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Thursday, May 28, 2009

8 kittens update

Of the eight kittens, two are male, the others female. One of the male kittens, a grey and black tabby, is growing to be a really big boy! He is the biggest of the pack.

The other male is a grey with black-tipped fur on his back, and white paws like toe-socks.

There are three white ones, and one of them is especially fluffy, having softer fur than her two other white sisters. She has a softer voice than the others; all the kittens are quite vocal.

They should be about four weeks old by now. Soon they will be eating solid food, the mother cat is already not nursing them as often. They are beginning to explore the neighbour's territory a lot more now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How we discovered the mother cat with 9 kittens

One of our favourite stray kittens lives in a block at the far end of our car park. I call her Squirrel: she is a warm lilac grey shorthair, with black fur down the spine of her back. She is really cute, like Nermal in Garfield, but when we first spotted her she was really shy to the point of hiding behind trucks and motorbikes whenever we approached.

The last time we did our community cat neutering, Andy and I took her too. We then replaced her back at her home. By this time, Squirrel was already much more acquainted with us. Andy passes by her spot whenever he walks home from the bus stop after work, so we keep an eye on her every now and then.

During this time we had also spotted a very pregnant cat. One day while going to visit Squirrel to give her an extra meal (as kittens they need to eat more), we saw this pregnant cat. Thinking she might have already scoped out a place to give birth, we stalked her, as she walked up the stairs of a block nearby, to the second floor.

Turns out, that this cat had already given birth outside a flat on the second floor.

When we found the litter, they had just only opened their eyes, meaning they were 10 days old.

Her litter consists of 4 white kittens, 2 grey-black ones, 2 grey tabbies, and 1 white with tabby stripes.

Aswat has already been notified, and also gave the mother cat some cat food. He is also on the lookout for potential adopters. We have been monitoring the mother cat and her litter almost every evening now, and recently met all the people who have been helping to feed her, synchronising our feeding schedules. Andy and I are on dinner duty, dry food. The upstairs neighbour feeds her in the morning, and the neighbourhood cat lady feeds her in the evening (canned food).

One of the white ones have already been adopted, which is a good thing, because that one was the skinniest and has a better chance of survival being hand-fed with kitten formula. 8 kittens, 8 teats on the mother cat, much less fighting amongst the kittens.

The kittens are still being cleaned up after their mother after they eat, meaning she licks their behinds to induce excretions, thereafter licking them clean. But soon, the kittens will start to pee and poo like grown-up cats. 8 kittens will be too much for the neighbours and the family living in the flat the kittens now live outside of.

The mother is a cautious cat, but very friendly once she gets to know you. The kittens fathers are likely to be the brother of Mommy cat at our block - white, possibly cross-Siamese - and a grey and black tabby cat.

And it also looks like this mother cat is Squirrel's mother.

Will update more on them soon, and when I can good pictures on them. 8 personalities to profile, lots of work!

new mother

Been busy with our latest discovery: a stray cat near our place gave birth about three weeks ago, to a litter of nine kittens. She is currently stationed outside a neighbour's house. Nine kittens are a huge burden to the mother.

Since then, most of the cat community has rallied to help feed the mother cat. One of the kittens has already been successfully adopted by a lady experienced with bottle-feeding young kittens. Thankfully, she had taken the skinniest one of the litter, one of four white ones. This kitten will now have a better chance at survival.

Pictures so far are a little bit hazy, but will try to post some soon.

Kittens will be ready to leave their mother at about 8 weeks. Any sooner will require round-the-clock bottle-feeding.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The story of Sylvester



Sylvester is a cross-breed between a Persian and a Burmese cat. He's black and white and one of Aswat's customers christened him Sylvester because he's lanky and black white just like the cartoon character Sylvester.

Sylvester has been at Angels Pet Shop for a while. He is such a poor thing... he was originally from a litter of kittens that the mother's owner wanted to dump at the market, but Aswat told that owner not to, and he would help to find them homes. (And also told them to please sterilize their cats, but well.) His siblings have all been adopted.

Initially Sylvester did find a new home. But the owner saw Sylvester playing with her own kitten, and complained that the 'kittens are slapping each other'. But they were just playing! Obviously not an owner that knows the play body language of kittens. So Sylvester was returned to the shop.

He was then taken in again by another owner. But the owner suddenly changed their minds and wanted a pure Persian kitten instead (not available at the shop at this moment). And then returned Sylvester again.

Sylvester has been rejected twice! And it's not his fault.

He has a very old-worldly charm to him. The Burmese cat is dominant in his physical appearance, hence he is like other local cats - short haired. He's affectionate once he gets to know you, enjoying a cuddle and loves to sit on my lap or cling to my chest, and generally very agreeable. He is not overly manja nor vocal, which is good for some people. But he loves to play! He enjoys playing with other kittens. When Tabby cat first came into the shop, she was at the time unsocialised and reserved, keeping to herself. But Sylvester broke the ice and started playing with her, initiating her into the group. Now Tabby enjoys climbing the cage walls even more than Sylvester, who loves to climb too.

He doesn't complain much, even when we had him dress up for a photo shoot!



More updates and pics on Sylvester soon. Meanwhile, enjoy! And spread the word! Sylvester is growing up soon, and if he cannot find a new home, he will probably have to be sent to SPCA.

adoption update!

Snowy and Nosey have been adopted!

There was a family whose grandma wanted their cat, so they decided to give their cat to her and find another kitten. They came to Angels Pet Shop, and when saw Sylvester, Tabby (at the shop), as well as Snowy and Nosey whom we brought down to show them, decided to take both Nosey and Snowy. They wanted a white cat, which Snowy was the only white one among them, and at Aswat's advice to take two so that Snowy won't be lonely, picked Nosey because she was so good with being carried and even-tempered towards her sister.

YAY!

The burden is off our hands, and our household is restored to some normalcy. Of course, we feel a bit strange without the two kittens around now, but at least now the house is less chaotic and we can focus our attention on the care of our own two kitties.

Friday, May 8, 2009

heat

This is terrible - Mommy cat is on heat again, already! I supposed the kittens' father didn't intend to make a reunion so much as a booty call.

How do you know a female cat is on heat? Firstly, she becomes more vocal, meowing in a stranger pitch than usual. When patted, she will lower her behind, assuming the mating position. This position sometimes also causes her hind legs to go into a 'paddling' motion. She also becomes overly affectionate, but with Mommy cat, that is hard to tell, because she is already an affectionate cat. Cats go into their first heat at about 5 - 6 months old.

This means that, by the time (next month) we bring her to sterilize with the other neighbourhood cats, she would likely be pregnant again, at least halfway through gestation.

Something new that I learnt - lactating mothers do go into heat after all, perhaps it is a signal towards the end of her lactation.

nosey so affectionate

OMG Nosey is so affectionate. Just the other day, she nose-kissed me, which is a sign of affection. Then, the next day, she licked my toes, which is the ULTIMATE sign of affection. And today, when I hugged her, she purred! So I nose-kissed her too. I think she is coming to enjoy cuddling, which is a good socialisation skill that should be built up from kittenhood. She never complains about hugs (unlike my Slinky), or showering, or at Snowy for snatching food away from her.

I just got a call asking about Nosey! If this family does take Nosey, it would be great as she is gentle and affectionate in nature, also curious (see washing machine picture below) and cute with that button nose. She will warm many hearts, just as she has already warmed mine.

why cats?

When I first renovated my home I was warned that my wooden laminate flooring won't be very accommodating for dogs. Also, because I am not a big fan of small pooches, (my dog from my teenage years was a big brown mongrel), I felt that dogs were not going to be possible in this home of mine.

My cat ownership days started with Slinky adopting herself to me. She was then a young slinky kitten, and through the years she has gotten to know me, and started following me home.

I felt that a cat was all right to have, they being very easy to upkeep because they self-clean, and use litter trays instead of newspapers which is rather messier. Also, cats don't mind your not being around most of the day, and at the time being a workaholic, I knew cats were better suited for my lifestyle. At least you don't have to walk your cat everyday.

Potential pet owners should take note of their own lifestyle and personality before selecting a pet companion. If you like to go out for walks, jogs or blading, then dogs are definitely your thing. If you like slobbering attention when you come home instead of a pet sitting at your door, wishing you a silent welcome, then you definitely want a dog. Cats can be vocal and affectionate too, but just not as passionately as dogs.

You also have to realise that kittens and puppies are going to be playful, but as they grow older they tend to become more sedentary. You have to make allowance for these growth changes if you want to start rearing animals from young. There was a cocker spaniel at the pet shop the other day, abandoned by his owners, because they got a new puppy and didn't want to keep him anymore because he had grown up. Children should not be encouraged to do 'out with the old, in with new' when it comes to pets! Imagine if we decided to go the hospital and said, 'My baby is now an adult, I want a refund so I can have another baby. I don't want this grown-up thing anymore.' Well, it is the same thing.

Another reason as to the question 'why cats', is that I only ever adopt animals, I never will buy them. Because the stray animals around here are mostly cats, cats it shall be. If Slinky was a dog, I would have taken her in anyway.

oh by the way, THAT pet 'farm' in Pasir Ris

Rumour has it that a popular pet 'farm' in Pasir Ris isn't treating animals right. Here are a few things that made it into the grapevine:

1) They feed their animals with plain white rice, and a few kibbles of dry food.

2) The dry food is often expired product.

3) Because the food is expired, there are bugs in them. Hence, they sift out the bugs from the food before feeding it to the animals

4) The 'backyard' where the breeding goes on, is a bit like a place where comfort women used to be imprisoned for the Japanese soldiers. The animals are forced to breed, with human help, that is they physically put the male on top of the female to force them to mate.

5) Needless to say, this 'backyard' probably is not up to AVA standards.

So, don't support this place. Don't buy animals. Adopt. There are more than enough unwanted animals around in need of a home.

slinky retrospective








No other cat in our house has been photographed more. Slinky loves taking pictures, because she likes the attention. So here is a mini album of Slinkzpics!

more pictures of Snowy and Nosey!



Snowy moves around so much, it is hard to get a good picture of her, but here's one taken this morning:



I heart this picture of Nosey - she is so curious! Wondering what makes that whirring sound in the big-bad-machine spinning dirty towels.






This morning I woke up and lo and behold! The kitchen was not in a fatal mess. No puke, no loose poo, not much litter box sand out of the box, nothing was overturned and the dustbin was not ransacked.

We also had a shy visitor today - the kittens' father, who is a black striped tabby cat, cute as hell, but scared to approach humans. He has also attacked Slinky once before, when he wanted to come into our house for shelter. He seems so shy, like he wants to be near us, but yet so wary he is never close enough to be stroked. He came together with Mommy cat, when she wanted her breakfast. Nowadays we hardly let Mommy cat into the house anymore, seems like she has left her kittens in our care for good. Which means one less mouth to feed. It makes a difference!

tabby


There is a cute tabby kitten in Angels Pet Shop now that can't seem to find a new home. She was rescued from a drain, alone, by a cat-feeder. Here is a picture of her at the pet shop.

When she first came to the shop, she was reserved, and didn't really play much. Soon after, another kitten started playing with her, and now both of them love to climb, chase and wrestle with each other. Now, she is growing up and if she doesn't get a loving new owner soon, she will be sent to SPCA at the end of this month.

Tabby is very vocal and loves to explore. She has a cute triangular face and her eyes match her coat with a tinge of blue in them. She also has the classic local cat's letter 'M' on her forehead, which is typical of many local cats in Malaysia as well. If you are keen to take a look at her as well as the other kittens in the shop, call Aswat at 9337 8211.

part-time mommy cat

I sit here typing this update with Sayang snoozing on my lap. She's a real darling lap-cat.

Mommy cat is now leaving her kittens alone for most of the day, as she is probably weaning them off milk already. We notice she is producing less milk, and also eating less because she is no longer nursing the kittens lately. She now spends time with the kittens' father, and is open to prey by other male cats as well. We can only hope the next round of neighbourhood sterilization will be soon and before she gets pregnant again.

As for the kittens' fate, we have a possible adopter coming soon via Angels Pet Shop next week. If Snowy gets taken, it would be a much easier time for us. Snowy is hyperactive! She often pounces on her sister Nosey, and loves to run. Nosey is a more cautious player, she often observes more than she attacks. But Snowy likes to boldly go toward Slinky and Sayang, and she got a sore eye earlier, probably from Slinky. Thankfully it is not a serious wound; no visible scarring. If we can't get Snowy and Nosey adopted soon, I will have to go get acrylic cat claw covers for Slinky.

I think no one will want to take Nosey. Although she has a cute button nose, a cooperative temperament and is rather quiet, she has an odd mix of three colours - orange striped, with black, and white socks. My heart is leaning towards taking in Nosey if no one wants her. But Snowy needs to go! She has so much potential as she's a pure white cat with pretty eyes.

We have just cleaned and mopped the house and hopefully my eczema will clear up soon as the cat demographic in the house decreases. At least with Mommy cat out of the house, no more cat-fights. Just kittens wrestling...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

cat fight

Slinky and Mommy cat SERIOUSLY cannot get along.

I have to quarantine them both, separately. Just tonight, W's son Z went into the kitchen to get to the loo, and when the kitchen door opened Mommy cat came into the living room - head on with Slinky there. I stopped it before it got too physical.

The thing is, Mommy cat is well able to take care of herself outside. But her kittens are here in our home, and with a compelling need to take care of them while we find them new homes, we have to let Mommy cat into the house too, to let her see them and take care of them as she wants to. And Mommy cat, still a nursing mother (though the kittens are already on solid food as their main diet), needs to eat much more than the usual 1 - 2 meals doled out a day by neighbours or cat-feeders. Nursing mother cats need almost twice the amount of food than an adult cat. Plus, she is still growing, as she was probably impregnated during one of her first few heats just toward the end of her kittenhood.

But Mommy cat is a lovely cat, Slinky aside. She is white, with a short tail, huge bambi eyes, and very vocal and affectionate. She responds meowingly to Andy's meow-calls for her to come home if she has gone outside to walkabout. She looks like Hello Kitty!

Slinky, being black and stealthy, sometimes gets out of the line of sight of Mommy cat. Until Mommy cat saunters too near to Slinky and realises it too late that Slinky was sitting there looking like a bale of black fur in the living room corner. Then, hisses! Scary, especially when in the middle of the night and I have to shout at them to cut it out.

Cat fights aside, the kitchen is a mess - litter box sand all over, kittens messing up my floor rug, the stench of more than twice the amount of poo in one box, the bits of cat food that the kittens leave around (because they chew them down into small crumbs. Think Cookie Monster), and having to close the windows in case Nosey or Snowy decide to start climbing my windows. And, Sayang looks itchy (probably fleas) but I can't bathe her yet till her stitches have fully recovered. For now, it is just Prickly Heat powder. Which means even more of a mess (try powder bathing a cat...).

The only rewards we get out of this: having cute cuddly Nosey and Snowy to play with, and a lovely Mommy cat to stroke and meow with. And at least we worry less, knowing they are safe, clean and well fed at our home till we can get the kittens another home.

Monday, May 4, 2009

cat invasion

We seriously need to find Snowy and Nosey a new home...
































It became too much of a hassle to leave them outside our door, for a number of reasons. First, toilet issues. We have a litter box in our kitchen for our cats, and when the kittens were in our house when their mommy was away at the vet, they learned to use the litter box. But when they are outside, it seems they pee and poo everywhere - including outside neighbours' flats. This means Mommy cat hasn't yet brought her kittens to walkabout downstairs. We end up having to clean shit outside our house more and more, and it means more work! So, I put my foot down and told Andy that if the cats were IN the house, it would actually be less work - only one litter box to clean.

The three cats have also made our house a bit of a mess, because when they go outside to roam, they inevitably come back dirty and leave paw prints in our living room whenever they loiter in. We can't keep bathing them, so...

Putting them in the house seems like our only option for now. At least we can confine the messes to their play and eating area (in the kitchen). At least there would be no more paw prints. At least there won't ever be neighbours complaining again.

The problem is that five cats in the house is seriously crazy. Five cats to (at most) four humans, we are out-catted! Also, Mommy cat doesn't get along with Slinky. They had a minor cat-fight in which Slinky lost some of her fur. We had to separate them - Slinky and Sayang now snooze in our room, Mommy cat and the kittens in the kitchen.

Our main adoption care-giver Angels Pet Shop is currently full-house on kittens. (More on them in a later post). Unless we can pass them over to Angels, we have to help board them in our place till we can re-home Snowy and Nosey. Or unless till we can let them loose as adult strays downstairs without having to worry anymore about pee and poo and dirt. But in the meantime, Snowy and Nosey are still too young to fend for themselves as strays in the neighbourhood.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mommy cat

There is a white cat living at our block. She had three kittens recently, and the family who had been feeding her can't adopt the kittens because their young son has bronchitis. So we tried to keep an eye on the kittens, to make sure they were safe, and are trying to find them homes.

However, we heard from Aswat at Angels Pet Shop that one of the cat-ladies found the three kittens dumped below my block. They went missing for days after. All of us were stricken with worry, wondering if they had been thrown away by the rubbish collectors. They are too young to be able to fend for themselves against threats like dumping and bullying.

We thought we lost them. We saw Mommy cat still lingering around our block. We feed her sometimes. And bathe her.

Then one night, Sayang our guard cat went to the front door and seemed to be aware of someone outside our house. I opened the door and lo and behold! Mommy cat AND her three kittens were at our doorstep, hungry.

We fed them. And contacted Aswat to see if he could get people to adopt the kittens. I would take them in but we already have two cats, and obviously Mommy cat's human family also cannot keep them, else why would they have dumped the kittens downstairs.

Angels Pet Shop was full on kittens, so we had to take care of the kittens while he tried to link us up with people who would like to adopt any of them.

In the end, one of the kittens was adopted by a customer of Angels. We called that kitten Neko, as she was a tricolour kitten similar to a Japanese bobtail cat! Well, she has a new home now, and need never have to brave the rain and the rubbish again.

So now, two left, plus Mommy cat, three.

During our latest neighbourhood round-up for cats to be neutered, we decided to bring Mommy cat in too. While Mommy was away at the vet, we took care of the other two kittens, Nosey and Snowy.

Unfortunately the vet found that Mommy cat was still lactating and unsuitable for sterilisation at this point. Looks like it's the next round for her.

Reunited, we left the family of three to play and eat at our doorstep. Nosey and Snowy, over the two days that Mommy was away, created a huge mess at home, and my rhinitis flared up at the sudden influx of so much more fur.

But Andy and I keep worrying about them. They don't seem to have enough to eat (kittens and nursing cats need to eat a lot more than normal adult cats). They are dirty from playing outside, and have fleas. Also, one of my neighbour's children bullied the kittens by pouring soya bean milk on them (and also along the shared corridor and on other neighbours' property, much to my horror). Of course I made that recalcitrant family clean up the mess, and scolded the kids good and proper. But then we started to feel they were safer inside the house.

Today, we let them out again, keeping an eye on them, feeding and watering them throughout the day. But when night came, so did a storm. They got wet, and cold. We brought them in again, and they are now resting and playing in our kitchen. Slinky is in the living room guarding her territory, and Sayang is asleep in our room next to me.

Andy and I feel so torn over Mommy, Nosey and Snowy. While we want to take care of them to make sure they are safe, well fed and warm, we also wonder how it would be possible for us to take on five cats in one small three-room flat. But we love the cats. Mommy cat looks like Hello Kitty! She is white with and elegant long neck, and a pink nose. She also very vocal, and likes to be near people. Snowy looks just like her, also vocal, and very playful, often running around and exploring, chasing Nosey and having wrestling matches with each other. Nosey is cute! She has a black button nose, while the rest of her body is black, orange and with white ankle socks. She is the most docile, the least to kick up a fuss during shower time, and her only vice is that she loves to climb our iron gate (though as yet does not know how to come down after...).

Hopefully, we can find Snowy and Nosey a good home. Let us know if you are interested.


Snowy, asleep, with Mommy moving away from her after helping to wash her. Nosey, curled up on our kitchen floor, her black button nose just makes you want to PRESS it!

Spotty

Slinky has a suspected sibling somewhere in our neighbourhood. We call her Spotty, as she is white with black spots (not unlike a cow), including one spot on her face.

One day we were visiting the strays in our area and as usual, stopped to say hi to Spotty. But something was different about Spotty that night: she had no appetite, and she was coughing badly. Also, her eyes looked swollen - a sign that she might be having a fever.

I got Andy to carry her. She hardly struggled, even though she is a stray cat that is probably not used to being carried. We had decided to bring her home for a night, to feed her some medicine, and give her a warm place to sleep that rainy night.

I took some of Sayang's anti-inflamnmtory painkillers and tried to administer the pill to Spotty. She couldn't swallow. I had to pound the pill into power, mix it in with glucose and water, and feed her by syringe. That night, she slept in our kitchen.

The next day, she seemed better. She was able to eat and drink, and looked more cheerful, wanting to be near us. I took this as a sign of affirmation that she was indeed better, as if we hadn't been helping at all, she would probably still be in pain and would likely blame us for forcing shelter and medical care on her.

However, one of her eyes was still swollen. Upon closer inspection, it was a fresh battle scar inflicted on her eyelid, hence the swelling, and tears.

For days following that morning when we released her back, we kept an eye on her eye, wiping the tears that rolled down from it, and checking to see if it became inflamed. It got better, and so I saved on having to use the eye drops on her. Today Spotty is back in her usual haunt downstairs, and looks happy to see us whenever we walk past her.



This is Spotty when we once tried to feed her with Beaphay cat treats. It tastes horrible, even strays won't eat it! Keep well away from this brand of cat treats...

neutering the ubi stray cats

Last week we joined Aswat to help round up the cats in our area that were not neutered, to book them in for the operation at the vets'. 'Rounding up' is not quite an apt phrase, as the process took strategy, stealth and speed, with the occasional trickery of our poor feline victims. Armed with cat carriers, delicious food and a good voice for meowing to cajole them out of their hiding places under cars, we went around Ubi and did a three-hour cat operation.

After they were unwillingly rounded up, the cats were transported off to the vets for the surgery to take place the next day. The cats came back to us a few days later, after they have recuperated.

We then had to release them back at their original places, so that they would keep their territory, theirs, safe from other non-sterilised cats.

All that for a quieter, happier neighbourhood, the release of the pain of childbirth, and to reduce the kitten population in our area so that we needn't have our hearts broken trying to keep the kittens safe while they grow up. The world is a cruel place, hence... Ubi Kuching Project.

Sayang the kitten


This is Sayang, our second cat in the family.

Her story is touching, and hails from what we call the Ubi Kuching Project, hence the name of this blog.

She is a kitten of a litter of four, with a world-weary mother who has been a stray cat for a long time. All four kittens were thus born as strays, behind a coffeeshop that is in the Ubi area where we live.

Sayang, who then still had no name, was found by our neighbourhood pet shop owner (Angels Pet Shop) as she was lying, sick, and alone. Her family members were nowhere to be found. Sayang was half-dead by then. Aswat and another Ubi cat lady took her to the vet, she was found to have been ill with stomach flu.

We met Aswat in the neighbourhood and he told us about a kitten he had just rescued, who looks a little like Slinky our resident cat - black on top, white in the bottom - and we went to visit Sayang who was then boarding at Angels.

I guess Andy and I fell in love with Sayang at first sight, hence her name. She loved us too, even though she was just a wee one who probably had been bullied by strangers before us. We took her home that night and nursed her back to health.

Today, she is a happy, purring kitten who loves to sleep on my lap, 'talk' to us, and follow us around just for a cuddle, and for food of course! She has just been spayed, and is gaining weight slowly from the skinny bunch of fur she once was. As I tell her story here, she is sleeping right next to me on the chair beside mine. Soon she'll be all grown up!

So now we have two cats. But there are so many more cats out there in need of safety, food and shelter. Here we shall chronicle our cat-adventures, and the things we do to help take care of the Ubi cats, whom we love.

Pawprints