S'pore man, 25, fined S$10,000 for not feeding his cat enough for weeks leading to its death

He left the cat alone for two months with no food and water, and he did not check on the cat.

Hannah Martens | February 01, 2023, 02:51 PM

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A 25-year-old man was fined S$10,000 by a district court on Jan. 30 for not giving his pet cat sufficient food and water, causing the cat's death.

Khairulnizam Khan Bin Kamalrozaman, 25, was charged with one count under the Animals and Birds Act of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to a cat, reported CNA.

According to court documents, Khairulnizam could not provide funds to pay his fine and was sentenced to 20 days in jail.

Did not feed the cat for two months

Between Dec. 25, 2020, and Feb. 2, 2021, Khairulnizam failed to provide enough food and water regularly for the cat, said CNA.

In the court documents, Khairulnizam stayed in a flat in Sembawang Crescent with his wife in 2018.

Khairulnizam adopted a grey cat back in February 2019.

In October 2020, Khairulnizam and his family did not live in the Sembawang flat.

Instead, they chose to stay either with his in-laws in Woodlands or his aunt in Boon Lay, as it was nearer to his workplace at Jurong Port.

The cat was left behind at the Sembawang flat, and Khairulnizam would return sporadically to feed it.

He admitted that the last time he fed the cat was sometime in December 2020.

Foul smell coming out from flat

Khairulnizam's neighbour messaged him between Dec. 25, 2020, and Feb. 2, 2021, due to a foul smell emanating from the flat.

The neighbour asked Khairulnizam if the cat had died, as the neighbour had not seen Khairulnizam return to the flat for a couple of months.

Several messages by the neighbour were sent to Khairulnizam saying that the foul smell was getting stronger and he needed to return to his Sembawang flat immediately to check on the cat, CNA reported.

However, Khairulnizam did not return to check on the cat.

According to CNA, the National Parks Board (NParks) received feedback from a member of the public regarding a dead cat at the Sembawang flat on Feb. 2, 2021.

NParks officers investigated on the same day and found a dead cat inside the flat.

According to a post-mortem examination done by NPark's vet, the carcass indicated a state of mummification and significant autolysis.

This means that the dying or dead cells digested themselves.

The cat's time of death could not be deduced, said NPark's vet, but it would take at least a week for the carcass to reach that state of autolysis and mummification.

Unable to raise funds for the fine

Khairulnizam was charged in August 2022 for starving his pet cat to death, but the charge was later amended to the current one in October 2022.

He asked for adjournment twice to raise funds to pay for the fine, citing his wife had just given birth and then saying he promised to take his daughter out for Chinese New Year, CNA said.

During a hearing on Jan. 18, Khairulnizam said he did not have any funds and asked for a deferment.

Unable to pay the fine, Khairulnizam was sentenced on Jan. 30, 2023, to 20 days in jail.

For unreasonably causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal under the Animals and Birds Act, those found guilty could be fined up to S$15,000, 18 months in jail or both.

Top photo of cat (not actual cat that died) via Unsplash