Cats on Pulau Hantu

Date July 14, 2016

A group of campers who spent the night at Pulau Hantu in June shared with us the sighting of 3 feral cats during the night, one of which they managed to get a photo of. We are deeply concerned that people have been bringing their cats to the island to be abandoned. It might seem like a nice idea for a cat to have the whole island to itself, but in reality the island is home to several other animals such as migratory sea birds that must stop to rest and feed on the shore (on the mainland, cats have been observed to catch kingfishers), reptiles like water monitors (small ones are easily caught by cats), and not to mention the many intertidal animals that live in forage in the lagoons. Please do not bring cats or any animal onto our islands.

St John’s Island recently recovered from a cat infestation. What began with just a few cats on the island quickly increased to several dozen cats. There were cats everywhere and many of them were not in good health due to a lack of food, and were suffering injuries from cat fights. Controlling and then stabilising the cat population on the island took months of work by vets and volunteers. We cannot wait for the situation to get dire before we act. If just one of the three cats currently on the island was from the opposite sex, there is a potential for the cat population to quickly increase.

Below is an excerpt from an article about the impacts of invasive cats on islands:
“Cats are generalist predators that have been widely introduced to the world’s ~179 000 islands. Once introduced to islands, cats prey on a variety of native species … Feral cats on islands are responsible for at least 14% global bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions and are the principal threat to almost 8% of critically endangered birds, mammals, and reptiles.”[1]

The Hantu Blog is planning a trapping, neutering and rehoming plan for the cats. If you would like to make a donation to support our efforts, please email us!

2 Responses to “Cats on Pulau Hantu”

  1. Karyawan said:

    I went to the island June 2017. I came across two of them. Since it was the first time there I really don’t know much of the island’s state and surroundings. The cat pictured above was spotted wandering the perimeter of the island and another was seen loitering near the toilet. Did not know the whereabouts about the third. The very worrying thing about the cats is that they have become omnivores. One actually stole bread from the cleaners’ lunch box and also a fried egg from my lunch that I taobao.

    Planning to go there again this December holidays with my children.

  2. admin said:

    Dear Karyawan, there is very little food available to cats on Hantu Island that is suitable for cats, and it’s unfortunate that you had your food stolen. Hungry cats will become desperate, and it certainly sounds like it has come to that. It would be very useful if you could help us send feedback of this incident to the Singapore Land Authority who is in-charge of managing this island They need to be aware of this and its effect on visitors. Our efforts in 2016 to trap and neuter the two cats that were reported was a volunteer effort led by the Cat Welfare Society and the Hantu Blog. We rely on funds raised from donations and our diving trips, and we were in no way supported by Sentosa Development Corp., who was the authority of the island at that time. The authorities do need to hear from visitors such as yourself that this is impacting the island and the quality and safety of visitation and visitors.

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