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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Yearly vaccine or not, bring your cat for regular check ups at the vet

Not all vets recommend yearly vaccinations for all cats - your regular vet can advise you on which vaccinations are recommended for your cat based on its lifestyle, environment and medical history. But regardless of whether annual vaccinations are deemed necessary by your vet or not - you should still bring your cat for regular check-ups.

Adult cats should get at least an annual vet check-up once a year. For senior cats, 6 monthly check-ups are necessary. Some vets advocate twice yearly check ups for all adult cats too; but once yearly for young adult cats are strongly recommended. This is regardless of whether your cat is showing symptoms of illness or not.

Waiting for your cat to get ill before taking it to the vet for a consultation is not wise at all. Health-wise, this is because when a cat falls ill, it will either get better, or worse, depending on when the sickness is detected and treated. If an illness is detected too late, your cat's chances of recovery will be drastically lowered, resulting in much more pain and suffering and a much earlier death.

Because pets can't tell us when they fall ill, the only way to know that they are healthy or not is to have them vet-checked. As humans, we already know the importance of health check-ups and diagnostic tests - but at least we know when we fall ill we have the ability to seek treatment on our own. Cats cannot. If they are ill, they can't tell you, and they can't take themselves to the vet. They depend entirely on you to do that.

It is also far more expensive to treat a feline ailment when it has turned for the worse, than to treat an ailment when it is mild or in its early stages. With some ailments, a change in diet, lifestyle, and some supplements will turn it around if it is detected early. But once an illness has gone into the critical zone, the choices won't be so simple. It will mean perpetual visits to the vet and increased veterinary expenditure on treatments and medications.

A yearly check up won't cost you much. But an illness detected too late will cost you a lot more.

Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat Scheme

Here is another way you can make a difference for rescue cats at our foster home!

We are now providing vaccinations for all cats for adoption that are 2 months and older this year. Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat allows you to help cover the cost of vaccinating a rescue cat before it is re-homed: increasing its chances of adoption and improving its welfare and health while it is in our care.

Each vaccination is accompanied by a vet-check. Our vet is The Animal Clinic (Katong).

Each vaccination and veterinary check up costs $32.10 per cat with discount or $37.45 without discount.

How to Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat -
Make a financial contribution to our Veterinary Fund for the sum of the vaccination (stated below next to each sponsor cat's name) to our bank account POSB Savings 188-52652-7.

Send an email or text to elaine@lovekuchingproject.org / 90880675 indicating which cat you are sponsoring.

If you wish to be mailed a receipt and/or print of your sponsored cat's photograph, please indicate your mailing address as well.

Your name will be appended in the list below alongside your sponsored cat. (If you wish to remain anonymous, we will indicate it as 'sponsored by anonymous'.)

When the cat is adopted, you will be informed of the adoption.

List of cats under Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat Scheme 2011-
You can check back on this list regularly to see which cats have received sponsors for their vaccinations and which are still pending sponsorship. Click on the cat's names below to read more about them.

  • Bob - 1st vaccination 23 Feb 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Sarah
  • Palette - 1st vaccination 23 Feb 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Sarah
  • Woody - 1st vaccination 23 Feb 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Yurni
  • Lana - 1st vaccination 23 Feb 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Yurni
  • Bob - 2nd vaccination 23 Mar 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Ai Wei
  • Berry - 1st vaccination 20 Apr 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Ai Wei
  • Barley - 1st vaccination 20 Apr 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Ai Wei
  • Kit - 1st vaccination 20 Apr 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Ai Wei
  • Joey - 1st vaccination 20 Apr 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Ai Wei
  • Jay - 1st vaccination 20 Apr 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Ai Wei
  • Kit - 2nd vaccination 25 May 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by WY
  • Barley - 2nd vaccination 25 May 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Sook
  • Jay - 2nd vaccination 25 May at $32.10 - sponsored by WY
  • Joey - 2nd vaccination 25 May at $32.10 - sponsored by WY
  • Banana - 1st vaccination 25 May at $37.45 - sponsored by Jason
  • Bran - 1st vaccination 25 May 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by WY
  • Brulee - 1st vaccination 25 May 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Claudia
  • Rainy - 1st vaccination 25 May 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Sook
  • Winky - 1st vaccination 15 June 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by WY
  • Echo - 1st vaccination 15 June 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Edmond
  • Tango - 1st vaccination 22 June 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Liyana
  • Bran - 2nd vaccination 22 June 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Liyana
  • Kit - 3rd vaccination 22 June 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Liyana
  • Bandit - 1st vaccination 6 July 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Duke Orange
  • Simone - 1st vaccination 6 July 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Duke Orange
  • Echo - 2nd vaccination 13 July at 2011 $37.45 - sponsored by Nicholas
  • Winky - 2nd vaccination 13 July 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Nicholas
  • Aryan - 1st vaccination 3 Aug 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Mary
  • Napolean - 1st vaccination 3 Aug 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Kamen
  • Ellis - 1st vaccination 3 Aug 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Christina
  • Emma - 1st vaccination 3 Aug 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Joanna
  • Princess - 1st vaccination 3 Aug 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Sarah
  • Simone - 2nd vaccination 12 Aug 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Sarah
  • Aryan - 2nd vaccination 7 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - no sponsor
  • Ellis - 2nd vaccination 7 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - no sponsor
  • Emma - 2nd vaccination 7 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by LS
  • Princess - 2nd vaccination 7 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Joanna
  • Chanel - 1st vaccination 21 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Wei Ling
  • Jaimie - 1st vaccination 21 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - no sponsor
  • Marcel - 1st vaccination 21 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - no sponsor 
  • Napolean - 2nd vaccination 21 Sept 2011 at $32.10 - sponsored by Weiting
  • Chanel - 2nd vaccination 23 Oct 2011 - sponsored by Dawn
  • Jaimie - 2nd vaccination 23 Oct 2011 - sponsored by Dawn
  • Marcel - 2nd vaccination 23 Oct 2011 - sponsored by Dawn
  • Bailey - 1st vaccination 23 Nov 2011 at $37.45 - sponsored by Nadine
  • Bailey - 2nd vaccination 4 January 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Nadine
  • Bailey - 3rd vaccination 16 February 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Nadine 
  • Braveheart - 1st vaccination  23 March 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Felicia
  • Lenny - 1st vaccination  23 March 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Felicia
  • Salmon - 1st vaccination  23 March 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Felicia
  • Braveheart - 2nd vaccination 25 April 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Felicia
  • Lenny - 2nd vaccination 25 April 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Felicia
  • Salmon - 2nd vaccination 25 April 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Felicia 
  • Echo - annual vaccination 12 July 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Nur'Ain
  • Sunkist - 1st vaccination 11 Aug 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Shela
  • Ebi - 1st vaccination 29 Aug 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Nur'Ain
  • Sunkist - 2nd vaccination 29 Sept 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Li Lin
  • Ebi - 2nd vaccination 29 Sept 2012 at $37.45 - sponsored by Li Lin

Thank you for your support for our Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat Scheme!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Round 2 TNRM at Bendemeer Blk 45 carpark - scheduled for Sunday 27 Feb

CWS Logo-Link to us!

We neutered 7 cats in this stray cat colony at Bendemeer Blk 45 on 16 Feb, and there are at least 10 more cats here that still need to be neutered.

We will be going down to this colony again to trap these cats for another round of neutering and release this Sunday, 27 Feb, at about 9pm.

We don't have the time to go down a day or two before Sunday itself to tell the 10pm feeders about this second round of trapping, so we hope to get there before their feeding round to inform them and stop them from filling the feeding points with kibble - to make our trapping effort easier. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wine & Seven - 2 new best friends - got adopted together!

Fiza wrote to us last Sunday about her family wanting to adopt Wine and her siblings, sharing with us their answers to our adopters' questionnaire. At that time, Dempsey had already been adopted by May's family, and only Wine and Curry were available. Unfortunately, before Fiza could visit, Curry passed away suddenly from FKS.

Fiza's family still wanted to adopt a pair of kittens so that one would always have another kitty playmate. Currently, Wine's new best friend is Seven - they share a pen together. Seven is quite attached to Wine, meowing like crazy if we just take Wine out for a while to groom. So he will be going to a forever home together with her!

Wine & Seven in Fiza's arms
Because Seven is still not yet entirely independent in eating dry food on his own, we instructed his new humans that he would need to be fed kibbles moistened with canned food regularly. Fiza's mom would be in charge of feeding them their canned food when Fiza is not around. Wine is still nursing an on-and-off bout of constipation and would definitely need veterinary care provided for her.

Also, because these two best friends are a male-female pair, we strictly instructed that Wine will need to be neutered slightly earlier at 5+ months old - female kittens come into heat earlier when there is a male cat living with them.

Fiza's family will be bringing Wine and Seven home next week when they have gotten their basic items ready. They initially wanted to come for the adoption visit only after the logistics at home were fully prepared but there were already other prospective adopters waiting in line to adopt Wine, so they came as soon as they could to visit, decide and confirm the adoption!

In the meantime, we will nurse Wine's constipation with medication and supplements and she is due for her next round of deworming this coming Monday, so we will be administering that. We advised Fiza's family - both her and her mom will be coming to collect Wine and Seven - to bring the kittens home as soon as possible, so that they can get them to the vet, and we can finally free up our resources to tend to the other rescues.

Adopt: Woody and Lana

These 2 siblings rescued from Woodlands are now ready for adoption! Born in a void deck amongst rusty bicycles to a recently abandoned female cat, they came to our foster home and are now looking for forever homes to go to!


Both are now 11 weeks old. They have been dewormed, given their first booster vaccination, vet-checked and certified healthy, with no symptoms of illness, and on Revolution. Litter-trained, and able to eat dry food (Solid Gold Indigo Moon) and drink water on their own.

Woody, the boy, is a tabby with a mid-length tail. He is independent, a bit headstrong, active and quite vocal when he wants to talk about something (like how he hates the blow-dryer after baths!)

Lana, the girl, is black with a cute white spot under her chin; mid-length tail. She is the affectionate, purring sort, quiet and easy-going. A very sweet girl and a lap-cat in the making.

Both of them are playful and love their toys or play-hunting with each other. They also get along well with other cats.

Here are more pics of the two!

Lana -

"Me likes strokes and pets! Purr~"

"I like lounging around. Am couch cat."
"I can climb this?"
Woody -

"Yes Lana you can climb this!"

A curious kitty!

"Yes I know I has handsome tabby face."
Both of them can play on their own or with each other - they are quite independent but wouldn't mind a kitty playmate of any age. More pictures of them below, courtesy of Furry Photos:

Lounging Lana - 

Playful Woody -

Lana and Woody playing together -

To adopt Woody or Lana, see right side-bar under 'How to adopt' or read here.

Thank you all for #pawcircle for little Curry

Curry was hospitalised yesterday and put on IV fluids. She was also syringe-fed and given an antibiotics injection but she was still weak despite. She faded and passed away at the vet last night.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bob's vet-check and vaccination today, and more good news!

 Bob waiting outside the vet
A lot of meow-protests were involved but we got Bob to the vet again today, this morning with help from volunteer Afandy (who helped carry the pet carriers and took the picture above).

After some planning with the vets over the past couple of weeks, Bob got his first kitten booster vaccination today. He was given a lower dose, half the normal kitten dosage, due to him being a previously sick kitty. He will need to be monitored after this vaccine and if any adverse side-effects or allergic reactions occur he has to go back for a review.

He saw Dr Chong who consulted for Bob for the first time today. He was given a review check-up - he is really doing good, did a nice cat-walk around the examination room. He is however having a bit of inflamed gums and lymph nodes possibly because he is growing out his adult teeth. It should subside when the teething period is over.

Dr Chong's opinion is that his nerve damage is definitely more likely due to toxoplasmosis when he was young, than a genetic abnormality, in line with what Dr Poon agrees with. Seems that Dr Hsu's original prognosis of it being likely genetic and incurable is less likely to be true, and that is good news!

We also discussed with Dr Chong regarding Bob's sterilisation. Neutering should be done at 6 months old and Bob is almost that age. But we worry if he is able to withstand surgery, anaesthesia, right now. Dr Chong advises that Bob should be sterilised slightly later than normal kittens, perhaps delay it by another 2-3 months so that he is stronger for it. He should have no problem with anaesthesia as a whole.

Here is today's veterinary expense incurred by Bob:

$32.10 - vaccine & check up
If you would like to sponsor Bob's vaccination (the amount reflected in the bill above) do let us know.

Just a quick update on Bob: At our foster home he is a fully free-roaming kitten now, able to use our cats' litter box well, which he previously wasn't entirely keen on (though he still doesn't like to use the litter box in the foster lounge - doesn't like covered litter boxes at all). His muscular stiffness is completely okay and he no longer needs massages. He was getting very phobic about taking his nutraceutical and herbal supplements, so we gradually weaned him off them and monitored his progress without them. He had taken a 'supplement holiday' before and didn't do too well that previous time, but now, this time around, he is totally okay without the supplements. He can climb very well now, just can't always land on his feet. He probably won't need further regular acupuncture sessions either, he is doing so good now. All this reduction of necessary care is good news because it means he is graduating from being a special-needs kitty to becoming adoptable!

Will be monitoring Bob after his first booster jab to see if he reacts well to it, and also re-confirm with Dr Poon if he needs a final acupuncture session.

Once he is in the clear - Bob will be available for adoption!

#pawcircle Curry fell ill, hospitalised

Yesterday, little 7 week old Curry became very ill suddenly - body temperature dropped, no appetite, weak, dehydrated. All the symptoms of Fading Kitten Syndrome, very worrying because she has been the runt amongst her siblings all this time and FKS is almost always a killer.

Both she and Wine had constipation a couple of days ago - we administered Mylanta and probiotics and gave them herbal remedies consisting of slippery elm bark, burdock root and alfalfa. Wine showed much improvement and is no longer constipated and is still viable for adoption, but Curry did not improve much. We informed their prospective adopter (visiting us tomorrow) that only Wine is adoptable and that Curry needed further rehabilitation.

We administered first aid by warming her up with blankets and a hot water bottle. Gave her glucose water. Syringe-fed her milk. Supplemented her with CoQ10. Her body temperature stabilised and her dehydration improved but she remained weak. She started soiling herself with pee and poo. Her poo was a strange colour, a greyish brown. We brought her to the vet today.

When we reached the vet - it had just opened - we immediately informed the staff that Curry needed emergency attention and she was brought straightaway to the ward for IV fluids.

We got to see Dr Chong when it was our turn, and she examined Curry. Curry's bladder was full - Dr Chong helped her eliminate her urine; this was strange because prior to falling this ill Curry had been using the litter box well. There is no urinary tract blockage so it may not be UTI. Dr Chong also did a fecal examination, but there are no parasites, worm eggs and such in Curry's fecal matter. Her constipation had more or less cleared up so there was no major obstruction in her lower digestive tract, but she was given an enema just in case.

We opted to hospitalise Curry for a day so she can be more intensively monitored, be on fluid therapy.

Will report when we hear from the vet.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

7-11 rescue

One of our student volunteers from last year, Hazrul, found an abandoned kitten in a cardboard box near a 7-11 outlet in Ubi zone 3. This happened on Sunday evening, and he brought the kitten over to our foster home for help.

Seven is a local tabby male kitten about 6 weeks old. Obviously abandoned because he looks well and healthy and food was placed in the cardboard box that he was found in. Likely borne of a house cat that is not neutered. There is only a small bunch of cats not neutered in that area of Ubi - very feral cats that are hidden way inside a very large substation (hence un-trappable), and the kittens born inside that substation are weak and don't survive long. Seven is obviously not one of those kittens. He definitely had mother's milk up to the point he was thrown out.

He has been dewormed, and is now penned together with Wine and Curry and learning how to eat, drink and use the litter box from them.

Unfortunately he isn't really keen on eating dry food on its own, so we mix the kibbles into canned food combined with supplements and he has learned to eat that. Will be slowly getting him to eat just moistened dry food and eventually kibble on its own so that he can be more independent when adopted. Meanwhile, here are some of his pics -

Perpetual 'I'm feeling emo' face!

White socks on his hind legs, mid-length tail
Seven's arrival has capped our maximum boarding capacity at 11 foster cats. So apt, 7-11!

Booster jabs for all foster cats 2 months of age and older

We highlighted previously in our plans for 2011 that from now on we would be implementing vaccinations for cats slated for adoption that are 8 weeks old and older. Here is more background about this initiative.

The rationale for providing foster cats with booster jabs, and why now?
  • Pedigree breeders provide vaccinations for kittens and puppies before they go to their new homes. We want local cats and un-certified pedigrees and mixed-breed cats that are rescues to have the same level of care provided for them. 
  • Likewise for animal shelters such as our SPCA.  
  • We believe in giving top-notch quality care to our foster cats and providing vaccinations raises the bar in the standard of our rescue and adoption work.
  • Giving a kitten the first booster jab before it is re-homed encourages adopters to follow up with the second booster jab because they need to pay for only 1 instead of 2 vaccinations required in a kitten's first year of its life.
  • Older kittens have a much harder time getting adopted compared to those between 4 to 8 weeks of age. Including a vaccination into the adoption package of an older kitten, without any extra cost to the adopter, adds further incentive for adopters to choose an older kitten to adopt instead. 
  • Pursuant to the point above, this means we can afford to shelter more older kittens in need than before - higher adoption rate equals higher rescue rate. 
  • Previously, we did not have a stable Veterinary Fund to provide vaccinations for the foster cats. But thanks to generous financial contributors like many of you, we now can afford to budget for them. (Donors, we couldn't do it without you.)
  • Giving foster kittens their booster jab helps minimise new-adopter distress - this is because kittens usually are drowsy and inactive for a couple of days after the shot, and some may even fall ill because they already harboured an illness such as cat flu' and the vaccination brings it to the fore. This can be worrisome to the adopter especially for first-time cat owners. Before and after the kittens' get their booster we monitor their health and boost their immune systems with supplements, will treat their post-vaccination illnesses if any occur, before they get adopted.

Why only booster jabs for cats 2 months and older?

Vets usually don't vaccinate kittens that are below the age of 8 weeks because they are very newly shedding their mother's antibodies and building up their own immune system. (Another reason why kittens below 12 weeks of age die easily.) Introducing a vaccine below the age of 8 weeks can have extremely detrimental effects on a kitten's health.

Too cute, and too young to vaccinate
Also, kittens below 8 weeks of age have far greater appeal to adopters even if they may fall sick more easily and are more taxing to care for. Adopters who prefer kittens in this age range want to have the young-kitten experience, and also because the period where a kitten is 3-7 weeks old is its prime socialisation age - great for integration with a new family. Given that they have these natural advantages over their older counterparts in getting adopted, they already attract more adopters than older kittens do!

Where does Love Kuching plan to go about vaccinating these older kittens?

We had two choices - sending the adoptable foster cats to spay/neuter clinics (like Clinic for Pets) with lower vaccination costs, or to our preferred vet The Animal Clinic.

Weighing the options, and having had vaccinated cats at both kinds of clinics, we decided to opt for vaccinating the foster cats at TAC. It is not common knowledge - but there are different grades of vaccines, and those offered at low cost spay/neuter clinics are more likely to cause side effects and adverse reactions if they are lowering costs by choosing cheaper vaccines.

But that is not the main deciding factor. At TAC, whenever we bring a pet to get a vaccination, the pet gets a vet examination too to make sure its vitals are healthy. This comes at no extra charge unless the animal is actually ill and needs additional veterinary services or medication. This means that all foster cats that get their booster jabs at TAC also get an official vet-check - another 'marketing' advantage for these older cats to get adopted. At spay/neuter clinics, it is a jab-and-go service - great for stray cats, really, since this means spay/neuter clinics can jab more cats in a day. But there is no vet-check, or if any, a really arbitrary one. We can't tell adopters that the kitten has been officially vet-checked if we send it to a low-cost spay/neuter clinic - that would be a false claim, something we don't do at Love Kuching.

So it will cost that bit more, but we are in negotiations for discounts for boosters at TAC for foster cats, which is in our favour because we will be bringing about 3 cats at a time per visit, chances for a bulk discount are looking good. (Plus we do sometimes get off-the-record stray cat discounts or pro bono consults when we bring rescues to TAC.) Our first round of vaccinations for foster kittens is this coming Wednesday (4 kitties) and we will report the costs billed to us after, so that there is full disclosure to the public, and so we can budget better and make reviews if necessary.

Another factor that has helped us make the decision to use TAC as the veterinary service provider for the foster kittens' vaccinations is because TAC is the clinic we recommend to our adopters who don't already have a regular vet. Should adopters choose to see the same vet at TAC after bringing home their adopted cat from us, the cat's record will already be on file there, and our vet will remember the cat too! (We use Dr Dawn Chong for most of our vet consults and she pretty much remembers all of our rescue cats.)

There are similarly great veterinary clinics islandwide that do the same - complimentary vet-check with vaccine and stray cat discounts - but getting to these clinics that are not near Ubi where we are would mean a jack-up in our transport costs, something we try to keep as low as possible - TAC Katong is very near us. Unless the cost-savings can justify the increase in transport costs we are not about to jump into a cab with the cats to go to a faraway clinic.

What you can do:

We have had many great suggestions for quite a while now, about getting our supporters - that's you! - involved in a sponsor-a-shelter-cat scheme. Previously this was not administratively possible because the turnover rate for foster cats is very high. By the time a sponsor is found for a foster cat, it would probably be already adopted. Also, each foster cat in our custody has variable boarding expenses - some 'spend' more because they need longer or more intensive rehabilitation. It is hard to implement a sponsor-a-shelter-cat scheme because of these factors.

Woody, 11 wks old: "You can sponsor my booster shot!"
With vaccinations for foster cats in place, we can implement a Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat scheme that is straightforward, and easy for sponsors to participate in. A vaccination is a fixed, one-time cost, one expense per foster cat, and affordable.

So alongside implementing booster jabs for adoptable foster cats, we will be putting in place an official Sponsor-A-LoveKuching-Cat scheme. Details on how to participate will be rolled out soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dear rescuers and vigilant members of the community -

We are currently at maximum capacity (11 foster cats) at our foster home and will continue to be for at least the next 1-2 weeks.

If you come across any cats-at-risk, please consider fostering and re-homing them yourselves or consider asking for help from other animal shelters / rescue groups.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dempsey got adopted!

Dempsey with 2 members of the Lai family
May called us last night to inquire about adopting Dempsey, the little ginger boy with a bobtail and white socks. May and her family - with 3 grown-up kids, hubby and their house helper - love cats a lot and adopted 2 cats previously via Cat Welfare's adoption site. Their cats have grown up nice and well and have been sterilised. May is a stay at home mom and her house helper is great with the cats - Dempsey will be staying in her room till he gets integrated with his two new older kitty siblings. Their daughter has already renamed him Mickey!

We advised May that because Dempsey is underweight for his age due to the fact that he and his sisters were orphans (a common phenomenon with all orphan kittens) to get him vet-checked as soon as possible at their vet near their home in Bukit Timah. We also advised them to get him multivitamins so he can continue his nutraceutical supplement regime in his new home. They also will be supplementing his diet with pet milk which they can feed often since there is always someone at home to look after him. We also indicated on his Pet Information Sheet (given to all adopters) of his previous kitty ailments - flu', eye irritation, worms, diarrhoea - and his deworming dates so they can pass the medical information along to their own vet.

We are thankful to the Lai family for giving little Dempsey (now Mickey) a forever home!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bill for Round 1 TNRM Bendemeer Blk 45

Invoice from Acodia: vet bill, transport, boarding
Invoice from Clinic for Pets, amount included in bill above
The sterilisation expense for 16 Feb 2011 TNRM at Bendemeer Blk 45 was $340. We trapped and boarded 8 cats with Acodia but only neutered 7 since one of the cats gave birth before she could be neutered. The bill was paid yesterday from our Sterilisation Fund.

Emergency labour

Yesterday the cats we trapped at Bendemeer Blk 45 car park on Wednesday were returned back to their territory.

But not all 8 of them returned.

This cat, that we thought was male because it was big in size, is actually female.

Ticked tabby
And was pregnant. We didn't have a clue, she wasn't showing very much.

Before her neutering surgery, she gave birth in the carrier to 3 kittens.

Born on the move! Naturally, she was very angry at all of us humans because it was a very scary experience for her, and her mama instincts came to the fore. Despite this, she was willing to nurse her kittens inside the carrier, which was a good sign.

The problem next then was that we had to find a way to foster her and her 3 babes. The only pen we had available, the ICU, is for orphan baby kittens, but it simply had to do for this mother cat - whom we have named Mary Lou (can't help that her giving-birth on the move conjures Bruce Springsteen imagery). The other pens we have are not suitable for a nursing feral mother cat either - too exposed and not elevated enough to create a sense of security. Besides, they were occupied.

We had to ensure that Mary Lou and her kittens were not separated as we didn't want to create orphans. Returning her to the street was not an option because she may abandon her kittens. Also, she might never be able to be trapped again for neutering when she stops nursing her kittens, having already been trapped once. There was no way else but for her to come to our foster home to live for the next 2 months.

It was a bit of a logistics nightmare. The litter pan we have in the ICU is meant for kittens, not adult cats. Frantically we went looking for a right-sized tray to buy but none were 12x9 inches, the only size big enough that would fit. The only option we had was to take a plastic storage box that happened to be the right size, and turn it into a makeshift litter box till we can find a suitable one. Before she arrived, I sprinkled some soil onto her litter so she would realise that was her toilet - stray cats are used to doing their business on grass.

Mary Lou is one feral and catty young mom. Moving her from the carrier to the pen was not easy. She wouldn't let anyone near her or her kittens. After some challenging acrobatic moves we managed to get her into the pen without mishap and place her kittens in there too. We then covered her pen with blankets and turned on the heating pad at the base of the pen under the blankets which has been sprayed with catnip. We put food and water inside for her (again, not an easy thing to do with fierce mama Mary Lou ever-ready to swat at us), added rescue remedy to her water. We then left her be and hoped she would continue to nurse her babes.

Mary Lou in the ICU, scared and wary
It also so happened that our foster lounge's Feliway diffuser needed a refill, and it has been out of stock everywhere; the supplier says it won't be available till March. Desperate to calm Mary Lou down so that she would nurse, our aromatherapy diffuser went full force - diffusing lavender, rose, neroli, marjoram and chamomile - all essential oils great for calming cats down in a new environment. I then got an amazingly timely call from Pet Lovers Centre Bedok Point that they managed to get one bottle of Feliway refill - possibly the last one they have islandwide - and I immediately made a mad rush in the rain to go pick it up and plug it in immediately.

Mary Lou decided that she felt safe enough to nurse her kittens, and she did. We haven't sexed the kittens yet - we didn't want Mary Lou to reject her kittens by smelling humans on them. There is a tabby one, a black one and a black and white one.

Baby Black

Baby Tabby

Baby Tux
So far, Mary Lou has started eating and drinking, but she hasn't used the litter box yet. Considering she was put on a fast from Wednesday night till Thursday afternoon (because the original intention was to neuter her), we hope she just needs some time before she would go. If she shows signs of withholding her pee and poo because of stress, will give her some vitamin C and olive oil to prevent urinary tract infection and constipation respectively. If it is because she doesn't like the litter box, we will change it to another one.

Meanwhile, we really hope Mary Lou gets used to us humans, so we can care for her better and that her stress level will go down.

Rescue and Boarding - KPIs for 2010

As a cat rescue group, here is how we performed in last year specific to our goals in rescuing and re-homing cats in need.

Porridge, now Ushi, adopted by Charity

Last year, we rescued a total of 148 cats.

Cats rescued refer to cats that were taken into our custody and given shelter at our foster home (and prior to June at Angels Pet Shop before it closed down). It does not include our rescue work with respect to sterilisation of stray cat colonies (TNRM).

Of these 148 cats rescued, 102 were re-homed via adoption. 

This means that of all the 148 cats we rescued, 68.9% were found forever homes through adoption. The remaining cats that did not go to new homes either, 1) were released back as stray cats after rehabilitation from sickness, injury or sterilisation, or because they were not suitable for re-homing, 2) were surrendered to SPCA, or 3) died due to illness as senior cats or very young kittens.

NB: We no longer surrender rescues to SPCA due to the fact that we have managed to control the issue of anonymous dumping of abandoned animals at Love Kuching, a phenomenon that was occurring very frequently when we used Angels Pet Shop as our main boarding space. Anonymous dumping led us to have to surrender animals to SPCA because when uncontrolled influx of abandoned cats occurred, our boarding resources could not accommodate all of them. The influx of anonymous dumping of rescue cats has been controlled and we have not surrendered any cats to SPCA since April 2010. Thus, going forward in 2011 the adoption-rescue ratio should improve.

An average of 8.5 cats were re-homed per month in 2010.

The highest rate of adoption per month occurred in March where 30 cats were re-homed. When we moved our boarding space from Angels Pet Shop to our foster home, officially from June 2010 onwards, our rate of adoption was at 3.7 cats per month from June to December.

We hope to increase our rate of adoption to 5 cats per month in 2011, which would make the year's minimum goal at 60 adoptions. In January 2011 we re-homed 6 cats - we are on track so far. In a bid to increase adoption rates per month we are providing vaccinations as part of the adoption package for all cats 8 weeks and older. We are also putting other measures in place such as further maximising communication mediums in advertising adoption opportunities, improving adoption after-care, and increasing our boarding capacity.

Our Adoption Fees to Boarding Expenses ratio in 2010 was at 0.763.

This means that of the total amount of expenses incurred in boarding the rescues, we covered back 76.3% of the amount through adoption fees received. This further cements the fact that adoption fees are not adequate to cover the amount we spend on fostering rescue cats.

Prices of some pet supplies we use are now higher in 2011, namely Solid Gold Indigo Moon and Revolution. This will affect us even though our sponsor The Water Dish already offers us pet supplies we can buy at charity rates and monthly donations-in-kind. It is prudent to expect that our boarding expenses will go up further. Also, apart from pet supplies expenses such as food, grooming supplies, supplements and Revolution, we have also begun to include other environmental boarding expenses such as cleaning aids - disinfectants, paper towels, detergents, trash bags etc. There are also other environmental boarding expenses that ought to be included but are not at the time being, such as electricity, water, rental, toys and other furnishings. Going forward these expenses eventually need to be included in our boarding expenditure for long-term sustainability and financial reporting accuracy.

Despite the above concerns, we will not be increasing adoption fees for the rest of the year 2011 even though we need to cover the increasing boarding expenses incurred by the rescue cats. Neither will we downgrade the standard of care for the rescues due to increase in prices. We will continue to perform due diligence in sourcing for the most value-for-money purchases to procure for our boarding needs, and The Water Dish will continue to sponsor us pet supplies every month. You, our donors, have helped us with the shortfall through your financial contributions, and we believe that with your continued support we will be able to keep on providing quality care to the rescues we foster.

What you can do:

We appeal to you to help us in lowering our boarding costs, by considering gifts to the cats in the form of donations-in-kind. Click here to view a list of the boarding supplies you can consider giving.

There are other non-numeric performance improvements in our care for rescue cats over the last year.
  • Since moving our boarding premises to our current foster home, we have improved in the quality of food we are feeding the rescues by feeding only grain-free food. 
  • We have built up a larger cache of nutritional supplements for aiding recovery of various feline ailments and improving the health of the cats we re-home. 
  • We have invested in herbal remedies that can adjunct pharmaceutical medications, or used instead where medication is not possible, increasing rates of recovery from sickness. 
  • We have greatly reduced the occurrence of contagious disease and parasite outbreaks through the use of quarantine, increased levels of environmental disinfection, boarding cats in separate groups of maximum to 5-6 cats each, increased use of preventative parasite treatments like Revolution, and recognising and adhering to our boarding capacity.
  • We have improved the quality of the boarding environment - our foster lounge - through pen furnishings, diffusing therapeutic essential oils, and background music (usually jazz or Music Cats Love!)
Thank you for sharing in our performance as a rescue group in our goal towards rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing cats in need in the last year. We hope you continue to support us in the year ahead!

Next 2010 KPI report will be on sterilisation of stray cat colonies.

Appeal for donations-in-kind for boarding supplies

We need to lower our boarding expenses without compromising on standard of care for all the rescue cats we foster. Do consider if you can help us with the following donations-in-kind.

Cat food: You can consider donating cat food at discounted rates via The Water Dish, which will deliver the food supplies you donate through them right to our doorstep, or opt to purchase and deliver food (grain-free dry food, chicken or fowl/poultry canned food formulas, kitten milk powder) for our boarding cats on your own.

Other high-frequency usage expensed boarding items you can consider giving as donations-in-kind:
  • Disinfectant solution - Dettol or hospital-grade disinfectant which we add to all detergents used in cleaning the boarding cats' possessions and foster lounge.
  • Toilet bleach (Kiwi, Harpic etc.) for washing litter boxes, pens and carriers.
  • Kitchen paper towels - used for spot-cleaning pens, cleaning kitty messes.
  • Baking soda for managing litter box odours and stain removal.
  • Drain cleaner solutions for clearing drains clogged with cat fur.
  • Large carrier-type plastic bags for disposing soiled litter down the chute.
  • Feliway products - we use a diffuser in the foster lounge that needs refills, spray bottles of Feliway for litter-training free-roaming kittens.
  • Catnip spray - used in boarding pens, pillows, blankets, toys, scratchers and carriers to give boarding cats a calm and happy environment to live in.
  • Revolution Pink - for flea and mite prevention or outbreak.
We thank you in advance for your gifts! We are also indebted to all who gave us boarding supplies as donations in 2010 - they were invaluable.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rescued from AMK

This is Palette, rescued by Bee. He is an 8 week old red and white male kitten.

Just woke up from catnap...
Palette was discovered by Bee at her workplace in Ang Mo Kio, near the loading/unloading bay. Apparently a stray cat had gone within the building and given birth there, likely to just this one kitten as none else were sighted.

It was an alarming place to discover little Palette boy because he was happily roaming around the place where there were forklifts and wooden pallets being stored and moved around. There have been many incidents everywhere that cats get crushed by heavy machinery and crates of goods, so Bee immediately got Palette out of that dangerous area and called us for help.

We wondered if we could accommodate Palette at first because Woody and Lana had just arrived today, so stress levels would be elevated. In the end, Bee suggested bringing Palette over to see if he could get along with Lana and Woody and if so, we would let him stay. He immediately warmed up to his new pen mates, cuddling with them, and Woody, the outgoing one, also decided that Palette could stay.

Palette looks healthy overall, no fleas or mites, but hasn't been eating the entire day. Hopefully it is just stress from being moved around and his appetite picks up tomorrow. Bee gave us some fishy-smelling food - Fussie Cat Premium - and we hope to tempt him to eat soon. Will monitor his progress and health and update once he is ready for adoption!

Woody and Lana rescued from... Woodlands!

Yurni, one of our blog readers, went to visit a family member at Woodlands Blk 688D, Dr 75 recently, and encountered a litter of kittens hiding amongst some rusty bicycles and other human strewn debris in the void deck.

She noticed that the kittens had a mother, and she was new to the block; Yurni had never seen her before. While she was there observing the kittens, she ran into someone who had been feeding this litter of kittens daily. The feeder confirmed that the mother cat was sighted here only recently. The only unsterilised cats roaming this void deck were 2 male cats so this young mother was a definite newcomer -

Mother cat, beautiful silver shaded tabby
The story was that this mother cat was recently abandoned, and subsequently gave birth in the void deck. She had a litter of 5, but 2 of the kittens had gone missing (adopted?) and there were 3 of them remaining - 2 black ones and 1 silver tabby.

Their nest was among debris in void deck
So Yurni set about helping to solve the problem together with the feeder. They arranged for a cat boarder for the mother cat and for her sterilisation - the kittens are about 10 weeks old now, so mother cat is no longer lactating. The mother cat will be returned to the block's void deck after her neutering. The cat feeder decided to adopt 1 of the kittens, a black one. Remaining 2 were Lana and Woody, and Yurni contacted us to help foster, rehabilitate and find homes for them.They arrived today.

Woody and Lana
Initially we wanted to pen Woody and Lana with Dempsey and sisters in the Penthouse as from the pictures we discerned they were about the same age, but when they arrived it turns out they are older, about 10 weeks old. Yurni fostered them last night (because she knew we weren't home yesterday, out at Bendemeer) and she mentioned that they were playful, romping-about kittens, so they definitely needed a bigger space to themselves. The only pen that would suit them is the Suite which is bigger than the Penthouse. But Bob is using it when he is not roaming the house because he was previously finding it hard to use the litterboxes in the house. Bob wasn't very keen on sharing his Suite though with Woody and Lana and scared the two little ones a bit, so we 'evicted' Bob and will try to get him used to be a fully free-roaming foster kitten once again. He is getting even more mobile now as his recovery is on a trajectory, so this time round the litter box issue should be easier to resolve.

Before we got them used to their new boarding pen we gave them the mandatory shower and flea-and-mite check. All clear!

Woody being dried with a chamois towel
Woody is a real garang cowboy who resisted the blowdryer a lot and made his hatred for the hairdryer very strongly by kicking, scratching and wailing.

Lana on the other hand is a very sweet girl (she has a cute white spot under her chin!) and was very submissive. She has teary eyes so we got them cleaned and applied with Ilium Opticin. It doesn't look like the flu', likely mild dehydration or eye irritation.

Now they are safely hanging out in the Suite and just tucked into a meal of TikiCat tuna - Lana was the first to get started on the food! We will observe them for a while and see if they have any other signs of sickness other than Lana's teary eyes. So far Yurni recounted to us that they have been pooping well, are active and have appetite to eat food, so they should do okay. They will then be sent for their vaccination booster jabs and will be ready for adoption!

Round 1 TNRM at Blk 45 Bendemeer Road

CWS Logo-Link to us!

It seems that each time we come to this stray cat colony, more entire cats are sighted. Today we saw about 16 to 18 cats tonight. We managed to trap 8 tonight for neutering tomorrow and release back to the same place on Friday.

Blk 45 car park, corner of substation

Transferring a cat from trap to carrier

We tried to extend our trapping area to beyond the group of cats that hang out at the substation itself, and went over to the other corner of the car park as well. There is another feeding point there, though fewer cats hang out there.

Other end of car park, near terrace houses
It was also challenging to sight the cats and try to trap them because a lot of them hid underneath cars and scurried between them. There is another feeder that feeds at 12 midnight who places plates of food under the cars, which makes it comfortable for the cats to hang out underneath.

Humane trap placed between cars

Of the 8 cats trapped tonight, there were a couple we met for the first time tonight. Some of them are males that only stopped by to eat and had roamed from beyond the car park. Male stray cats that are not neutered have wider roaming territories and only stay at any place long enough to rest and feed; they are driven by their urge to mate to roam as wide an area as possible. Throughout the trapping session tonight, we heard a lot of cat fights occurring. A second round is needed to trap the remaining cats so that resident complaints can be prevented. Meanwhile, here are the 8 we trapped tonight. 

Tabby/white Bob lookalike




Tricoloured (fierce girl)

Ticked tabby (male)


Will update on when we will be conducting the second round of TNRM for this colony. We missed out on 1 orange cat, 1 tabby/white, 1 calico, 2 black/white, 4 black cats, 1 brown cat and possibly more. Here is one of the cats that we missed out on - he escorted us as we left Bendemeer! -

Mehhroo! Don't go!