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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Melody, now Sissi

Hi Elaine,

Melody, now renamed Sissi after a famous Austrian princess, says hi!

She's doing fine except for a habit of licking/biting her legs/paws until bleeding....thus earning her the e-collar since the 3rd day of being home. Doesn't look like food allergy, and I can't spot flea signs....maybe other parasites under the skin or simply itchy healing wounds after the ingrown nails?

I'm monitoring if the condition improves, otherwise I'll take her to the vet in the next few days. We're also suspecting she's either not hearing well, or she pretends not to hear us (especially when being scolded for being naughty!)

All in all she's opening up to us, shamelessly begging for food when we're at the table. Her happy face is the best reward for everything else!

cheers

Bulan


Sissi sitting in one of her favourite positions - with her paws daintily placed one over the other.

I replied Sissi's mommy telling her that Melody's itchy paws might be a contact allergy of some kind:

Her paws might also be a contact allergy of some kind, maybe grass or household cleaners. To find out you will have to try getting her to stop walking on grass for a while or wear booties, then see if it improves. If not, then try changing the household cleaners. If that still does not work, sometimes dogs chew on their paws out of boredom so maybe she just needs more toys.
We are so happy for Sissi!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

cross-over

Just minutes ago, Sayang was sitting on my lap purring, when suddenly both of us heard a loud clink-clank sound, as if someone knocked over something ceramic. Sayang emitted a soft growl, and ran to the main door. I went to investigate.

There are only three ceramic cat bowls in and around our house, one is Scooter's, the other is the two bowls outside our house which we use as a feeding station for the strays in our area, mainly now Wang Wang and Mommy cat and occasionally, Daddy cat.

I saw a cat that is actually a Zone 2 cat, looking for food. By the time I went outside to try and get a picture of him, he had run off.

The cat sighted looks very similar to this other Zone 2 cat who is no longer with us.


This cat is also a terrorist-cat, or he could be the original one that Auntie Rose named thus, because they look very alike. I have witnessed him terrorising the cats in Zone 2 before, and Andy has seen him roam into our Zone 1 territory recently, which was when this picture was taken.

It is quite hard for us to neuter the Zone 2 cats regularly because we don't have an anchor-sponsor or cat-patron of this zone. Sporadic funding means sporadic sterilisation, which is also harder to organise. We can only conduct sterilisation when sponsorship comes forward. But we will need to address this issue soon. Entire cats are hard to track, and they are causing a nuisance to the Zone 2 residents which results in them regularly 'disposing' of the cats there. If you are keen to come forward with financial help in sterilising the Zone 2 cats (including this guy) do contact us.

Friday, January 29, 2010

new harness!


With Aswat's help we got ourselves a new harness for taking our cats out of the house. This one is from Ferplast, actually meant for ferrets, known as the Jogging series.

Aswat had ordered us the L size which fits Scooter snugly, and Slinky not at all. Sayang looks unladylike with it on, but Scooter superbly handsome! To us anyway -


He hated it at first, of course, but now has it on and does his normal activities - eat, play, toilette - wearing it since Andy fetched the harness home from Angels earlier on.

A safer option definitely, compared to our old harness, (faintly visible on Sayang here). It has two velcro flaps and one adjustable clippy-clip like the kind you use on your haversacks and backpacks. Imagine how you wear a life-vest when doing sea activities, that is pretty much how it works.

The leash itself is actually elastic, another added point of interest to this product. I reckon it gives more mileage to the cat, enabling it to walk you instead of the other way around as it should be with dogs.

Our next step in re-introducing harness-and-leash training to Scooter with this new product is to get him used to the leash attached to the harness while he is wearing it. It will take a while. For now, he will wear the harness like a cute life-vest around the house, looking like he is about to scoot off into an adventure somewhere!

This Ferplast harness with leash retails for about $29.

Jacey, now Miki

Hi Elaine,

This is Xinran, who adopted Jacey on the 25th Jan 2010... We renamed her Miki and she is well and playful. She has been having diarrhoea... so we brought her to see our vet which gave her some anti-diarrhoea and anti-gas medicine... the vet suggested another visit in about 2 weeks for her vaccination. I was advised to keep her from my resident cat, Viki, for 1-2 weeks just in case as well. I am currently feeding her Royal Canin for Kittens, moistened with water and sprinkled some probiotics (Lacteoforte) on top for her diarrhoea as well. Got some Wellness canned food for her...

Here are some pictures of Miki in her new room. It is kept separated from the rest of the house by a sliding door. There was one time where Viki opened it for her when I accidentally left a crack there! They are still not friends yet, but will get there eventually. Thank you for saving Miki and giving her a chance at a happy life! All the best to the new kitty, Xiao Jie as well.

Regards,
Xinran


Thursday, January 28, 2010

a gift for Ubi Kuching Project's stressed cats

Today we received a beautiful gift for Squirrel our pregnant cat and 小杰 our injured cat.
This gift is a diffuser of feline pheromones, mimicking the scent that cats leave around their territory (through stropping and rubbing) to feel safe. Through talking to a friend of Ubi Kuching Project, we shared about the cats boarding with us now, and as a surprise, our friend responded by buying us this gift for them - thank you so much, cat-angel!

小杰 is a really docile cat, but with his recent bout of dehydration and his injury, we worry because he hasn't been eating. We had to feed him water and vitamins with a syringe instead, and we fear that if he doesn't eat his bodily functions might give out. Squirrel on the other hand, has been eating, but is stressed out enough to hide inside the litter tray most of the time, trying to be as still as possible, which is not totally ideal at all.

Tomorrow we will plug the Feliway diffuser in and see how it works on the two. Maybe right after the pheromones diffuse, Squirrel will give birth...!

The product is used by fitting the three-pin plug to a socket, and it can be used 24-hours, lasting for 4 weeks before it will need a refill vial.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Sayang


She places one foreleg onto my forearm, nestling it just in the crook of my arm, proceeding then to place her dainty chin on her paw, purring with love. She smells like cotton, feels like it too, so soft, nothing the most expensive fabric could possibly replicate. Her name is Sayang, which means love.

She is not the prettiest cat in the world, there are far prettier ones. She is not of exquisite pedigree, nothing a feline fancier would take a shine to. She is just herself, loving, showing it through hugs and purrs and meows for attention.

Sayang has just turned a year old, although we cannot ascertain her exact birth date. I worry about her even at her age, worry that she might die young, worry that she might fall sick, sorry that I cannot afford to be more paranoid. For now, she warms my lap, happy, contented, probably happier now than she was when she was just born in the streets.

She may not be my first cat, but she is the first one that I chose to take home, without discussion with anyone else in the household, because I could not stand for her to have one more night alone and sick in her boarding pen. She is my first purring cat, one who loves hugs, so opposite from Slinky who is no doubt still very special to me, but Sayang will always be irreplaceable for her loving personality.

I remember the time she first came on heat, earlier than we had expected, when she was about five months old. She couldn't help meowing all night, she couldn't help being in need, and Slinky the queen of aloofness Herself, even went over to lick Sayang in concern. When we brought Sayang home from her spaying surgery, I remember weeping to see her in drowsy pain, but knowing that the procedure would save her from more pain for the rest of her life.

Sayang is an absolutely amazing cat. I love her to bits and hope she remains in my life for the next ten years and onward.

Happy Birthday Sayang.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

an outdoor cat shelter in the US

Andy found this video of an amazing cat shelter - it is like a safari of sorts, where the cats are given greenery to roam in, un-caged, and access to the house if they want shelter. There are a lot of cats in this shelter, yet every cat seems healthy and well-fed, which is not always the case in catteries. Check it out -

小杰 from NUS

Today we received a frantic call from our friends at NUS Cat Cafe - a student-run initiative that feeds, cares for and neuters the cats on the NUS campus.

They had a cat that was recently injured, suffering multiple cuts and wounds on his paw that had turned into abscesses. He was also not eating and drinking, and had become severely dehydrated. They brought him to the vet to get his wound checked out, and was put on IV to address his dehydration. They had then needed a place for the cat to board for 10 days, where he would need daily dressing change and medication. At present, they do not have boarding space for rehabilitating cats in their school.

So, 小杰 (Xiao Jie, or Little Outstanding) became Ubi Kuching Project's first 'self-paying' boarding stray cat; the students that raised funds for his veterinary care have also put together some funds for his boarding. He was brought over to Angels this afternoon, alongside his medication and dressing.
Finding boarding for 小杰 was tricky for the NUS folks because his bandage required daily changing, which meant more intensive care than any regular boarding customer at a pet shop. When Say Lin from NUS Cat Cafe came to us, he had already exhausted all other options possible to board 小杰 elsewhere. We managed to find a way to give 小杰 his own pen, and he is now resting at Angels Pet Shop where he will be for the next two weeks.


Even though he is sick, this cat is really docile and did not mind us handling him, although he looks awkward with his bandaged boxing-glove of a paw.

He is trying not to move too much, favouring his left foreleg instead of his right, which is all bandaged up. Aswat will need help with changing his dressing daily, because one will need to hold him while the other cleans and redresses his wounds. Hope Little Outstanding from NUS recovers really soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

chirrupping

Cats have a unique set of meows, which are used to communicate different needs. One of these sounds is the chirrup, which sounds a bit like a chirp and a bit like a meow. They usually make this sound whenever there is something they want to get to, but can't.

At our home, our favourite chirrupper is Sayang, who chirrups whenever she cannot get at a toy (usually a wand toy) or at a fly on the wall, which was what we caught her doing tonight. Although, tonight's chirrupping is not her most bird-like yet, it still sounds like meowing -

Unfortunately, the fly is invisible to the camera, so you've just gotta imagine what in the world she is meowing at! Will try to get her at her most bird-like chirrupping some time!

eagle pro

Caveat emptor! Maggots found in large size bag of Eagle Pro Holistic dog food by one of our Ubi pet owners. ETA (Eagle Pro supplier in Singapore) has not yet advised on the cause. In the meantime, do advise your pet shop to re-pack the food for you to ensure that none are found in yours.

melody and jacey both adopted!

It was an eventful day at Ubi Kuching Project.

After I returned Jacey to her boarding pen at the shop, I took Melody with me to our vet because a potential adopter for Mel had come forward offering to sponsor a diagnostic check-up for her dry eyes and nose.

Dr Hsu said that Mel's dry eyes is likely a condition that developed from young, and prescribed a topical solution that would help her tear glands function normally again in time. He also offered a prescription for artificial tears that can be used to lubricate her eyes in the meantime. He said that her dry nose is simply due to her improper diet in the past, and all in all Melody is healthy and a good dog! Mel really behaved herself during her check up too. Dr Hsu also gave the feedback that Mel was safe to undergo sterilisation, probably not immediately though as she has just come on heat. He also said her heart was good, something he took note to mention as Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniels tend to have heart conditions.

After Mel, her sponsor and I returned to the shop, Aswat gave her a thorough grooming and her sponsor decided to adopt Melody after all! Mel's new mommy bought her lots of stuff too, and carried her home in her new carrier -

Mel's new family initially came by to view her on Saturday, with the intention of finding a dog that was medium in size, gentle in nature. They had discussed after they went home, that they probably wouldn't be able to find another dog that was more gentle than Melody.

Halfway through, another animal lover came along, this time to view and adopt Jacey! Jacey will be their second cat, their first also a stray that they adopted. They brought their carrier along all the way from their home far west, already with the intention to take Jacey home. They also went to the nearby hardware store to get a DIY litter tray, to be their second in the home for Jacey's use. (Amidst the hubbub in the shop today I forgot to get a snapshot of Jacey with her new mommy and daddy, hope they send us pics of her in her new home soon though!)

We are really happy here for Melody and Jacey! Hope that they will lead long happy lives and add boundless cheer to their new families.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

update on jacey

Jacey's eye injury has totally healed! Her gum is also no longer swollen from dehydration. Her eyes can open sooo big:

She is really active and jumpy, and loves to play, and gets along well with the other animals in the shop, even Melody. She hates being caged up, meowing to be let out whenever we are near, so we have been taking turns to foster her at our homes so she won't be in a pen all the time in the shop.

Tonight she is staying with me and Andy. We brought her home in my bag, like how we brought her to Ubi from Joo Chiat:

After some supper of Evanger's (which she totally loved) she is now playing around our cat condo -

She is so cute, hope she gets adopted soon!

Friday, January 22, 2010

new cat

Spotted a new ~4-month old male kitten today in Ubi Central:

He is very vocal, very manja. Likely recently abandoned because there are no longer any entire females in Ubi Central that would have given birth to him.

melody the king charles spaniel


This is Melody, the latest doggy-addition to Ubi Kuching Project.

She has been put up for adoption by her previous family who no longer has the time to care for her. She is a really easy-going dog, quiet, happy, loves to lounge around or walk depending on her human companion. Her bark is not very loud and she would make a perfect apartment pet.


She hasn't been on a really proper diet before, sporting a touch of dry skin on her nose. She used to eat human table scraps.

She is six years old, not neutered nor vaccinated, a pure-bred King Charles Spaniel. The owner did not provide any vaccination papers and she would do well with a once-over medical check-up by her new owner.

If you are keen to visit and adopt Melody, please contact Aswat at 9337 8211 / 6748 9810 or visit Angels Pet Shop at Blk 302 Ubi Ave 1 #01-49.

appeal for cat feeder and sponsor for Kim Chuan Drive

Forwarded to me from Cat Welfare Society:

I am sending this urgent appeal on behalf of a cat aunty. The Cat aunty told me that there are many extremely skinny unsterilised cats near 45 Kim Chuan Drive. She had tried to approach a eatery house and the foreign workers to request help to feed the cats with the food provide and no one is willing.

The aunty is staying very far away from Kim Chuan Drive and she does not have any transport.

We are willing to contribute food if there are willing feeders there.

I can be contacted at 91760514.

Bee Leng Seah

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poll Results

How much do you spend on your cat per year?


Results seem to show that on average most cat-owners spend between $40+ to $100 a month on their cat. We hope this information is useful for those considering adopting a cat.

jacey!




Jacey is a-ok now, and ready for adoption! After rehabilitation she is no longer dehydrated. Her eye is still a bit teary but we suspect it is from a bite injury, and it has healed more or less 100% by now. We have given antibiotics as well to make sure her eye injury heals well with no more infection.

She has learnt to play with other kittens, learnt to use the litter box, and has been eating dry kitten food. She has also put on weight already! We have also groomed and showered her, and de-wormed her.

She is looking for a new home so she can be loved forever. If you are keen to view and adopt Jacey, please call Aswat at 9337 8211 / 6748 9810 or visit Angels Pet Shop where she is now boarding.

appeal for Sookie

Sookie, our rescued cat who has no owner and no one coming forward to want to adopt her, has become a permanent resident at Angels Pet Shop.

She is unfortunately too scared to venture outside the shop and has to be kept in a pen during closing house because she does not dare to roam the streets at night.

Because of this, Sookie has become a long-term boarding cat Angels and will be so for as long as she wants to remain in the shop.

We love Sookie but it costs to take care of her. Boarding costs for a cat are at $3.50 a day, which comes up to $108.50 a month. If you would like to help up offset her boarding costs, please donate $3.50 on behalf of Sookie so that we can continue to take care of her. Also, if you have an additional pen that you no longer need, we would appreciate the donation. We also accept donations of food and pine pellets for her cat litter (she is still drinking a lot of water). Sookie's current cage can be used for rehabilitating and re-homing animals which means space for one more animal in need that we can save. If you are keen on donating cash, please see here to find out how. If you have a cage to donate, please email me at avalon.apart [at] gmail.com with dimensions so we can work out how to fit her new cage in our limited space. For food and pine pellets you can drop them off at Angels Pet Shop or purchase them for her at the shop itself.

To all those that have helped Sookie in one way or another, a big thank you. Sookie thanks you too, do come and visit her if you are in the area.

adoption rates at a glance

Here are the adoption rates from other agencies:

SPCA
Male Dog = $145
Female Dog = $155
Female Cat = $65
Male Cat = $50


ASD
Dog, Male Local = $200
Dog, Female Local= $220
Male Pedigree Puppy = $280
Female Pedigree Puppy = $300
Male Pedigree Adult = $230
Female Pedigree Adult = $250
Male Pedigree Senior = $200
Female Pedigree Senior = $220


Ubi Kuching Project

Dog
Puppy, local breed = $120
Puppy, pedigree or cross breed = $150
Adult dog, local breed = $70
Adult dog, pedigree or cross breed = $100

Cat
Kitten, local breed = $35
Kitten, pedigree or cross breed = $60
Adult cat, local breed = $30
Adult cat, pedigree or cross breed = $65

Our adoption liaison is Aswat at Angels Pet Shop, contact no. 9337 8211 / 6748 9810

Plus $50 max. if the animal received veterinary attention

Squirrel the mother cat from Bedok Reservoir

We went to Bedok Reservoir (blocks 100+) on Monday night to rescue a pregnant cat. This cat is recently abandoned, is this is not her first pregnancy on the streets.

Her caregiver Felicia had given her a name Squirrel. Felicia had wanted to neuter the cat along with the others under her care, but because of a recent influx of abandoned cats in her area, she could not cope with trapping and feeding at the same time. There is another pregnant cat in her area, and she has taken that one to her own home to care for until she gives birth. We will help her re-home the kittens together with Squirrel's kittens so they can be saved from a life on the streets. After Squirrel gives birth and has weaned her kittens off milk, Felicia will be taking her to sterilise and putting her in her other home, a farm.

We will be helping Felicia with the trapping during her next round of sterilisation as she has been working alone, feeding, trapping and bringing for sterilisation. If you have any links to the carers adjacent to that area (blocks 100+ Bedok Reservoir Road opposite Telok Kurau Primary School) do let us know, as she is feeling very lonely doing the work all on her own.

Squirrel is now boarding at the 'penthouse' in the pet shop. She is still stressed, and only eats and drinks when there is no one around. We hope she gets better soon, and are considering buying some herbal calming supplements or fragrances to calm her down if she doesn't.

Joe the Schnauzer

Yesterday a male Schnauzer arrived at the shop for re-homing. His family was expecting a new baby and the dog, Joe, was actually their eldest son's dog. With the change in family dynamics - the son growing up, the mother newly pregnant - Joe was decided to be re-homed.

Two year old Joe came to the shop, quite healthy albeit sporting a skin allergy (food allergy to chicken) but it was not serious. His nails were also in bad shape. He was groomed -

getting his Schnauzer cut, and during the grooming itself, we called up one adopter who had already heard from us that we were expecting a Schnauzer coming in for adoption. Nancy and her family came over that very evening.

The whole family spent some time with Joe, and I think Joe liked their daddy the best! This is not their first dog, but their home is currently dog-less, so the cheer on their faces was wonderful.

They decided to get Joe and buy the necessary stuff for him as well. We also gave him the card for our vet so that they can get him checked up and plan for his sterilisation. The previous owner gave Joe to us with no papers attached. Here they are, a happy, complete family -
Thank you for adopting Joe! :)


(NB: We did not manage to get a donation from the owner who surrendered Joe to us, he was unwilling to. If most owners are not keen on donating a small sum to offset the pet's grooming, food, socialisation and boarding, then we have to offset these costs somewhere, likely to the adopter. Help us keep our adoption fees low.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

beyond Ubi - Joo Chiat

Finding Jacey was a catalyst to spark off the intervention needed in this area for its stray cat population.

There is a sponsor for this area that is willing to sterilise the stray cats here at her own cost, but she lacked the manpower to trap, so now we have a match. Also, with the input from other Joo Chiat folks like our reader Melissa, we have a more complete picture of the unmet needs in feeding and sterilisation for this area.

After piecing together some information we have a rudimentary map:
More on the areas we will be targeting for trapping-sterilisation. If you live in this area and would like to help, here are a number of ways:
  • Feeding the cats in the areas which are not covered by the two feeders
  • Help to educate the neighbours and shopkeepers that cats help to chase pests away, so that they will not try to get rid of the cats in an inhumane way
  • Help us on the nights leading up to the trapping we will be carrying out in February, by joining us on the cat-hunt on the night of the trapping.
Feel free to contact me via avalon.apart [at] gmail.com if you are interested in helping out.

Jacey in our home

After rescuing Jacey, while awaiting for the pet shop to open so we can get more of our medications for her, she is happily enjoying her morning here in our home.
She seems to enjoy dry kibbles but because she is dehydrated I told her that we had to add water to her food. She still doesn't know how to drink water from a bowl yet.

Her eye is much better now, no more discharge, but her skin is still inelastic. Will need to pump more rehydration fluid into her later.

Now she is happily roaming around the house and the cats are being gentle towards her, albeit curious just as she is curious about them. We set up our standard kitten toys for her - a mini-scratching post and some dangling mobile-type of types on it.


There she goes at it

Jacey scares easily with loud noises, which is a surprise considering she came from a main road. But she is adapting well, has already learnt to use the litter box once.

She is now being a real kitten - exploring, munching on food, looking really cute. Hope she gets better real soon!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

a lone kitten from Joo Chiat

Andy and I were cycling past Joo Chiat, along Still Road. We suddenly chanced upon this lone kitten, boldly venturing towards the bus stop.
Map showing where we found the kitten

Both of us stopped our bikes and went to look at this kitten. We realised that it was skinny and dehydrated. We then looked around for her mother. Andy took a torchlight and went into the drain area to see if there were any nursing mothers, but none were to be found. There was a cat nearby who looked like she was recently nursing but she ran away even when she saw us carrying the kitten, which normally mothers tend not to do - mother cats tend to be protective of their young.

The kitten is really dehydrated and undernourished. We feared that if we didn't rescue this one, it would fall really sick and probably not survive long, as she was already on the verge of sickness.
We called a friend who lives in this area, to find out if she knew this kitten. She was not aware of this kitten but she said this area (behind Eng Seng coffeeshop of the famous crab) is a very troubled zone, with totally no sterilisation being done at all. After we called Swat to check if we had room for another rescue case at this moment, we took the little one home.

We hope her case is merely dehydration, for now it seems so. She is eating well, just having a really troublesome eye discharge from her right eye, but no signs of flu.When we bring her to the shop tomorrow where most of our first aid supplies are now at, hopefully she will get better in a couple of days, otherwise we will likely be bringing her to the vet.


For tonight, we groomed and cleaned our little kiitten, now by the name of Jacey, after Joo Chiat. We cleaned up the eye discharge, fed her water with a syringe, and diluted food as well so she can get better. She is still active but somewhat tired for now, so she has been placed in a pen to rest for the night.

is must GUARD!

So we caught Slinky in action trying to 'protect' us from Wang Wang - she seriously hates him!

She did leave her post by the door for while, heading off to the kitchen. Wang Wang took the opportunity to hop in over the meshed part of the gate. Slinky saw and yowled at him, chasing him all the way back to the door and out.

Sayang is neutral towards Wang Wang, Scooter misses him, nose-kissing him whenever they meet at the door. But Slinky's detest is only growing...

dog bites on cats

I recently met some visitors from the UK who had a cat back home that died from a tumour. The tumour had been formed behind the cat's eye socket, about six months after he had been bitten by a stray dog. Due to the natural healing process of the body which causes the tissues to grow, the tumour had grown with it, and had spread to the rest of his body.

I guess dog bites are really no joke. Internal injuries may occur, which was exactly how another cat we knew died after being attacked by a pack of dogs.

Dog attacks on cats are preventable. Remember not to give your cats unsupervised outdoor access. Dogs should be leashed when out, no matter how friendly your dog is. Introduce cats and dogs to each other by allowing one to be in a pen, or in the very least, letting the cat be on elevated ground.

I really hope Sayang's recent wound will not develop into something majorly serious; it has healed well and she seems fine, but will be getting it checked out during her next veterinary check up which is coming soon, just to be sure.

now that he's not inside the house...

We managed to convince him to stay outside our house. He eats and drinks a lot, so we make sure the feeding station outside our door is filled up as often as possible. Slinky stands guard at our door because she really doesn't want him to enter our home. I love Slinky but she can really be paranoid and unexpectedly aggressive. There is a mesh at our main gate so that any lashing out by Slinky will be mitigated if Wang Wang comes to the door when it is open.

Personally I feel heart-broken that I cannot spend more time with Wang Wang in the comforts of our home but I guess I have to steel myself into believing that he will get more food and water outside the house instead, and at least I am not locking him inside with an aggressive cat that wants to attack him. Maybe things will change after we neuter him, but we'll see how it goes. I really don't want any of them to get hurt.

Another 'he' who is not in his house is Terry. After two days and nights of canvassing and shouting along every path in the Ubi industrial estate, we brought the search to a preliminary close. It hurts to say this, but we fear that Terry must have run away because he thought he was going to die. Posters and the authorities are still in place so the lines to Terry's return if he is still alive, are still open.

My own dog, my second, also did the same thing, ran away never to return, when she was about Terry's age. She was a street-smart dog, a stray. Dogs seem to have this instinct of wanting to protect their owners from watching them die. Unless they are infirmed and unable to run, this behaviour is more commonly exhibited than not. It hurts like hell for us as owners should this happen, but I guess it is their way of saying they love us.

Friday, January 15, 2010

hoarding

No, not the noun describing the metal fences that cover construction sites.

Recently we learnt of this term called 'animal hoarding'. Hoarding is a compulsive habit bordering on personality disorder, used to describe humans who keep too many animals, picking up more all the time and/or breeding them, to the point where the animals' care is badly compromised and the house in disrepair. Think of the movie 'Grey Gardens'.

We also learnt that not all who keep a lot of animals (think thirty cats or a hundred rabbits) are hoarders; some may be able to care for the animals individually through hired help and large living spaces.

In the case of hoarders, the animals might be better off on the streets, even. Where cats are concerned, placing new cats in the house all the time without integrating them properly will cause fights, stress, loss of appetites. Also, if one is sick, all will be too in a hoarder's house, as they will not be receiving proper care, infectious diseases spreading easily with no quarantining. This is also one reason why not all cats need to be 'rescued' and placed in shelters (an idea suggested by some folks so that we will stop bothering with sterilising strays and allow authorities to cull them).

We have personally visited hoarders' houses before. The sight is not pretty, and I decline to specifically report on or name the owners here for the sake of discretion. Let me just say that the hoarders' homes we see are in extremely bad condition. The animals are sick, anti-social, there is shit literally everywhere because there is not enough space for toilets and not enough time to walk all the dogs. The floors are dirty, the animals have skin problems, none of them are groomed. The furniture will be non-existent or shredded to bits. Each animal has to 'time-share' a very small spot as territory. Horror-houses, really. The worst of these hoarders we know, we refer to as 'The Nightmare'. (At the time we went to the 'nightmare house', Andy wish he smoked again so he could help immunise his nose against the smell.) We smelled of shit afterwards, and I felt like puking every time I leaned down to pick up or wipe up some poo.

How do you prevent yourself or your neighbours and friends from turning into hoarders, or help those that already are? Pet owner education is very vital, something we preach often through our work in Ubi, and the reason why we focus on pet care tips on our blog. The first step is educating the hoarders (or those on verge of becoming one), that there will always be a limit to the amount of animals you can care for. This limit is based on the number of animals currently in the house, your financial capability, and the personality or situation of the animals already under your care.

For example, with their toilets. Another cat usually means another litter box because cats don't really like to share their toilets. With dogs, it means another dog to walk, as often as possible. Do you have the time or space or both to accommodate this? If you cannot find a sustainable solution to this issue, you will know what is the limit on the number of animals you can care for.

With financial capability, those that are able to keep many animals without compromising their care usually do one or all of the following: employ house-help to care for each animal personally and clean up after them; rent or buy a big house to house them all spaciously; sterilise every single animal under your care; afford medical care when needed without fail; feed proper food with water available at all times. If you find yourself failing at any of these, you probably have too many animals. If your friend is on the verge of becoming a hoarder, do harden your heart against the 'so-cute-so-poor-thing' animal and stop him or her from possibly worsening the animal's welfare.

Depending on the personalities or backgrounds of the animals currently already under the care of the hoarder in question, a new animal may not benefit from being in this 'home'. For example, some animals attack very young animals. Or you might have an animal with an incurable disease that could spread through bites, scratches, etc. If you know the hoarder's animals personally, illustrate possible scenarios to stop them from bringing more animals in. E.g. "If you bring home this cat, your (another cat) will definitely attack / eat up / spread the disease etc. to this new cat." Identify those under the hoarder's care that needs to be re-homed because they are 'trouble-makers' affecting the general population, or the 'victims' of the crimes another animal is repeatedly committing against. The 'victims' will definitely be easier to re-home without resorting to abandonment or euthanasia.

If someone you know is already a hoarder, intervention can be gradual or full-force. Gradual intervention is preferred, which I will explain why. In gradual intervention, educate the person on the reality that there is a serious lack of welfare for these animals. Picking up strays is not an alibi any longer, the reality is that the animal is suffering even more now. This will take time and persistence. Think of hoarders as delusional - they are living in a fantasy and you need to wake them out of it. Offer to help them re-home any further animals they see in need before they take home any more. Help them to transport animals for sterilisation and medical care at a rate they can afford.

Direct intervention is risky but effective in changing the situation. In full-force intervention, you may end up losing a friend and killing some of the animals. You will need to remove the animals from the house and clean it up. Removing so many animals will be hard; some will be impossible to re-home, which probably means euthanasia via SPCA or AVA or privately if there is enough courage. If the owner is totally uncooperative, you will need to blow the whistle on the home owner by calling it in so that animal control, health inspectors etc. will come and intervene with authority. Or you may need to 'kidnap' the animals. Some believe in releasing the animals onto the streets or into the wild, but that is a moral decision you need to make.

Try for gradual intervention first. You will need to act as a community because it is not easy converting the delusional by yourself. Read here on how to set up a community-based animal welfare group.

And make sure you don't become one yourself too... for the sake of the animals on God's earth. Remember that is not just about what an animal can give you, it is more about what you can give it. If you really have a desire to help more animals you can possibly own, think of other ways like sponsoring and volunteering.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

4 cats



Still unable to get this cutie out of the house...

Because he is not yet neutered, Slinky has been trying her best to safeguard our home from what she views as a threat, meow-growling and posturing herself to attack him. I have to keep distracting them so that a real fight would not occur, harming themselves in the process if they do fight. Despite this, it is still four-cats-in-the-house.

How's Sef for an English name for him? It means a few things: (1) sounds like Seth, which means 'appointed one', (2) short for Josef, which means 'God will increase, (3) short for saffron, which is a red-orange colour. OMG this is a disaster if I am thinking up names...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

* * HELP ** calling all who live or work in Ubi


One of our Ubi neighbour's dog, Terry, is missing. He was last sighted running off into the factories behind AML CarMart in Ubi today at around 2pm. He is a 12 Year old Schnauzer, is blue (grey) in colour, is toothless, and does not see very well. If you live in Ubi or work in the factories and office buildings nearby, please help us canvass or keep a lookout for Terry.

SPCA and AVA have already been notified. If you can, please help to spread this to Ubi workers and residents that you know of, or post this on any forums you have access to. Much appreciated.

If there are any leads, please contact us at 91990270 / 93378211 / 90880675 / 67489810 or bring him to Angels Pet Shop @ Ubi.

how much is that kitty per year on you?

Owning a pet is a serious, lifelong financial commitment. Your pet's companionship will see you through ups and downs and that means there will be times you find yourself having to choose between buying cat food or buying a human necessity.

If you are thinking about owning a pet, research in the US shows that you will spend on a pet dog an average of $1,000 a year. Multiply that by the number of years he will live, on average lets say ten, that will be the investment you must be prepared to make to give your furry friends a good home and family.

I have yet to come across a study of how much one would need to spend on a pet cat. If you are interested to find out too, watch out for our survey on the right sidebar. For those of you who have pet cats, do take part in the survey so that we can share the results with those who are planning on becoming new cat owners. I look forward to seeing the results!

# lots of cats

Do you have a Twitter account?
Do you have lots of cats in your life, be they your pet cats, cats you work with, or strays that you care for?

If you do, join us in a themed twitter conversation about cats!

How:
  • Log in to your Twitter.
  • Tweet a few words about how your life is about lots of cats.
  • Append the tweet with #lotsofcats - e.g. "3 cats in the house, with a stray that might decide to live here permanently...! #lotsofcats"
  • This way, everyone who is tweeting on this theme will show up on the #lotsofcats channel.
  • You can access the channel by clicking your tweets' #lotsofcats hyperlink.

A real fun way to network online with other cat lovers, connecting people through the shared love of catssss!

Let's have a catty converstion.

the danger of (nearly) falling in love with a stray cat

Me: Let's bathe Wang Wang, then can let him come into our house (for a purported 'visit')
Andy: Ok!

While he is being showered...

Andy: Wah! He is so good boy, never make noise!
Me: Ya lor! Some more can just put him inside the basin and bathe.

Later, Wang Wang shows how endearingly friendly he is by allowing the cats to approach him, and being totally pacifist in his behaviour. Then, he cuddles up to us and sleeps....

Andy: He is such a good boy!
Me: Ya lor! Never met a male cat who is such a good boy.
Andy: He's purring! So manja! I think he is more good boy than Scooter.

We continue in this train of conversation, admiring him - his soft fur, his beautiful colouring, his tabby stripes on just his tail and legs, his large ears, his cute face, his Oriental facial expression, his personality, how the cats seem to like him... treading on dangerous territory of falling in love with this handsome cat.

Even later...

Andy: You want to keep him ah?
Me: Later see if he wants to go out when we open the door.

He doesn't. He even gets along with all the cats. We leave him in the house while we go out for Angels' pet owner gathering. We come back with the house intact, Wang Wang sleeping in a corner, all the cats relaxed.

The rest of the pet owners who came over to ours had a really nice time with Wang Wang, he was the only cat who stayed in the living room with the 'strangers' and okay with Sweetie the Shar-pei who was also visiting us. The rest of our cats retreated to the rooms.

Aswat: I think this one is your cat already lah!
Me: I told Wang Wang that if he wants to stay he must have an English name, and it has to start with 'S'. Like Sandy, Sunny, anything that starts with S.
Aswat: Since Sayang's name is in Malay, why don't you call him Suria? (Meaning 'ray of light' in Malay).
Me: Sounds like the TV channel leh! Might as well call him Vasantham!
Aswat: You want start with 'S' mah!

Before bed time...
Andy: You really want to keep him ah?
Me: Dunno leh, see how lah. This sounds like the story of Misty. "Let's feed it some milk!" Then, "Can we take it home?" "Okay, but we are NOT keeping it!" In the end, Misty becomes their cat.

Andy and I talk about finances...
Me: Wang Wang, we cannot keep you leh, unless you help us raise funds to take care of you. (Image of him being a mascot for his own line of products flashes across my mind).
Andy: Ya lor, wait no money to buy you necklace (collar with name-tag).
Me: Aiya, that one no need lah!
Andy: Some more need to potong (sterilise)!

Wang Wang, Sayang, both continue lying next to us in bed. Wang Wang is purring and being manja.

Andy: Conclusion, we cannot keep him lah.

Me: - silence -

The danger of falling nearly in love with a stray cat.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

thank you for participating in our survey

our resident orange stray cat

Skinny Orange whom we have been calling Wang Wang has been visiting our house regularly, often found parked at our block landings, following us when we are going out or home.

He looked really keen on making friends with our cat, sitting outside our door, nose-kissing with Scooter and looking longingly inside our home, as if he wanted to come inside and play with us too.

So we decided that we would let him in, but first, a bath.

He is so easy to shower! He barely made any noise at all. But he is just like Scooter, scared of the hairdryer.

After that, the two cats closest to his age, Sayang and Scooter, (we estimate him to be about 8 months, around the same as Scooter and slightly younger than Sayang), made friends with him. Scooter was most eager, the both of them having blinking conversations with each other. He climbed atop our bed when we let him, and then proceeded to cuddle up -
Our cats are so strange, we don't know why they seem to like him more than the other cats that pass through our home. Sayang, after investigating Wang Wang and deeming him a non-threat, proceeded to approach him too. She does not seem jealous at all, even when Wang Wang was purring away, and cuddling up so close to Andy. Now they are both asleep, on next to Andy, the other at his feet -
Slinky couldn't be bothered at all, she didn't even bother to hiss. She is happily, stress-freely sleeping away in the living room. A good sign, considering how easily stressed she can be with intruders, often streaking or climbing when she gets scared.


Wang Wang is really handsome - he has very Oriental features - pointed ears, almond shaped eyes - and he is still skinny from having been underfed in the past. His fur here looks very red, because it is still slightly damp, but when he is dry his fur is more like the colour of toast, or sand. (I told Wang Wang that if he wanted to stay with us he would need to get an English name, maybe Sandy is a good start! Well, that is if he wants to stay of course... Andy and I will have to decide about it if he does.)

zone 3 power station kitten spotted

Yesterday night we took a cycling excursion around Zone 3 and found that the cats the hideout in the power station, preventing the sponsors from trapping them for sterilisation, have reproduced not long ago. Spotted a kitten of about 2 months of age coming out of the station to eat and drink at their feeding point, before scurrying back in again.

It is unfortunate that the power station is an inaccessible point, making it hard for carers to reach the cats. Thankfully the feeding station outside it is permanent, which means that at least they can get food and water. If it weren't under surveillance, I would have climbed in long ago to help trap the cats for neutering, and to check if they are healthy and well.

Power stations are like the black holes of small towns, allowing cats to get in and out but not humans to care for them. There was a power station at the Techpark too, which Andy and I nearly climbed into to search for cats if we hadn't spotted the surveillance camera in time.

Foster Shiro Project - Day 5

More growth!
  • He is eating more kibbles a day now.
  • He has begun to show faint blue tabby markings on his legs
  • He is getting more active every day.
He is so active he can really drive me crazy, he won't stay still and quiet when I need him to! Such is the character of the young, and for him, the bold, obstinate and persistent.

We are gradually cutting down his milk supply, and made the milk much thicker than we did initially, so that he will be getting more nutrition per feeding. His poo is slightly less watery now because of it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

wellness core


So finally I took the plunge and invested in a small bag of Wellness Core dry food to add to the cats' diets.

The good thing about this food is the fact that it is high in protein, comparable to Evo that has left Singapore, at 50%. The protein sources are from chicken, turkey and herring. The only starch is potato; Wellness Core is the grain-free version. Our cats have tried Wellness dry food before, the less premium range, and they are okay with it, although not overly crazy; nothing like the way they love some of their favourite dishes of the moment.

So far the taste test has been somewhat iffy; Scooter snubbed it when I refilled the bowl for their supper. At first they were all right, perhaps I should have mixed in much less to start.

I like the fact that it features turkey as one of the first few ingredients, something different for the cats. Also, like the normal Wellness the kibbles are nice and small, better for Slinky and Scooter who do not bother to chew their food, and for Sayang because she has a very dainty jaw and has to eat very slowly. And now that Shiro is still staying with us he can eat it too.

reasons for re-homing your pet, and other possible solutions

A superb article from Pet Place, copied here for your reading benefit. The article highlights the reasons why pets and humans can no longer get along well in the same family, requiring re-homing as the human alternative to abandonment. Alongside these common reasons, there are also alternatives that owners should try before finally deciding to re-home the pet. This way, you will have peace of mind that you are providing your pet with a better home when yours is no longer an option.

Rehoming - Giving up a Pet - What are your options?

Pets are for life. They deserve our very best efforts to keep them in the family. In return for their endless love, they count on us to always be there to care for them. Pets do not understand life's bumps in the road that sometimes lead to their rehoming. We cannot explain to them why they may need to relocate. For this reason, pet rehoming should never be an easy solution to any dilemma. If all other options have been considered and rehoming is absolutely the only answer, be reasonable and responsible.

Reasonable Reasons for Rehoming

If you've come into a situation that is causing you to consider finding a new home for your dog, cat, or other pet, please consider all other humane options first. Keeping your pet in the home to which he is accustomed with the family he loves is what is most fair to him. Listed below are some common reasonable reasons for rehoming a pet and some other possible solutions.

  • Allergies – Visit your doctor to be sure the pet is the cause for the allergies. Consider allergy shots or other medications. Clean the house and bathe and groom the pet more regularly to reduce pet hair and dander. Use allergen reducing cleaning products and shampoos. Purchase an air filtration system.

  • Behavior problems – Consult with a pet behaviorist and your veterinarian. Take your pet to obedience school. Exercise your pet often to burn excess energy. Be consistent with his training, behavior modification, and exercise regimen. Purchase D.A.P./Feliway pheromone collars and/or plug-ins to help calm your pet.

  • Relocation – Do a detailed search for a home that will allow your pet; chances are good you will find a place. Find a friend or family member to foster your pet until you find the appropriate home.

  • Pet expenses – Evaluate the money you are spending on your pets. Go cheaper by purchasing garage sale toys, buying food in bulk, eliminating extravagant extras. Read PetPlace's article on reducing pet costs.

    Plan Early

    If it is necessary for you to rehome your dog – plan early. Many shelters can work to find your dog a new home if you let them know as soon as possible. Many times people looking for a dog may prefer a dog that has been in a home over one that was a stray. Also, they can include you in adoption events where you can bring your dog to help find a new owner.

    Responsible Rehoming Options

    If the only option for you and your pet is to find a new home for your furry friend, do it responsibly. Do NOT assume that a Good Samaritan will come along and rescue your pet. It is never acceptable to let the pet go somewhere outside (such as beside the highway or on someone's doorstep), leave him in an abandoned house, give him to the first responder to a "free dog" sign, or anything else that involves the strong possibility of a bad home or injury to the pet. Listed below are responsible ways to find a new, loving home for your animals.

  • Family or friend – Ask a family member or friend to foster to adopt your pet. Giving him to someone you know will give you the opportunity to keep in touch and visit your pet in the future.

  • Rescue group – Search the Internet and/or ask your veterinarian for a rescue group who will take your pet. There are groups who specifically rescue certain breeds, and there are those who take in all pets. Rescues can often find a foster home for the pet, rather than keep him in a kennel, until an adoptive home is found.

  • Shelter – Do your research. Many shelters will euthanize a pet if a home is not found within a set period of time. Look for a shelter that is not overrun with pets and can afford the time to find your pet a home.

  • Advertise through your veterinarian – Ask you veterinarian if he or she knows of any good clients looking for a pet like yours. Your vet may also allow you to post a sign at the clinic. (Posting a sign at a vet clinic is preferable to posting it at a non-pet related location, as the clinic gives you an audience of responsible pet owners.)

  • Donate your pet – Consider charitable ways to find a new home for your pet. Perhaps your young dog could be used in assistance or your well-socialized cat could be the resident pet at a nursing home. There are also prison programs, which teach inmates to train dogs, who may be willing to adopt your dog. You may be able to donate your pocket pets to a local school or children's hospital.

    Be Part of the Solution

    Foreclosure sales on homes, owner deaths, new births, relation problems with other pets, and countless other life changes bring pet/owner relationships to an end, leaving pets homeless. If you are looking for a permanent four-legged family member, please consider adoption. Visit your local shelter or rescue group and bring a smile to the face of a homesick pet.
  • bathed sookie today!

    Unfortunately for poor Sookie she is still yet to be adopted. It is likely that she may eventually become the the pet shop's resident cat. Today, I bathed her in the sink - she is really easy to bathe, very agreeable - and here she is cleaning herself after:
    As you can see the picture is of her not inside the cage, because she is free to roam the shop in the day until closing. During the day, she sleeps mostly in the shop, on boxes or crates, and goes to the bathroom in the shop to pee. Aswat felt that only house-trained cats would do that, but then our Slinky also did the same thing when she first came to my house as a stray, I think they learned that humans' bathroom = toilet by observing the humans. If she really was a house cat, lost and found notices have not turned up any possible leads on Sookie's owner; she might have been abandoned.

    So sad that no one wants her, she is such a beautiful cat. If Andy and I were still looking for a tabby to adopt we would probably have taken Sookie for ourselves... but we have Scooter already, a trade-in not possible! Even though Sookie is a pretty lilac-tabby with a heart-shaped nose and sing-song meow... really so pretty. Whichever case, Sookie will remain a burden we are willing to bear if she really cannot find a permanent home and family.

    It is not easy to re-home a nearly adult cat. If you can, do help spread the word on Sookie's story so we can still continue the search for a possible adopter. Use the links in the sidebar, and the photos available there. Many thanks.

    zone 3 - the pedigreed zone

    One of the beautiful, abandoned pedigree cats in Zone 3 is a chocolate Burmese cat. She is the grandmother of Patches and Spotty Jr, and is now already neutered.

    Isn't she a beauty! Silly humans who abandoned her after probably purchasing her from somewhere.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Aswat's cats!

    Aswat is the proud owner of six cats, three dogs, and too many birds, fish and small animals to count (which is a good thing, I say never trust someone in the pet industry who isn't pet-crazy and well-versed in all kinds of animals)!

    Two of his cats are nineteen years old this year, and are on the verge of passing on. Hence I grabbed hold of this one free Sunday I had in a very long time, to take pictures of his cats.

    This is Pam, who is a beautiful blue longhaired cat with a white inverted mask. She is extremely manja, and loves to be rubbed on the belly, even drooling in pleasure when being stroked. Of late, she has become slightly incontinent, and also has been dropping fur like crazy; she is almost bald on her underside. I knew I had to take pictures of Pam as soon as possible before she loses all her fur and passes on. She is really adorable -





    - and will be missed when she eventually goes. Am glad I got some nice shots of her tonight.

    Pam was rescued as a newborn orphan kitten in Bedok, around the same time as Ana nineteen years ago, also an orphan. At the time, Aswat didn't realise that they were to grow up to be longhaired cats.

    Ana is very much like our Slinky, hating hugs and often turning her back on us (which made it harder for us to take pictures of)! She also does not get along with Aswat's mischievous male cat Bayou. Ana has a skin growth on her ear, and also a tattoo on her inner ear, as she was neutered from long before local vets issued vaccination certificates. She is deaf, as odd-eye white cats tend to be. Being old, she also cannot groom herself as much although she is right now in much better shape than Pam at the moment.


    Bayou was rescued as an orphan kitten from Geylang, and has been dubbed the Geylang Gangster by Aswat's mom, because he is really, really naughty! He used to bully Aswat's cat Orket so much last time, which is the main reason why Aswat decided to re-home Orket because she was hardly eating and moving around much due to Bayou's constant bullying. But we love Bayou! He is like a Bengal, with shimmering ticked fur, and black classic tabby markings. He always looks this innocent, but do not for a moment believe that he is truly innocent!

    One of my favourite stories about Bayou is how he terrorises the small animals in the house. A couple of times, he snuck into the fish tank right after Aswat drained it to wash. He went in, all four paws of him, grabbed hold of a fish, and took it, flapping away, into the house! When caught, the fish was barely alive, and he looked really guilty. He also took out the turtles from their tank to play flippy-flip with. At first, Aswat was curious as to how his turtles ended up outside their tank, overturned. But he finally witnessed Bayou going in to grab the turtles using his mouth. So cute but so mischievous!

    Bayou's partners in crime are Sky and Wanda, the two latest additions to the family. Here is Bayou with Sky -

    Sky, the only other male cat in the house apart from Bayou, was rescued by our Zone 1 cat patron Auntie Can, from a place she feeds in Aljunied. He is Tabitha's brother.



    He is a handsome white and red classic tabby, with his red very deep, a prized characteristic acknowledged by feline fanciers around the world. We are glad he is off the streets, no longer hiding in that drain in Aljunied.

    Sky really enjoys playing, mutual grooming and snoozing together with Bayou. Here are the two of them sitting on top of the washing machine / dryer, where they enjoy perching on. They are really close like real brothers, hanging out with each other all the time, perpetually sporting that 'It's not me I didn't do it' face -


    Wanda is from the litter that produced Sylvester and others, from a household that failed to neuter its cats. She is a longhaired Oriental, also known as a Javanese, because her parentage belongs to both Oriental and Persian cats. Although she looks really small in size, she is actually almost a year old. A toy-breed cat! Possibly because of the inbreeding among her parents, and the fact that she has Oriental genes.

    (I love this picture of Wanda, her eyes look so blue, and the foreshortening is superb!)



    Another cute but really naughty one is this beautiful cat, who looks like a Norwegian Forest cat, known as Belle. Her nickname is Cucut, given by Aswat's mom who fell in love with Belle when she was hand-rearing Belle from kittenhood. She is really beautiful, although also very shy, only enjoying her mother's company. She is called Cucut because she likes to suckle on mommy's clothes! -


    Belle is the only one among the six who has this habit. When we first met Belle, she was so shy that we hardly got a chance to even see her. Now, we can hug her and stroke her, although she has that 'I am just tolerating this you stupid humans!' expression on her face most of the time...

    After the visit to Aswat's place, he then came over to ours to see Shiro and to play with our cats too. He managed to witness Scooter doing some simple tricks with his favourite treat. Present also was Wang Wang aka Skinny Orange Cat, now a resident stray cat at our block, hanging outside our house where our stray cat feeding station is. He sat outside our door, with Scooter on the other side of it, both cats nose-kissing each other. We also pored over our cat encyclopedia to discuss what Shiro's colourpoints are likely to be, and decided that his colouring now conforms to a blue-tabby-point. A fun, catty evening!

    Pawprints