Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A cat and the toilet bowl

Another funny video clip found by Sis

Nice music video of cats

Sis sent me the link of this video and Mom and I were quite tickled by some of the cats :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fried organic brown rice

I get to eat my parents' fried rice every Mon evening as it's the easiest dish they can cook before Mom goes for her Taiji class. Recently, Mom bought a packet of organic brown rice and has been serving that instead of the usual steamed white rice with the dishes.

Last Mon, she also cooked the brown rice in the late morning, let it cool down in the rice cooker before stir frying it with meat and veggies to make a nutritious dinner. This is contrary to the traditional fried rice which uses leftover rice from previous night. Even when cooking fried white rice, Mom usually cooks the rice on the day itself.

No emails so far

I'm not surprised that there has been no emails enquiring about Bob. Looking at the ads of other cats and kittens on Cat Welfare Society's website, there are so many of them looking for a good home.

Bob still exhibits the hunter persona when we let him out of my bedroom while Angel will hiss if he can see or sense Bob outside the balcony. If no one is interested and good enough to adopt Bob, we will of course keep Bob with us. I was wondering aloud to Mom if Bob and Angel will ever mellow down over the years or continue to be unfriendly towards each other.

Learning Japanese language again

After more than 8 years, I'm picking up Japanese language again. This time, I'm learning with a good friend, Flying Raisin and hopefully we can motivate each other to be able to use the language when we next visit Japan, to read Japanese craft magazine. I can also read the labels of Japanese cat food and treats. Hee.

Yesterday was our first lesson. With fellow classmates of all ages, we learnt how to introduce ourselves, some Hiragana characters, numbers 0, 1 to 10, greetings, etc. It's really fun and nice to be in an environment where everyone is keen to learn and Sato-San was enthusiastic too to teach us. The Ikoma School's staff are also friendly. One of them even called me this morning to remind me to attend the lesson and asked whether I was sure I want to start from basic all over again since I had learnt Japanese for almost a year. I told her that it was a long time ago and I haven't been practising at all.

Hopefully this 3rd time, I will persevere and achieve my objectives :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

My room-mate up for adoption

The adoption ad for Bob is up at Cat Welfare Society's online adoption bulletin board.

BOB. A 18-month old male cat, has a cream colour coat with ginger markings, light blue eyes and a bob tail. Affectionate and curious, he likes to be hugged and kissed. Formerly a stray cat, he has been sterilised with a tipped left ear. He is also vaccinated, dewormed and litterbox-trained. If you can give Bob a good home, please email coboypb@care2.com

Sis said I should also mention that Bob likes human company, resting near us. I will let potential adopters know more when they email me.

For the many nights over the few months, Bob has been sharing my pillow with my head, be my alarm clock with his meows, jump on my bed or nip when I get lazy to wake up after snoozing my handphone's alarm. He likes to stretch and climb onto my chest/shoulder and kiss/lick my face and I will hug and kiss his forehead/nose. I think he likes that. He's such a baby.

Since Bob's presence in our house, Angel has also grown to be more affectionate and vocal. He seems to like and enjoy our attention in other ways. Angel can tolerate me putting my head on his body for less than a minute when he's resting but not my face near his to kiss him. He likes me to use my feet more than my hands to stroke his neck, body, back, chest and head. Bob is not ok with me using my feet - he bites them. He likes me to comb his fur coat and I try to do it every night or my clothes and skin will collect quite a bit of his hair. My face too if I kiss him :)

And Bob's meows or sounds of protest when he senses that I'm leaving my bedroom. He sounds scared of me leaving him or he wants to leave with me too. When he gets to move outside of the room, Mom said he sounds like an old man, grumbling away. Haha. He also starts to look for Angel after he finishes exploring the house. The other day he climbed up on top of the sofa so that he could stare through the "stained" glass door of the balcony while Angel was resting on top of the shoe cabinet in the balcony, hissing occasionally.

As I'm typing this, my room-mate is now walking around the house and meowing away while Angel is in the balcony. I wonder what he is saying/thinking :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A big SIGH :(

I reluctantly put this down in writing as it means I have made a decision. We'll be putting Bob up for adoption. It seems impossible for Bob and Angel to be able to live together in the house. All this while we have been separating them, only allowing Bob a few hours outside of my bedroom when Angel is resting in the balcony or sis' room. Angel would run and hide when he hears or see me entering or leaving my bedroom as he is probably scared that Bob is let out. Bob would also hover around the room where Angel is and starts to get excited pacing around or trying to burrow a way but to no avail.

I can also feel the frustration of Bob in being cooped up in my room most of the time. Recently he has bitten me a few times. I'm not angry with him. I'm just sad that I don't know what to do to make him and Angel accept each other. On Wed, before I went to work, I actually broke down and cried after Bob bit me quite hard on my arm and legs in frustration. He hasn't bitten me since and I still sleep with him in my room every night. He is quite attached to me and I to him.

I realise I have to make the choice to try to find him a good home where he could have more space most of the time and also with an loving human friend and maybe even other cats whom he can accept and play with (since he was also alright with Bush, White Neck and the other community cats in the park). I myself have also been feeling the stress from work and recently the town council officer in my area told me about 2 residents in 2 different blocks complaining about the cats in my area. I have asked him to let me have more details and also allow me to speak to the residents so that I can help them to understand about community cats and TNRM. The TC officer said he likes cats too and would contact me again. Sigh, I had been quite happy that I had not heard from him of any complaints about the cats so far. I guess life is always filled with challenges.

A friend has suggested that I could put Bob back where I found him but Bob can make a good home cat and there is a nasty gardener who will be at the park every fortnight to terrorise the cats while overpruning the bushes and flowers. Also there is a roaming pet cat, Manja/Shrek who was chasing Bob away most of the time.

I will prepare the ad to be posted in Cat Welfare Society's online adoption bulletin board to start the adoption screening process. As with the other 2 cats (Charcoal and Pearl), I want to make sure Bob will be happy in his new home. It won't be easy but I have to try. In the meantime, we'll continue to keep Angel and Bob apart and happy and less stressed.

Angel loves eating grass

I tried to serve a few strands of the grass to Angel on a pretty plate but Angel likes to eat them from the floor :) Bob just chews them a bit and loses interest while Angel really eats them up.

In the end, we just served the grass in its original pot and it seems easier for him to eat them but the grass also didn't last very long after all the battle scars :)

White cat's eyes

Last month, White cat's eyes looked terrible. We didn't know what happened but he seemed to have some eye infection and we felt sad looking at him in that state.

So we brought him to the vet and it could be his eyes were irritated by some chemical stuff. Since he likes to hide under the cars, it could be some fumes or oil that got into his eyes. The vet prescribed eye wash, eye drops, antibiotic, and tablets.

That afternoon, I bathed him as his white coat had turned grey and kept him in the balcony before releasing him back to his "home" a void deck a few blocks away. We would like to keep him at home to monitor his condition if Angel and Bob could get along.

Fortunately, even though we couldn't get him to eat the tablets (through hiding in wet food), his eyes and the surrounding area responded well to the eye wash/drops and antibiotic cream.

The photo below was taken a week after applying the medication. Now he looks almost as lovely as before but his coat is still grey instead of white.

Bony the community cat

Bony first came to our area, fearful of us (me, mom and dad) and the other sterilised cats feared him. Now sterilised and with tipped left ear, he loves to follow us around and likes me to stroke him, even when he's not hungry. He doesn't pick up fights with the other cats but he still has a habit of following them which freaks out some of them.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why do I become a cat caregiver?

The comments made by the 2 Class 95 DJs on 7 May have resulted in many reactions and comments on blogs and ST forum and online forum. After reading them, we can have a good gauge of the different attitudes/perceptions/feelings regarding stray cats, the feeders, the caregivers, etc.

Everyone will have different opinions depending on:
  • their experience/interaction with the cats or animals in general
  • what they see in their estates - responsible cat caregivers or irresponsible/ghost feeders
  • awareness vs ignorance - cat poo vs dog poo, cat feeders vs cat caregivers
Perhaps the good thing about this discussion is that it may educate people about the presence of responsible cat caregivers and Cat Welfare Society.

Cat feeders vs cat caregivers

Why do I bother to sterilise the stray cats in my area and also inform the town council officer to contact me if there are any complaints about the cats? Why do I implement Trap-Neuter-Return-Management (TNRM) programme?

I don't want to be an irresponsible cat feeder who just feeds the stray cats without sterilising and without clearing over the leftover food. For some feeders, they believe that it's good karma to feed food or by giving bones/scraps of leftover from dinner, they aren't wasting food or they think if people complain about increasing population of cats or litter from cat food and the cats get culled, it's fate and there is nothing they can do. Then why bother to feed the cats in the first place? It's not helping them at all as the irresponsible behaviour often is the cause of the complaints.

My motivation

A few years ago, I read from Dawn's blog that TNRM works and there are caregivers in other areas who work with TC and residents to solve complaints about cats humanely. I tried to help an FIV cat and started noticing stray cats in my areas. They are friendly and affectionate and even for the less approachable ones, I have won their trust by feeding them and started to sterilise those without left tipped ears.

From someone who has been keeping hamsters as pets for years, I have grown to love cats outside my home. They are definitely not like hamsters but after interacting with them, giving them names, I want to make sure that they can live in a safe environment for the rest of their lives. I want to ensure their well-being.

Nuisance - cats or irresponsible pet owners?

With sterilisation, the population of the cats is controlled but we can't control irresponsible cat owners who abandon their cats or let them roam. The stray cats are in our estate not by their choice - they are offsprings of abandoned pet cats. Sterilised cats usually do not cause nuisance to anyone and if they do, that's where the Town Council can contact me and I will volunteer to talk to the complainant instead of paying money to engage a pest controller.

Vacuum effect

Sterilised cats are territorial and can help to keep out new cats. When sterilised cats are removed, new unsterilised cats will come in to take over the place of the removed cats. This is called the vacuum effect. Removing the sterilised cats will just mean more and more cats and without solving the root problem, residents will keep complaining and the Town Council has to continue wasting money culling the cats.


When these sterilised community cats are managed properly, they are not a nuisance to the residents. The cats don't need to cauterwaul or get into cat fights to find a mate. Cat caregivers are also there to help resolve reasonable feedback/complaints from other residents.

Real problems

Asking cat lovers/caregivers to bring the cats home doesn't not resolve the real problems. The real problems could be:
  • irresponsible feeding of cats
  • people feeding but not sterilising - so there will also be more and more cats
  • cats removed but new unsterilised cats will roam in or irresponsible owners dumping their pet cats/unwanted kittens
  • irresponsible cat owner letting their cats roam and the cats may poo at the corridors
  • residents putting food outside their units and attracting cats to go upstair to eat and poo at the corridors
  • dog owners not picking up the poo of their dogs
  • residents littering the estate

Caregivers like me are actually helping to deal with the effects of irresponsible pet ownership (eg abandonment and roaming). Seeing how some people can be cruel to abandon their pets and how adults allow their kids to derive pleasure from scaring the cats or throwing things at them - it saddens me to see how the community cats which are not harming the people are being treated. There are also kids and parents who would approach me and my mom and take an interest in the cats and stroke them. It gives me hope when I see this group of people who have compassion for animals.

We can view community cats as a society's problem or living beings who have the right to live in our community/estate. When there are responsible caregivers who are putting in time, effort and money to make sure that the cats are taken care properly and everyone can live harmoniously together, why can't we give the community cats a chance to live?

I hope my community cats and all the others in Singapore can continue to live in peace.