Adopting a pet in Singapore: where to rescue a dog, cat or small animal

Are you thinking of expanding your family to include a four-legged member? We've sniffed out the animal rescue shelters around Singapore...

If you’ve exhausted the pet cafes of Singapore and the kids are just not buying your suggestion that a small pet is best for small people, it could be time to start thinking about adopting a pet! If you’re a cat lover, Project SOKS (Save Our Street Kittens) have plenty of tiny cats searching for new families to love them. Whereas dog lovers should be aware that nine shelters have now moved to The Animal Lodge in Sungei Tengah where plenty of dogs will be looking for better lodging. But whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or long-time cat fan, or even a first-time fur-parent, you’ll find an abandoned soul looking for a fur-ever home at one of these animal rescue and pet adoption centres around Singapore.


Know your responsibilities

With the best will in the world and the promises from the kids that they are going to look after the new arrival, we all KNOW it will be us that ends up with the lion’s share of the responsibility when it comes to feeding, walking, cleaning up after and playing with the pooch or kitty. And like small children (and big children), puppies and kittens certainly know how to make mischief: patience is needed by the bucketload. Investing time in your pet is vital to make sure they learn some social skills and basic etiquette (like not peeing on your couch).

There will be expenses…

Adopting a pet is far less expensive than buying an animal here in Singapore – please don’t buy here: the cute furry bundles are often from puppy farms and less than savoury origins). Aside from initial outlay for adoption fees, food, toys, beds, leashes, etc, there is also the cost of having your animal microchipped, licensed, neutered and brought up-to-date with injections. Many of these costs will be ongoing so make sure you budget accordingly. If you are intending to move overseas at any point, you also need to factor in pet relocation costs, which can run into the thousands.


SPCA (Society for the Protection of Animals)

Thinking of adopting a pet? Pesto, Andle and Cinnamon are all hoping a new family will come pick them up from SPCA

The SPCA takes in more than 300 dogs, cats and other pets a month, and even just a quick glance at its adoption gallery of sad-looking eyes is enough to make us want to rush down and adopt them all. All of the animals are assessed for temperament and then given a colour code, which will help narrow down which pooch might be a good fit for your family. The SPCA is also part of an amazing initiative that has recently changed the rules on certain breeds approved to live in HDBs. As part of the new Project Adore scheme (ADoption and REhoming of dogs), HDB flat owners can adopt selected medium-sized local mixed breed dogs that are up to 15kg in weight and 50cm in height. Hurrah!
SPCA, 50 Sungei Tengah Road, Singapore 699012, t. 6287 5355;

ALL (Animal Lovers League)

Animal Lovers League (ALL) is a registered charity and home to around 700 dogs and cats. That is a LOT of abandoned animals looking for a new home but thankfully ALL has a strict no-kill policy. The animals that end up being rescued will stay at the centre until their new families come along to find them, no matter how long that takes.
Animal Lovers League, 61 Pasir Ris Farmway 3, Singapore 518232,
Moving soon: 59 Sungei Tengah Road, Block Q #01-29 to 01-32, 02-29 to 02-32, Block R #01-35 to 01-36, Singapore 669041;

ASD (Action for Singapore Dogs)

You’ll find pooches of all shapes and sizes, including Lumi, Gracie and Sweetheart, at ASD

ASD has been providing a second chance at life for man’s best friend since December 2000, with its Adoption and Rescue Centre (ARC) opening its doors in June 2007. ARC now has room for up to 54 dogs to be rehabilitated and re-homed at any one time, and also runs a boarding programme and a sterilisation programme across the island. A look through its current adoption gallery includes doggy darlings of all shapes and sizes (how can anyone resist the six-year-old Maka), and if you have a place in your home for a furry friend then you will find the perfect companion at ARC for sure. ASD also offers some great obedience classes over at Bishan Park (with $100 off for ASD rescued pooches) so that Rover can learn some manners.
ASD, 80 Lim Chu Kang Lane 1, Singapore 718911;

VFA (Voices for Animals)

VFA is a safe haven for retired breeding dogs (discarded by the horrifying puppy farm business). Most of the residents are small pedigree dogs who have never had a human to call their own. Adoption drives run every so often so you can go along and meet all the pets looking for a family. VFA also runs a stray feeding programme as well as rescuing other animals such as cats, rabbits, hamsters and more. It’s just moved to the new location at The Animal Lodge so stay tuned for updates!

SOSD (Save Our Street Dogs)

We met the very lovely Bindi at an animal adoption drive organised by SOSD.

The SOSD’s mission says it all: “We aim to eliminate cruelty and abandonment of animals, enhancing their welfare, and improve the lives of animals and humans, through rescue, education and advocacy”. The SOSD work tirelessly to not only save as many Singapore strays as they can from culling and abuse, but also to educate the public on misconceptions that cross-breed dogs are ferocious, dirty and second-class to pedigree breeds. Street dogs, no matter what their genetic make-up, can be loyal, wonderful pets who will be forever grateful for a home and the love that goes with it. Do have a look at the adoption gallery if you are thinking of adopting a pet, or maybe even foster one of the many beautiful street dogs who are so very deserving of a place to call home. Pet owners can also sign up to the Healing Paws volunteering programme to bring comfort to people through Animal-Assisted-Activities – after all, who doesn’t feel better after a little cuddle with a lovely pooch?
SOSD, 59 Sungei Tengah Rd, The Animal Lodge, Singapore 669014 (by appointment only);

Pets Looking For Adoption

Check out the Pets Looking For Adoption FaceBook page where you can click on endless photos of pets all needing a new home, including unwanted bunnies, chinchillas, terrapins, birds and more (the odd lobster has been known to pop up!). If your kids are pestering you for a pet then give the pet shops a wide berth and see if your new friend is on the adoption list instead. Adoption contact details will be displayed on each case.
Pets Looking For Adoption;

Exclusively Mongrels

Luna the Singapore Special came from Exclusively Mongrels to brighten our own home: and chew it up a tad too. Photography: Tracy Tristram

We adopted our own Singapore Special, Luna, from Exclusively Mongrels earlier this year and honestly can’t imagine life without her. Our garden will never be the same again, and we’ve lost the odd corner of furniture to her teething stage, but she really is the best puppy that ever there was. The rescue team  at Exclusively Mongrels have no permanent premises and rely on kind-hearted souls to foster pups and grown up dogs who are rescued often from impending doom at the AVA, or from the streets around Singapore. The team literally work around the clock matching Singapore’s mongrels with new families, and we, for one, are so happy we started following them on Instagram. That’s where we found Luna: it was futile to even try and resist!
Exclusively Mongrels;

CAS (Causes for Animals)

Many of the animals from Causes for Animals, including ToyToy, Jewel and Siam, are HDB approved

CAS is an animal welfare charity providing support to strays and unwanted pets across Singapore. It works closely with other animal organisations and strives tirelessly to help local street dogs and cats. It has been helping the helpless and loving the unloved since June 2013. Other than its stray management programme, it also houses pooches and pups for adoption as well as helping with adoptions from other shelters across Singapore. Alongside the many sleek and scruffy faces on its dog adoption gallery, it also has some kitties also in need of new homes to call their own. They hold pet owner classes (for kids!) with the next one happening on 7 September. Be sure to check out the annual Causes for Animals Animals’ Day Out on 16 September at Orchard Centre!
CAS, 81 Seletar West Farmway 5, Singapore 798057;

Mutts ‘n’ Mittens

Make room in your home and your heart for a mutt or a mitten from Pasir Ris-based Mutts ‘n’ Mittens. As well as (fully air-conditioned) boarding for existing pet dogs, it also runs a re-homing centre, which houses around 100 rescued dogs and cats. In its previous location, Mutts ‘n’ Mittens socialised the mutts in the Living Room (set up because most of the dogs have never seen a couch, a TV or even a mirror in their lives!), and the mittens in Kitty Korner. The furkids are still getting settled into their new location so we’re definitely hoping that the Living Room and Kitty Korner makes a comeback.
Mutts ‘n’ Mittens, 59 Sungei Tengah Road Blk B #01-03/04, The Animal Lodge, Singapore 699014 t. 6583 7371;

Cat Welfare Society

Have you got room in your home for Cat Welfare’s Princess Tanya, Nemo, Pudding or Luca?

Cat person? The Cat Welfare Society is going above and beyond in helping the domestic and community cats of Singapore. In the last 10 years there has been an average of 10,000 cats per year culled here in Singapore… a staggering number to contemplate. The Cat Welfare Society is doing all it can to change this awful statistic through sterilisation, education and adoption programmes. Do have a look at its adoption gallery if you feel that you can give a cat back its purr by joining your family (how can anyone resist ginger Pudding, pictured above? Those eyes…).
Cat Welfare Society, Orchard Road, Singapore 912303;

Project SOKS (Save Our Street Kittens)

“Hello, world!” If you’re looking for a kitten, then Project SOKS is packed with the most adorable kitties of all.

Two-woman band Claire Forbes and Julia Leimanis started Project SOKS when they discovered a need in Singapore for specialist neonatal care of orphaned and sick kittens. Their main focus continues to be on teeny, tiny kittens age four weeks and under, but they also run ‘trap, neuter and release’ programmes for adult strays. The team often bring the kittens to their own homes to rear, and also rely on a fleet of foster carers to help until new homes can be found. If you are after the cutest kittens in Singapore, the chances are you’ll find it at Project SOKS.
Project SOKS;

The Right to Live

Meet Sesame! How could you say no to that smile? Photography: The Right to Live

If you are thinking of adopting a pet, but are bamboozled by which shelter to start with, we can personally recommend the good folk and the array of pooches at The Right to Live. The non-profit centre is home to around 120 abandoned dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. If you have time to spare, the shelter is always looking for volunteers to take the doggies on walks!
The Right to Live, 59 Sungei Tengah Road, Block S, #01-37/38/39/40, Singapore


Don’t forget that there are other ways that you can help if you are unable to adopt a furry friend. You can sponsor a dog in the Trap-Neuter-Release programmes to control the number of stray dogs in Singapore. Fostering is a great scheme that most of the shelters run so that you can get your furry fix without the lifelong commitment of permanent ownership. It is also an ideal way to see whether your family really DO want a pet! We know many families that went on to adopt their foster fur kids. Volunteering to help out at the centres and through stray feeding programmes is also another rewarding way to assist. Sponsorship and donations are also gratefully received. The shelters rely heavily on fundraising and the generosity of the public to keep their good work going. Every donation, no matter how large or small, is going to go to a very worthy, wonderful cause.

Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:

Small pets for small people
Volunteering ops for adults in Singapore
Volunteering ops for kids in Singapore
Ethical animal encounters around Asia

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