Wednesday, September 9

How many cats are there in Singapore?



One of the most interesting interview question I was given is to estimate the number of cats in Singapore.

I was given time to think it over, and write my answer down on a piece of paper.

There are no right or wrong answers. It is meant to test one's creativity skills (or "smoking" skills).

I remembered that Singapore has a population of 4.2 million.

For simplicity, I assumed that all Singaporeans lived in flats.
Each flat has an average of 15 floors.

For every 5 floors, I assumed there is a houehold that kept 1 cat (guesstimate)
So there are 15/5 = 3 cats per block.
(1) Adding a 0.5 cat for stray cats loitering in void decks, we get 3.5 cats per block of flats.

From observations, each floor has an average of 8 units.
And each unit has 4 people living.
So that would equate to 8 x 4 = 32 people living per level per block.
(2) Which equates to 32 x 15 = 480 people living per block.

And that means for every 480 people, there are 3.5 cats.
And since I remembered that Singapore has approximately 4.2 million people (at that time of my interview), the number of cats will proportionately be about

4,200,000 / 480 x 3.5 = 30,625 cats.
That's the estimated number of cats in Singapore!

Anyone else have a different approach?

About the Author: Shingo T did manage to pass this round of interview, but didn't make it past the 3rd round of test.

8 comments:

khengsiong said...

I'm sure there are very few stray cats. The government of Singapore can't tolerate them.

HappySurfer said...

I know there are a lot of stray cats in Singapore otherwise a fellow blogger would not have so kindly set up a cat shelter. The recession has resulted in more cats being dumped out. Sad actually.

Interesting interview question. Was that a contest you entered?

Roxy. said...

This is a really interesting question. If it was me, i would do more like racial segregation because i know more malay people would have cats then other pets.

foongpc said...

That's really an interesting question! I'm not very fond of cats though : )

Ai Shiang said...

There are many cats in Singapore? As in stray cats? I have not heard anyone mentioning about that before. I bet Malaysia has more because there is no regulations on stray cats and dogs. Or is there?

Cherish Tulips said...

Can you actually keep a cat when you are staying in a flat or HDB?I thought you need to have a landed property to own pets in SG.

~dolly~ said...

HAHA.. love your calculation..

Shingo T said...

khengsiong:
Yes, I believe Singapore sterilises stray cats.

HappySurfer:
It was an actual job interview. I read it's a generic question to test people's creativity.

Roxy:
Reasonable approach.

foongpc:
I'm not a fan of cats too.

Ai Shiang:
From observation, Singapore has more stray cats. Malaysia has more stray dogs.

Cherish Tulips:
Not sure if a license is needed for home pets in flats, but I see many Singaporeans keep pets at home.

Dolly:
Haha, you mean you like the way I "smoke" my way through.

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