Not everything is a cat issue
I spoke to the HDB officer this afternoon finally and also spoke with the volunteer afterward. The officer said they managed to see the woman and that she was fine. They wanted to call CWS or the volunteer down but the woman said she was in a rush and would not be around to speak to anyone.
I told the officer that this is no longer a cat issue. The volunteers have said that the smell is bad, but it does not smell like cats. Also, they do not hear any cats inside the flat. I asked her if they have inspected the flat - they have not, because she is reluctant to let them in. I told the officer that it cannot be lumped as a 'cat problem' just because the woman may have had cats once. It sounds as if this has become a hygiene issue - whether or not she has cats is incidental to the fact that she clearly cannot keep the flat clean.
The officer kept insisting that if she has cats they still need our help to speak with her. I told her this was not a problem, but in all likelihood, removing any cats (if there are still any cats inside) is NOT going to stop the smell.
I spoke to the volunteer after and one of the other volunteers managed to catch hold of the woman. She denied she had any cats left in the flat. She would not open the door and stood behind the door and spoke to the volunteer.
Sometimes it's just easier to lump it as a cat issue then to face the actual problem - ie that it might be a problem with the person or people involved because then how would you solve THAT?