will police the place and those who don't follow the rules will be asked to leave," he says.

None of his cats are up for adoption because "it takes at least four months for them to get used to each other".

"The place is built with the cats in mind," Mr Tan says. The indoor area measures slightly over 1,200 sq ft.

"There is a large tree trunk in the middle of the room for them to climb and shelves where they can run and hide," he says, adding that he is even looking at building an outdoor area for his felines.

Over at Lion City Kitty - The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion, located in a shophouse in Purvis Street, former Gold 90.5FM DJ Jessica Seet, 48, says her set-up is to expose Singaporeans to cats.

Some cats will be up for adoption, in partnership with the Cat Welfare Society.

"I know of people who are afraid of cats just because they were told not to touch them when they were children," she says.

Her intention is not only to introduce these people to cats but also to allow "folks in the CBD" to de-stress by visiting the top level of the shophouse.

There will be announcements at the entrance and signs put up on how to approach the cats.

And unlike cat cafes, only the cats get fed.

"People pay a nominal fee of $9 to visit the museum and buy the exhibits, if they so wish."

Lion City Kitty will open from 2 to 9pm, from Friday to Sunday. "For the welfare of my cats, I have chosen not to open for long hours every day," she says.

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