Time for a pad of their own

Time for a pad of their own

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Even the coolest of HK's cats don't get out much, but that may be about to change, writes Zoe Mak

Cats live indoors and seldom have a chance to mingle with fellow felines. But a group of Hong Kong cat lovers have come up with the idea for a park where their pets can roam freely and play together.

Grace Cheung Kei, president of United Feline Odyssey, is calling for the government to provide a public space for cats.

'It's good to let cats meet other cats, so they can play together and their owners can also meet each other,' she said.

Cheung described cats as very sensitive animals, and said an indoor play area would be the most suitable.

'It would be great to have a small indoor area - about 200 to 300 square feet - at a recreational centre managed by the LCSD,' she suggested.

'Owners would have to ensure their cats were vaccinated, and present their vaccine cards when they visit.'

According to Cheung, the cats would require only simple exercise equipment, like scratching posts and some cat-agility facilities. Owners could take responsibility for disinfecting toys after use.

She said the area would be no different to a dog park - except there would be no need for cat litter boxes, as cats usually only use their litter trays at home.

The indoor cat garden should also be free for the public, she added.

Other cat owners welcomed the idea. Vivian Chang, owner of a white Persian, thought it would be great for her long-haired cat.

'I cannot take my cat outdoors because she gets dirty very easily. Her hair, especially, always became tangled so I just gave up. I take her out only once a year for her vaccination,' she said.

'But I'm concerned about hygiene at an indoor garden, given that it's open to the public.'

Yam Kai-ming, who occasionally takes his orange tabby cat to outdoor pet parks, also welcomes the idea. But he, too, has concerns over hygiene.

'Not every owner would take responsibility for cleaning everything after use, so there should be a designated person to regularly clean the place,' he said.

'And cat owners also need to bear in mind that not every cat will get along with other cats in such a small area, so they need to be careful.'

And a spokeswoman for the SPCA (HK) reminded cat owners it is important to ensure their pet is not under stress when it is outside. Otherwise, she explained, they might run away and injure themselves.

Cheung said she hasn't yet made any official proposals or applications to the government. First, her organisation wants to test the popularity of their idea.

So, this Saturday, from 2 to 7pm, and Sunday, from 4 to 7pm, a cat garden will open to the public and their cats at Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill.

Called 'Feline Agility Paradise', the garden will feature climbing and jumping equipment from the United States. Admission is free.

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