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Monday, August 31, 2009

tidy cats - how to get 'em

Not so much the cat litter brand, but inspired by it. There is a Tidy Cats gallery on owners who have multiple cats and how it is not actually messy to have multiple cats in the house.

Come to think of it, our house has actually become cleaner after we got our second and third cats. Because of them, I clean the house more! The result is a cleaner house, of course.

Also because you can train your house cats - to not go on tables and counter tops. This way, the cats will not throw our human possessions from the tables to the floor. Our cats know this, and have stopped climbing on top of tables. They know that the floor is their domain and not tables, and they leave things alone if they are on tables and counter tops, even if it is food. They never climb on top of the kitchen counter while I am preparing their meals, and would wait on the floor next to me instead. Such house rules are important - never feed your kitten on the table or counter if you do not want them to eat from it when they grow up. Of course now and then they still sneak in a climb, but they pretty much know they shouldn't do it. Now, the only messes we have are from us human inhabitants - messy desks, laundry baskets and the like. We are the truly messier ones.

We keep all their toys in an open box, which they can take and play if they like, or we will reach in and grab one every now and then for them to play by themselves. Usually after that all the toys go back in the box, which is situated near their cat condo.

The cat condo itself relieves their need for climbing - domestic cats are descended from wild cats who enjoy climbing trees. This way, they can climb, hide and scratch away on the cat condo, and leave our couch alone. Every now and then Slinky enjoys a snooze on the sofa, but the rest of the cats pretty much leave the sofa alone.

We also have designated beds for them to sleep in. Apart from our bed, which we allow them to share with us whenever they feel like it, we have two baskets lined with homemade pillows, and a cat igloo compartment in the cat condo, which Sayang likes to sleep in sometimes.

Where cats are concerned, they usually like to do their toilet business cleanly, in a litter tray. Unless the cat is stressed for various controllable reasons, they will not do their business outside of the litter tray, as they are inclined to dig and cover their poo with the cat litter after they are done. However cat litter can be messy- to solve the problem of cat litter being all over the house, we switched from sand to pine pellets, which are bigger and easier to pick up if they do trail outside the box. Unlike sand, the cats will not leave paw prints (if their paws are wet), and the PeeWee litter tray filters the pine dust to the bottom tray, leaving our house litter dust free.

To further solve the problem of paw prints around the house, we keep our bathroom doors closed. This is partly also because once, when one of the times we brought home a stray cat because she was ill, she started breaking things in the bathroom, leaving glass shards for my tenant to step on when she went into the bathroom the next morning. But another reason is because our bathroom floor is usually wet because of the air-con drainage, and whenever the cats go in, they don't necessarily wipe their feet on the floor mat when they exit. So, only Slinky is allowed to go inside the toilet because that is where her own litter tray is.

When it comes to food, it is tidy too. I placed a floor mat on our feeding area, so food crumbs are easy to clear up - just wash the mat. You can also place a towel underneath their water bowls or water fountain to eliminate spills on the floor. We also have a specialised cleaning sponge for washing the cats' bowls, a separate one from ours, placed in a separate sponge holder by the sink.

We keep their cat food in our cat closet, a high up cabinet in the kitchen. Our cat closet holds more than food - it also has our cat first aid kit and medicines and their grooming paraphenalia. The large items like our 15kg Royal Canin food, and the cat litter, are all in our storeroom.

When it comes to the fur, which is a large problem for furry animals in general, we reduce the fur shed around the house by grooming them often. This way, the dead fur is removed. We usually do this before we clean the floor of the house. Of course, stray fur will still trail everywhere around the house, especially Slinky's fur, because she has very thick fur like that of a British Shorthair and other similar non-oriental short-hair cats. It is also the reason I am not tempted to own a Persian cat, because the fur will be just too much for my allergies. Yet again, where allergies are concerned, usually my body acclimatises to the change in fur levels in about a week. When Orket came to stay with us, she didn't really cause much of a fur invasion problem either, because we groomed her daily. To clear the fur off the cat condo and the sofa, we use this particular thingamajig that scrapes off the fur off fabric surfaces effectively, a free gift from Royal Canin.

So all in all, our cats are actually tidy. We are the messy ones, the humans. (This is why I cannot post pictures of proof here, because the pictures will be flanked by our laundry, our messy desks, our sink filled with dirty dishes from time to time...)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

new water fountain!

We finally found the perfect water feature for our cats. We were looking for one that has the right features:
  • Price below $100
  • Safe to use
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Size fits our feeding area
We just bought home the DogIt water fountain! It only cost us less than $80. It has a great design and colour, and it is safe for pet use. Most other pet fountains cost more, and they look terrible. We were looking at water features too, but we couldn't find one that was suitable anywhere. This one looks great!


Although it is meant for dogs primarily, we felt that it would work for our cats, and it did. Scooter and Sayang have already tested it out, and Scooter especially loves it. The great thing is that it has a 3 litre capacity, which means I no longer have to keep refilling their water bowl. Plus it has a filter, which means I don't have to keep washing the bowl all the time. And more than one of them can drink at the same time, which means that Sayang no longer has to walk away because Scooter tries to drink while she is at it (yes it happens). As a result of all the fun they had with the fountain, Scooter has already drunk loads of water tonight.

It comes with a detachable food bowl, which we would rather not use as when kibbles are placed too near their water, it often spills over into their water bowl. So we now have a spare feeding bowl in our cat closet too.

I hope they will now leave our bathroom air-con water pipe alone, as they now have their own water fountain, drips and all included!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

stray dogs in Ubi

Ubi is known to be a small residential estate, and we share our land with light industries and schools. Near our home behind the central field, there is also a small construction site, where some public works are being carried out.

One weekend, Andy and I took a walk around the field. We are not extremely outdoorsy people, which is a good thing we don't keep dogs but cats instead. During our walk we noticed some dogs playing in the field. We decided to go make friends with them.

Turns out that there are many more dogs in our area. They live either in the construction site, or at the nearby factory carparks. We decided to go feed them as they all seemed rather skinny. One of them, a semi-long haired black and white dog we call Vietnam, followed us to Angels Pet Shop afterward.

So far, we have been feeding them most weekends, as during then they have nobody in the offices nearby that feed them. We knew this because one week after we met them, Vietnam came by himself to Angels Pet Shop (crossing traffic lights and all that) for food again. (He has come a few times since.) Since then, we try to pay all the dogs a visit every weekend, as only Vietnam is daring enough to come to the shop.

Here are some pics of us feeding the dogs. The black and white one is Vietnam, and the brown one is another male dog we call Happy.



There are other dogs in the vicinity: another black and white one with short fur, likely to be Vietnam's sister, two other female dogs: one of whom, a black one, is blind in one eye, and the other looks like she is Happy's mother. There are others we have seen only once so far: the blind dog's daughter/son, and Vietnam's good friend who looks like a cross-Siberian Husky. There is also a cat there, who seems to be friends with Vietnam as well.

Vietnam is by far the friendliest and most street-wise dog of the pack, as he likes human company and is able to visit the pet shop by himself. Too bad that we have no space to adopt him, as he enjoys our company and attention a lot, and is very tame. He followed us back to our block when we went home after the first time we met him, and if not for Mommy cat (our block's resident guard-cat) who is fierce towards all intruders of our block, he probably would have come right to our doorstep.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

fishy!

I just made a batch of homemade food that the cats loved upon trying!

Tuna with Salmon and Apples
Ingredients:
1 can of tuna in spring water
4 salmon bones (tail ends, fillets removed)
1/4 apple
Rosemary leaves

Boil some water in a pot, just enough to cover the bones. Add a few rosemary leaves. Boil the salmon bones till meat is cooked. Remove the salmon meat from the bones, making sure all bones are removed. Keep the stove on, replace the bones into the pot to make the broth. Chop apples into small cubes and add to the pot. Boil till the broth thickens. Add tuna to the salmon meat, mixing evenly. Pour the broth into the fish meat and cool before serving. Yummy!

I tried it out on Sayang first, she loved it! I think the apples did it for her, she likes vegetables and fruits. Then I served some toScooter, who gorged himself on all the cats' shares. Slinky enjoyed it too, especially the broth, she licked all their bowls so clean.

The cost of the food is about $3.70, for a portion that is about 300gm. Only marginally cheaper than canned food, but we are running low on our supply. Fish is more expensive than chicken, but they seem to enjoy it so. Can't wait till they get more at lunchtime!

Monday, August 24, 2009

cats and humans

In a multitude of settings, cats have to learn to live with us human beings, and vice versa. We as humans need to protect and understand cats, and likewise house cats can and should be trained and cared for so that their undesirable behaviour is managed. Recently we came across a few examples where the human-feline interaction is undesirable.

Firstly, with pet cats. There are certain things that us humans will find undesirable, such as inappropriate toilet behaviour, and scratching of furniture. Both problems can be solved, and if the problems are instead left to be, then your house will be in a mess. We recently visited a house where there were too many cats, that the litter boxes simply weren't enough per cat. The cats decided to defecate around the house. They also clawed most of the furniture.

To solve these problems so that humans and felines are doing well in the same household, there needs to be enough clean litter boxes for your cats. Even single cats benefit from having more than one toilet, as they will not likely use a dirty one. If you cannot accomodate the space for enough litter boxes, then you may have too many cats. Otherwise, set up toilets in places where the cats seem to enjoy using, and clean the toilet at least once a day. You will know if there are not enough clean litter boxes in your household, when your cats are doing their business outside of it, where they consider clean - free of other animals' scents, without others watching, and away from where they sleep and eat.

With furniture, this can be solved by providing adequate cat furniture - scratching posts, igloos, beds, cat towers. Cats have the instinct to climb and scratch, so if these are not provided, they will definitely turn to human furniture to do these basic activities. They also have a need to feel safe, which is why they enjoy climbing on top of things (to be safe from predators pouncing on them) and often like to sleep in corners. If you have enough cat furniture for your cats, with training they will stay away from your furniture. This way, when you say no to your cats when they try to claw your furniture or climb on kitchen counters, it is still humane as they can still do these things elsewhere.

As for stray cats that share our neighbourhood spaces, us humans also need to behave ourselves so that these cats will not cause any trouble. For example, when you walk your dogs, don't invite them to chase stray cats. When cats retaliate in self-defense, they may scratch your dog, or even you. Also, children should be taught to treat cats with kindness by not scaring them or bullying them. It is okay for children to talk to stray cats, but not so if they start scaring them by shouting, hitting or stomping their feet on the ground loudly. If cats have been bullied by humans, they are likely to become more anti-social and will become difficult for cat volunteers to manage.

Cats are unlikely to cause much trouble to humans as strays. If they do, it is because they need to be sterilised. (Read here for an article on how to go about getting your neighbourhood cats sterilised.) Usually, when neighbours complain about cats being noisy or dirty, the authorities bring in the cats to be killed.

What we do is to talk to our neighbours often. Ubi is a very homely place, so that is not difficult for us. We often educate the neighbours we meet about the cats they see and know, so that they can understand feline behaviour better. This is of course of no use if you as an animal lover sets a bad example by littering after feeding strays, or being rude to people. Your neighbours are more likely to enjoy and care for animals if your own household is clean and neat, and if you are nice and friendly to people and children. If you are a good neighbour, your cats will be regarded as good neighbours too.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

best friends

Every day, Scooter and Sayang will play together, while Slinky when she is awake will watch them. Sayang used to groom Scooter when he was still young, and still does, even when they are wrestling. Lately, Scooter has been grooming Sayang as well, and even cuddles up to her to sleep sometimes.

Andy took a lovely pic of them two cuddling today. They are a loving pair of siblings!

adopted!

Batman has been adopted by loving family in Bukit Batok! This family has one kitten, Coco, and viewed Batman's photos on our blog here. Their sister came down to take pictures of the kitten, and showed it to the family. Then their other sister came down with her boyfriend to collect the kitten, and bought lots of things for him too.

Batman was extremely affectionate towards the boyfriend! He cuddled up next to him and nose-kissed him. We have never seen him behave this way towards anyone else; looks like he has chosen his new home owners!

Edit: Here are pics of him in his new home!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

silver update

Silver has been adopted! But Batman is still homeless. Do keep the word out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

outdoor access

In Singapore, there are many cat owners who allow their cats to go out of their flats to roam around, coming home only to eat, water and sleep.

This is actually not a great idea for your cat.

Firstly, your cat, if not sterilised, might contract sexually transmitted diseases such as the cat version of AIDS. If your cat is female, she might come home pregnant. If your cat is male, he might come back injured from fighting with other tom cats. (Whichever the case, please sterilise your cats at six months old.)

Secondly, your cat will run into other stray cats, and in a territorial war, get into cat-fights and get injured or stressed.

Thirdly, you cannot control what your cat eats outside and thus his health is compromised.

Fourthly, he might get fleas and ticks from grass and other cats.

Fifthly, neighbours might complain, and if the town council is contacted, usually the cat is caught to be brought to AVA to kill. Collar or not, there will not be any mercy.

Sixthly, your cat will be dirty and bring the dirt back to your house. If your house is dirty, you might also get complained against by neighbours and the whole complain-AVA-kill saga will begin.

There are many more reasons: your cat might get stolen by someone, get lost because he was chased or bullied by unkind humans, or was seeking shelter from rain. Or he might get knocked down by cars. Either way, you will lose your cat.

These abovementioned reasons are the main motivators as to why I made my first cat, Slinky, a totally indoor cat when she as a stray decided to adopt me. At first, I gave her outdoor access. She worried me when it was raining and I couldn't find her because she had hidden somewhere. She also vomitted out food that she had eaten outside. But after the time when I was hospitalised and Slinky couldn't find me when she came home, she seemed so lonely and had thought I had abandoned her. Upon the advice of my family and friends, I made Slinky a permanent house cat after I returned from hospital.

You may feel it is cruel for your cat to be confined indoors. This can be alleviated by the following:
  • Get your cat plenty of toys and a scratching post
  • Get your cat a cat condo to snooze on, play around and climb up on
  • Make sure your cat has a proper litter tray to do his business
  • Build an indoor cat garden so that your cat has some greenery to look at
  • Get a cat harness and leash to bring your cat downstairs for a walk
  • Get a pen to place outside your house for your cats' occasional use, so that your cats can watch the scenery but be protected in an enclosed space
Ultimately it is about your cat's safety, health, and very life that your cat should not be allowed to free-roam.

Farewell Cantik

One of Ali's house's cats Cantik, passed away over the weekend.

She initially had flu. She was brought to the vet. However, it became worse. She had epileptic fits. She was brought to the vet again. She also seemed to have a bloated stomach and constipation. Eventually, she passed away at home when the family was out.

Ali is saddened by his favourite kitten's passing. He is also a bit cheesed off by the fact that his cat, who initially only had flu when he brought her to the vet, did not become better but instead grew worse after the visits.

We asked him which vet he visited. The residents in our area often bring our animals to Telok Kurau Animal Clinic. There are three doctors there: Dr Hsu (only there on Mon and Fri) who is our favourite as he is good with all animals, Dr June, who does not seem to have very good reviews, and a male Dr Loh. It may have been a locum doctor who treated Cantik, or Dr Loh, we do not know.

Ali's cat household is now down to 5 cats. Cantik will be missed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Cat References

These are our personal library's two main cat textbooks.

The first is The Essential Cat Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds by Angela Rixon.

This book contains very basic information on cat care, useful for first time owners. The comprehensive information on cat breeds is more for interest, as we do not own, purchase, breed or show pedigree cats. It is useful though for reference, as we talk about the cats we meet and re-home in our neighbourhood. This way we can best describe the cats so that you our reader can understand more about the cats we write about. It for example describes the character and nature of different breeds of cats, like how Siamese and Oriental cats do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. When rehoming kittens such information is useful.

We bought this book from Borders at $15.95 as a bargain book.


The second book is Essential Cat by Caroline Davis.


This book has much more cat care information within than the first. There is good information on cat first aid, integrating a second cat into your household, the differences between kitten and adult cat care, and a good description on the common health problems in cats. The information is easy to read and there are good pictures.

The edition we own is no longer in print, shown here is another edition by a different publisher.

We bought this book from Popular at $15.90 as a bargain book.


We like to browse online as well. Apart from using Google to search for topics on cats, an evergreen site we like to refer to is Petfoodratings.net

Seeds

We like this particular brand of canned cat food - Seeds Bistro Cat. Our favourite flavours are chicken, and tuna with chicken.



The good thing about this food is that it is high in protein, and has very little jelly; it is mainly chunks of pure meat.

We buy our Bistro from Angels Pet Shop at $1.20 per 85g can.

Then one day, we came across the same cat food sold in Giant supermarket, at $1.25 per 170g can! It is much more worth it, so we contacted the local distributor of Seeds cat food as an eager customer, telling them we want to buy this from our neighbourhood pet shop.They have responded and will be supplying this size to Angels from now on.

Instead of being called Bistro, this size is called Miao Miao:


The differences between Bistro and Miao Miao, apart from size, is that Miao Miao has no pure chicken flavour, and also, the tuna used is redder compared to Bistro tuna, which is whiter. Bistro retails in Shop and Save for $1.30 per 85g can, and as mentioned Miao Miao retails at Giant for $1.25 per 170g can. These are the main differences.

It is a very economical choice of canned food, and is suitable for us as it is mainly protein, other nutritional needs already met through our dry diet. If you are looking for a low-cost canned food that is high in quality, this is definitely your choice.

A Basic Guide to Cat Ownership - Part 2

Part 1 here.

Regarding your cat's health and safety, you will need the following items:
  • Collar with ID tag (if your cat has outdoor access)
  • Cat carrier for bringing your cat to the vet
  • Deworming paste or tablets, available from pet stores or vets
You also need to be aware that some things in the house can be dangerous to cats. To make sure your cat is safe staying in your house:
  • Make sure windows are closed, or the grilles of your windows too small for cats to climb through
  • Discourage your cat from climbing on top of kitchen counter tops where the stoves might be hot
  • Keep all electrical wires and appliances neatly so that the cat will not get caught up in the wires or get electric shocks
  • Try to remove glass items from where the cat may roam in the house
  • Do not use insecticides or rat poisons near where the cat may access to

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Basic Guide to Cat Ownership - Part 1

For those of you who are first-time cat owners, this is written for you.

Cats are easier to keep than dogs. Firstly, they need less food, less showering, and no need for walks. You do however need some basic items in the house for your cat's well being.

The basic items needed are:
  • Cat food
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Litter tray
  • Cat litter
  • Cat shampoo
  • Scratching post
For cat food, pet stores sell a range of cat food brands to suit your budget. Cats need to eat once or twice a day as adults (>1 year old). Read more on cat nutrition here.

Always provide both a water and a food bowl. Cats like cleanliness, so you should keep these clean and throw away stale food as they will not eat it. Suitable materials for bowls are plastic, metal and ceramic. Do not use broken bowls as they might scratch themselves. A rubber base at the bottom of the bowls will be good as then the bowl will not move around when the cats feed and water.

Cats have the instinct to dig and do their business in a secluded area. A proper cat litter tray will be sturdy enough to support your cat's weight and movement, as well as his scratching when he digs the litter to bury his poo. These can be bought from pet stores.

There is a variety of cat litter. The most common is sand. To clear, just scoop out the poo and pee (hardened by the sand) daily and dispose of it in a plastic bag. Cats will not use a dirty litter box.

Cats don't really need to be given baths very often, the most regular interval should be two weeks. Unless the cat is very dirty you do not need to bathe him. Use cat shampoo found in pet stores. In a pinch, you can also use baby shampoo.

Cats need something to scratch to trim their nails. Scratching posts are the best, and these can be found in pet shops. You can also provide corrugated cardboards for them to scratch, but an upright post is usually the favourite for cats.

Next: Part 2

water feature?

We have been toying with the idea of saving up and investing in a water feature for our indoor cat garden. While they do sell these in pet shops, the aesthetics of these water dispensers is not that great, and they usually cost over a hundred bucks. What we are visualising is the kind that is sold in landscaping stores - an indoor water feature.

Something like this:



It will provide the sound of running water, be aesthetically pleasing, and something that cats can drink from (aerated water supposed to be healthy), all in all enhancing our cats' well being in being indoors all the time.












Aswat, who is Muslim and celebrates Hari Raya, knows that they will sell these items in the Geylang Serai Pasar, cheap and variously, during their fasting month. (But it will be extremely crowded - I am claustrophobic). We might take a visit sometime, it is near our church. They will usually be retailing these items for half the price of those indoor water features sold in stores.

Being a very DIY guy himself Aswat also says we can make one using the water pumps bought from aquariums, and getting the rocks and flat-based pot to construct the feature. But we aren't that DIY ourselves - my hands-on skills are limited to painting and sewing. We prefer to take our time to shop for the exact one we want and simply buying it off the rack. But because this is not an essential item, more of a hobby buy, I have been researching on how to make one anyway. My only concern is that it might not be aesthetically pleasing and/or safe if I make one myself. If I had nearby access to a pottery kiln I would be more likely try it myself, then I can hand-build the feature to our design and liking. But I haven't done pottery in years and it is too much effort for a hobby buy!

So the search continues, which is a large part of the fun anyway!

Angels Pet Shop cat grass

Aswat gave us new cat grass!



He actually grew it for us, but it can be brought home in its packaging for you to grow yourself. Soil-less, grows fast, yummy, and cheap.

We transplanted it into a pot for our cat garden. The cats love it. We are going to get more from him soon!

released

Auntie Can, one of the cat patrons in Ubi, noticed a new kitten being dumped in our neighbourhood. This kitten is quite old, about 4 months old, and she told Aswat to keep a look out for her to see if she is okay.

We went to look for this cat. This cat is very friendly and out-going, and has no apparent sicknesses. She seems to be daring enough to go to the coffeeshops to look for food, and seems willing to hang out around the coffeeshop near where both Auntie Rose and Auntie Can feed the strays daily.

She is a tri-coloured cat, very pretty.




But because she is not in any disadvantaged situation, used to being a stray, and too old for adoption, we are not going to take her to the shop to re-home her. In a way, in helping animals, some triage needs to be carried out. So we will monitor her whenever we are in the area, just to make sure she is okay.

mew!

Hello. I am Batman. My mommy's name is Silver. I remember I have 5 siblings my age. 2 went missing and the other 3 have found new homes to stay! I am still staying with my mommy. I love her very much.

There are humans who visit me everyday to cuddle me. Sometimes they put eye drops in my eyes. They also help clean me like my mommy does, especially when I have tear stains on my face because I feel hot. I don't mind them doing that at all.

I like eating delicious chicken. I get some everyday. The rest of the time I sleep and drink my mommy's milk. No one to fight for milk with me anymore.

When I look at my own paws I see that my legs are blue in colour and I have black stripes on them. The fur below my paws is black, like I am wearing some kind of black furry slippers. My mommy looks different because she is white and silver in colour. But she is very pretty even though she has no slippers. She gets a hug from the humans who visit her everyday.

There are a lot of animal visitors in this shop too. Some dogs don't seem to like us but I don't mind them at all and neither does my mommy Silver. She just sleeps through the strange 'arf arf, hng hng' sounds these dogs make. They should be quieter like my mommy and me.

I think when I grow up I want to be like my mommy. She has a soft voice which she meows to say hello to our familiar visitors everyday. I don't think I am a very noisy meower either. She likes being cuddled and stroked, which I think is nice too. She doesn't jump around too much - I am not very good at jumping yet myself so I try to be a good boy and sit still. I think I am a very good boy already! I keep trying my best.

Do you want to come visit me? My current address is on the right hand side of this page. Do give our human caregiver Aswat (they guy who puts the delicious food and water for us and cleans the stinky-poo everyday) to let him know you want to come. Hope to see you soon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

yes!

Edit: A nice lady who lives in the Outram area saw Buggy's profile on the net and decided to adopt him to accompany her own kitten. She now has a family of two kitties! She came down yesterday to view and bring Buggy home.

As with all the adoptions we arrange, if for any reasons the cat does not assimilate well at its new home, we welcome returns. Returning the cat to us is better than dumping it outside because it cannot stay with you.


Buggy has been adopted! More update on his adoption story when we go 'interview' Aswat later about it.
This afternoon while running some errands in the neighbourhood I went to feed that skinny male orange cat again.

This time, I decided to write a note to place at their door.

It is a Chinese household. I wrote the note in my broken Mandarin, roughly translating it to:

Hi! We live nearby, saw this cat. Cat eat rice only, not enough. If it is convenient, please feed it cat food. Blk 302 Angels Pet Shop sells it very cheap. We have also brought cat food and placed it outside your house. Thank you!

I know I sound like a nosy neighbour, but then, I can't bear to see the cat eating rice and ashes everyday and look so skinny, so small in size for his age. And whatever the hell happened to the Royal Canin we already delivered to their doorstep a few days ago?

Ubi Kuching Project Homemade Chicken

In a bid to help the homeless and disadvantaged cats in Ubi, I have been cooking cat food and packaging them into easy to dispense, reusable lidded bowls. The food comes in two flavours:

1. Rosemary Chicken
for cats of all life stages
Ingredients: deboned whole chicken, chicken broth, rosemary, water, cranberry and apple juice.

2. Chicken and Carrots
for cats of all life stages
Ingredients: deboned whole chicken, chicken broth, carrots, egg, rosemary, basil, water.

We have been using it to feed the skinny orange male cat as well as Silver and her kittens. We also fed it to Orket when she was staying with us. We also gave some to fellow Angels customers, who adopted one of Mommy cat's kittens, and Scooter's sister.

For the recipe #2, chicken and carrots, I am using fresh whole chicken that Aswat just bought for us from the Geylang wet market. Yummy!

This food is extremely high in protein, as muscle meat is used. The chicken skin is removed, but not all the fats, as chicken fat is also nutritious for cats (cats' diets need a lot of protein and fats) . Chicken is also more easily digestible by cats of all ages, compared to other meats. As we serve this food with Royal Canin kibbles, their other nutritional needs will be met through the dry food, as homemade food should never be served as a whole diet for a cat.

The cost price is about 80cents a pack, way cheaper than the most similar canned food to this, Bistro, which retails at Angels for $1.20 a can of the same weightage.

The packaging looks like this:










It can be stored in the freezer, and defrosted prior to serving. When defrosted, it tips out easily unlike canned food which usually needs a knocking or two to get the jelly out. Instead of using gel powder to form the jelly, the jelly is formed using chicken fats, which has more nutritional value for the cats.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Buggy and Batman pics; update on Silver

Here are some close up pics of Silver's kittens that are still available for adoption.

This is Buggy, who has beautiful tabby markings on his face, and an extremely cute nose!




























































And here is Batman, named this way because he is black (ran out of names, really). He has beautiful tabby markings on his legs which are blue in colour, with his paw pads and paw fur being black like the rest of him is. So technically he is a blue and black cat! He has really fluffy fur but you got to see him to feel it because our phone camera isn't that great at capturing his furriness.





















Do call Aswat or visit his shop between 1pm to 8.30pm any day if you are keen on viewing and adopting these semi-longhaired kittens.

And as for Silver, she has been eating a lot. She is perpetually eating (feeding her Royal Canin kitten food) and 2 cans of cat food (Bistro or my homemade chicken) a day. Her kittens nibble at her food too, especially the chicken, but Silver is really eating a lot every hour of the day! I cannot begin to imagine the cost of food she is utilising a day at the shop...

When she has stopped nursing and lactating, we will be neutering her (sponsored by Auntie Can) and re-homing her as well, unless a potential adopter wants to adopt her kitten/s together with her, with the assurance that she will be spayed when she is ready.

Keep visiting our blog for more updates on Silver and her kittens!

successful adoption story!

I received a very heartwarming email today from Julie, of the family that adopted the chocolate Siamese kitten found abandoned outside Angels Pet Shop.

Here is what she has written:

Hi! I'm Julie.

My husband and I adopted
the little female Siamese chocolate point who was dumped by your store on July 16. We have named her Persephone.

I just wanted to send you an update on how she's getting on. First she went to the vet for a thorough exam, and was pronounced very healthy. She'll be g
oing back in several months time to be sterilised, and she will always be an indoor cat in any case.

Then we brought her home. She has settled in beautifully and after some initial reservation, has made great friends with our older cat, a female Egyptian Mau called Iolanthe.


Together, they play all day, chasing each other and showing off in front of each other, and sharing their toys. Persephone tries to do everything the big cat does, but sometimes her little legs just aren't big enough, which doesn't stop her giving it her best shot anyway - she is very game! When playtime is over, Iolanthe grooms Persephone; it's very sweet to watch.


Persephone is very loving, clever, and social, and follows both of us round the condo, talking to us. She has a lot of opinions about everything.

She is greedy for both food and cuddles. Dinnertime is her favourite time of day, and she mutters away to herself while she eats as if she's saying 'thank you'.


We love her very much already and are so glad you found her and we were able to adopt her
. You are all doing such a great job. THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Julie
And here are some pics of Persephone!


Persephone's first day at her new home.



Persephone at home in July 2009



Persephone with her new human Mommy!



Persephone at home in August 2009



Hanging out at home!



And hanging out together too! Comfy!


Thanks Julie for the lovely update!



Acana

OH Oh oh! We heard that Acana has decided to bring their cat food range into Singapore soon after all! YES!

This is the one we want:



Now the concern is the price. We hear that they sell small trial packs for pet owners to purchase and sample. Using USD prices (since they are not yet in SG) the prices are roughly as follows:

  • 400g (trial size) - S$5
  • 2.5kg - S$26.46
  • 7.5kg - S$54.46

This means that the price range is the same as our Royal Canin. If we factor in the import costs (say an extra 50%) of course the above-listed prices will be higher but it will be worth it as the food is better, and it will still remain within our budget.

the concept of 'dry matter' in cat food

When your cat food packaging states 'crude protein', this does not mean the actual protein level because it includes the moisture. If you see the words 'crude protein' you should also see the word 'moisture' in the same listing.

This allows you to calculate the actual level of protein in the 'dry matter' of the food, which excludes the moisture content.



E.g. Given that Crude Protein is 9%, Moisture is 80%, actual dry level Protein can be calculated as follows:

Protein in dry matter = [9 / (100-80)] * 100% = 45%


This is especially useful in calculating the actual protein level in various brands of canned food, as canned food is mostly moisture. Hope this helps!

new product reviews

Recently we tried 2 cat food brands that were new to us.

The first was Addiction canned food for cats.



Sayang likes it, which means that what the product states about it being for 'fussy eaters'. It is probably because Sayang likes plants, grass, vegetables and et cetera greenery, be it in food or environment. This however means that the amount of protein in Addiction dry matter is about 45%, which is lower than in some other canned food brands. But the taste is indeed more palatable for fussy eaters.

We bought our Addiction Venison from Little Paws at Telok Kurau for @ $2+ a can.



Next, we hopped along to Benji Pet along Telok Kurau Road as well, where we bought our Wellness canned food the last time. We are not regulars of this shop, and will likely only purchase Wellness canned food from this shop as their prices for this brand are competitive, and Angels does not sell premium cat canned food brands at the moment. When we dropped by the Benji, the friendly shop owner Julius gave us a new brand of cat food samples to try: Oven-Baked Tradition.



The main advantages of this cat food brand is two-fold: firstly, it has fresh ingredients including fresh vegetables; secondly, baking of the food is supposed to seal in the nutrition better into the kibbles.

We actually tasted the kibbles ourselves, and gave the various flavours to our cats as treats. Only Slinky likes it, but then again, Slinky likes everything. Sayang did not touch it at all, and Scooter only sniffed at it but did not eat. We tried it a number of times, and we still even have samples leftover. So, taste-test-wise, it does not pass.

Also, the dry matter protein is only 30% (33% for kitten formula) which is not as high as other premium food brands. What more is that this brand is priced like a premium food brand, while not giving us the protein level that we would like to have for our growing cats. The price range is similar to brands like Innova Evo, and Orijen for example, which boast grain-free, high protein qualities (Innova Evo has about 50% protein).

Yet, free food is free food, and we are grateful to Julius for his generosity. He even wanted to give us more but we refused to be so greedy! We have used the food samples we got as treats for our cats, as well as for feeding Silver when we first went to visit her at her dumpsite. Thank you Julius for the freebies!

missing Orket already

Now that our family is back to 3 cats, the cats' appetites have returned to normal (for Sayang) and greedily-normal (for Slinky and Scooter). I have cleaned the house to try and remove Orket's scent so that they feel safe again. Cats can be so troublesome when it comes to outsiders!

We still have a lot of leftover Bistro canned food and pine pellets cat litter as gifts from Aswat for fostering Orket! We are fully stocked for the rest of the month. <3

It was enjoyable and meaningful to have fostered Orket for the past four days. If you have never fostered a homeless cat awaiting adoption before, you ought to try it. Despite the cats' possible idiosyncracies, the experience is deeply rewarding.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

skinny as hell

There is this orange male kitten, about 5 months old, who is living on the second storey of our adjacent block. He seems to have a 'home' outside a flat there, the family that lives within has a cat inside too.

But this cat is extremely, extremely skinny. When we first spotted him, he seems to be eating only rice.

We went to feed him, and I brought a small empty Horlicks bottle to fill with Royal Canin to place outside this house so that the owners will feed him properly.

Upon revisiting him, the cat is still only eating rice from a paper box.

We have been feeding him my homemade chicken as well as more Royal Canin kibbles. He always eats hungrily, as if he hasn't eaten for the entire day. Seems like the family has kept the cat food we gave them for their own indoor cat, or perhaps they have thrown it away.

It makes me wonder why would anyone feed rice to a cat if you have your own cat food, or even if you don't, the gift from a concerned neighbour.

update

Sleepy and Submarine have been adopted! Batman and Buggy still need a new home, do keep the word out for anyone who would love a semi-long haired kitten as a loving companion.

adopted!

Edit: Steven just informed us that Orket is integrating well in her new home, with his Chinchilla cat. Both cats personalities seem to gel well. This is great news!

Orket has been lovingly adopted by Steven from Balestier, today, just this afternoon. He has a Chinchilla at home and we believe Steven will be a great and attentive owner for our beloved Orchid.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

stress no more

I have previously mentioned that safety is very important to Orket. I think I have solved the mystery as to why she hasn't really been inclined towards using the litter box, instead peeing outside of toilet doors and at my main door. (Whenever she does that we bring her to the litter box in the kitchen). This is probably because we have three cats in the house with whom she is still not that familiar with. The whole house is filled with their scent, and Orket gets easily stressed. Hence she is 'marking' the house with her scent. I have taken to transferring her pee to that litter box, and have not cleared the pee tray for the past 2 days, so that her scent is still there. I also hope that after I have mopped the floor this morning, the other cats' scents will be reduced and Orket will feel more comfortable.

As the days go by during her stay with us, she is however becoming less stressed, which is great news! The signs have been good - she has stopped hiding under the sofa and has found other nooks to snooze in, namely on Andy's chair (metal chair, similar to a cage I suppose, since she is a show cat and sits in cages for long periods of time). She tried to scratch the chair, and has made it hers. When she wants even more quiet, she has taken to sleeping under my table, in a cabinet on top of my notebooks. I will probably create a sleeping bed for her soon, using a towel covered with her scent. Her towel is currently wet from washing because it had pee on it. With all these safety factors in place for her, I hope she will be inclined to using the litter tray more regularly.

She really enjoys being hand-fed, especially if it is wet food. This morning she finished a whole can of Bistro! And then half a can at lunch, and now another spoonful of my homemade chicken, all alongside kibbles for proper nutrition (canned food is mainly only protein). Her appetite is improving. Previously she only ate one meal a day in the evening only. Her appetite is another sign that she is becoming less stressed. We certainly hope that she puts on weight during her stay with us. Himalayan Persian cats should be medium to large size. But she is so light right now, maybe even lighter than Scooter.

Orket actually rather similar to Slinky. Slinky has idiosyncracies too, like she needs to have her own toilet, and that she is immaculately clean. She doesn't mind being stroked but hates being hugged, cleaning herself vigourously after we hug her. When Slinky is stressed she streaks around the house. When she is happy she will come into our room to accompany us, but that is not very often. She prefers staying in the kitchen and sleeping on our dining chair by herself. Both Slinky and Orket are cats that like solitude and quiet. But at least Orket enjoys being carried, and she enjoys being stroked at the end of her tail, unlike any of our cats.

As for bonding with other cats: Orket and Scooter have nose-kissed at least once already. But Scooter, if he tries to play with her, gets a hiss from Orket. Which he is used to I guess, because Slinky is like that too. Last night, both Orket and Scooter were sleeping on the bed next to me, said Andy when he woke up in the middle of the night to go pee. Sayang though is not entirely warmed up to Orket, but just now both Orket and her were in the room together with me, and still are. Both cats are totally relaxed and not in any 'on-guard' postures even though they are in the same room. As for Slinky, well, she keeps to herself, and when Orket goes near her, Slinky will hiss at Orket. Which is all very normal cat behaviour I guess.

Submarine, Batman, Sleepy and Buggy

After getting to know the kittens a little more day by day when we visit them, their individual differences become more distinct. But what they have in common at this stage:
  • They are about three and a half weeks old now.
  • They have begun experimenting on solid food - homemade chicken, Bistro Chicken canned food Royal Canin Kitten 36 kibbles. All these are laid out for Silver their mommy to eat but they have begun nibbling and already have managed to chew and swallow the homemade chicken.
  • They are able to walk, but as it is for kittens at this age, their legs are not fully extended and looks more like they are crawling.
  • They have begun using the litter tray to pee and poo.
As for their individual differences:
  • Sleepy and Buggy are smaller in size compared to their self-coloured siblings. It may also because their fur, while long, is not as long as Batman's and Submarine's.
  • Sleepy really likes to sleep...
  • Submarine will grow to be really big in size, because he has larger paws than his other siblings. Also with his puffy fluffy long fur he will definitely look like a big huggable cat when he grows up.
If you are willing to bottle feed them milk as well as provide kitten food for them throughout the day, the kittens will be ready for adoption by end of this week. If you do not wish to take them home until they are totally weaned off milk, then wait till middle of next month to take the kittens home.

As for Silver, when we have re-homed all the kittens and she has stopped lactating, we will be neutering her and re-homing her as well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

more about Silver's kittens

For all of you who have called up to ask about Silver and her kittens - thank you.

Her kittens are all male. Most of their tails are medium length, with the orange one having a kink at the end of his tail. Being young, their eyes are still blue, and we will not know yet what colour they will be. All of them have mostly unbroken whiskers. They all have thick ears, characteristic of longhair cats, with white fur sticking out of their ears.

For ease of introduction, we have named them as such:

Submarine is called such as he has a kink in his tail which kind of looks like the view-finder of a submarine. He has tabby stripes on his legs.

Batman is black, also with black tabby stripes on his legs where his fur is more blueish rather than black.

Buggy is white with patches of black and brown - a tri-coloured cat.

Sleepy is the most like his mother, being white with blue/silver patches.


The kittens are currently staying with her mother in the pet shop. Because they are about 3 weeks old, they are still drinking their mother's milk. Hence, if anyone were to adopt any of Silver's kittens now, the kitten will need to be hand-fed. Kittens before weaning need to drink milk every 2 hours. Pet milk and milk bottles are sold at Angels Pet Shop.

The kittens are fully weaned when they are 8 weeks old. However, kittens start to experiment with solid food around 4 weeks old. Their teeth also becomes sharper around this time, which aids in the weaning process. Taking a kitten home at this age will mean a mixture of milk and kitten food feeding. Only at 8 weeks old will they no longer need to drink milk.

So, depending on your preference, ability and schedule, if you are interested in Silver, or her kittens, do plan accordingly when is the right time to take them home if you would like to adopt them. You can however come to the shop to view the kittens anytime. The shop is open from 11am to 9pm daily.

Hope this information is helpful, do keep spreading the word and helping to find a new home for Silver and her kittens.

Orket's stay with us

Orket is indeed a special cat. When she is relaxed, she lies around the house with her paws fully stretched out, even her hind legs, looking like a flying teddy bear!

We already mentioned that she needs to be handfed because she is a flat-faced Himalayan cat. She also needs to be groomed everyday, as her fur is not only long, but double-coated, hence it is very thick. She doesn't actually shed fur a lot, as her fur comes off in clumps and is easy to clean up after, unlike Slinky's which is all over the house.

Safety is very important to Orket. In Aswat's home she gets bullied by his aggressive male cat, Bayou, and she often gets so stressed out she sits under the sofa all day, only coming out to eat and use the toilet once a day.

Yesterday when she arrived at her foster home - ours! - we managed to calm her by placing her in our igloo. She also enjoys sitting on elevated areas, places which we do not let our cats go to like as table-tops and such, so we had to scold her to tell her no. She has not climbed on the table again so far.

But we found out that she is not really willing to use our cats' toilets. We came home after a late night out in the neighbourhood to find that there was poo and pee outside our bedroom toilet, on the floormat. We placed some of her poo in the cat litter box in the kitchen so that if it was indeed Orket's shit, she would know that is where it should go.

Last night, we placed her in the kitchen, with Scooter for company, as he is the most warmed up towards her. Also, I was hoping that when Scooter uses the toilet in the kitchen, Orket will know that that is the litter area.

However Andy woke up to find the kitchen in a mess! (Thankfully it wasn't me to discover it and he had to clear up the place, not me!) Orket had climbed on top of our front-loading washing machine, on top of which I place all my daily medications, which had been displaced on to the floor.

Andy then bathed Orket, as he enjoys the grooming and bathing part of taking care of cats the most. Orket had been repeatedly scratching her neck, so I guess a bath was timely. She mewed a lot while she was having her bath, prompting me to go check the toilet because I didn't realise Andy was bathing her at the time, I thought one of our cats was trapped inside the bathroom and didn't know how to open the door! Afterwards, Orket seemed to really enjoy being rubbed down with a towel. Our hairdryer is a bit loud, so she didn't really enjoy that, unless Andy placed the hairdryer further away, and on a lower speed.

Orket is a cat that likes quiet, you see. She is the kind of cat that suits someone who loves peace and quiet and just simple pleasures like lying around and watching the time go by. She is like a loving companion, quiet, uncomplaining. Kind of like the type of human being who enjoys sitting in the park with a book and an iPod, just watching the clouds and the trees move in the wind...

In fact, right now, she is doing just that - being by herself. Although worrisomely, she has retreated right under my sofa and I cannot get her out. I called Aswat, worried, but he said Orket likes to sleep under the sofa, so I guess I will just have to leave her.

I think Orket would do well for a human companion who has the same temperament as she does. A person who likes quiet, enjoys stroking a cat while reading a book, spending time to feed her and groom her once a day. She will also do well in a home with lots of safe places such as cat igloos or a cat tower, or simply a basket in a quiet corner of the house with little human traffic. In fact, she would do best in a single cat household, or with a young kitten.

Does that sound like you, dear reader? Then Orket would make a very loving animal companion for you. Being already 8 years old, she has only half her life left to go, and would be spending most of her remaining 8 years or so enjoying solititude, peace and quiet. She is a very loving cat, taking to us quickly - just last night, her first night here, she already became very manja towards me, rubbing herself against my legs.

Friday, August 7, 2009

update on Silver and Orket

We went to feed, water and give first aid to Silver and her kittens this morning because Andy is on leave. They were badly dehydrated as there was thick discharge coming out from all their eyes and nostrils. We cleaned them up, used eye solution to clear out the eye discharge, and fed the mother cat. She was so hungry.

We updated Aswat from Angels Pet Shop about their condition, and we decided that we had to place them in a clean, healthy environment soon, or else they will definitely fall ill.

Soon, was now. Aswat lugged a carrier from his house nearby (yes he is also an Ubi resident) and we brought Silver and her kittens to the shop.

When they reached the shop, the kittens had peed in the carrier and all the kittens, including their mother, was covered in pee.

The first thing we had to do was give Silver a proper shower. She is such an agreeable cat, she sat still in the sink for her shower and did not even attempt to jump out of it, even when we used cold water! (Andy and I bathed her, we did not know where to switch on the heater). Aswat set about preparing a pen for her and her kittens, and he also had to tend to his business as he had dogs waiting for grooming.

After bathing Silver, we wiped the kittens down with paper towels and wet wipes, because they are too young to be bathed.

The pen that we cleared out for Silver and her kittens is actually occupied by Orket, who stays at the shop because she has no permanent home at the moment.

The question now, what to do with Orket?

Andy and I decided to foster her for a while, until Silver and her kittens are adopted. At least we live nearby the shop, on the way home for Aswat as he walks to and from work; he can come visit her anytime.

So far, she is doing well in our house. Our cats have not been unusually hostile towards her, as far as cats go, and she has already hopped about touring the house. Thankfully, our cat tree has an igloo portion, which she can retreat to for safety. We have also set up her feeding station at the base of the cat tree.

For her first meal in our house, we hand fed her.



She ate 3 spoonfuls of Royal Canin Fit 32, and some Addiction canned food. Feeding her was like eating with our hands like we do in countries like Indonesia! She was very happy eating!

After that, I took a wet towel to clean her face so her fur won't get matted from any food remnants. Now we just need to find Orket a permanent home, or at least for Silver's kittens, then we can return Orket to her loving owner.

the story of Orket


This is Orket, a pure Persian cat who has won at cat shows in her youth, a blue and red ribbon each.

Unfortunately, her story is not deserving of her cat show accolades.

She was purchased second hand from someone who was looking to re-home her. This first owner, we shall call A, passed Orket to B. No pedigree certificates or even her show award ribbons were given. B then passed Orket over to C to take care of her instead because he got another pedigree cat, but he seemed somewhat unable to let go of her. He kept pestering C everyday to find out how Orket was doing, and to return her if he couldn't handle it. Eventually, C, tired of all the hankering that B was doing towards him, returned Orket to B. B then, double-minded as he is, decided to give Orket away again.

This time, Aswat stepped in and decided to give Orket a new home - his.

Unfortunately, Orket did not assimilate well with his other cats, particular his playful male cat. She gets stressed out at home, and hides under the sofa most of the time, except to eat and go to the toilet. It was saddening for Aswat to see Orket in such stress.

Here comes the next part: Aswat's uncle's Persian cat passed away, and his uncle wanted to get another Persian cat, even to the extent of buying a Persian kitten at Frankel Avenue. But Aswat decided to give Orket to his uncle instead. It would be a great household for her - his auntie cooks and stays home so she is free to groom and feed Orket properly daily.

However, some family problems arose, and Orket found herself in the middle of a family dispute. The couple had to let go of Orket. Aswat stepped in again, and took Orket back to his shop.

She was in terrible condition, her fur matted, and very skinny.

You see, a Persian cat, having a flat face, finds it hard to eat properly. She needs a special bowl, and she eats more if she is hand fed (think of how Asians eat food like rice with our hands, that's how she is only able to eat wet or fresh food of any kind). Not only is it a dedicated effort to feed her, she needs to be groomed everyday. There is no shortcut to keeping a Persian cat looking well.

Because Orket is a show cat, she does not mind being in a pen inside Angels Pet Shop. But her occupying the space in the shop means that there is less space for other abandoned animals that need rescuing, or more importantly, space for Angels' customers who bring their animals for grooming or boarding.

Orket, despite being thrown around from house to house so many times, is still a very loving cat. She enjoys being groomed, sitting still just to let you clean her, brush her, bathe her. She is quiet, and not aggressive, and does not mind sitting in a pen if you have a multi-cat household and would only want to let her out when there is human supervision. But taking her out of her pen and simply hugging her and grooming her is extremely rewarding, because she is so patient with the grooming process and knows that we do it because we love her.





See how much she enjoys being cleaned.

She is a very agreeable cat, and enjoys being hugged and taken care of.

If you or anyone you know is interested in a show-standard Persian cat, who is about 8 years old, who is willing and able to feed her properly as well as groom her everyday, do let us know.

Edit: More on Orket here, and here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Silver

As promised, another cat abandonment story.

There is this silver semi-long fur cat that was dumped outside a flat once. She gave birth to a litter, and also ended up fostering some other abandoned kittens that were anonymously dumped to her. She had to nurse all these kittens, and was very skinny. All the kittens came down with flu, and were terribly ill-looking.

Eventually, someone decided to adopt the kittens and the silver mommy.

However, she has been sighted again, dumped for the second time, and probably because she was pregnant again. She has just given birth again not long ago - the kittens are about two and a half weeks old. She was dumped outside the flat she used to hang out when she was dumped for the first time. It is likely that this flat's residents are the original owners of Silver.

This round of kittens, we spotted 5 of them at first. But now, mysteriously, only 4 are left. Apparently there were previously 6 of them.



She has inadequate supply of fresh water outside this first floor flat and both she and the kittens are falling ill again. We will be bringing her water and probably some rehydration fluid for her tomorrow, as well as some eye drops because their eyes are infected (sign of dehydration or flu). Unfortunately there is no boarding space at Angels at the moment so we have to monitor her health and her kittens nightly when we go visit.

Most of the kittens are semi-long fur just like Silver mommy is, especially the black and orange ones. The one that is missing has lilac and cream markings on white fur, also long fur. We do not know who has taken it.

They are living near the carpark as this is a one-storey flat they are residing outside of. There is also a lot of human traffic. We spotted one night a kid nearby who, likely to have some behavioural problems, was shouting loudly in the night and purposely stepping on the cat food we left for Spotty Jr and Patches' grandmother, who lives nearby. A cat-feeder has also spotted that the cats are becoming more and more endangered as they are living there for the same reasons. If the kittens have been taken to a loving home - and we hope so - then so be it. What may be the case is that children take the kittens away to play with them and dump them again elsewhere.


We hope to rehome the kittens, as well as Silver the mommy, soon. At least this time around, although she is still skinny, she is less skinny than the last time she gave birth. And her kittens are still healthy, and they have really fluffy long fur, much better chance at finding a safe home eventually.

Edit
: More on Silver here, and on her kittens here, here and here.

patches and spotty jr

HAVE BEEN ADOPTED! Thank you all for the support.

In fact, their adoption is timely. Aswat, Andy and I have spotted a litter of kittens on the verge of illness and possibly abuse by children. This means we have the space and resource to help them if needed. More on these kittens soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Daddy Cat!

Ever since Daddy cat has been neutered, the couple still hangs out together, although we still seldom see him as he is not as sociable as Mommy cat.

We do however have a feeding station outside our flat, mainly for Mommy Cat, which Daddy cat sometimes comes over stealthily to eat and drink of too.

Usually, he is so scared that he will never dare eat when our door is open.

However, he has become a bit less scaredy-cat after his sterilisation. He came to our house to eat once, and did not run away when we opened the door!

Here is a pic of him, and all of us watching him...



Mommy cat is waiting for Daddy cat to finish eating before she partakes of her share.

appeal

I received an email from a fellow cat-lover who is helping to feed the cats in the Aljunied area.

The main cat-feeder in the area is having financial problems feeding herself, let alone the 100 over cats in that area. Hence, she has appealed for help.


Please Help Auntie Siew Fong, the Aljunied MRT Cat Lady

Auntie Siew Fong is the caregiver of over 100 cats in the areas around her home in Circuit Road and outside Aljunied MRT.

She has been unemployed for many months and is only currently starting work as a cleaner with very meagre pay. Given her frail health, she may not be able to sustain in her new job. Many of her past sponsors for cat food has dropped out due to the recent financial crisis, she gets by with borrowing money from friends and asking for donations from well wishers.The cost of cat food can amount up to more than $1,000 a month.

Auntie Siew Fong is desperately in need of help right now. She has totally depleted her funds and don't even have the money for day to day expenses and paying the rent.

She feeds the cats outside Aljunied MRT late every night. If you would like to meet up with her and find out more about her situation, you can call her at 98482575. She speaks Chinese, Cantonese and Malay.

She urgently needs help with:
- sponsorship of dried and canned cat food
- sponsorship or assistance with catching and neutering cats
- sponsorship of medical fees for injured or sick cats
- adoption and rehoming of kittens
- financial assistance for her personal daily expenses
- job referrals as a part-time cleaner (she can do part time cleaning work in areas near her home at Circuit Road e.g. Aljunied, Geylang, Eunos, Paya Lebar, Bedok)

If you would like to sponsor Auntie Siew Fong's cat food purchases, please contact Marcus at Polypet - Tel: 9693 8355.

If you would like to make a donation to Auntie Siew Fong's personal expenses, urgent cat food purchases and medical expenses for sick and injured cats, please transfer the money to her POSB Savings account: 008-43261-9.

Please leave a message on my (York Hwee's) facebook page if you have made a donation towards Auntie Siew Fong or if you have sponsored any of the above mentioned items so that everybody is kept posted on the latest developments. I will also be uploading the latest cat food bills and bank transfer statements to Auntie Siew Fong and Polypets from me for everyone to see.

Please kindly forward this appeal to your friends if you think they might be interested to help.

If you have a blog, web page, facebook, myspace or any other web presence, please kindly help by putting up this appeal on your sites as well.

A big Thank You from Auntie Siew Fong and the 100 over cats under her care.

Lots of love,
York Hwee

sterilise at 6 months old

I have written before about sterilising your pet cats. To read answers to commonly asked questions about cat sterilisation, read our FAQs on sterilisation.

Cats should be sterilised while they are kittens at about 6 months old. This is the time they sexually mature. Some breeds such as Siamese cats take up to 18 months old. Some pedigree owners also choose to delay sterilisation of their cats because they want their cats to reach full physical maturity for showing. These cats are however usually caged up hence their antisocial behaviour is kept to a small space.

But otherwise, please sterilise your cats at 6 months old. For the cat's well-being as well as your own.

For female cats, after sterilisation, they recover in about 24 - 48 hours after the sedative wears off. They are given antibiotics at the vet's so there is no need to clean their stitches. All that is needed is to prevent your cat from licking her wound, and from jumping about too much, for about 10 days. The stitches used are dissolving sutures, which means that there is no need to remove the stitches when the incision has healed. You should receive a certificate for her sterilisation, also known as spaying, and you can also opt to tip her ear or get a tattoo on it. Do not bathe your cat until the stitches are healed, and if you need to treat her with flea-treatment such as Frontline, wait till about 3 weeks after the surgery.

For male cats, stitches may not even be required as the incision is very small. The male cat should return to normal within the day he comes home from the surgery.

Both procedures are outpatient, and your cat does not need to stay overnight at the clinic.

In terms of behavioural changes, your female cat should be the same as before. She will not call out during estrus i.e. when 'in heat' as she will no longer have the biological urge to mate and reproduce. This mating call is loud, continuous and often goes on throughout the night while she is awake. It is definitely audible by neighbours. It will take place every 3 weeks for an unsterilised female, until she is pregnant. But this mating call will cease after sterilisation. Apart from peace and quiet, male cats will not be found loitering about your house and spraying thick, smelly urine because of the attraction calls made by a queen on heat.

For male cats, they will no longer spray sticky urine around their territory, i.e. your house, and they will also be unlikely to want to run away by jumping through open windows of your flat or whenever the opportunity strikes when you open the door.

Likewise, you will know when is the right time to sterilise your cat whenever they display their 'in-heat' behaviour as listed above. For more FAQs on sterilisation, please go to SPCA's sterilise page.

The procedure for sterilisation costs about $80 for a male cat, and $100-$120 for a female cat, more if she is on heat as the uterus and other reproductive organs will be swollen and the cat is likely to bleed more. She also may already be pregnant if she was brought in for sterilisation too late, and additional costs incur for abortion.

There are schemes for neutering stray cats, which can go as low as $50 per male cat. Our immediate Ubi neighbourhood's strays have their sterilisation funded by kind cat patrons such as Auntie Can.

You can start a neighbourhood sterilisation programme for your own estate. There are a few ways to go about it. The first way is via Cat Welfare Society. In this case, because their volunteers need time to respond, you need to trap the cats early, and allow for a lag time for response after contacting them. You can also make an appointment for sterilising the cats at SPCA itself, on selected days. After arranging for an appointment, you can transport the trapped cats to the SPCA clinic.

If you would like to manage the sterilisation procedure just among your community, you will need to find a way to fund the process, and you can then contact a full-service provider - someone who helps to trap, transport the cats to the clinic, collect and return the cats to your neighbourhood. This process is more time-efficient, the only obstacle is that the costs need to be borne by your own community. As such, it would be good to band together amongst the cat-lovers in your neighbourhood to carry out such programmes in your own neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood sterilisation is important because of a few reasons. Firstly, sterilised cats when returned to their territories actually reduce the cat population. These sterilised cats fight away unsterilised cats that roam into their territory. They will also be unable to reproduce. Hence the stray cat population is reduced. Secondly, the noise that comes from cats, the kind that concerned neighbours are likely to complain about, comes from cats that are on heat. The female cat calls out, the males also meow loudly when they have to fight another male to mate with their selected female cat. This happens in the middle of the night. Thirdly, the male cats no longer have the urge to urinate on shop-fronts, outside neighbours' doors, and other public territories. As male tom cats' urine is extremely smelly and hard to wash off, this problem when solved restores the goodwill of your neighbouring shop owners. As unsterilised animals cause all these problems, complaints from neighbours and shop owners may result in the authorities resorting to pest-control measures, that is, to trap the cats to kill. Please do not let such matters escalate to such a stage as it is unnecessary for lives to be lost.

It is all not just about the cats' welfare; it is about your own - your family, your neighbours. Because of this, it is not unwise to plan sterilisation for your own cats, and for your neighbourhood's if you can. It is a one-time cost which is well worth it.

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