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Choo Mei Fang
Friday, Oct 10, 2014

Singapore

He lets cats sleep in room while he sleeps in alley

The New Paper | Choo Mei Fang | Friday, Oct 10, 2014

Mr Lee Guang Ming decided to sleep in a back alley so his cats could sleep indoors.

He is not homeless, but sleeps on a chair in an alley every night.

Lottery ticket seller Lee Guang Ming does this so that his 30-odd cats can rest comfortably indoors.

The 75-year-old man, who is single, has been renting a room on the second storey of a terrace house since 2007.

But as the number of cats living with him at Yio Chu Kang Road gradually increased, the room started becoming too cramped.

So he decided to sleep outdoors, as he couldn't bear to see his cats do that.

Mr Lee told The New Paper yesterday that he adopted so many cats because he does not want them to suffer on the streets.

He said he found the strays and abandoned cats around his estate.

His neighbours have complained about the mess and odour created by his pets.

As a result, he has to move out by the end of this month.

He has not found a new place yet.

"I understand that not everyone likes cats. Since my neighbours have complained, I don't want to cause any further inconvenience," he said in Mandarin.

His neighbours told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that they had been complaining to the landlord for several months.

The cats would wail loudly at night and disturb their sleep, they said. The felines also dirty the area by urinating and defecating everywhere.

A strong stench greeted Lianhe Wanbao reporters when they visited the room. Items were also strewn around the place.

His cats were found on the roof of the terrace house, underneath vehicles and around the rubbish bin.

LETTING GO

Mr Lee said that he used to have about 80 cats, but has been slowly letting them go in preparation for his imminent move.

"I would love to take all my cats with me to my new home, but I know that it will be hard to accommodate so many cats. I will miss those that I have released," he said.

Mr Lee, who earns about $1,000 a month, spends $550 on his room rental and the bulk of the remainder on his cats.

He cares more about their well-being than his own. His two meals a day consist of plain rice and vegetables. In contrast, he spends more than $20 on cat food every day.

Mr Lee grew up in a family that had trouble making ends meet. He, along with his three younger brothers and a sister, often starved.

He said he can relate to stray cats wandering around because he was once homeless too. Their plight also tugs at his heartstrings.

He said: "Wherever I go, I will still continue to take in strays. Cats are no different from human beings.

"They deserve love and a home."


This article was first published on Oct 8, 2014.
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