HDB Dwellers Legally Allowed To Own Pet Cats: Health Benefits

cats ownership HDB Singapore

For some, the lifting of this ban is much anticipated and welcomed. For others, this news concerns them. While people have differing opinions on the ban’s lifting, owning cats has some science-backed benefits.

Since 1989, there has been a ban on having pet cats in government housing in Singapore, also known as HDB flats. This is because, according to HDB, cats are “generally difficult to contain within the flat. When allowed to roam indiscriminately, they tend to shed fur, defecate or urinate in public areas. They also make caterwauling sounds, which can inconvenience neighbours”. Offenders may be fined up to $4,000 if found to have a pet cat in their flat under the Housing and Development (Animals) Rules. 

However, the ban will be lifted after 35 years. From 1 September 2024, the Singapore government will allow up to two cats and one dog in each HDB household. This can be good news for HDB dwellers, as owning a cat comes with several benefits!

Cats & Stress Resilience 

Being carefree, cats can help one be more resilient towards stress as they take some of the load off one’s shoulders after a stressful day. They also lower anxiety and blood pressure levels. In the face of turmoil, having a pet around provides support to allow one to better cope with the stress being experienced. 

Research shows that purring generates vibrations between 20 and 140 hertz. This frequency is beneficial for the relaxation of the body and mind. Furthermore, petting a pet has a positive calming effect. Although human relationships might sometimes be unstable, cats provide a stable relationship. They provide companionship, which helps us feel less isolated at home and be better supported to overcome any stress hurdles. 

Creating A Social Connection

The need for the upkeep of cats teaches us to care for another living being, which improves our human relationships as we develop more care for others. They can also encourage us to be more social as we share our love for our cats with others around us. This can improve our empathy towards others as we connect with like-minded individuals by recognising that we have common ground in our appreciation of cats.

Improved Mood

When one interacts with cats, the “happy hormones” oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine are released in the brain. As a result of releasing these positive hormones, stress levels in the body are lowered. Research shows that cats in particular, decrease the stress hormone cortisol. In the presence of cats, people’s good mood increases and bad mood decreases. 


The legalisation of owning cats in HDBs could prompt many cat lovers to consider opening their homes to a new pet. Pet ownership has many benefits and may embellish your life with companionship and unconditional love. However, owning cats also involves long-term responsibility and commitment. That should be considered before ownership.

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