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.


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...

Yes, I believe Singapore sterilises stray cats.

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

Reasonable approach.

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.

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

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