Pets you can own in a HDB vs Private residential

You’re breaking the law If you live in a HDB and own a cat.

Yes, you read it right: As part of your lease agreement with HDB, you are not allowed to have cats as pets.

A large number of people don’t know what kinds of animals they are allowed to own in Singapore. Our rigid animal control laws make things a little too well defined, and while I hate to colour within the lines, I have an obligation to warn all of you about the rules.

Chihuahua at home.

General Rules are set by AVA

It doesn’t matter if you stay in a HDB or a private condominium when it comes to the type of animals that are legal to be kept as pets in Singapore.

The AVA defines animals that are legal for sale in Singapore as pets, and amongst them are familiar animals like dogs, cats and hamsters.

Note that there no tarantulas or snakes in this list and that there are specific CITES appendices that need to be followed to prevent over-exploitation of endangered animals. That probably means no turtles, even though terrapins are allowed.

No Cats in HDBs!

However, when it comes down to HDB rules cats are taken out of the equation. The official HDB explanation is this:

“Cats are not allowed in flats. They are generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur and defecate or urinate in public areas, and also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience your neighbours.”

This rule is flimsy because dogs shed fur and tend to bark loudly if poorly-trained. Additionally, “when allowed to roam indiscriminately”, dogs will defecate and urinate in public areas as well. Dogs are also extremely active and social animals, so they can also be difficult to contain within the flat.

However, if you stay in a HDB flat and you are considering a dog, you’re also restricted to one of 62 breeds of dogs, and you can only keep one dog at any one time in your HDB flat.

Infographics: HDB Approved Dogs

Additionally, if it is a crossbreed, the dog must not be more than 50 cm at the shoulders and must weigh 15 kg or less. HDB dwellers who violate these rules can be fined up to $4000!

See moreUnderstand the HDB Pet Ownership Policy

Private Condominium Rules differ

Cats might not fare better in private condominiums. While there aren’t any laws that prevent cats from being kept in condominium apartments, there also isn’t any legislation to ensure that they can be allowed in private residences.

This means that it is entirely up to the condominium’s MCST to decide if you can keep a cat.

As for dogs, the AVA has a specific rule for condominiums. It puts dogs into two categories: Scheduled and Non-scheduled.

If you live in a private residence, you can only own a maximum of 1 scheduled dog and 2 non-scheduled dogs. Alternatively, you may own up to 3 non-scheduled dogs.

Here’s the list of Scheduled Dogs

Part 1

  1. Pit Bull, which includes the American Pit Bull Terrier (which is also known as the American Pit Bull and Pit Bull Terrier), American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, and crosses between them and other breeds
  2. Akita
  3. Neapolitan Mastiff
  4. Tosa
  5. Dogo Argentino
  6. Fila Brasileiro
  7. Boerboe
  8. Perro De Presa Canario (moved from Part II to Part 1 wef 15 Nov 2010)
  9. Crosses of 1 to 8.

Part 2

  1. Bull Terrier
  2. Doberman Pinscher
  3. Rottweiler
  4. German Shepherd Dog with its related breeds such as the Belgian Shepherd Dog and the East European Shepherd Dog
  5. Mastiffs, including the Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso and Dogue De Bordeaux
  6. Crosses of 1 to 5.

Non-scheduled dogs are breeds of dogs not mentioned in the Scheduled categorization.

Whatever you do, be compassionate

It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter what animal you choose to keep as a pet. They’re all living creatures.

They all need food, water and shelter, and feel physical pain just like you and I.

If you are thinking of keeping any pet, remember that the decision is a serious one, and should never be taken lightly.

Once you are a pet owner, you have to be committed to the pet for the rest of its life. At no time should abandoning the pet ever be an option!