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Friday, April 30, 2010

kittens for adoption - spitty, pie and bun

Sisters Bun and Pie, and their pen-brother Spitty, in tonight's pictures taken by volunteers. Bun and Pie are orphans, rescued from Geylang Lor 40. Spitty was dumped outside Angels anonymously with his brother who has since been adopted.

Spitty meowing to be let out from his pen

Bun the Asian Black docile girl

Pie the bluish-black girl with a white locket

If you are keen on visiting and adopting any of these kittens, do contact Elaine at 90880675 or email ubikuchingproject @ gmail.com

kittens currently for adoption - macy and layla

Macy and Layla, both rescued from near-culling at Ubi Techpark, both 3-4 months old. Layla is a shy girl who prefers to lounge around, Macy loves to talk and explore.

Layla, sleeping in her favourite corner of the pen

Loungey Layla

Macy exploring the rescued small animal pens at the shop

Macy eating

If you are keen on adopting them, please visit them at Angels Pet Shop at Blk 302 Ubi Ave 1 #01-49, call Aswat at 93378211.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

solid gold's seameal supplement for cats and dogs

I first heard of seameal supplements through chatting with Branden of The Water Dish when he came to deliver our food donations from them for April.

Ever since Scooter starting showing signs of ill digestive health, I researched on the available digestive supplements available that could help. This was spurred by the fact that after deworming Scooter, no worms were eliminated. We inspected his poo under close scrutiny. Andy said his poo smelled of durian, which he stole from us around the time his third eyelid started showing. He probably cannot digest durian. Our other cats are also prone to digestive issues - last year Slinky had constipation, and she withholds her poo when she is stressed about toilets being dirty or when there are new cats in the house. Sayang was rescued stricken with gastric flu. So, I reckoned that apart from fish body oil supplements for their general health and coat lustre, we could get them digestive supplements.

Most of the digestive supplements are expensive, and don't sound very appealing to me in terms of the ingredients. But I chanced upon Solid Gold's seameal supplement, read about it - and was pleasantly very surprised at its proposed benefits.

Not only does the seameal promote digestive health, it has a whole list of other benefits. To summarise them:
  • Digestive enzymes for digestive health. This cannot be found in most proprietary pet foods because they will be destroyed during the heating processes.
  • Sea vegetation promotes immune system defenses
  • Reduces allergies and inflammations
  • Contains flavonoids which are antioxidants, useful in fighting toxins
  • Flaxseed oil containing Omega 3 and 6, useful for general health and coat lustre
  • Seameal itself also helps improve coat appearance
It is a really superb mix of benefits, all of which I am concerned about in my pets' health. The only doubts I have of it are the addition of lactose - most cats especially Oriental breeds are lactose intolerant - and lemon powder, possibly for flavouring, when cats usually don't like citrus. However, I am still optimistic about it because it may turn out both palatable and digestible for cats, and the only way is to find out by trying.

And so I will, my next order will include this supplement! It sounds really great and appealingly affordable, as most supplements seem to cost more. And they have different sizes available, for starters like me who may wish to try a small size, and larger quantities for those who want economies of scale.

more bun and pie

These two sisters Pie and Bun, orphaned at different ages, reunited at my house, and are waiting for good homes to go to!

Both are litter trained and are eating moistened kitten canned and dry food, no longer needing bottled milk. Bun has been vet-checked when she was around 3 weeks old and declared healthy. Pie is more agile, and knows how to drink water from a bowl and eat dry food unmoistened. She is slightly bigger sized than Bun, has a white locket and medium length tail with a kink. She has an triangular face and bluish-black fur. Bun enjoys walking more than climbing, has a long skinny tail and is small in size, almost teacup. She is Asian-black in colour, has a round face. They are now 6 weeks old.

I just showered them today, so they look fuzzy and wet in today's pics of them -

Pie, in a towel

Bun, looking fuzzy after bath

If you are keen on adopting Bun and Pie, do contact and visit us, see right side bar for more contact info and adoption information.

third eyelid - symptom of illness in cats

Many times when a cat is sick, most commonly with flu', the cat's third eyelid, or haw, or a nictitating membrane, will show. I have here an example of what that looks like -

Yes, it is our Scooter. He started showing his third eyelid two days ago. He has no obvious signs of flu' - runny nose and eyes - and I also checked him for fever and dehydration, other symptoms which usually also accompany the third eyelid showing. He has no other symptoms except for his third eyelid.

The third eyelid showing is the most obvious symptom of illness in a cat.

For Scooter, I suspect it could be tapeworm, because he is also having soft stools. Being on Revolution the only intestinal worm he is not protected against is tapeworm. If deworming him doesn't help then it is a more serious illness and I am prepared to bring him to the vet soon. The funny thing is, unlike our other cats who behave different when ill, he is still jumpy, active and greedy.

if you are awake before dawn...

Try watching your cat.

Cats are crepuscular animals, that is, active during dawn and dusk. They are not nocturnal as most of us believe. This means that they get hungry and playful during these hours. Cue bells ringing around the house in the wee hours of the morning.

For sunset, it means dinner! And most of us feed our cats at this time.

In the mornings, it also means you have a natural alarm clock. Our Scooter gets hungry as early as at 4 am. So, setting some food aside the night before for them to eat before and after dawn will save you some precious minutes of sleep before work.

I woke up this morning at 5 a.m. for no particular reason. As I sat in my kitchen on my laptop, I realised that Misty and Sayang are playing catching, Scooter is scrounging around playing pounce with whatever he can find, even Slinky is busy raking Andy's slipper with her four paws. I saw Misty finally drink a lot more water than I have ever witnessed during day time. I also realised that she has been misleading me all along into thinking that she doesn't eat dry food on its own - I saw her eating the Indigo Moon kibbles a couple of times from the cats' food bowl. I fed the younger foster kittens an fresh meal, they lapped it up.

The sun has now risen. Suddenly the house is quiet - the catching games, pouncing and raking activities have taken a rest. Misty is drinking water again, after all that play.

Now you know why you wake up to messy mornings with your things all over the house.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

solid gold for cat - Indigo Moon

Solid Gold dry food has been very popular with dog owners and now they are poised to conquer the cat owner market too, with their new grain-free range of kibbles for cats. Reputed as a value-for-money brand of food because their large quantities are really affordable, Indigo Moon is possibly the most affordable grain-free dry diet in the market now.

We tried it out recently, with free samples from The Water Dish. Our cats liked it! In fact, putting both Taste of the Wild and Indigo Moon down, Slinky and Scooter went for the Indigo Moon and finished it up before going on to their Taste of the Wild, which has been to date their favourite brand! We couldn't leave enough out for Sayang to do the same 'test' on her, but when I added it to their dinners, they all ate it, so I reckon Sayang the picky eater wouldn't say no to the brand.

The kibbles are small, which makes it good for cats that are prone to vomitting due to not chewing, a common behavioural trait of cats. The ingredients are less sumptuous sounding than Taste of the Wild's smoked salmon and venison, focusing mainly on chicken and fish. Also, it contains potatoes, like brands such as Addiction. The only thing I see lacking in Indigo Moon is lactobacilus bacteria which although is not a requisite supplement as dictated by AAFCO, would have been a nice bonus.

What Andy and I like is the price - at $65.50 for 15lbs (about 6.8kg) which makes it $9.65 per kg. Very affordable indeed! We placed our order for it last night and it is arriving tonight.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

if our cats could sing...

So, cats can be stress-relieving, and I am not talking about purring and their furry companionship. I took out my guitar, tuned it and sang a song about them.

It's a spoof of the Eagles song 'Love Will Keep Us Alive', entitled 'Food Will Keep Us Alive', music video staring our cats Slinky, Sayang and Scooter.

I was standing
All alone against the world outside
I was searching
For a place to hide

Lost and hungry
Now you've given me the will to survive
When I'm hungry...your food will keep us alive

Dont you worry
Sometimes you've just gotta let it ride
Your curtains tearing
Right before your eyes
Now Ive found you
Theres no more emptiness inside
When Im hungry...your food will keep us alive

I wont die for you
But I would, climb the highest bookshelf
Human, theres nothing I wouldnt do

I was standing
All alone against the world outside
I were searching
For a place to hide
Lost and hungry
Now youve given me the will to survive
When were hungry...your food will keep us alive
When were hungry...your food will keep us alive

Saturday, April 24, 2010

volunteering experiences

We had a great time today meeting our TKGS student volunteers, who will be campaigning for us the next 10 weeks or so. This makes them our second group of student-volunteers this year! I am truly encouraged and inspired by them.

Teenagers are great people; one of our regular student volunteers Hazrul has been such a blessing to Ubi Kuching Project and continues to be, visiting the animals at the shop everyday to help out, helping out with animal rescue and not hesitating to enter drains and such just to save a wee kitten. Our RGS A-Hug girls get right down to cleaning cages (no joke when you are talking about pens that house kittens having diarrhoea) and have really genius ideas when it comes to publicity and raising awareness on better pet ownership.

I will be inviting our two groups of student-volunteers to guest-blog their experiences here. As you know, Andy, Aswat and myself started Ubi Kuching Project as volunteers who simply love the animals in our lives and neighbourhood. We have learnt so much, and are still learning through every step of the journey. Likewise, every volunteer that is with us at Ubi Kuching Project goes through the same learning journey - knowing more about animals, about working in animal welfare and adoption. We hope to share our learning journeys with our readers so you too can be inspired to volunteer for animal welfare and advocacy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

when time has 'run out'

As some shelters would say, 'time has run out' for some of our Ubi Kuching Project rescues. Adoption rate is bafflingly slow this month, unlike our crazy one-cat-per-day adoption rates for the last two months. As we wait out the length of time it takes to re-home a rescued kitten, some of our kittens are growing bigger, needing more and more boarding space than we can provide. Eventually, we will need to think of contingencies for their fates, as we do not send any animals to vets to euthanise to solve this kind of problem.

Our main boarding area, as you know, is Angels Pet Shop, where the pens are now fully occupied, cared for by one person that is Aswat. Our secondary boarding space is my own home, where I am the caregiver. Being the only two caregivers for our rescues, our time, space and energy is limited and we can only manage to care for as long as our resources will hold out.

While we may love cats of all ages, adopters don't. Cruel fact of the market is that adopters don't like older kittens. Even those whom are nursed to health and socialised by us. Those of us who like them form the minority niche market.

So, the cats get older, and it is getting exponentially harder for us each day to re-home them.

This week, we are facing the problem with our previously young kittens who are now all about 10-12 weeks old already, kittens like Misty, Coffee, Macy, Totty and Layla (see right sidebar on their stories). In times like these, we start our problem-solving routine by working from the best-case solution to the last resort plans. Last resorts include sending the cats to SPCA, or releasing them into urban wildlife as strays which we manage. When all options are exhausted, we turn to the last resorts. In our short history, we have used both options before, when we simply can no longer provide the animals with boarding resources.

There are only so many homes available for kittens. Older ones don't stand a chance. Please help control the cat population in Singapore by getting involved in sterilisation work. Wildlife needs conservation, for some species, because they are endangered, for others, because the ecological system is imbalanced due to human interference. Cats are a mainstay of our urban wildlife in Singapore. we have to wake up and realise that. Plant a tree, sterilise a cat - one and the same in doing your part for the environment.

if my cats could talk...

...this is what they would say when they gather, around the kitchen table, each on one chair -

Scooter: Mommy very long never give us canned food. Hmph. (angry face)
Sayang: But Mommy say no money. And the canned food is people donate for the kittens. She said they very poor thing, like me when she first took me home. Is must help to take care the kittens.
Slinky: Where got no canned food. That day she put that one down you ownself don't want to eat. Stupid boy.
Scooter: But is was NOT NICE. It was this Avoderm. I eat already PUKE then got SCOLDED for PUKE. Hmph. (angry face).
Sayang: Scooter didi, you cannot eat so fast one. Is must be slow. Like me. Slowly eat. Must bite and chew. You and Slinky jiejie always never chew that's why always puke!
Scooter: But is HUNGRY! Hmph!
Slinky: The important lesson to learn. Puke at unnoticeable place. Then when they discover it, they won't know who puked. By that time, it would have dried nice and hard, easier to clear. Clean house very important, but puke also important. I have more fur than you, smelly boy, so I should know about puking. (Blinks eyes, shakes tail)
Scooter: Hmph!
Sayang: Scooter didi you should try not to be so greedy...
Slinky: ... (blinks eyes, shakes tail, mutters to self) says the one who always steals our food before we can eat it.
Scooter: I thought cat is must be greedy. Then is must be picky with food. Then they will keep changing the food to different brands so that we is can have VARIETY.
Sayang: That's good also. Because the brands you all don't like, I like, like Addiction King Salmon with Potato. Is like potato! Always so happy when Mommy and Daddy eating potato out of that brown bag that comes with the nice-smelling uncle on motorcycle.
Slinky: So useless. Herngh. Motorcycle, bicycle, all this means humans transporting food. Food which we can eat.
Scooter: BUT IS SCARY LOUD. And that funny thing that Mommy and Daddy use after they torture us with water. Is be very scared.
Sayang: But you is need torture with water. You is very smelly and dirty. Always make me lick you clean. You have to do yourself you know.
Slinky: Yes you is really very dirty you stupid boy. Lucky I got my own toilet.
Scooter: HAH! I go to your toilet every morning before Mommy and Daddy can wake up to scold me. Your toilet has nice water on the floor. Ours don't have nice water to lick on the floor.

Human enters scene.

Andy: Walau all the chairs being occupied by cat!
Slinky: (whispering) Quick all, act cute and stare with sad eyes. Then DON'T move. We warmed the seats ourselves, we shouldn't have to do it for humans too.
Andy: (taking treats out, knocking on box) Scooter! Your salmon treat!
Scooter: OMGOMGOMG I WANT! (pounces on floor and runs toward Andy)
Andy: Haha! The chair is mine! (sits on Scooter's chair)
Slinky and Sayang, together: Cos you're too greedy.

kittens stressed to the max

JJ and Socks are possibly the most violently feral kittens I have ever had to foster, and it isn't their fault either.

At first they were all nice and quiet, not fierce, when they arrived. The situation took a turn for the worse when I noticed JJ was slapping the other younger foster kittens. Then, I return home from work and realised that Socks had started doing the same. After observing them, I realised they were not only picking fights with the other foster kittens, they were also deterring them access to their food and litter tray. And only Socks had eaten, JJ went on a fast.

At around 1 a.m. the situation escalated. The two NUS brothers started growling and meowing like crazy, like as if they were two entire male cats fighting for a mate. Yes, the kind that elicits complaints from neighbours. The slapping of the kittens continued. Spitty couldn't even move from the first floor of the pen to the second because Socks kept slapping her down.

This, despite catnip-marinade galore. I frantically decided to isolate the two brothers in a carrier for the night, thinking it would be safer before any real fighting and injuries start.

The two brothers started fighting with each other in the carrier. The caterwauling continued. I started to have fears that every one in the block would hear them and one inevitably complain.

By this time, I had emailed Branden of The Water Dish to try and get for us Pet Calm or a Feliway refill, thinking the problem couldn't possibly get any worse between now and when the products arrive.

I then tried to separate the brothers. I carried JJ in my arms to try and stroke him to calm him down. He was so stressed, he peed on me. I then brought him to the litter box to continue his business. The loud meowing did not abate. He roamed around the room trying to find a way to get out. He also bit my toe, sudden and hard, till my toenail dropped off.

Desperate to calm them down because they were in such distress, I went to read up on whether I could give Xanax to cats. I researched the dose:

Alprazolam (Xanax) is used to treat anxiety in dogs and cats.

Specific uses of alprazolam include treatment of thunderstorm phobia and other phobias, separation anxiety, and situational fears (such as car travel and veterinary office visits).

In cats, the dose is 0.125 to 0.25 mg per cat as needed up to every 12 hours.

So I immediately dosed the brothers with the lowest dose each because I had Xanax in my medicine box.

Subsequently, they calmed down. I reunited them inside the carrier. I then informed the NUS folks on the situation so that we could plan a contingency if their behaviour was irreparable. Finding them a foster home without cats is one option, releasing them back to their territory in NUS was the last resort. I reckoned that their stress was mainly from being near to other cats, even though no one has picked a fight with them. The two brothers growl at any living cat that goes remotely near them.

As I type this, the caterwauling suddenly started again. They fought so hard they toppled over their water and food bowl and are on opposite ends of the carrier in hate with each other. The NUS folks will be bringing them back to school in a while. The caterwauling continues. I hope my neighbours still love me in the morning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

JJ and Socks from NUS

These are two kitten brothers that were rescued from NUS by the NUS Cat Cafe folks. Because we have no space I could only accomodate two of the litter of cats of a mother they have since brought for sterilisation.

Here are JJ and Socks -


They are nephews of 小杰 (Xiao Jie) whom we rehabilitated in January this year, and they look like him too. JJ actually stands for Jie Junior.

Both brothers are about 7-8 weeks old. JJ is a ticked tabby, Socks is a ticked tabby with white, they have nice long tails and cute gaunt faces.

I have just showered and de-fleaed them, and cleaned their ears with a pyrethins solution donated by the NUS folks. JJ and Socks are now understandably very stressed! When they calm down and are socialised they will be available for adoption.

more spitty!

Now that Spitty has stopped hissing and spitting at me I got some more pictures of him. He still prefers other kittens to humans, meowed nonstop while I was taking his pictures, three out of four of his pictures here are taken of him mid-meow -

He enjoys playing and cuddling with Bun, to whom he is closer than Pie. Bun and Spitty are the same size and have become best of friends.

He has the cutest mini tail, and his colouring is beautiful, ticked tabby with hints of red. His fur is thicker than shorthairs, which suggest he might have some longhair genes in his parentage.

If you would like to visit and adopt Spitty, do contact us.

misty the kitten - looking for a permanent home!

Kitten Looking for Home
Name: Misty
Colour: White and Tabby
Breed / Description: Local, long tail with kink, brown nose leather
Favourite Food: Nutripe with Chicken
Favourite Activities: Sleeping with pillows, or in hammock, purring, playing with cardboard boxes, talking to humans.
Health: Just recovered from a fever. Dewormed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

fever in cats

Having to deal with foster-kitten Misty's fever made me research on fevers in cats, their symptoms and causes.

Symptoms of fever are elevated body temperature, shivering, shortness of breath. Your cat will feel warm to the touch, and you can also take her temperature with a simple clinical thermometer (at Angels Aswat uses the digital kind used by kids for school), lubricate it with KY and then, with some help in holding the cat down, take the cat's renal temperature by inserting the thermometer into the anus. It will be uncomfortable for the cat but it will not hurt her. It should be 38 to 39 degrees Celsius.

To treat the fever at home, cool the cat down with a fan but do not bathe the cat. Today the vet also gave me advice on using icepack to cool the cat down - a simple towel wrapped over icecubes will suffice. Feed rehydration fluids, cooled. Bring the cat to the vet because the fever may be viral.

Causes of fever is usually viral, so the vet will prescribe some antibiotics if heatstroke is ruled out. In a lot of cases, especially for the very young and very old cats, the cat will be advised to take blood tests, which includes a liver/kidney function test and a red/white blood cell count test to help determine if the fever is due to FIP.

FIP is a virus that has mutated from the more prevalent FECV, the main symptom of which is diarrhoea. In most cats, this mutation will not occur, in fact most go on to develop an immunity to it when they reach adulthood. The mutation of FECV to FIP is quite rare, from what I read. Many cats are carriers of FECV and show no clinical symptoms of it and go on to live well. If I am not wrong, FIP vaccines are not available in Singapore, and FIP is incurable. Fever is just one of the symptoms of FIP.

For Misty's case, her siblings and pen mates are all fine, healthy, active and eating well. For the past few days Misty has become more and more lethargic, prefers to sleep more than play, and while she is still active, prefers to camp in one spot instead of climb like crazy as most kittens do. She also hasn't been eating as much as a greedy kitten should.

Doctor asked about whether she had diarrhoea (another symptom of FIP), but Misty's poo is firm - she shat on me while waiting outside the clinic for it to open so the evidence is nice and 'fresh'. Upon taking her temperature - an ordeal which Misty really didn't like, she bit me so hard while Doctor was taking her temperature. Her temperature was very high. She also said Misty was dehydrated, which I realised too, and this was despite having fed her cool rehydration fluids at home. The doctor then gave her two jabs, one antibiotic the other to bring her fever down, and also administered a subcutaneous (under the skin) rehydration injection. It was the next alternative to putting her on IV drip for one day, something me and the doctor felt Misty wouldn't be able to endure - to sit still for one day? Misty said no!

For the past few days I have been cooling Misty with feeding her cool fluids via syringe and with fans and aircon. Now, she also has an ice-pack. She hates it because I need to isolate her to surround her with the ice-pack and she doesn't want to be alone -

She is already doing better. I let her out in between cooling her with the ice-pack and she is now playing with our cats' cardboard box 'toy' and just ate and drank water on her own. She will be taking another antibiotic tomorrow, orally, and by Friday if she doesn't improve we definitely have to consider find a way to get her blood tests done - had to skip the testing at the vet because we don't have the funds to do the tests today.

Update Thursday April 22: Misty's fever has subsided! She is on a course of oral antibiotics for the next eight days and we will be feeding her rehydration fluid (water with glucose and salt) and vitamins to keep her body strong. She will not be needing to go for blood tests tomorrow unless her fever returns.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

more about the mother cat and her litter of 6

This beautiful mummy cat was bailed out from SPCA by her feeder in the far end of Ubi Techpark, when building management had called them to remove the cats from their territory. She is now penned together at Angels with her litter of 6 one-month old kittens, all girls save for one boy called Othello. She is a really vocal and greedy mommy cat, and she is still nursing her kittens.

In the meanwhile, we tried to get the kittens to start eating solid food and get used to using a litter tray. They are all already doing that now, thus, they are ready for adoption soon, preferably after they are weaned off milk more so they can grow up nice and healthy. I will be getting pictures of them when I next can visit them at Angels. Othello is black and white, his sisters are either tabby, white with cream point, tricoloured.

As for the mother cat, we probably will have to plan her future for her - sterilisation after weaning, then find a safe place on the streets for her in Ubi or persuade the cat feeder to find a home for her, hopefully his own. Adult cats are almost impossible to rehome, so if there is no home for her, streets of Ubi it shall have to be.

spitty the tabby

This is Spitty, named as such because he spat at me when I went near him yesterday, inevitably very emo because him brother had been just been adopted.

Spitty and his brother's story is that both of them were dumped outside Angels in a cardboard box yesterday. Aswat, sighing with his heart wrenched, had to find a way to pen them and rehabiliate them for re-homing. At first, he tried to put them with the mother cat with her litter of 6. Mother cat rejected them, slapped and bit them two, refused to let them suckle, or even her own kittens to go near her. So we had to pen them separately. They are about a month old so they are able to eat on their own.

Unfortunately our boarding situation is more than full now, so Aswat had to place them in a carrier. We managed to rehome Spitty's brother the same day. Then I brought Spitty home to rehabilitate him and allow him to stay in our kitten pen, a better option than a small carrier, just a bit too crowded.

He had suffered from some teary eyes after being hit by the mother cat, so I medicated his eyes, and in case it was sickness and not irritation from being slapped, gave him vitamins too. His eyes stopped tearing today after a few applications of Terramycin, medication donated by Bun's adopter. Bun and Spitty get along together well. But yesterday Spitty got so upset with the dumping+moving+medication+loss of his brother that he spat at me so much and nearly attacked me. Andy used a catnip-marinated towel to cover and hold him to calm him down so he could apply his eye medication. Catnip is God's gift to cat! He calmed down and then today, no more spitty, just hissy, and meowing a lot possibly for his brother, another reason why kittens should be adopted in pairs if possible.

His eyes have recovered and he is undergoing a socialisation process now, still needs to be dewormed, and will soon be ready for adoption.

Monday, April 19, 2010

vet visit today for slinky and scooter

It was a heavy lifting day for me, trying to carry my two heaviest cats for a vet visit for their annual checkup and vaccines. Both cats' weights added together totals more than 10kg.

Sayang was undeniably very emo being left alone at home without her cat-family. She refused to talk to us for leaving her alone earlier. We are trying our best now to try to cheer her up. She even ignored us when we try to attract her with her favourite toy. After a lot of coaxing she is finally at least talking to me when I call her.

Anyway after nearly breaking my arm from lifting Slinks and Scoot around in carriers, we got to see our vet Dr. Hsu. Apart from getting their flu' jabs - flu' means herpes and chlamydia viruses, the most common illness group as well as the most contagious in the fosters we care for, hence the jabs extremely necessary - I asked if we needed to deworm the two again after having already put them on Revolution. Revolution doesn't kill one of the intestinal worms, tapeworm, but Dr Hsu said that deworming them from tapeworm wasn't necessary for them because they didn't have the symptoms of tapeworm, and that they were unlikely to get it since they don't share a litter box with the fosters, most of the time. I also asked about their easily-dirty ears, a problem Sayang doesn't have, and doctor said that it was merely ear wax, not mites, especially since being on Revolution ruled that out. I just need to clean their ears more often, especially Scooter's, because he has larger ears. I also asked about Slinky's teeth, since she is older, her teeth need to be checked more. That and she doesn't chew her food. Doctor said her teeth were fine, which was a relief. Slinks is 6 years old, estimate, this year.

I also picked Dr Hsu's brain a bit about feline health. He said that kittens between 4 to 6 weeks of age die easily because they are weaning off mother's milk, and therefore their mother's immunity, so the sicknesses that come to them are sudden, and death can be sudden too. I had mentioned Kelly and Tigi's cases to him. Kelly's death was due to sudden drop in blood sugar level during passing out the worms, and intestinal obstruction from the parasitical worms. Deworming is necessary, but sometimes this kind of death cannot be helped. I also asked about kittens' reactions to flea treatments and whether there are any symptoms that can be watched out for in cases of adverse reactions to flea treatments, something that is often stated on flea treatment labels. Apparently, adverse reactions are rare, and there are no discernible symptoms that can point to a diagnosis of flea-treatment reactions. As for Tigi, he was the one that treated her, and he actually is quite baffled by her case too, just another case of sudden kitten death.

Understandably for us as rescuers and fosters we are daily being stressed by the kittens we care for, they really do fall ill and die so easily. Thankfully the kittens Coffee, Macy, Totty, Layla, Misty and Velvet are old enough not to die on us suddenly. The young ones - the litter of 6 are doing well because they have their mother's milk with them; Pie, Bun and Tabby girl are orphans so I fastidiously watch, medicate and supplement their diets daily. Hopefully we don't have to rush any kittens to Dr Hsu anytime again soon because of suddenly-really-ill kittens.

So after that, we went home, and I fed them some sardines with chicken canned food from Fussie Cat, smelly enough so that they love me again. Sayang is finally now not that angry with me, and is curling up next to me finally assured that she will never be left without her family again. Yes, I think the next time, I will bring all three together - 15kg worth of cat - to the vet.

should I get a second cat? my experience

I got my second cat Sayang when I had kept Slinky for a while. Slinky was already an adult cat when I adopted her, and it had been wonderful having her fluffy companionship. Frustrating at times because Slinky hates hugs, doesn't purr, and scratches us. We had just got to know Aswat at the time, and he told us that if we got a kitten as a second cat, it would go over well with Slinky as compared to adopting another adult. Eventually we took his advice and I brought Sayang home the minute I saw her alone in a pen at Angels, sick.

The kind of cat Slinky is is not uncommon. Many cat owners with one cat say their cat is anti-social, likes to be alone, doesn't get out much, is already an adult. This kind of cat probably likes to lie around, sleep through the day, perhaps play a bit or not at all. Oh, and hates grooming. Sounds like your only cat?

Well, our integration of Sayang with Slinky turned out well. Granted, they are not best of friends - Sayang prefers us humans to anyone in the house, loves Scooter the youngest out of responsibility. We have witnessed them grooming each other before but it is not common, Slinky doesn't really enjoy mutual grooming. They definitely don't sleep together or play together. Slinky's favourite exercise is streaking around the house like a mad cat, Sayang prefers other play-activities.

But having the second (and third cat) in the house definitely provided interest to Slinky's life. She enjoys watching the other two play. Watching, instead of getting in the action, is a British Shorthair characteristic, as is mad streaking (and crazy sleeping positions). They enjoy watching.

We coped with Slinky's unwillingness to share toilets with the new cats by setting up her own. Slinky is a fussy cat when it comes to her toilet. She didn't mind sharing with Sayang, but Scooter was a no-no for her. So we adapted.

In fact, I think Slinky is happier for it when the other cats arrived. We stopped needing her for hugs, which she totally loathes. I give her the attention she wants instead of forcing my own on her - she enjoys a good behind-the-ear scratch but that's it. Oh and being fed, she never says no to that.

I think we might have been a bit too late in adopting the second, but it still worked out. Sayang was about 3-4 months old when we adopted her - not too crazy for Slinky as opposed to the very young under 2 months old kitten.

In short, should you get a second cat? If you can cope with the extra costs (food-wise, not as much since you can buy bigger quantities for lower prices) in terms of veterinary care and sterilisation and the extra attention, the answer is yes. Just take note of these pointers.

  • Think of your cat's personality type - is she the playful type or the lounge-around type? Don't get a second cat that clashes too much in their personalities. For example, getting a super playful kitten to accompany your rather-lounge-around cat is probably not the best idea. Get an older kitten that is more independent just like your own cat.
  • Your cat will still view older kittens as a non-threat. Only adults, especially unsterilised ones, will be considered threats. Any kitten under six months of age are considered safe to adult cats.
  • Be prepared to set up a new litter tray in case they don't want to share.
  • Supervise the first interactions. They will hiss and spit first, then make friends later. When the hissing and slapping stage is over you can allow them to interact on their own.
  • If they do end up playing together, it will look violent, but their claws will be sheathed, and that is how they bond.
  • It is easier when your cat is not that old yet, the older he gets, the less likely he will start playing like crazy with a new kitten companion.
Just be warned, most never stop at two... But giving a new cat a new lease of life off the streets and away from the needle, in your own home, is rewarding. That and it will definitely add to your life and your cat's. Your second cat may never become best of friends and fall in love with each other, cats are guarded that way, you need to be prepared for that. But at least you know that you have done an amazing thing by opening your home to another cat.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 Q1 Financial Statement

Click the images to enlarge. To request for the spreadsheet of the financial statements below email me at avalon.apart @ gmail.com.

(The total Income Less Expenses sum of $425.45 was brought forward to April. Our recent neutering on 15th April plus our boarding costs for the current lot of cats this month have since wiped it out! We are now in deficit of -$189.99. Do think of us generously, financially, this month!)

Pie chart also found in this earlier post on 30-70 expense ratio.

bun and slinky showdown

Friday, April 16, 2010

pet quotes: famous quotes, funny quotes, by famous and anonymous folks

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. George Eliot

Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all animals who returned the questionnaire. Robert Brault

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being. Henry David Thoreau

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. Winston Churchill

Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Fyodor Dostoyevsky

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. Immanual Kant

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. Edith Wharton

All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it. Samuel Butler

There's no need for a piece of sculpture in a home that has a cat. Wesley Bates

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. Anatole France

A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere. Groucho Marx

The best thing about animals is that they don't talk much. Thornton Wilder

cold storage poster for Macy and siblings

If you live near a Cold Storage, please do print out the poster below to help us find adopters for the cats with us now. Thank you!