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20 cats stranded for over a week in Bukit Merah flat, after owner abandoned them when sewage pipe burst

When a sewage pipe burst in a Bukit Merah flat, the house owner abandoned it but left his 20 cats behindHe informed the authorities only eight days laterRescuers rushed to the unit and found that some of the cats were drinking from the leaked sewage pipeThe cats were exposed to risk of malnutrition and poisoning from the toxins in human waste, said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

By Sufiyan Samsuri Published September 6, 2023 Updated September 7, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — When a sewage pipe burst in his flat, the apartment owner abandoned the unit but left his 20 cats behind. He informed the authorities only eight days later.

By the time rescuers arrived at the Bukit Merah flat, the unit’s floor had been covered in human waste and some of the stranded cats were drinking liquid from the sewage pipe leak.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told this sordid tale in an Instagram post on Wednesday (Sept 6).

It was alerted by the Cat Welfare Society on Aug 18 about the state of the 20 cats.

The flat owner had informed the Cat Welfare Society that the pipe had burst eight days earlier, leaking waste in the flat.

The owner had left the cats, including a kitten, to “fend for themselves”, putting them at risk of malnutrition and poisoning from the toxins in human waste, SPCA added.

Personnel from SPCA and the Cat Welfare Society rushed to the flat that same evening, but managed to enter only after midnight.

They found the floor covered in human waste and observed that some of the cats, having been starved of fresh water for over a week, were drinking from leaked fluids.

Two of the cats were also found inside cages, denied of access to any food or water.

Calling the situation “dire”, SPCA alerted the authorities to seize the cats and provide them with urgent medical attention.

The rescue operation lasted 12 hours, it said.

“The SPCA is committed to supporting the rehoming of these cats upon completion of the investigations and has asked the authorities to further investigate the incident,” it added.

“The cats could have faced life-threatening consequences if we had not attended to them in time.”

This was not the first time it had encountered such situations, SPCA added.


Pets are a “lifetime responsibility” and it is their guardian’s duty to ensure that they are cared for no matter the situation, SPCA stressed.

“Even before a crisis, have a plan for what you will do if you are suddenly unable to care for your pets. This could involve seeking help from a relative or a friend who can temporarily accommodate them.” 

Pet owners may contact SPCA’s hotline at 6287 5355 or email enquiries [at] spca.org.sg if they face difficulties or to ask for help. 

“It could mean the difference between life and death for your pets,” SPCA said.

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