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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TNRM - need help?



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TNRM - the humane way to control and protect feline urban wildlife, as advocated by Cat Welfare Society.

At Love Kuching Project we have been conducting TNRM in locales near us (we are in Ubi) on average of one TNRM project a month since March 2010. Prior to that, we focused on TNRM within Ubi, helping the various caregivers that take care of the cats in different zone within Ubi - but most of the cat-patrons are doing well on their own conducting TNRM - kudos to them. We last did a reconnaissance within Ubi on Saturday, noting that the cats within each Ubi cat-zone are neutered tipped-ear. From time to time we will still conduct Ubi-wide TNRM when the population of un-neutered cats goes on the rise. As of now, TNRM is well taken care of by the various cat-zone caregivers.

So that leaves us with cat colonies beyond our own neighbourhood. We have gone to Upper Boon Keng, Joo Chiat Complex, Geylang Serai, Bendemeer. We want to maintain our monthly mission of conducting TNRM cat colonies that need help, such as colonies where -
  • There is a cat feeder who does not sterilise the cats due to financial difficulty
  • There is a cat feeder who does not sterilise the cats due to lack of education
  • There is a cat feeder who does sterilise the cats but is unable to cope due to a sudden rise in stray cats in the colony or there are simply too many cats for one cat feeder to sterilise. This number usually runs between 7 to 30 cats at one location.
  • There is no regular cat feeder and thus no sterilisation being done
  • The cats are at urgent risk of being culled if not sterilised 
If you live or work in an area near us and notice that the care of the stray cats in that area fall into any of these categories, give us a call or email us - we want to help. Our help will include the following:
  • Reconnaissance - going to the ground to count the cats and reaching out to the cat feeders if any
  • Fund-raising according to the number of cats that need to be sterilised
  • Planning and administrating the trapping schedule via Damy
  • Feeding the cats prior to the trapping dates to familiarise them with us
  • Overseeing the trapping itself
  • Accounting the use of funds to the donors who contributed financially
Our only request is that the area you wish us to help in be geographically near us - as Andy and I have no transport. Also, do note that we wish to help the dire cases, not colonies that are already well cared for by dedicated caregivers where TNRM is being done well and regularly. You, our reader, are our eyes on the ground in identifying stray cat colonies that do need help in areas beyond Ubi.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cat peeing outside the box?

Cats are normally fastidious about cleanliness and where they eliminate. However if your cat has had peeing 'accidents' that occur outside the box, here is how to identify and solve the problem.

Before concluding that it is a behavioural problem, observe if your cat is showing any symptoms of a urinary tract disorder, which is the most common feline health problem that leads to peeing outside the box . Feline urinary tract disorders can be either a urinary tract infection or the more serious feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD) which was previously known as FUS. If your cat is, apart from peeing outside the litter box, also:
  • Visiting the litter box more frequently than usual
  • Straining to pee - squatting for long periods without much elimination
  • Having 'leaks' - pee spots in its common resting areas such as the cat bed
  • Having a fever
Then your cat's urination outside the litter box is not a behavioural problem but a health issue. Seek veterinary attention. Your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories, if the problem is UTI. In more serious cases a catheter has to be inserted to allow the urine to pass through. In serious cases of FLUTD, surgery is required. Male adult cats, even neutered ones, are more susceptible to urinary tract disorders because of their narrower 'plumbing'. Home remedies for urinary tract disorders include cranberry extract supplements, vitamin C supplements (to acidify urine), Danzen (available OTC from pharmacies), pet-specific supplements such as Azmira Kidni-Biotic. You will also need to ensure your cat is drinking enough water - supplement its diet with wet food, syringe it with water, or best of all, get a cat water fountain.

If one of your cats has UTI or FLUTD, and you have other cats in the household, then you may find that your other cats are also peeing outside the box, particularly at spots where your sick cat has marked. You will need to identify which one of your cats is ill, if at all, with a urinary tract problem, and give it veterinary attention first before you can solve the problem of your other cats marking on the same areas outside of the litter box.

Once you have ruled out the possibilities of urinary tract disorders, then you can move on to behavioural problems - identifying the reason behind the peeing outside the box, and solving it. There are a number of reasons why a cat will pee outside the box despite not having a urinary tract disorder.
  • The litter box is dirty.
  • Your cat does not want to share a box with other cats.
  • Change of type of cat litter.
  • Change of position of litter box.
  • Your kitten has become an adult and has outgrown the size of the litter box.
  • Stress due to household changes - anything from sudden schedule changes, new family members (pets or otherwise), your own level of stress - something which cats can always discern.
  • Over-zealous cleaning of the house or removal of your cat's own furniture, thus removing its territorial scent - take note during spring cleaning times.
  • Failing to neuter your male cat - male cats spray urine everywhere when not neutered. Even neutering too late (past 6 months) may result in the cat's habit of spraying to remain unchanged because it is already used to it. 
  • Your cat is getting along in years and less able to control its own eliminations. 
 Steps to solve the behavioural problem:
  • The first immediate step is using Feliway. For every spot that your cat has urine-marked on, after cleaning the area by deodorising it, spray it with the Feliway spray. If you have a multi-cat household, get the Feliway diffuser as well. 
  • Clean the litter box and refill with new litter more often. 
  • Set up another litter box, if possible, where your cat has marked. Where litter boxes are concerned, more is better than less. Choose a variety of boxes to see which one your cat prefers most.
  • Set up another litter box in a more quiet and private area. 
  • If you have a senior cat, apart from more litter boxes for it, consider a box that is lower and easier for your senior cat to enter and exit.
  • If you have changed the kind of cat litter - even a subtle change in brand - revert back to the same litter your cat has been using before the change. If there really is a need for change, convert your cat to the new litter slowly by substituting the new litter incrementally.
  • Try other kinds of cat litter to see if your cat has a preference.
  • Reduce overall stress of your cat - lavender essential oil in a diffuser, products like Rescue Remedy, Pet Calm, Pet Ease, or music.
There are other less common reasons why cats will pee outside the box. Your cat may have an injury that restricts its ability to enter and exit the litter box, such as a leg injury, or arthritis. If you have dogs that are not neutered (thus pee to mark territory) your cat may be inclined to pee over where your dog has marked. A sudden trauma that sparks fear in your cat may cause it to have a one-off 'accident' outside the box - our Scooter peed outside the box when we wanted to bring him out for a walk on a leash (he got scared of the loud urban noises) and when we had to syringe him medication (he hates it). Or if you have a newly adopted cat, it might have been trained previously to pee on the toilet floor and is now disinclined to using a box. But by far, the reasons listed above are the most common and you should be able to safely eradicate the problem of 'accidents' outside the box.

And remember, don't scold your cat too harshly if it happens, because illness or behavioural, your cat is doing this because of some level of stress and is likely already unhappy over its own 'accident' outside the box.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

kitten socialisation with @HouseofCheshire

Andy and I often don't have the time to cuddle and stroke the foster cats enough, so visits from our volunteers and donors do make a big difference, even if is just for kitty-cuddles!

We saw Cassie come out of her shell even more than before, actively gambolling with Panda on our sofa, and realised that Dusky is purring lap-cat! Patty spent most of her time snoozing amongst our couch cushions, especially our furry Ikea cushion. Here are some pics of the kittens today free-roaming the house, enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Music Cats Love CD

Support our fund-raising efforts and purchase an ambient cat-music CD for your beloved kitties!

Music Cats Love - While You Are Gone is composed by Bradley Joseph, and it contains tracks that feature calming piano pieces proven to calm cats down, and natural environmental sounds like the chirping of birds. It also has soothing narrative pieces that 'speak' to your cat - research has proven that the sound of a recorded human voice over the radio can soothe a cat while you are not at home.

We are making this CD available for our readers to purchase as part of our fund-raising efforts. Each CD is SGD $20. Free standard postage within Singapore via Singpost, comes in a bubble-wrapped envelope.

To purchase the Music Cats Love CD, email us at elaine@lovekuchingproject.org with your name and delivery address. Payment is via bank transfer to our POSB savings account 188-52652-7. Please allow 1 working week for turnaround and delivery.

Adopt - Cassie

Cassie has come a long way. From being the skinny, needy little kitten she was when we found her -

Rescued from Bendemeer Road construction site

- to becoming a more emotionally confident girl that is no longer under-nourished and underweight. After she arrived at our foster home, we set to putting her on good nutrition and supplements. We de-wormed her and she then suffered a bout of serious diarrhoea. She was put on Bactrim antibiotics twice a day for five days and loperadamide medication, and is now pooing normally.

She also suffered from separation anxiety, being away from her mom and having gone through the deaths of all her siblings on the streets. She started to get wary of humans and missing her mom, acting out by hissing at us. But we saw that deep down she was a cat that wanted to be loved. We started to cuddle her and she found that she enjoyed every moment. Now she is a much calmer cat and definitely en route to becoming a lap-cat.

She enjoys cuddles and being a lap cat

She is really pretty, with pink nose leather, lovely tricolouring and a short bob-tail; her eyes are olive green.
When she first arrived, still very skinny

She is like Dusky in nature - reserved, loves watching the world go by, but she is more eloquent in showing her emotions than Dusky who meows very quietly and rarely. Cassie however is not a hyperactive kitten, usually prefers lounging and cuddling to climbing and running.

Sometimes just looking into her eyes makes us feel that deep down she was just a lonely, misunderstood girl who is looking for cuddles and affirmation -

Dreamy-eyed, lounging Cassie
Her favourite food is Solid Gold Indigo Moon kibbles - she really loves it, and she drinks adequate water to go along with it, sometimes also tucking into the free flow of canned food we place in the kittens' pen, which is added with probiotics to help her previously sensitive digestive system.

She enjoys lounging around, or cuddling up to other kittens, especially Panda

Cassie with Panda snuggled into her
To arrange a visit for adoption, please see right side bar for contact details and adoption information.

Adopt - Dusky

Dusky is ready for adoption! She has turned out to be a really sweet, sometimes shy girl, who gets along well with everyone, enjoying lap cuddles, and loves her food - Natural Balance and Solid Gold Indigo Moon. She is getting used to being an indoor cat, enjoys relaxing and watching the world go by. She is the sort of cat that would make a great companion while you read a book.



She is a ticked tabby with a short tail, and is now 9 weeks of age. Litter-trained and de-wormed and on Revolution (donated this month by our corporate sponsor The Water Dish).

To arrange a visit for adoption, contact us (see right side bar for contact details and adoption information).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moby was adopted last night!

By Kylicia from Yishun. She lives on her own and her family used to have 2 cats when she was growing up. Before she arrived to visit, upon our instruction she meshed the window grilles of the place she is currently living at in Yishun, and discussed the adoption at length with her room-mate. They agreed, and shared this with us, that when either of them moves out Kylicia will be taking the cat with her. Kylicia's family is also aware of her adoption of a cat, so if she does move back to stay with her family, they already know they will be having a kitty member of the family along too!

After having a long chat with Kylicia, we realised that Moby was also beginning to fall in love with Kylicia, submitting himself to cuddles from her and seriously taking his place on her lap. He went home with her last night. We will miss him! And are happy for Kylicia and Moby!

Patty, rescued 5 week old kitten

Last night we had a newcomer to our foster home. Patty was found by Patricia and Tyler near their workplace, her paw caught in between some metal bars, stuck and meowing for help. They extricated Patty's paw, and thereafter tried to find her mother or siblings, but none were to be found, not even in the vicinity. They bought some food to feed Patty and then brought her over to us.



Patty is 5 weeks old and healthy, no fleas (she just got a flea shampoo shower in the pictures above), and she will be dewormed today. She isn't very greedy, but looks well-fed on mother's milk. She is turning out to be a vocal and playful kitten, and is in love with Panda's toy as they now share a pen. She will be available for adoption really soon!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

bill for Bendemeer construction site TNRM round 2

The total bill including trapping, transport and boarding
The veterinary bill of the 11 cats' sterilisation

Sunday, August 22, 2010

socialisation and progress of Cassie, Dusky and Moby

These three kitties are healthy and are now going through socialisation - a longer process for older kittens (they are 8-12 weeks old).

Cassie has low self-esteem and separation anxiety issues. She still hisses at us, but actually really enjoys cuddles and attention. She needs to gain more confidence to become a good house pet when adopted. So we spend time carrying her, talking to her and showing her that we will be around to feed her. She also enjoys spending time with Panda. Panda has learnt a lot from her, like how to drink water on his own and eat dry kibbles, which Cassie has come to enjoy on its own. Cassie is really a lap-cat at heart. She has come quite far health wise. She was found so skinny, but is now nice and chubby. She had bad diarrhoea after deworming,  completed a short course of Bactrim antibiotics and is currently pooing nicely. Now she just needs more human contact to cross into the last lap to be fully ready for adoption.

Dusky is turning out to be a greedy cat! She enjoys the canned food we put out for them, usually eating alongside Panda. She is also shy, like Cassie, but hisses less. Nonetheless it means she needs more cuddles too, like Cassie. She is quite a quiet cat, and sweet-natured.

Moby had some adult cat socialisation time today. He got to know Scooter, who is our unofficial 'small kitten' I/C - he loves kittens that he can play with and teach the tricks of being a playful cat. Here are some pictures of Moby hanging out with Scooter on our cat condo -

Moby is the most confident among the three older foster kittens we have now, and will soon be ready to free-roam around the house. He loves sleeping a lot, and isn't very greedy even though he is nice and chubby.

All three of them are being put on Revolution Pink donated by our sponsor The Water Dish tomorrow. Once all three are well-socialised and their health confirmed to be stable, they will be more than ready for adoption!

Adopt: Lin's kittens

Lin wrote to us about a mother cat she rescued as a stray, who gave birth in her home. The mother cat's two sons are now looking for new homes to go to. They are about 7-8 months of age, and are very friendly and tame. Both are white with black - one has a black spot on his head in the shape of a heart and has a long black tail. Both have been sterilised. The mother cat has since been sterilised and will continue to live with Lin in her home.


To visit and adopt these kittens or to find out more, contact Lin directly at little_kittys99@yahoo.com.sg or 97845434.

Dusky's cousin, Moby

Last night Damy was called to trap and sterilise the cats at Sims Drive where Dusky was found; the neutering is being sponsored by Liyin who rescued Dusky. A total of 6 cats were trapped and will be released back to their territory when they return from sterilisation.

When they were trapping one female cat, her son followed behind and went along with his mommy into the trap.

So Moby aka Mommy's Boy is now with us at our foster home.



He is very tame, enjoys cuddles, and was obedient enough to let us shower and deflea him. He has just been dewormed, and we will be getting Revolution for all of the foster cats since he came to us with fleas. He seems to know Dusky, so we reckon they are cousins - Moby is slightly bigger, about 10-12 weeks old. He is a chubby boy and will definitely be a wonderful cat to have as a pet once we socialise him more and get him used to being indoors.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dusky - rescued from a rubbish chute in Sims Drive

This is Dusky, an 8 week old tabby female kitten who just arrived at our foster home.

Dusky and her siblings were born in a drain, and her siblings have been washed away and drowned by the recent rain. The cat-feeder, an elderly uncle, tried to rescue them from being washed away in the rain, but the rain was too heavy and he had to watch them go in the rushing water. Dusky was the only one he could save, and she was staying inside the rubbish dumping area until volunteer Liyin brought her to us tonight.

Liyin and the cat-feeder uncle will be sterilising the stray cats in that area - which has had a high incidence of cat dumping recently because many households have moved out, leaving pet cats behind as strays. 

Dusky is healthy and very tame. She has already started to get along with the other kittens in the pen. We will be deworming her tomorrow and will write more about her when we get to know her and socialise her - then she will be ready to go to a new home!

we bought a new camera to take foster kitty pics!

Panda who is up for adoption
Panda snuggling into Cassie
Cassie is still on antibiotics for diarrhoea, and has already put on weight
Tipsy who is going to his new home this weekend
Helga

if something happens to us...

Andy and I have discussed before that if anything were to happen to us as a couple, Andy would take Scooter, Sayang and Slinky stay with me. Sounds like a solemn and sensitive topic to discuss, no?

But we as pet owners do have to think and plan about such things. If you have acquired a pet as part of a couple, have a talk with your other half about whose home the pet will be at if the unfortunate happens. This is to ensure the welfare of your pet. Break ups are hard for everyone, even your pets.

Pet cats now live for an average of 14-17 years, so it is fairly possible that your cat may outlive a relationship given the sociology of our current times. 

If there is a break up, your pet will go through an emotional phase of missing your ex as much as you do, so you will have to think about your pet's emotional health as well - spend more time with it, allow visits if the parting was amicable.

It is better to broach a sensitive topic like this when all is well in a family or relationship, then to deal with when it happens if it does. If your relationship is secure enough, talking about what happens to the pets if there is a break up will not damage your relationship, but strengthen it further. Remember, your pets are family too!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

how to prevent pet cats from running away

A cat generally does not want to go where its own scent is not present. For strays, this means that cats park themselves where they are familiar, and will not usually cross into another stray cat's territory. Strays will 'time-share' their communal spaces. This is especially true for neutered cats, which is why sterilisation of strays makes managing their welfare much easier.

For house pets, cats do not usually incline themselves to leave where they have come to consider their territory, i.e. your home. Once a cat has become accustomed to indoor living under your roof, it is unlikely that the cat will want to return to becoming a stray, simply because the cat feels surrounded by its own scent at home, but not beyond the main door.

In order for a cat to feel safe and surrounded by its own scent at home, the cat leaves its scent by stropping (scratching at scratching posts) and rubbing against furniture or on carpets. Any object that is stropped or rubbed by a cat becomes said cat's property.

A cat that has just entered your home will need to surround the home with its scent in order for it to consider your home, its own home. This means providing your cat with cat-furniture to strop on, beds to sleep in, and not removing its scent through over-zealous cleaning. An adult that is neutered may not feel like staying indoors at first, wanting to return to its original stray territory, but eventually when your home smells like its own home, it will much prefer to stay in.

This is not true for un-neutered cats, which is why sterilisation is very important. The urge to find a mate will trump the safety of its own home. Most runaway pets are un-neutered.

While adjusting a pet to indoor living, it may sometimes, even often, get curious as to what lies beyond that main door.

To prevent accidental run-outs by your cat, you can try a few measures.
  • If you have a gate, mesh the gate so your cat is unable to dash out through the gate. Otherwise, install a pet gate. 
  • Place a spray bottle filled with water at the door, to spray at your cat every time it tries to run out.
  • Throw a favourite toy towards the inside of the house when leaving, to distract the cat while you are opening and closing the door to go out. 
  • If possible, keep your main doors and windows closed or at least meshed at all times. 

In any case, to make sure your cat is easily identifiable, micro-chip or collar-ID your cat, so that it can be returned to you when found.

Adopt - Panda

Panda (front) when he was 1 day old
Panda at 4 weeks old

Panda baby has had a long journey with us. He came to us rescued by Meng and Rina from Geylang Lor 3 when he was one day old with his brother Panther. Now he is 5 weeks old. He has gone through 2-hourly bottle feedings at the start, and is now fully weaned and litter trained.

Panda was smaller and weaker than his brother, and probably would not have survived if he remained a stray kitten. His leather areas behind his hind-legs kept getting abrasions, and one of his abrasions became an abscess when he was 4 weeks old. He also started getting diarrhoea. He was put on antibiotics and medication, and his abscess and diarrhoea have healed. He then went through a bout of constipation - we put him on antacids, and he is now pooing nicely. He still remains small in size, so his daily feedings have been fortified with supplements - colostrum, acidophilus, lysine and vitamins.

Panda at 5 weeks old


Panda is a really sweet boy who purrs when we cuddle him, and he is really easy-going, getting along well with every cat he meets, and he loves to explore. He is bicoloured white with black in cap-and-saddle pattern with a mid-length tail.

Panda will need a special owner who is willing to care for a young kitten that is generally weaker than most. To visit and adopt Panda, do see the right side bar for contact details and adoption information.

Tipsy, rescued by 11-year-old Shaivi from The Waterside condo




Shaivi and her sister found Tipsy, alone by himself without a mother, near their house in Tanjong Rhu. They brought him home and wanted to keep him, and their Dad, Vin, went about researching - the family was moving to Vietnam for a couple of years by the end of August. It turns out that airlines do not permit the carriage of cats below 6 months of age. So Tipsy, while everyone wanted him to be a part of the family, had to stay in Singapore.

When they first rescued Tipsy, Vin brought him to the vet for a checkup. There, Vin shared with Dr Dawn Chong that Tipsy needed to be rehomed, and asked Dr Chong for advice. Dr Chong recommended Love Kuching to Vin, and he contacted us.

Last night, Vin and Shaivi came to our foster home with Tipsy, and Tipsy is now Panda's pen-mate, getting along really well together.
Tipsy in our kitten pen

Tipsy is 5 weeks old, and has the breed characteristics of a Chocolate Tonkinese - with chocolate colourpoints and chocolate-tabby markings. Tonkinese are crosses between Siamese and Burmese pedigrees. He has white ankle socks, and is stocky in size.

His Chocolate colourpoints
Tipsy is a really greedy, active cat that gets along well with kittens his age. He is very independent, does not like to share very much, and tends to be the dominant in personality, true to his lineage. He loves to climb, play roughhouse, and explore.
Tipsy loves to climb onto high places, like our hammock

Tipsy is healthy, dewormed and currently on a diet of Natural Balance and Solid Gold Indigo Moon. To arrange to visit and adopt Tipsy, please see right side-bar for adoption information and contact details.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

new feature for adopters on lovekuchingproject.org

Adopters! Update us and all our cat-loving readers on your adopted pet cat from us!

You can now post pictures, vet check updates, stories about your adopted cat  on our main website!

To do this, go to www.lovekuchingproject.org. Click on Adopters Updates. Then click on Adopters: How to Register and Update. Follow the registration steps and you can post kitty pictures and stories straightaway, any time!

We welcome all adopters who have adopted from us before to register and update on our website! Be the first!

Addendum 18 Aug 2010:
Adopters who have signed up on our lovekuchingproject.org adopters' updates feature - the permission to post has been rectified- update now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

ASPCA Complete Cat Care Manual by Dr Andrew Etney


If you only have space for one cat care book in your library, this book is it.

We bought ours at Borders, and it costs less than $30. It is a comprehensive guide in so many ways - detailed information with pictures on feline diseases, even the rare ones. First aid protocols when dealing with emergencies, like how to perform CPR, how to lay the cat in recovery position, how to take its pulse. It is also chockful of humane advice, like how one should never purchase a cat from a pet shop, but instead adopt from a shelter or through friends, or buy from a reputed, humane pedigree breeder. Or that in the light of the cat overpopulation epidemic, breeding your cat is very much discouraged. It has great step-by-step advice on how to integrate a new cat into your household, how to train your cat, and the different personality types cats fall into.

A great find, a great buy. A definite must-have cat care reference in your library.

Adopt - Kitty and Belle

A blog reader, Philemon, wrote to us about the stories of Kitty and Belle, two rescued kitties in need of a new home.

Belle is an abandoned calico cat, now 7 months old. She was dumped in the void deck of a block in Tampines St 22 when she was a kitten at 4 months old, and was then sterilised when she was 6 months old. Unfortunately, Belle suffered a leg injury that got infected, and had to receive veterinary attention and foster care, which Philemon and a friendly neighbour have been providing. Her wound has since healed, but Belle would have problems adjusting to being a stray cat again, seeing as she was formally a house kitten that was abandoned, and now with the trauma of a previous leg injury.

Belle is an affectionate cat who loves humans, and would make a great pet cat. She is currently being boarded at Philemon's neighbour's house and her wound has healed. Belle is in need of a good home. To arrange a visit to adopt Belle, contact Philemon at 90223363.

Kitty is an adorable 5 week old kitten that was found orphaned and alone when she was 4 weeks old at a void deck also in Tampines St 22. She is a healthy and playful bicoloured white with red tabby female kitten -



Kitty is currently being fostered together with Belle. To adopt Kitty, contact Philemon directly at 90223363.

Pawprints