You need not be a crazy cat lady to be mesmerised by cats; they have pretty eyes, are highly meme-worthy, and offer unique companionship that cannot be replaced by human beings. Only one concern though: it’s illegal to keep a cat in a HDB unit. Well, at least technically speaking.
On the bright side, there has been news recently that HDB residents may officially be given the green light to keep cats at home. The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) has been seeking views from the public regarding its own future frameworks to ensure if there can be responsible cat ownership amongst HDB communities.
So, here are 9 ways to pet-proof your HDB to welcome your feline furbaby in the future.
1. Install waterproof vinyl or tile flooring
Image credit: @freespaceintent
It’s common knowledge that cats are rather independent creatures. Unlike dogs, some cats are naturally potty-trained, and will stick to their litter box for any small or big business. But, in case you’re wondering, that isn’t why you’re still strongly encouraged to install waterproof vinyl or tile flooring throughout the house.
Being the agile creatures they are, it’s normal to see your cat jumping on tables and counter tops. Apart from ensuring that these surfaces are free of filled cups, having waterproof vinyl or tiles can do away with the burden of a stained floor, both aesthetically and financially speaking.
Moreover, cats can leave scratches on wood flooring whenever they’re playing rough, so it’s best to ensure your floor is hard enough and not susceptible to scratch marks.
2. Fix up invisible grilles on all your windows & balconies
Image credit: @dgs_toughest_invisible_grille
Now, this is the no. 1 must-do you cannot pass up on. Over the years, there have been many cases of cats winding up dead, or badly injured after having fallen from HDB windows.
Thus, one can’t stress enough that it’s important to fix a protective mesh onto your windows. That said, a cheap DIY job is not foolproof, as the regular mosquito nets and meshes can be easily clawed apart.
Ideally, you should fix up invisible grilles on all your windows and balconies. Not only can you preserve the view outside, you’ll get the highest level of security so your cat can continue scaling the Mount Everest that is your windows without danger.
Also, do ensure that the grilles are properly installed, and have gaps no longer than 2 inches wide to prevent your cat from squeezing out.
3. Mesh your main gate
Image credit: @gatedoorwindow
Another worry that cat owners, as well as the HDB have are instances of cat fights, by which we mean the literal ones. When left to loiter along corridors by themselves, cats may breed amongst themselves or get into violent fights with stray cats or dogs. Plus, pedigree cat breeds may even get stolen.
That’s why it’s best to stop them from gallivanting outdoors. Installing a mesh wire across your main gate can do the trick, instead of leaving the doors perpetually closed which stifles natural ventilation.
For those who’d like something more aesthetic and are willing to invest in some reno works, consider changing your entire gate with HDB gate and door contractors like Fire Rated Door and Gate Door Window, who have pet-friendly designs.
4. Invest in cat scratching posts & climbing shelves
Image credit: Free Space Intent
When it comes to jumping and climbing, cats are your Olympic champions. In fact, they can be frequently found chilling on the highest bookshelves at home, many times unbeknownst to their owners.
Let them have their own training ground by investing in cat trees and climbing shelves for them. Better still, they can be configured in any way that best suits your interior style, many times even serving as the pretty statement piece at home.
Also, don’t forget to get cat scratching posts and place them throughout the house. This helps you to protect your furniture from their habitual scratching. While cat sprays are a useful alternative, they are not always 100% effective.
5. Secure all electrical wires
These homeowners DIYed their own cubby hole lid to hide clutter.
Image credit: @prettythings_home
Not only is it a sheer eyesore to have clunks of messy wires exposed, it poses great dangers for the cats. Because of their instinctive scratching habits, cats would likely come after your exposed wires, and can even become entangled between them. Securing all electric wires is, therefore, another important step in the cat-proofing guide.
Good news is that nowadays, you aren’t just limited to tying up your wires and hiding it behind a box. You can store your wires neatly inside an open console or cubby hole, and get a cover that you can easily stick along the edges.
For a faster alternative, check out Shopee, Lazada or Taobao for a whole range of wire concealment kits and storage boxes at affordable prices.
6. Install a screen or makeshift gate to your kitchen
Image credit: @cnbrr.hm
Door barriers and makeshift gates are an essential for all baby and pet-inhabitant households. Still, you would particularly take note of the kitchen especially if there are cats at home, lest they jump on the kitchen countertop and go all Ratatouille while you’re busy cooking until an accident takes place.
Image credit: @aly_makinghome
Granted that it may be too troublesome or expensive to build a door from scratch, installing a screen or makeshift gate in your kitchen can already help prevent the house from burning down. Similar to installing window grilles, just make sure the screens are well secured, and tall enough so your cat won’t jump over it.
7. Use citrus tabletop cleaners in the kitchen
One more box to check in the kitchen department would be to use citrus tabletop cleaners. Even if your dear kitten is a big eater, the noble citrus is one food group they will definitely stay away from. This makes it a useful deterrent to avoid having your cat roam around freely in the kitchen.
The best part is that you can make your own citrus cleaner FOC. To unlock this very useful kitchen cleaning tip, all you need is a bottle with citrus peels, vinegar, water, and a touch of castile soap.
8. Stow toxic foods like dairy & raw meat out of reach
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
Amongst hilarious memes and bizarre TikTok videos, the fat cat always pops up. As much as we find these ultra chubby and furry cats very cute, it becomes another story if they’re genuinely obese and overfed. Apart from tracking their diet, one thing you must ensure is that all toxic foods are stowed out of their reach.
Other than raw poultry and seafood, these foods include onions and garlic, as well as dairy products, chocolate, and even dog food. The best solution would be to refrigerate most, if not all of these foods – unless your cat can somehow open the fridge by itself.
9. Remove toxic plants both indoor & along corridor outside
Image credit: nic1010
Plants can do great wonders in beautifying our spaces, and even in welcoming good Feng Shui into our homes. While these can motivate us to cultivate green fingers, gardening is no easy feat. Especially if you have a cat, you’d need to do research and ensure that all toxic plants are removed both indoors and along the corridor outside.
Being curious creatures, your cats may chew on your plants. So, ensure that you don’t keep plants that are poisonous to them; this includes flowers such as tulips and lilies, as well as common plants like aloe vera and snake plants.
How to pet-proof your HDB for cats
Being such adorable creatures and loyal constants to have, it’s such unfortunate that 80% of our cat loving community can’t officially adopt a cat in their homes. While the concerns are legitimate, it’s nice the AVS has taken steps to discuss its expanded measures such as licensing and microchipping so as to ensure HDB dwellers are accountable for their cats.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that feline parents out there should hesitate to pet-proof their HDB flats. Sooner or later, all of our fur children can safely make themselves feel at home both within their units, and amongst their greater HDB neighbourhood.
For more guides on HDB living, check out:
- Guide: moving out under 35 and single
- How to read your HDB floor plan
- Tips for renting in Singapore
- Renting before BTO vs buying resale
Cover image adapted from: @kobe.and.mochi