The caretakers of St John’s Island’s stray cats have been left highly distressed after 18 of the island’s longtime feline residents were apparently captured and taken away somewhere unknown.
Last Sunday evening, cat welfare group St John Island’s Cats announced on their Facebook page that they heard that a group of people had taken the cats out from the island, for reasons unknown. One of the welfare group’s members were told by boatmen that a posse of Caucasian people was seen taking 18 cats as some sort of rescue effort to relocate them in mainland Singapore — specifically in the Ang Mo Kio district.
According to St John Island’s Cats, the people who took away the cats aren’t part of their team, which has been taking care of the cats on the island for the last four years. Attempts to reach out to the group of people who abducted the cats failed to elicit clear answers, except the alleged news that one cat was put to sleep while another was handed over to an animal shelter.
The welfare group also expressed worries that the cats — said to be in sickly conditions — might cause a viral outbreak in mainland Singapore. Before the incident, the Agri-Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore had already taken away two of the island’s cats suspected with rabies.
The Facebook page of St John’s Island Marine Laboratory highlighted the disappearance of the clan of brown cats who’ve made the mangrove area of the island their home. One netizen noted that there are only two cats left at the mangrove area.
On Monday, St John Island’s Cats confirmed that the authorities have stepped in to look into the suspects who trespassed onto the island to trap the cats.
We’ve reached out to the animal welfare group to find out more about the ongoing case.
The cats of St John’s Island
Located 6.5 kilometers south of the mainland, St John’s Island is also known as Singapore’s own cat island. A large population of felines exists on the island, some of which are unsterilized and are believed to have been abandoned by their owners. The story goes that the former residents of the island left behind their cats when they moved to the mainland, leading to a boom in the population.
In an effort to control the number of cats on the island, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) have made regular trips there to neuter them.