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Thursday, June 27, 2013

About Liver Failure In Cats

Pablo passed away in his sleep suddenly this morning.

Through him we have learnt wealth of knowledge about liver failure, and in his memory here is a summary of information on liver failure in cats and the care required.

Liver disease symptoms:
Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes, urine, skin most visible on ears)
Ascites or bloated stomach that is the accumulation of fluid
Weak and lethargic
No appetite
Underweight
Vomitting and diarrhoea
Drooling
Enlarged liver felt upon touch
Pain in abdomen
Excessive water drinking
Cat leaning head against wall as if having headache
Confusion, seizures
Coma

(Pablo had symptoms 1-5)

The most common cause of liver failure is hepatic lipidosis, a condition unique to cats. Other causes include poisoning via chemicals such as insecticides, acetaminophen (human medication toxic to cats), xylitol (artificial sweetener toxic to cats), medication overdose.

Hepatic lipidosis has many causes itself. One is when a cat goes without food for more than 2 days due to excessive vomitting, anorexia or neglect. Other feline illnesses also can cause hepatic lipidosis: hyperthyroidism, diabetes, urinary tract  infection, obesity, even cat flu'. About 15-20% of cases have no obvious cause.

In layman terms, when the liver fails, the body cannot metabolise proteins into the essential amino acids, and it also cannot detoxify. This means that a cat with liver failure will require supplementation of amino acids, antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals it would get with a healthy liver that can obtain from food.

Treatment:
Fluid therapy through IV drip or subcutaneous injection
Feeding tube if cat does not eat on own
Supplements

If cat survives the first 4 days, 85% go on to recovery. Recovery may take 2 to 3 months of intensive home care. If cat also has pancreatitis, prognosis is poor.

Home care:
The only medication usually prescribed for liver failure is Onipural. The other is actually a supplement known as Zentonil. Both require veterinarian prescription.

Food must be free of carbohydrates, high in protein, low in fat, supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals. Feedings should be throughout day instead of just one meal a day. It should be wet food not dry food. If the cat has neurological signs such as seizures and confusion, ammonia production in the body must be reduced through lowered protein or renal diets from vets.

Appetite stimulant such as cyproheptadine (obtained from vet) will help a cat already able to eat on own.

If cat has gastric ulcers, the vet should also prescribe gastric medication such as ranitidine.

If the cat also has seizures or confusion, antibiotics such as metronidazole may be prescribed.

Essential vitamin supplements required include vitamin B, C and E. No specific doses of vitamin B and C available; use a pet vitamin or give half the stated dosage on human grade supplements. Vitamin E is advised at 10IU per kg of body weight per day.

Amino acid supplements required (suggested dosages based on available literature):
Taurine 250-500mg
Carnitine 250-500mg
Arginine 2.5g

Antioxidant supplements required (suggested dosages based on available literature):
SAMe (S-Adenosyl-Methionine) 20mg/kg of body weight
NAC (N-acetylcysteine) 70-140mg/kg of body weight

Herbal supplements (dosage is half the stated dosage on human grade products or as prescribed by vet):
Milk thistle - improves liver function
Dandelion root - detox function
Burdock root - detox function, diuretic
Slippery elm bark - for cats who present vomitting symptom

We find that digestive supplements are also useful:
Probiotics
Digestive enzymes - especially helpful if cat also has pancreatitis

Neurological supplements:
St John's Wort - improved mood and calming effect
Skullcap - improvement on confusion or seizures, calming effect

We get all our supplements from iherb.com (if you also need them, get USD5-10 off your first purchase from the site by using our discount code AVA985). Feed them mixed in food or make into a suspension and syringe feed. All herbal supplements need to be administered 3 hours before or after pharmaceuticals to prevent counteraction. If taste is repulsive to cat, reduce dosage.

Thank you Pablo for giving us all this knowledge. We miss you already. Wish we could have done more for you.



Sources: 
1. Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook 7th Edition 2011, Donald C. Plumb
2. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook 3rd Edition 2008, Eldredge et al

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Longevity and Succession in the Cat Rescue Business

We have been in the cat rescue industry business for 5 years thus far and we don't intend to abate. This means that we do have a strategy for ensuring Love Kuching continues to be around until there is no longer a need in cat rescue that we can rise up and meet. This is going to be a long read, but it will share with you the plans that will ensure Love Kuching's survival and commitment to cat rescue.

Incorporation
From the day we decided to become an entity for local cat rescue, we looked forward to becoming a legal organisation. Not only does incorporation solidify our existence on paper, it creates greater accountability to donors and greater access to resources from both the government and the public. We have not stopped working on our plan for incorporation. At this moment in time, our Admin & Donor Care Volunteer, Molly, is mapping with Co-Founder Elaine the pathway to incorporation. Financial transparency is one of our core motivations in moving incorporation forward. Through incorporation, there will exist greater internal controls to prevent fraudulent activity. Any occurence of fraud in charitable work is instant death for the cause. Every move towards minimising opportunity for fraud is a step towards ensuring more felines in need can be cared for.

Volunteer Management
With the recent increase in spatial resources via the new foster space, we have been able to focus more on recruiting volunteers to increasingly better our fulfillment of cat rescue objectives. Volunteer management is critical because of various critical reasons. Firstly, donor perception of a non-profit organisation with a reliance on volunteers is that the NPO does not squander resources on salaries and vendors unnecessarily. Secondly, effective volunteer management goes beyond publicising a call for help on social media and delegation of duties; it means providing a good volunteering experience for valuable volunteers to ensure volunteer retention and a growth in volunteer recruitment. Thirdly, statistics in non-profit industries show that most volunteers also become donors, hence volunteer management is closely tied up with fundraising - the key to an NPO's very survivability. Volunteers are also closer to the inner workings of the cat rescue business, and therefore become more educated about cat care and welfare and become advocates in their social spheres of influence in furthering the cause. This is especially important because the 4th tenet of Love Kuching's mission is to share with cat owners on cat care in order to improve the welfare of pet cats.

Staff
Cat rescue is a service-oriented industry and therefore eventually we will have to pay for good labour. Not only will this improve the perception of our commitment to cat rescue work, it also prevents fraud. Fraud occurs when the fraud triangle exists: opportunity, motivation, rationalisation. A properly compensated worker will be less able to rationalise fraudulent activity because he or she will seldom feel, "I do so much for this organisation but receive too little, so taking some spare change is okay." Likewise, the motivation factor that is financial burdens on a person working in an NPO is managed better because a salary will be able to help a person pay his or her bills. An ethical and organisationally just compensation scheme is also more able to attract and retain talent that is crucial for serving the cause further. This ensures longevity of Love Kuching in the cat rescue industry. At present, Andy is working a full-time job and serves at Love Kuching on a part-time daily basis. Elaine works for Love Kuching full-time and works for herself on a freelance basis. Plans are in the works to be able to fund a three-figure combined monthly salary for both humans, the framework of which can be copied for any staffing needs in the immediate future. More details soon.

Leadership
Infrastructure and mentoring will eventually lead to founders Elaine and Andy being 'out of a job' - this is good leadership. Love Kuching should one day be able to thrive without the founders doing anything more than an advisory role. How this happens is through leadership that multiplies and perpetuates the skills and values of our work today. By multiplying ourselves through leadership, we make sure that more and more people who can carry out the mission of Love Kuching will be built up. As founders, our goal is to eventually see Love Kuching auto-pilot its mission. We believe that leadership goes beyond delegation of duties; it is about building a legacy that can exist even without its founders.

If you managed to read this far, thank you. Knowing the long term goals and guiding principles of any charitable entity is very important in helping you choose whether or not to support its cause. This is why we are sharing our longevity plans. Will there be dedicated folks tomorrow at Love Kuching to love the cats in our lives and neighbourhoods? You bet.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pablo, Stray Cat From Hougang Found With Liver Failure

 


Pablo was found jaundiced by his caregiver - yellowed leather areas like ears and a yellowish tinge on gums - after a long bout of poor appetite. He also has a tangibly enlarged liver.

Unfortunately there were no immediately available funds for Pablo to see a vet and so his caregiver approached us for help. We accompanied Pablo to the vet where he was found to be severely dehydrated. He needed to be hospitalised and put on drip. Alongside saline; dextrose, vitamins. When he was more hydrated his blood was tested. He was found to have 5 times elevated level of liver enzymes. 

 

 
 
Pablo needed to be hospitalised overnight. To minimise hospitalisation costs, when he was stable enough to receive fluids subcutaneously instead of via IV, we brought him back to our foster home. he is now on 150ml of saline daily until his dehydration is alleviated.

Pablo needs a long list of nutraceuticals into order to improve his condition, including: Zentonil (vet-prescribed), taurine, arginine, carnitine, SAMe, NAC. He also needs herbal supplements such as milk thistle and dandelion root. He is currently also on antibiotics, and cyproheptadine which is an appetite stimulant he responds well to.

This treatment will help improve his liver condition, however, it will likely be a lifelong one, as liver failure rarely reverses. He will need another blood test in 4 weeks and regularly thereafter to manage his condition. He also has a small lump in his abdomen, which at this point we will not know if it is cancer or otherwise until we can send him for a biopsy. Cancer will require additional medication and care.

The good news is that Pablo came to us sooner than later: even more severe liver failure cases can put cats in a coma. Also, Pablo does not show signs of pancreatitis, which if a cat also has, presents a very poor prognosis for liver failure.

How you can help
Pablo's vet bills are/will be paid from our Stray Cat Fund. He is on a canned food diet, which alongside his supplements are paid for by our Boarding Fund. You can give to either fund by making aa deposit to either fund in our POSB savings account 188-52652-7 and thereafter SMS Elaine at 90880675 to indicate which fund you are giving towards. You can also contact Elaine to give your gift in person via a visit by appointment.

You can also give canned food through our corporate sponsor The Water Dish who will deliver the food to us directly. The default canned food is Addiction Brushtail. If you would like to pamper Pablo, we accidentally discovered he really, really loves Nature's Variety Lamb formula, which is very pricey: $5.77 after discount at Pet Lovers' Centre. Enquire at maxine@thewaterdish.com.sg for either Addiction or Nature's Variety Lamb charity prices.

We will continue to update on Pablo's progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (/@luvkuching) so do follow us there. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Forever homes update

Happy to have made two homes more complete of late.

Dobi and Bambi were adopted together by Braveheart's adopter and have eased in well into their new home. They were given a kitten pen for training, and Braveheart has been inviting them to play with him.





Lenny now lives in Bukit Merah with his new loving father and human brothers. Finally Lenny has dedicated attention-providers! None of Lenny's photos can be taken without him clinging on or near to his new family members.





Thank you cat lovers who show us that you have space in your heart for more cats who really needed you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Home remedies for temporary respiratory difficulty #sghaze

Has your cat been wheezing, having usually wetter nose, coughing due to the haze?

If your cat is vaccinated against the cat flu strains and is usually healthy, here are some tips on how to ease kitty through some breathing difficulty when the PSI is unhealthy.

Humidity helps. This means that placing your cat in a carrier while you take a hot shower will help clear the respiratory tract. It should be about 10 minutes long. Aircon rooms means that the air is being filtered but it also means the air is dry. If there are non-aircon rooms in the house that have no haze seeping in, let kitty sleep in those rooms. You can also turn on a humidifier if you have one.

Aromatherapy works wonders for cats. To help ease breathing, place a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint and clary sage essential oils in a small bowl of hot water, place kitty in a carrier, put the bowl outside the door. Cover bowl and carrier with a towel for no longer than 10 minutes. Manage breathing periodically through the day diffusing the same oils on a diffuser with breaks in between (make sure it is not a closed room, door should be open). The smoky odour can be eliminated by diffusing pine needle and tea tree essential oils. Do not apply the oils directly on the cat at anytime. We get our essential oils from iherb.com (use our discount code AVA985 if you are a first time customer, to get USD5-10 off your purchase).

To ease symptoms in the short term, you can also give a quarter tablet of chlorphenaramine (yellow flu tablet) otherwise also known as Piriton. This antihistamine will ease the itchiness and runny nose. Do not administer any other antihistamine or flu medication - this is important, some flu medication contains paracetemol which is toxic to cats.

Clean your cat's eyes. Drip some saline into the inner corner of her eyes and wipe with a cotton or gauze. If you have Pet Alive Eye-Heal even better! Follow the instructions and use it to clean your cat's eyes. This helps keep eyes clear and prevents any irritation. Otherwise you can also steep some chamomile tea in water and when cooled, wipe kitty's eyes with it using cotton or a gauze.  

If all these methods do not help give immediate relief, you will need to go to the vet because there might be mucus buildup obstructing breathing and this needs prescription-only medication. This is especially important if you hear a 'wet' noise when your cat breathes, if eyes start producing mucoidal discharge, if cat starts breathing with difficulty, causing it to hunch or hyperventilate. A normal cat's respiratory rate should be 20 to 30 breaths per minute.

Keep the windows closed! Take care, kitties and kitty folk.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Play/clean volunteering on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday

Want to join us in cleaning the foster space, and spend time playing with the kitties?

Join us for play/clean volunteering available 3 times a week, maximum slots 3 per evening:
  • Tuesdays 7-9pm with Riley, Iqah and Ima
  • Thursdays 7-9pm with Rashid, Diana and Iris
  • Saturday 7-9pm with Halima, Zen and Esther
You do not have to stay the full duration, nor start at the stated time sharp.

To join us:
SMS us with your name and date you wish to come (Esther at 83833813 for Saturday, Diana at 90116554 for Thursdays, Riley at 96569022 for Tuesdays,) and they will let you know if slots are still available for your preferred date, and give you our address if your slot is confirmed.

We are at Joo Chiat. Our Foster Care Volunteers in charge of the day you are coming will give you our specific address when your attendance is confirmed.

Dress for cleaning and washing. Bring a change of clothes if you wish. Disposable aprons and gloves are available.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Temporary Student Volunteer!

Hello everyone!

This month of June, something (slightly) new will be happening at Love Kuching: They have gotten a new temporary student volunteer, me!
 




This is me. ^ At that moment, I was getting distracted by the adorable Sunkist who came straight up to me and requested a petting ;)

Okay, let me formally introduce myself: My name is Ashley, and I am currently a Secondary Two student, who came to Love Kuching, wanting to do something productive yet meaningful during the one-month June Holiday that most (if not all) students get. So, I decided to volunteer at a place that really would benefit me in many ways, and after much sleuthing, I found Love Kuching. (and was really thick-skinned to pester Elaine to let me volunteer >< Sorry Elaine!) I  thought that I could take away at least five things from this stint at Love Kuching:

#1: I could benefit a cause that I love.
 Love Kuching is really about helping cats, and benefiting the welfare of the cats, a cause which I really support as I, myself have two darling cats at home:
 Here's a diagrammatic representation that i made of my cats (on a science book no less)

 And, helping Love Kuching means helping more cats! whats not to love about that :D

#2: I could learn new skills.
At Love Kuching, I was exposed to some new things like how to do admin work, how to better take care of cats... the possibilities are abundant. All these new-found skills have helped me to be a wiser person, as well as a better 'mommy' to my kitties! I even got a service learning journal so that this experience could be more meaningful!

#3: I could meet like-minded (aka cat crazy) people:
I could meet, and interact with new people, and might even end up making lasting friendships as we bonded over our mutual cat-appreciation! And I did! On one of my volunteer slots, I met many people who were very nice, and we ended up sitting around, chatting, playing with the cats, and swapping funny cat stories after we had finished our work!

#4: I could get CIP points.
In case of any parents worrying that I could be using the time spent volunteering to study, I could just tell them that I was getting CIP points! In my secondary school, you have to spend at least 100 hours on volunteering, to be able to subtract two points from your O-level score. So by volunteering, you are benefiting your future score!

And #5: I get to interact with kitties!
 There are nine cats at Love Kuching's Foster Space, (and although I only saw some as they were shy), most of them are very sociable, welcoming and friendly!



I really enjoyed my volunteering time so far, and I hope that after my time is over, that I can find some more time to volunteer!

 Make a financial gift via a deposit to our POSB savings account 188-52652-7. Find out more. Become a monthly giver to help ensure our rescues continue getting their needs met. Feed and provide litter to the cats we foster via our corporate sponsor The Water Dish.  Follow on us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Threshold | Our intake capacity

In any cattery setting, it is important to have thresholds to manage the intake numbers of cats in order to maximise capacity and minimse stress and overcrowding.

In the past our threshold was 12 cats of which 3 would be critical care cases.

With our new foster space, new cat suites and expansion into critical intensive care for sick and injured stray cats, our threshold for critical care cases is now raised to 5. We reserve one of the cat suites for rescue kittens needing rehoming, which when young can reach to 4 kittens in one kindle. The free roaming kindle of foster kitties remains at 4. Hence our total ideal threshold is at 13 inclusive of 5 ICU cases. In critical periods the threshold may need to be stretched to 17.

While the threshold total number remains largely the same, the proportion of ICU cases has increased, made possible by all you cat angels!

(as of 13 June 13 our current cat count is at 7, ICU capacity at 40%, 4 are free-roaming. Reserving only 1 cat suite for rehoming kittens, maintaining free-roaming cats at ideal number of 4, means that at present moment we abide strictly by our triage method of accepting rescue kittens for rehoming.)

If a kitten is not in dire need, or you have not exhausted other foster options, we will not stretch the current capacity. It might sound a tad cold in being this strict, but maintaining threshold numbers aids a lot in the quality of care for the current cats in our custody. Oftentimes in fact, when you rise up to foster on your own, even without prior experience, the cat receives better care because it is one human to one cat, whereas in a shelter scenario like ours, it is not the case. This differs when it is about a sick or injured stray cat that needs medication/injections throughout the day which a normal human's schedule may not allow, hence our priority of setting aside 5 cat suites for such cases.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Adoption Update

We are still waiting for the right families to adopt Echo, Sunkist, Ebi, Cooky and Cubby. 130515_Sunkist_002 130515_Cooky_005 130515_Cubby_001 130515_Cubby_002

Cubby will soon need to freeroam if she gets bigger before finding a loving family. This will make the freeroaming kindle of kitties a size of 5 cats. When this number goes down to 4, we can allocate one slot to a rescue kitten that might need it - the healthiest and most ideal kindle size is 4. Of late we have been turning away - all - kittens for rescue and rehoming because current adoption rates cannot support the intake numbers. We secretly hope that you can help change this. Adopt one of our rescue kitties today, and in doing so make us able again to take in rescue kittens for rehabilitation and rehoming. Until then, please foster and rehome any rescue kittens in dire need on your own; anyone can rise up and foster and you won't know till you try! You can always ask us for advice on what to do if ever you have questions on the fostering process. As for cats that don't need rehoming because they can return to the streets when rehabilitated or because our foster home will be their last stop on earth, yes we currently have the capacity for them. If you need help with a sick or injured stray cat, contact us.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cat Party on a Caturday!


Hello everyone. Last Caturday there was a Cat Party held for launch of Love Kuching's new foster space! There were lots of visitors there but let's have the pictures show you for yourselves how the launch was.

Visitors got a mini tour of the new foster space! The items, the suites and decoration are donated or contributed by the various Cat Angels who have supported Love Kuching.

The giant photo on the wall and the photo of Slinky on the door were done by Furry Photos. If you want pictures of your own pets, (it doesn't have to be cats) check his website and contact him.

Two of the suites are being used at the moment by Harry and Cubby.

And then time to play or interact with the cats roaming about!

The cats milling about for pettings or treats! Or even to play. They got to play a lot with the visitors there using the swishy wand for them to jump at.

Sunkist sat about in his weird but effectively cooling way for you to pet or touch him.

Lenny (now recently adopted!) had attention lavished on him.

Kitten IC, Sealy, hung outside for a bit. He's more interested in sleeping somewhere else. He's a pretty big cat! Blur but big and really cute.

Remember Chanel? Her parents brought her for a visit and it's been 7 months since she'd been to Love Kuching. She's now flourishing very well and is a bit chubby now.

As the party came to an end, the cats were tired out along with the humans who had played and cuddled them.

If you want to meet the cats, sign up for the play/clean volunteering sessions or hey... heh heh adopt one (or two).



Make a financial gift via a deposit to our POSB savings account 188-52652-7. Find out more. Become a monthly giver to help ensure our rescues continue getting their needs met. Feed and provide litter to the cats we foster via our corporate sponsor The Water Dish.  Follow on us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Pawprints