In every neighbourhood in Singapore, there are community cats. Some are pets looking for outside stimuli. Some are street cats who have grown accustomed to humans. All of them have their own distinct personalities. No two cats are the same. Since I’ve moved around our fair island quite a bit, I thought I’d rank all the kitties I’ve ever known, from worst to best.
Aside from describing them briefly, I will also rank them according to five attributes that determine their overall personality. You can think of them as the feline equivalent to the Big 5 for humans. According to the Denver Post, these attributes are: skittishness, outgoingness, dominance, spontaneity and friendliness.
Lives in western Singapore. A clinic cat that lives in one of the oldest condominium estates in Singapore. Used to be chonky and eventually got to a healthier weight after a couple years of dieting. A neurotic cat that other cats seem to instinctively dislike. Will steal the food of dogs in the ICU because he knows they’re too sick to retaliate. Will also try to steak your food. Phil is an accomplished escape artist and can open doors.
Phil isn’t evil per se but he is extremely annoying to deal with and therefore the worst cat on this list.
Lives in northern Singapore, near a general practitioner’s clinic. Someone’s pet. A big, chonky orange and white cat with an extremely fluffy tail. Enjoys watching birds, such as pigeons, go about their daily foraging in the grass but never pounces, presumably because there’s too much work involved. Not particularly interested in human affection but will approach you to determine if you have food. Easily distracted.
Like Phil, Freddy isn’t evil. Or at least, not that we can perceive. If Freddy were a person, there’s a chance he might be that high-performance psychopathic CEO who doesn’t ever show their hand. Or in this case, their paws.
Lives in northern Singapore, just a block away from Freddy. Street cat. Thin, solid grey cat with green eyes. Unfortunately, she’s always squinting as it always seems too bright for Cotton. Sometimes Cotton has staring contests with Freddy during the evenings, maintaining a minimum distance of three feet. Cotton can be friendly, especially if you have food. She also likes to follow people, but this is independent of whether you have food.
Cotton isn’t a bad cat, she’s an okay cat.
Lives in central Singapore, near an ancient hawker centre and mixed residential and commercial development. A street cat with face full of scars and a meow softer than a baby’s hair. Light green eyes. Has a habit of sleeping on the stairs, which is the only way my colleagues and I can get to work. Nevertheless, people make way for King because he is royalty. Sleeps an alarming portion of his day away so I can only assume he is quite old. Will happily accept scritches along his chin.
Lives in central Singapore, in an aging HDB estate filled predominantly with old people. A pastel calico street cat that clearly has some Persian ancestry. Estimated to be around 5 years old of age. According to her feeder, Ginny has that funky bald patch on her back because someone poured boiling water on her. She’s since made a full recovery and emerges at night to lord over the bicycle racks. Spends all night compulsively rubbing her face against all the tyres.
Despite her compulsions and her slight standoffishness, I had grown rather fond of Ginny and her headbutting.
Bast is an elderly pet cat who lives in central Singapore. She is a grey mackerel tabby cat with arresting green eyes. Despite her regal bearing, she will allow herself to be picked up. She believes, however, that vocalizing is only for peasants. Therefore, if she needs a door opened, she will stand in front of it and stare at you until you notice.
If she likes you, she will want to be near you all the time, even if you’re working. She will also come to you when called, even if you don’t use her name. If you are among her favoured children, she will care for you like you’re her own kitten, mostly by guarding you and also grooming your arm with her sandpaper-like tongue.
And that’s the list!
Are there many cats in your neighbourhood? Do you and your family give them names? I always name them but my partner thinks this is very strange and will only serve to confuse the cats.