Orphaned cats forced to move out of The Cat Museum due to enforcement notice by MND

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

UPDATE: The Ministry of National Development responds


The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion of Singapore has been doing the Lord’s work in providing a safe home for abandoned cats and kittens, as well as being a purr-fect place for those seeking to adopt feline pets.

So it’s pretty shocking to find out that the museum has been forced to downgrade its space by the end of this month. What makes it even more unsettling is that the person behind the imminent eviction of its fostered cats is allegedly Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who seems to have signed off on an enforcement notice regarding the cat museum.


Lion City Kitty

Photo: Coconuts Media

When it first opened its doors in January 2014, Lion City Kitty: The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion had a unique concept. The whole establishment takes up three whole floors of a shophouse along Purvis Street as Singapore’s first and only cat museum. It was founded by former radio broadcaster Jessica Seet, and was officially opened by Minister of Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam.

Minister Shanmugam meeting an orphan cat with Cat Museum founder Jessica Seet. Photo: The Cat Museum

The second floor of the shop house is a Cat Museum, featuring feline-related visual artworks and pieces from around the world. The floor above it hosts the Muses gallery, where visitors are welcome to play with cats in a space designed to give the cats an ideal home environment and help them find potential adopters. The top floor houses the Mansion, a sprawling playground complete with toys, scratching posts and more for the nine star cats who reside in the premises.

Last December, the Mama & Munchkins Nursery was set up in the space to care for neo-natal baby kittens that no other animal welfare organizations were willing to handle.

Baby Kimchi, who would have perished were it not for a kind samaritan who brought her to The Nursery. Photo: The Cat Museum


The eviction notice

By the end of September, The Cat Museum founder will no longer have all three floors of the shophouse to herself — instead, the establishment will only be allowed to operate on one floor. This creates quite a pickle, of course, for the dozens of fostered cats who still reside at the premises — they could end up homeless if their relocation is unsuccessful.

According to Seet, the Ministry of National Development (MND) sent the museum an enforcement notice — which can be read in full here — to bar visitors from meeting and adopting the cats and kittens at the museum. MND’s discontent seems to stem from the collection of admission fees from visitors to the third and fourth floors of the shophouse, which are considered residential premises (Seet lives on those two floors).

Here’s her rebuttal to MND’s declared issues:

Nonetheless, Minister Wong has rejected the appeal to continue allowing visitors of The Cat Museum to meet and adopt the fostered cats. We’ve reached out to Seet to obtain more details of MND’s issues with her museum.

But it’s not only the animals that will be evicted. The notice sent by Minister Wong has apparently upset the landlord of the shophouse, and Seet’s lease for the third and fourth floors of the premises will not be renewed.

What’s next?

Photo: Coconuts Media

Though extremely disappointed, Seet remains undaunted. She plans to find a new permanent home for The Cat Museum in 2018, and to provide a larger and better-equipped nursery for the neo-natal kittens in need. She also plans to set up proper infrastructure for better education and training for the adoption of cats.

As such, Seet has put out an open call to the public to aid her in her efforts to save the Cat Museum. Monetary donations can be made towards the fundraising campaign, which will involve three weekends of visits that’ll cost patrons a premium admission fee of up to $20. Of course, visitors are also strongly encouraged to adopt the kitties, because that’ll save them from eviction. More details can be found on their Facebook page.

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