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Monday, January 26, 2015

Ian from Yishun - his story

On January 15th we took in a cat that had been ill with gum disease. He is a stray cat from Yishun, rescued by Annette. We worried there was more to his illnesses than gum problems, so we took him to the vet for a check up, ready to provide him a space if he needs off-the-streets medical care.

Ian, also known as Xiaohei
We brought him to the vet and got his kidney and liver function tested, as well as for immune system diseases FIV and FeLV.

Ian waiting at the vet
It turns out that Ian is FIV positive, which meant that steroidal treatment (which he previously received) for his gum disease would do more harm than good. He would instead need to be on lifelong FIV medications.

Annette spoke to Ian's caregiver and a fostering situation was set up for him where he could receive his medications in the caregiver's family member's home. He was very happy to have gone back to Yishun!

Ian comfy in his new home
We handed the medication over to his caregiver, as well as his test results so she can go to her regular vet to get more FIV medications for Ian when it runs out. We love how this story ends with Ian being happy!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Adopt Tikki: kitten rescued from steel factory in Tuas

| Tikki, ticked tabby girl from Tuas |
Tikki was rescued alongside her sister Jenny from a steel factory in Tuas, a cat-unfriendly environment, by Janet with the help of her friend Jiayuan. When they first arrived at 8 weeks old, they were rather fierce towards humans, hissing away every time we went near them, although never violent.

It took a long time for us to get them to like humans. Socialisation is something we take very seriously at Love Kuching, because we don't want adopters to return cats back to the shelter because of behavioural issues that could have been prevented. We got a lot of humans to cuddle them all the time, fed them treats, introduced them to toys. In the meantime we got them vaccinated and vet-checked.

Finally one day they stopped hissing at people they already knew. But Jenny, the smaller, weaker sister of the pair, faded last week and passed away. She had been doing well but started to look weak, then last Monday, she hyperventilated and presented even more severe weakness. We gave her oxygen and fluids therapy but we could not save her, even with CPR.

Tikki remained strong after losing her sister, and we continued to expose her to cuddles and hugs. She still takes a while to warm up to people, hissing at you if she doesn't know you, but once warmed up is actually very into physical affection from humans.

Acts tough...
...but actually likes human contact.
She is also an animal lover in that she gets along well with other cats of her age, and older, as well as with dogs.

Respectful of older cats
Doesn't mind the Socialisation IC, though she won't play with him!
She is a ticked tabby kitten with a long tail, now 3 months old, vaccinated, dewormed and Revolution-ed, trained to use the litter box, eats well both dry and wet food.

If you would like to adopt a cat that acts tough but is actually affectionate, Tikki is suitable - for both petless and dog- or cat-households. See right side bar under 'How to adopt' or click here to find out how to adopt Tikki.

Tikki acting all, "Don't mess with me," unconvincingly!


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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Feline Therapy Outreach at Renci Nursing Home

Ninja with a wheelchair using patient in a ward at Renci
Last June, Renci Nursing Home at Novena contacted us to conduct animal assisted therapy with cats for their patients as part of their rehabilitative therapy programme. Our Outreach Team, at that time consisting only of Camellia and Nicole went down to visit their staff to map out a feline therapy programme for their needs.

The home was concerned with therapy programmes for ward-bound patients, some of whom cannot even sit up on wheelchairs. Our therapy programme has 3 objectives: physical, psychological, and social. So we crafted a programme for their ward-bound patients and started with one ward when we launched the programme. Since then our programme has expanded to cover three wards, and we are also in the works of planning to cover other Renci branches.

Butter on a bedbound patient's lap
Each patient who is interested and doctor-approved for the therapy goes through a checklist of therapy activities each time the therapy cat visits their bed, in order to fulfill the 3 therapy objectives. This way, the nursing home can use the collated data to assess the patients' benefit from the programme. Each patient gets to touch the cat if they want to, to encourage the psychological benefit from a cat's affection.

Cola Bay being touched by a patient on her bed
Some patients have stroke or arthritis, so patients may need assistance from our volunteers to create the physical contact with the cat. They may also need help with movement of their hand across the cat to stroke it, which creates a physical therapy benefit for the patient. Each patient's therapy session is evaluated to see if the stroking is volunteer-assisted on independently initiated by the patient.

This bed-bound patient initiated contact with Teapot
Patient encouraged by volunteer to physically stroke the cat

Kieran being stroked by a patient who can sit up

During each patient's therapy session, the volunteers will use the cat as a conversational icebreaker to get the patients talking. Sometimes these patients have no one to talk to the entire day, or may not have anything to talk about with their ward mates. Some of these patients also talk or sing to the cats, prompted by the volunteers if they are more reserved.

Socially interacting with Butter
Using Butter as a talking point to encourage conversation
How do we get suitable cats for therapy? The cats either are fostered by us, or belong to our Outreach Volunteers, such as Dharma and Gracie. For Renci Nursing Home, because the therapy session is held on a weekend, ad hoc volunteers can join in with their own cats too. Cats are screened with a checklist for health and personality.

Peanut and Butter's parents volunteering
Before each therapy session, the cats are groomed, nails trimmed, and given calming supplements to ease their stress of being handled by different people throughout the day. This is to protect the welfare of the cats as well as to prevent any aggression that might arise if a patient should accidentally handle the cat too roughly. They are also transported in carriers dabbed with essential oils so as to ease travel anxiety to the home. Each cat wears a harness and has a leash especially for those who are more active.

Teapot getting nails trimmed
Krystal getting her fur brushed with a Furminator

Supplements we administer to the cats beforehand
Kieran being fed her supplements

Yeah, some of them don't like the taste!
But it's effective in calming you, Duatau Bay!
After the grooming and supplements, the ad hoc volunteers are briefed by the Outreach Volunteers on safety measures, therapy steps, hygiene protocol - for instance, placing a pee pad on the patient's lap or bed before the cat is placed with them, sanitising of hands and observing doctors' orders on which patients should not have contact with the cats.

Dharma briefing the volunteers
We go to Renci Nursing Home every 4th Saturday of the month. If you wish to join us, drop an email to our Outreach Volunteer Camellia at outreach@lovekuchingproject.org.

We promise you it will be fun, and meaningful - sharing the love of cats with those who need it.


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Adopt: Ayumi from a school in Upper Aljunied

| Ayumi, calico with bobtail |
Ayumi and her brother Leiko arrived at Love Kuching on 6 November at 3 weeks old. Both of them were found in a drain at a school, with no mother in sight. Leiko passed away from fading kitten syndrome the week after, something that orphaned kittens often die from as a result of the lack of mother's milk. Ayumi continued her growing up journey with us and is finally ready for adoption.

She got weaned off milk and on to solid food, which took a long time, and she needed to eat wet food as she did not take to dry food until she was about 8 weeks of age. Hence she had perpetual 'food face' as she was always covered in wet food stains.

Ayumi at 7 weeks was still unable to eat dry food
"Me tried to lick my paws after swimming in my food bowl!"
As a result of her messy eating habits she got a skin infection and had to go on antibiotics. Her skin was also cleaned and medicated so as to prevent the infection from spreading.

At 8 weeks old she got a vet check and a vaccination, and received an all clear. She has also been Revolution-ed and dewormed. She remains very tubby even after deworming!

Ayumi the tubby
Round and fluffy, and great with dogs!
Her personality is quite unique. While she has been accustomed to hugs from the volunteers she doesn't really enjoy them, prefers to scamper around and explore on her own. She likes independent play toys more than sitting on human laps.

Her favourite toys include itty bitty mice
Queen of self-entertainment
She is very good with other animals, dogs, cats of all ages. She bonds well with everyone and is a very extroverted kitty.

"Me like make fwens."
If you are keen on adopting Ayumi, see right side bar under 'How to adopt'.


Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our Love Kuching Project DBS Current Account 027-905975-3 or via Credit Card  
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