Concerns Rise Over the Fate of Seven Community Cats at the Now-Closed Toa Payoh Sport Centre
For every cat lover, it’s easy to see the charm in our feline friends, whether they’re playfully chasing a toy or simply curled up in a cozy corner of our homes, purring away.
However, not all cats are blessed with the comfort of a home.
In Singapore, a considerable number of cats lead a nomadic life, wandering the streets and public areas, constantly battling for their daily existence.
The spotlight today is on a group of seven such cats, who until recently, had made the Toa Payoh Sport Centre their home—until the centre’s closure on 31 October.
Toa Payoh Sports Centre Shuts Down for Extensive Redevelopment
Effective from the end of October, the Toa Payoh Sport Centre has shut its doors to pave the way for an ambitious new Regional Sport Centre, a significant component of the Toa Payoh Integrated Development project (TPID).
In line with the rising demand and feedback from the sports community, this sprawling 12-hectare development is set to feature sheltered tennis, futsal, and netball courts, alongside state-of-the-art indoor sports halls and fitness studios.
Yet, as per the announcement from ActiveSG, this grand redevelopment of the Toa Payoh Sports Centre isn’t slated for completion until 2030.
That’s right, a waiting period of a lengthy seven years.
And while humans can practice patience, the outlook seems much bleaker for the centre’s lesser-known inhabitants: the seven community cats.
Safety Net Slips from Under the Community Cats
As stated by Cats of SG, Singapore’s public spaces are a roaming ground for over 50,000 stray cats.
These community cats are often identified by a distinct tipped left ear, signifying their sterilization under the Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage Program.
Their survival thus far can largely be credited to compassionate volunteer feeders in various neighbourhoods who ensure they’re nourished.
The pressing concern now, however, is the displacement of these cats. They’ve lost their familiar territory, and the days keep adding up.
A Heartfelt Commitment: Volunteer Feeders and the Community Cats
Owing to the kindness of the gym staff and cleaners at the old sport centre, the cats were safe in their old residence.
On top of that, Mr Xu and two other devoted cat enthusiast ensured that the seven cats had been well-looked after.
Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Mr Xu shared how they diligently rotated shifts to feed the cats and even provided makeshift shelters using cardboard boxes or umbrellas.
Mr Xu, who took the evening feeding shift, expressed deep concern upon learning of the centre’s impending reconstruction.
He promptly reached out to various authorities, aiming to secure a safe haven for the displaced cats.
Regrettably, the response was disheartening: existing shelters are already at capacity with no room to accommodate these seven felines.
A Lurking Peril in the Shadows
Beyond the immediate concern of shelter lies a darker threat.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) reveals a troubling statistic: they receive an average of 80 to 90 reports of alleged animal cruelty each month.
While Mr Xu remains unwavering in his commitment to these cats, he is unable to house the cats given his status as a tenant of a rented HDB flat.
He earnestly appeals to fellow cat lovers to offer a sanctuary for these creatures.
To all cat aficionados, this presents an opportunity to reciprocate the affection these animals have consistently shown.