Geylang cat cafe cats rescued & rehomed, SPCA found more than half looked malnourished

Poor meow meows.

Hannah Martens | March 01, 2024, 01:26 PM



Cats from a cat cafe in Geylang were rescued and rehomed after a viral TikTok video labelled it "questionable" and accused it of animal abuse.

The video, uploaded by TikTok user Zooey on Feb. 25, 2024, detailed her visit to Dessert Times @ I Love Cat Cafe in Geylang, located at 749 Geylang Rd, Lor 39.

She noted the poor conditions the cafe's seven cats were in and the dirty state of the place, and alleged that the cats were mistreated.

A statement by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said they had received several reports on the cats at Dessert Times @ I Love Cat Cafe.

Six cats were rescued, while the cafe owner was tasked to rehome the remaining cat.

According to the Straits Times (ST), the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) is investigating the cafe for operating without an animal exhibition licence.

Dirty conditions

Zooey noted in her video that the cat tunnels in the cafe were dusty and dirty.

She said that the cafe had poor ventilation and claimed that she could smell faeces while she ate.

The playroom that housed the seven cats was, according to Zooey,  cramped, and could barely fit two adults. She did not stay long in the room, claiming that it was "super stuffy and hot".

She also said that the kittens were skinny, claiming that she could feel their bones. She said that other cats did not like to be pet and "looked depressed".

Screenshot via TikTok/zigzagzooey

Zooey noted that the cats' food and water were locked up in a cabinet, and the cats were drinking from the tap at the basin where she washed her hands.

Screenshot via TikTok/zigzagzooey

Zooey noticed that the floor was dirty with kibbles, litter and faeces. She even spotted ants crawling around. The furniture was "dirty and in poor condition" according to Zoeey.

The cats only had one toy, so she used her necklace. While there was a cat tree, it appeared worn and unstable.

One of the cats in the cafe had bald patches along its body, and Zooey said that it flinched when she tried to pet it.

Screenshot via TikTok/zigzagzooey

During her visit, one of the cats apparently got stuck and defecated all over the floor "in fear". The staff then proceeded to lock all the cats up and close off the playroom, according to Zooey.

@zigzagzooey this cat cafe beats their cats, keep food and water locked, cats are bone skinny and flinch when touched. pls pls pls do your research before supporting any businesses that deals with other animals. don’t go blindly bc the cats look cute or the place looks aesthetic. check the one star reviews as businesses can get customers to leave good reviews in exchange for discounts/ freebies. there are better pet cafes that care for the wellbeing of their animals out there. ✅ update 24/2/24: multiple 5 star google reviews left within the past 1 hour? we visited around 7.30pm on a weekday, so could be cats were overstimulated and tired after interacting with previous customers. but this doesn’t mean the conditions are ok! you can help animal neglect/ cruelty cases by: - research before visiting animal cafes - file a report to SPCA ✅ update 28/2/24 - i love cat cafe has responded by saying "that the place is not a cat interaction business thus is it for fostering" - "This place is for rehoming of kittens and abondoned cats. We aim to improve their lives by helping them find a new family." - nowhere is this stated on their bio or website that they rescue cats - if it is not a cat interaction business, why would you call yourself I Love Cat Cafe? - did not address the poor conditions + staff beating cats? #catcafesg #sgfyp🇸🇬 #sgfyp #catcafe #sgcatlovers #catsofsingapore #sgplaces #animalwelfare ♬ original sound - zooey 🧿

In her caption, Zooey urged viewers to do their research before supporting any business that deals with animals.

"Don't go blindly [because] the cats look cute or the place looks aesthetic," she wrote.

Zooey subsequently updated her TikTok video caption with a response from I Love Cat Cafe.

The cafe claimed that it is "not a cat interaction business".

Rather, it said that it helps with the fostering and rehoming of abandoned cats, helping them to "improve their lives" by finding them a new family.

Screenshot via TikTok/zigzagzooey

One-star reviews on Google

Some reviews on Google also highlight the state of the cats at the cafe.

Other reviewers confirmed points that Zooey highlighted in her video -- that the cats would flinch at the slightest touch, and they would all rush to the sink for water.

One reviewer claimed that a staff grabbed a cat by its neck and slapped it in front of customers.

Screenshots via Google

Screenshots via Google

Screenshots via Google

Screenshots via Google

More than half the cats looked malnourished

Aarthi Sankar, the executive director of SPCA told Mothership that the animal welfare group observed "concerning signs of compromised welfare" when it visited the cafe on Feb. 26.

She said more than half the cats in the cafe looked malnourished, and five of them were allowed to roam while two cats shared a single cage.

Aarthi noted that the cage had no water source, and the litter box was soiled.

In the free-roaming space, resources were also inadequate, as the five cats shared three litter boxes and only one water bowl.

The cat tree was unstable, and the tunnels were dirty and covered with fur. Ventilation was limited to one fan with no openings.

"The SPCA considers neglect (failure to meet basic needs) to be a breach of animal welfare standards," Aarthi said.

On Feb. 27, SPCA made another visit with an independent rescuer, and the rescuer took six of the cats as it was the maximum she could accommodate.

Of the six, two were identified as being in poorer health and needed immediate veterinary attention.

The remaining cat was to be rehomed by the cafe owner.

ST reported on Feb. 29 that the owner, known only by his last name Tan, told the paper that he had done so.

The owner told ST that he had intended to rehome the cats when he opened the cafe. The owner had taken in the cats from people who previously gave them up and encouraged customers to adopt them.

However, the owner realised that he did not have the manpower or expertise to run such an operation.

The owner said that he had been planning to expedite the rehoming of the cats and close the shop for at least three months. The cafe has been open for about six months.

Top photos via TikTok/zigzagzooey