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Saturday, July 30, 2011

About our foster care

At our Love Kuching foster home, we aim to provide the best care possible for the rescue cats in our custody. Here are some of the aspects of our foster care that we adhere to to ensure quality of care for the kitties!


Threshold 

Our foster lounge has 3 pens: the Suite, suitable for older kittens or for an adult cat; the Penthouse, suitable for younger kittens, and the ICU, suitable for very young kittens. We also have a kindle of free-roaming kittens that get to roam the entire home. Our ideal threshold of total cats fostered in each kindle should be lower than 6 per, ideally at 3 to 4. This makes our ideal maximum threshold at 12 to 16 cats. In order to prevent overcrowding, stress and spread of disease we maintain this threshold strictly.

For sick cats that need intensive foster care through medication, our threshold is at 3-5. This means that we will not take in cats that need intensive care if the threshold of sick cats is already at 5. Also, we will not accept any new rescues during the time that the sick cats harbour viral or bacterial infections that can be spread.

We quarantine airborne (mainly cat flu') disease-carrying kittens by using large carriers covered with blankets. If the number of kittens cannot be contained in a carrier the pen they are housed in will be covered in blankets.

All new arrivals are checked for fleas and mites upon arrival and showered with pyrethins-based flea shampoo and their ears groomed with pyrethins-based ear cleaner. If any rescue cat shows incidence of fleas or mites we place all the rescue kittens immediately on Revolution Pink which is always available on standby, to prevent outbreak.



Hygiene

All the cat boarding equipment - pens, toys, litter boxes, surrounding walls and floor - are washed or cleaned with either bleach or hospital disinfectant or both. Where there are sick cats disinfection is carried out more often as many strains of bacteria can stay in the environment of the cats' living area long after the cat recovered.

We wash our hands after handling kittens that are sick or their boarding equipment with hospital-grade hand soap containing chlorhexadine. We also provide a hand-sanitiser in our foster lounge for visitors to use. Our main cat-nurse Elaine wears an apron and gloves when handling kittens for medication that can be disinfected after use.



Diet

At Love Kuching we do not compromise on healthy, species-suitable food for the sake of price. Thus we use the most cost-effective grain-free high-protein options when it comes to solid cat food. We feed mainly Solid Gold Indigo Moon dry food and Addiction Brushtail or Nutripe Chicken wet food. Fish or seafood based food is usually avoided as it is highly allergenic to cats, but it is used to tempt sick cats to eat or for new arrivals who are stressed and anorexic at the beginning when ascertained they are not allergic to seafood.

Kittens that are orphans needing milk are hand-fed with KMR milk and the same brand of milk is also used in the partial weaning process.




Cat litter and litter boxes

We use only organic cat litter, that is, no clay, no silica. Our main cat litter is pine pellets which is healthy for cats, cost-effective and deodorising. Each pen has its own litter tray and within the foster lounge there is also a litter box for the free-roaming kittens to use. The free-roaming kittens are also allowed to use our own cats' litter box in the kitchen. The litter boxes are sprinkled with baking soda to contain litter odours. The litter boxes are scooped daily and pens containing kittens having diarrhoea have their litter boxes washed and changed daily as well, otherwise the litter boxes are washed and changed every 2 to 3 days.



Feline pheromones

We use a Feliway diffuser in the foster lounge to minimise stress that is common in a cattery-setting. It also makes cats feel more at home and with stress minimised, promotes healthier eating, drinking and toilet habits.

We also allow the free roaming cats to lie on the couch and strop on our cats' cat condo as well as the kitten scratching post so as for them to leave their scent and feel even more at home.



Veterinary care

Our veterinary care for rescues is two-fold. We believe in pharmaceuticals - antibiotics included if unavoidable. Usually we avoid having to pay for costly vet visits if the illness can be home-remedied as we have on stock many of the necessary and commonly-used medications. We also consult our vet Dr Chong of The Animal Clinic over the phone. Vet visits are usually made for vaccinations, tests, fecal exams, injections, when the symptoms shown are unfamiliar to us, or when we need a top-up on our stock of medications.

But we also believe in alternative therapies. The main alternative therapies we employ are nutraceutical and herbal supplements, and aromatherapy as we have used and found them to be truly effective. For other alternatives like homeopathy and acupuncture we look for Dr Poon of Island Vets. Most of the time the illnesses are successfully treated within our foster home in liaison with our main vet if the case is not terminal.

Below are the main nutraceutical and herbal supplements we use in our foster home and the essential oils we use in our aromatherapy.



Nutraceutical supplements (commonly used)


Vitamin B - for immunity, especially during and after illness, before and after vaccinations

Lysine - for recovery from cat flu' and after, to prevent recurrence

Vitamin C - for recovery from cat flu' and after, and for immunity

Colostrum - for immunity and gastro-intestinal health

Antioxidants - for healing from external wounds such as abscesses, skin infections

Probiotics - for gastro-intestinal health

CoQ10 - for healthy heart function especially during symptoms of low blood pressure or anemia and during hypothermia



Herbal supplements (commonly used)

Echinacea - for immunity, used during and after recovery from illness, before and after vaccinations

Elderberry, licorice and mullein - used in conjunction with echinacea, this blend acts as a flu' remedy

Slippery elm - for digestive health especially when vomitting is present

Chamomile tea - for digestive health especially when there is diarrhoea, or anxiety

Goldenseal - diarrhoea remedy

Tumeric - for healing of external skin wounds such as abscesses, skin infections

Salmon oil - for healing of external skin wounds, and recovery from illness.




Aromatherapy

We use aromatherapy mainly through diffusing essential oils to remedy different needs. in the foster lounge itself. Sometimes we do use essential oils in a carrier oil for specific needs but this is not often as cats tend to be more sensitive to topical use of essential oils. The main essential oils we use for diffusion are:

Lavender - for calming, especially when there are new arrivals or cats that are stressed from illness

Chamomile - for healing gastro-intestinal problems such as diarrhoea

Neroli - used together with lavender, it calms separation anxiety when the kittens are newly orphaned from their mothers or when the cat is newly abandoned

Eucalyptus - for aiding in cases of breathing difficulty usually due to flu'

Clary sage - used in conjunction with eucalyptus when there is breathing difficulty especially in more critical cases

Peppermint - used together with eucalyptus and clary sage, sometimes added to a container of hot water outside a carrier and covered with a blanket with a cat inside that is having difficulty breathing, for 10 minutes

Geranium - used when there are cats recovering from skin problems

Marjoram - for temperature regulation, such as hypothermia, or fever

Tea tree oil - which MUST not be used topically as it toxic if ingested; diffused to kill bacteria when there are cats having bacterial infections

Pine - also antibacterial, and has a deodorising effect



This list of our foster care elements is not exhaustive and as we improve in our knowledge and care more and more we will update this post along our growth as a foster home.

While this may mean our boarding expenses per cat will be higher than in a lower-quality foster setting, we aim to maintain our standard of care as we want to provide the best and most cost-effective care for our rescue cats.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Geylang Bahru TNRM round 1



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On Tuesday just before the clock struck midnight, we arrived at Blk 67 Geylang Bahru where we were planning to trap for neutering the cats between blocks 67, 68 and the market.

We happened to see this cat (and 2 others) behind Blk 67 so we trapped him, while the other cats loitering here eluded the traps.

Trapped this boy behind Blk 67

This Siamese-cross cat eluded our traps

Then we moved to the central area where there was the amphitheatre and pavillions. It was hard to trap at first, slow-moving.

Sniff, but no enter trap!~
Second cat we trapped that night
Then the cat feeder came and the cats started appearing out of their hiding areas.

Feeder with some of the cats
After that the trapping became easier.

Cat about to enter trap
Some cats were loitering closer to the market and shops. We couldn't trap them all. There are at least 7-10 more cats in this area, and that is 5-8 more than we initially counted. This site definitely needs more rounds of TNRM than we initially projected.

The provision shop, one cat transferred to carrier
It was too late for us to do an accurate cat count of the number of cats remaining in this location, not counting Blk 64's 4 cats. On our second trip we will make an accurate cat count and thereafter we will definitely need your help financially if we were to finish neutering this entire colony before they get culled (the town council office is nearby).

Here are the 8 cats trapped from this area, the last cat is the cat we trapped from behind Blk 67.

Black/white

Tabby

Tabby

Siamese-cross

Tabby/white

Tabby
Tabby

Ginger
We are hoping to conduct the second round of TNRM for this site next weekend if schedule permits. Will confirm the date again - it will still have to be past midnight because of the behavioural pattern of this colony of cats. After this round of neutering is paid for, we will only have estimatedly enough finances in our Sterilisation Fund to fund one more TNRM round, even though we still have a final round of TNRM to conduct at Ang Mo Kio Industrial, and two more rounds here.

If you would like to give to our Sterilisation Fund, deposit your contribution into our POSB Savings account 188-52652-7 and SMS / email Elaine at 90880675 / elaine@lovekuchingproject.org to indicate that your contribution amount is for our Sterilisation Fund.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spotted a TNRM need?



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At Love Kuching Project we conduct Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage programmes for stray cat colonies that are in dire need of management via sterilisation. Our criteria for selecting to take on sterilisation projects include:
  • Lack of a cat feeder that sterilises cats
  • Cat feeder has no funds to sterilise cats
  • Too many cats that the caregiver cannot sterilise on own. This number should be more than 7 cats. 
  • Town Council has issued deadline to cull cats if not sterilised 
To submit queries on TNRM projects, email us at sterilisation@lovekuchingproject.org. Include the number of cats that you see and let us know you have contact with the cat feeder of the stray cat colony.

Monday, July 25, 2011

TNRM round 2 at Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park



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Block 4024
During round 1 of TNRM at this location, we neutered 9 cats from the back alley between blocks 4023 and 4024. Yesterday when we conducted round 2, we focused on the cats at block 4024 itself, and thereafter the alley between it and block 4025. We trapped a total of 8 cats that are having their neutering surgeries today.

Originally the feeder Martine told us there were 6 cats still in the back alley we conducted round 1 in, but it turns out the cats migrated to the front of block 4024. This locale is where all the shopfronts were located, and welding, steel and suchlike factories stocked their debris and materials. Traps were placed throughout the terrace block.

Successfully trapped cat

This cat was hiding amongst furniture
One particular cat eluded us after we spotted her -

Tricoloured cat hiding under a lorry
This girl was wily, needed a lot of traps set for her
She avoided this trap too
And this one
And this one!
After that she disappeared. We moved on to the next back alley.

Washing the traps before reuse
Moved on to locale between 4025 and 4026
The back alley between the blocks
And the disappearing tricoloured cat that eluded us, was found here! We eventually managed to trap her.

About to transfer the cat to a carrier
We spotted also a pair of sisters, one of whom was nursing kittens born in a shop. They both looked alike, so we had to see who was the one nursing - who had to be left behind because we can't separate the mother from the young kittens - and trap the non-nursing sister instead. We also had to tell the workers who were about to feed food scraps to the cats, not to feed them, so it would be easier for us to trap.

The shop the sisters were living in
This was the sister that wasn't nursing
This was the nursing mother cat
After identifying which sister to trap, we closed the shop door so that the mother cat would stay inside. We then proceeded to trap her sister.

Getting dark by this time
Trap set, cat enters!
At this back alley, we met a little helper. Well, not so little. A doggie, who ate some duck bones thrown in the back alley, puked in front of us. He was very hungry, so we fed him and kept him away from disturbing the cat trapping.

Doggie!
After being fed he was sorta happy!
The doggie accompanied us throughout the whole trapping at this back alley.

And so, here are the mug shots of the 8 cats we trapped! They will be returned to their original location tomorrow.

Tricoloured
Tricoloured
Black/white
Ginger/white
Tabby/white
Torbie
Seal/white
White with grey
Round 3 will be conducted nearer to blocks 4027 and 4028 (about 2 cats there), which is opposite block 438 where there are 6 cats. Thereafter TNRM at this site will be concluded. Round 3 will likely take place in early August as we are going to also conduct TNRM at Geylang Bahru, a locale that requires urgent attention, tomorrow at midnight. We are still short of $245 to complete TNRM of both these sites so, if you can help or spread the word, it would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance!


To give to our Sterilisation Fund, contributions can be made directly to our POSB Savings account 188-52652-7. Contact Elaine via email or text at elaine@lovekuchingproject.org / 90880675 to inform us that your contributed sum is for our Sterilisation Fund.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Urgent TNRM need at Geylang Bahru



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Yesterday at 4am, we received a TNRM appeal for the area around Blk 68 Geylang Bahru from one of our Ubi caregivers who also feeds there. Geylang Bahru is a troubled-zone as there has been repeated culling last year and we decided to ask our Sterilisation Volunteer LY to go check it out. She went the same night, working till 3am this morning to report on the stray cat situation there.

The need is urgent because this particular colony of cats resides near the market and the area is thus very prone to complaints. This estate falls under Moulmein-Kallang Town Council (previously Jalan Besar TC) which has a policy of no-culling of sterilised cats, but also has a high incidence of resident complaints to the town council. All of which means we need to act fast. We have informed the Cat Welfare Society mediator for MKTC of our plans to take on TNRM of this colony so she can handle town council cat-related complaints for this area.

So we need to do this TNRM project immediately, concurrently with our Ang Mo Kio Industrial TNRM project of which round 2 is this Sunday. We are forecasting a total of 3 rounds for Ang Mo Kio Industrial - which means our Sterilisation Fund will not be sufficient to complete TNRM at Geylang Bahru.

Here is the reconnaissance report of the situation at Geylang Bahru.

Map of 2 micro-sites - 14 cats in total
The first micro-site, Blk 68, is tricky to TNR because the cats only come out after the block's shops close at 11pm nightly. The cats hide in the bushes of the nearby amphitheatre, and are not very open to human contact. There are 7 cats in the amphitheatre area, and 3 cats nearer to the market. Only 4 male cats were sighted in this site in total, so we have to assume that the rest of the unsterilised cats are female.



The second micro-site, behind Blk 64, has 4 cats, 2 male and 2 female, and there is also a kitten yet to be mature enough for sterilisation.

The 4 cats at Blk 64 area



We intend to TNR part of Blk 68's colony, then do a second round for the remaining cats at this block, as well as trap the Blk 64's colony. This means 2 rounds of TNR needed at this area. The first round is scheduled for this coming Tuesday or Wednesday night, to be confirmed by our trapper Damy when we see him this Sunday at AMK's TNR. The 2nd round for Geylang Bahru is likely to be the following week or latest 2 weeks after, as we need to act fast.

How you can help:

At present, our Sterilisation Fund stands at $1,512.20. Rounding this number down to $1,500, we will have estimated $445 in our Sterilisation Fund after paying for rounds 2 and 3 of AMK Industrial Park's TNR. The TNR of Geylang Bahru's cats featured here will cost an estimate of $840.

This means we need to raise a sum of $395 more.

We need your help.

If you would like to contribute financially to our Sterilisation Fund, you can make a direct transfer to our account POSB Savings 188-52652-7, and email or text Elaine at elaine@lovekuchingproject.org / 90880675 to inform us that your contribution for our Sterilisation Fund.

No amount is too small. Thank you in advance for your generosity in helping us help these cats through sterilisation!

Pawprints