A Product Design student in Lasalle College of the Arts sought to promote greater empathy towards community cats and designed a void deck installation that allows cats to eat, rest and play, as part of his final year project.
The student, Evan Tan, felt that the presence of community cats is not always welcomed, and that there is a lack of understanding and awareness of their struggles.
He titled his project, "Just Let Us Live Lah!"
The project includes three installations for three main components of a cat's daily life — eating, resting and playing.
The three designs are named "Habits of Eating", "Habits of Resting" and "Habits of Curiosity", and each highlights an aspect of a community cat's daily habits in community spaces.
The first, "Habits of Eating", was designed to provide a safe space for community cats to eat.
The opaque panels in this installation help to "hide" the cat when it is having its meal, so that it can eat without having to constantly watch its sides for potential danger.
The second design, "Habits of resting", is designed to provide a safe space for community cats to rest, and to show residents that community cats can cohabitate with humans within community spaces.
The third design is "Habits of curiosity", designed to highlight the curious nature of community cats and how they are able to adapt to the surroundings of community spaces.
The designs are made out of aluminium sheet metal finished with powder coating, says Tan.
Tan also added cork sheets to the design for their texture, which he believes the cats will like.
There is also a ratchet strap that secures each design in place, while being easy to remove.
Inspired by community spirit towards community cats
Tan was inspired by the community spirit among those who cared for community cats.
He witnessed this first hand when he adopted a community cat called Blackie during the Circuit Breaker period last year.
Blackie had suffered from cancer for a long time, and when its condition deteriorated, it had to be put down to not prolong its suffering.
He brought Blackie to other community feeders to pay their final respects, but to his surprise, other residents also came to say their goodbyes.
He realised that many in the community had an unspoken bond with community cats, and that sparked his idea for the project.
Tan hopes that the designs, if they are installed, will not only create a safe space for cats to roam around, but also encourage peaceful interactions between people and community cats in common spaces.
This will create an avenue for residents to talk about community cats.
Although Tan has plans to discuss his project ideas with the relevant government agencies, he has yet to do so as he does not want to rush out the idea.
He hopes that even if the designs are not installed, the project will "raise public awareness on the plight of community cats."
Tan's intentions for the project, he shared, were "to give light to community cats and the dedicated people who work so hard and fight for the rights just to care for them".
You can see the designs showcased in a video by Tan here:
Top images via Evan Tan.