Category Archives: Blogging Cats

Lurking, Slacking, and Kitten P0rn

Though I’ve been shirking my minionly online obligations, I have not stayed away from doing my usual lurking and photo-mo stalking.

While I sort through my thoughts on our efforts for the clannies and homeseekers, I’ve continued to snap pics of them all, including the slackers of course. But I have also been getting my virtual fill of kitten p0rn via avenues like trailing after the True Blood six, who are in the wonderful care of one familiar with love and hisses. It’s addictive, to say the least. But it’s also wonderful to see such dedicated effort, and I’ve been cheering for them. It doesn’t hurt that their foster is an adept of snugglecore.

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Rheilly (right): … aren’t we cuteness enough?! Meowr!
Philly: Yeah, it’s not exactly easy work you know. The things I put up with.

But of course, events kitty have continue to evolve. Updates will be trickling online.

Mark’s Mews: Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

I read a beautiful telling of Smalley’s story.


The original

This is the message I left for the author:
“Thank you for this moving rendition of Smalley’s story. You got it right on the kibble. It is amazing that someone halfway around the world from Singapore gets it so thoroughly with just a simple 6 page story, when we’re facing the gigantic wonder that the Singaporean authorities who have enforced the “no cats outside, no cats allowed inside laws” for decades fail consistently to connect the dots.

Thank you again for telling more people about our Smalleys. Thank you.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

Doesn’t that mean no cats anywhere?

The last time Beins were so stupid to try to eliminate cats from their lives, they suffered the terrible Bubonic Plague. Stupid Beins killed most of the cats, there were no cats to kill the rats that carried the fleas that carried the Plague, and up to a third of all Beins in Europe died as a result.

So Singapore wants to kill all the cats. Those who don’t know history suffer the repetition of it…

So we want to restate the story of Smalley as a warning of how cat-hate starts, knowing that you now know the consequences of that hate…

(Click here to read Mark’s Mews‘ version of Smalley’s story and thank him for telling his readers about Smalley.)

Love us, not hurt us!

Mama Piggy, one half of the KMM Crew ‘s foodbringer pair, shared a lovely article about the stray animal situation, abandonment and rescue here.

It’s in Chinese, but the key points, while nothing epiphanous to anyone familiar with the situation, are hard to miss. Hopefully, more of the general public read it and become aware of the plight of these LIVES among us.

The main points, with my inference added are:

  • More than thirty years of constant culling has not really achieved much in the way of stray animal population control as it does not address the root causes
  • TNRM, as a humane stray animal population control method that targets some of the root causes, works if given time, as in 10 to 15 years
    • I say some root causes in the above as attitude, education, and support from authority are part of it too, and grassroots (I so hate the political connotations of that), or rather groundlevel voluntary effort can only go so far. In countries like the US and Israel, authorities provide support in stray animal control at the national level and allow time for TNRM to work, unlike Singapore.
  • Pet ownership is a life-long responsibility. Pets are not toys, and no one should get a pet on a whim. Pets are life companions, and there must be give and take. Anyone not ready for the commitment of time, money and ability to share, should not get a pet at all.
    • Adopt, not buy. If you must buy, buy from an ethical breeder, not a breeding farm.
  • The ongoing and increasing incidences of abandonment in Singapore points to an alarming trend and indicates a problem within our society. The SPCA estimates an average of 10,000 animals (cats, dogs, rabbits and hamsters making up the bulk) are abandoned yearly here speaks volumes about Singaporeans’ attitude towards pet animals, possessive psyche (what the neighbour has, I must have or better) and responsibility.
  • Abandoned pets ARE PART OF THE STRAY ANIMAL POPULATION. Stray animal management cannot be dealt with unless the impact of abandonment is recognised and managed as well.
  • There are Singaporeans trying to be part of the solution, but again, groundlevel volunteer work can only achieve so much on its own. There are very real resource limits – financial, manpower and space constraints – to how much volunteers can do in terms of rescuing and caring for injured or diseased and former pets abandoned for whatever excuses.
  • Singaporeans must learn to be responsible pet owners and to appreciate that Singapore is not just made up of people, concrete jungles, status symbols, statistics and economic indicators.

Diary of a Kitty Kidney Patient

When Bam Bam was diagnosed with ARF (Acute, not Chronic Kidney Failure), we weren’t yet on blogosphere. Even if we were, I highly doubt we’d have the presence of mind to update on his condition, at least not with any coherence. However, having to cope with kitty needs, hospital stays, follow-up vet visits are facts of life when kitty comes down with a long-term illness. It’s not something any sane mind would anticipate, but it does help to know how others had cope when faced with the same or similar situations.

Hoping to share our experience, I have been writing (and editing) a laundry list of grinds the two old coots (Bam Bam and Teddy) have put us through to mark their decade with us. However, it is still not yet done.

Not that it is a happy happenstance, but Xin Xin, of kxbc is now into her second week as a renal failure kitty, and I have been following her folks’ updates. It brings back a lot of memories about our own experience with the Bamster.

In any case, I will put the relevant post links (to-date) here for reference. I hope this will serve to demonstrate that being parent to a a kitty or poochie, or hamster, is as much responsibility as with raising a human kid. That sometimes it means having to spend (BIG) money at the vet’s. That while our kitties give joy and love, there are times that may be grief and anxiety, but that whatever comes, we ought to be there for them (no sick kitty deserves an end like Abby‘s), and that nothing is absolute, whether situations that may seem despairing at first or hopeful. Take a deep breath, and roll with the punches.

While most kitty illnesses affect kitties in old age, these are not iron-cast rules. Take Frankie who was diagnosed with CRF before he reached 3 for instance, or our Milly who died at age 3 of cancer.

Also, if you have more than 1 kitty, you may be frazzled to the point that you sometimes overlook or are slow to react to the needs of the others, as happened to the kxbc Chang Chang. However, this is understandable, and it happens. Don’t beat yourself up over it: putting yourself out of commission is hardly productive or helpful to anyone at this point. Just be mindful and attend to any problems that you do notice as you normally would. You need to be as together as you can during such times.

Why A Cat?


Zacky, the now tubby home cat. (Source: Tubby Cat)

Something to ponder, apart from the coming weekend slouching: Why A Cat?

While we’re at it: Adopt, don’t buy. You could be saving lives.

And in conjunction, do consider How to Green Your Pet

 

Keeping your pets flea-free AND safe

tec has warned readers to BEWARE Hartz tick and flea control products. While we personally can’t describe an effective non-commercial flea-control-product product because we don’t face a problem requiring constant or drastic anti-flea treatment for neither the slackers nor the clannies, this post on the late AgedCat’s blog may offer some insight.

But please do take note of this disclaimer preceding the post, and use your discretion to decide if the question in your mind should be directed to your vet or the AC’s person.

Le peigne anti-puce du Vieux Chat.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian. I am only speaking from personal experience. Before introducing a new means of flea prevention and control, remember to consult your pet’s vet about the safety of the method.

But also please note that some vets remain unaware of the lives that Hartz products has claimed or permanently damaged, like this distressed couple found out the hard way.

Actually, it seems that ANY flea control product has the potential of harming not only your pets, but you and your family too. But it does seem that Hartz has claimed the most victims. Bottomline, whatever you choose to do, you need to know what you’re doing, and ALWAYS observe your pet for signs of illness or discomfort. Popularity is no guarantee of quality either.

Why so like that (Selective compassion and apathetic ignorance)

In Dawn‘s latest blog, she wrote about her thoughts on the sudden flurry of help for a few unsterilised cats whose lives are threatened by complaints and the lack of responsible caregivers in their community.

Dawn said:

While I am glad so many people are taking an interest in these cats and wanting to rescue them, it does make me wonder, why these cats in particular? As far as I know, no one knows these cats personally. Here’s my question – what about all the other cats at the AVA that are caught? Why isn’t there a huge outpour of emotion to try and get all of THEM out? Amongst them, there are some unclaimed sterilised cats too, which means that at some point in their lives, they did get some care – they were sterilised after all. There are also even more unsterilised cats whom no one has ever taken care of. Why aren’t people asking for these cats to be released?

I feel very deeply with this sentiment. This is the comment I left on the post:

I think it’s a common human affliction.

All that outpouring of grief for Ah Meng and her granddaughter Atina, but no one’s raising as much as a whimper at what the orang utans in Indonesia are threatened with.

Same as with whale slaughter – NZ only specifically requested the Japanese whaling fleet to leave Migaloo the white Humpback alone when they announced they were going to kill 50 humpbacks this season as well. Why only Migaloo? Aren’t the “normal” humpbacks just as deserving of a reprieve? What about the 50 to 70 highly endangered Fin whales, and 1,000++ little piked whales the Japanese kill year after year after year?

The beef recall that resulted from the downer cattle abuse also – I got an sms and also an email calling for a boycott of US beef. But the abuse is not unique to the slaughterhouse or at this time. It’s been ongoing for so long. Mad cow has been around the block too. And so has bird flu and assorted farm animal epidermics. But people still eat beef and farm animals, and people still don’t care how they’re getting their meat, that factory farming is a problem and they are contributing to it.

Carmen the dog featured in that TODAY commentary is another good example. People went all out to help look for her when she got lost. But why didn’t people do things that would prevent other dogs from going through what she did in the first place? Why so eager to help her, but not other dogs?

After all the protestations of affection, and the outpouring of grief and assorted emotions, life resumes, and it’s as if all the browbeating and breast hammering didn’t take place. And all the abuse and cruelty resumes and keeps happening, until another bout of outcry and outrage. It’s like a merry-go-round that won’t stop.

Why are humans like that? How can we differentiate and compartmentalise our feelings so clearly and so distinctly? I’m sure there’s a scientific name for this condition.

A new Dawn

Just hours after whimpering about Dawn’s departure from CWS, we visit her blog to come face to face with the URL for her new blog!

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Rheilly: Wow! That was fast!

Dawn is leaving CWS

All good things come to an end. Today, Dawn bids farewell to her tenure with CWS.

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Rheilly: Huh? Dawn, leave?

We’ve only gotten more actively involved with CWS in the last 2 or so years (read bother Dawn with tnrm stuff). Though we rarely met Dawn in person, she’s always just an email away. Except when she’s away on leave. At times, she is the only person who understood how we felt about the situation in our estate. Sure, there are caregivers, just as there are feeders, intolerant residents as well as sympathetic ones.

The main difference is that we’ve got the potential to make a case for getting the TC’s cooperation. The stumbling block? Caregiver inertia. Short of pointing the gun at caregiver heads, there doesn’t seem to be any way to get the others to band together and troop down to see the TC management and the MPs. We’ve done our part, and the tec areas are “protected”. But we would dearly love to see the protection extend to the rest of the estate. But our hands are tied.

Throughout this period, Dawn has been patient and encouraging with our efforts, as only a ring-sider is able to. She has even listened to our rants and whines.

Just a few weeks earlier, she came to do a workshop for new folks in the estate. There were also a few veterans whom I managed to get to attend, only because there’s been rounding up almost right on their doorsteps. Dawn, in her objective and discreet way, helped to nudge the participants toward the ideas of seeing the MPs and the TCs. That workshop held the most promise of getting things moving… but alas, it fizzled out… yet again.

That time, as before, we feel like giving up and just concentrate on taking care of the clannies. But we also know that the protection they have lasts only as long as the same property manager is in charge of our area. We can’t keep our heads buried in the sand forever. But without getting the stubborn herd to stop their nonsense and to see above sand level, we can’t do a thing more.

Thankfully, there’s Dawn and her blog, through which we experience the ups and downs of running tnrm programs vicariously. We are not alone – that is the important thing to keep in mind. And thanks to Dawn, it is something that we can keep a gripe on.

Thank you, Dawn. Au Voir for now, but remember to come back around sometime!!

Sneaking around in the name of the cause

Information leads to dumping. That’s what happened to some blogging caregivers, according to Dawn.

Getting such bonuses because we share info online is a nightmare we worry a lot about. We want to raise awareness among people about the cat’s situation here in Singapore through blogging. But at the same time, we do not want to have to clean up after irresponsible people who just want to fob off their conscience on others. As it is, we are already familiar acquaintances with dumping even before we started blogging.


Photos are carefully edited, and vids filmed discreetly to minimise identifiable features of the clannies’ abodes.

That is part of the reason why there are much less updates on the clannies than we would like to do.

Dumpers may well think to call the bluff on us and question our Scrooginess – since we’re already doing it, why begrudge extending the soup kitchen service to more kitties? After all, dumpers will provide the kitty transfer, at no cost to us, and dump so covertly that we would only see their handiwork, the transferred kitty, bewildered and stressed… if the resident cats had not yet run them off, or in their confusion, tried to cross roads and became roadkills. Here’s a bit of news about such situations: dumpers, the blood is on your hands.

Here’s another: not that we don’t want to help, but we also have our limits. Plus since you, the kind-hearted dumper don’t want to take on the responsibility, what makes you think we want it? You dump, and that’s the end of the story for you, but for us, it’s just the beginning of having to shoulder a responsibility that you meddled with and then abandon.

All the “kind” people who dump seem to think it perfectly conscioncible to leech off and exploit the species of softies called cat caregivers. What a great example of sharing woe.

How about some passing out some weal and decency too, dumpers? Why not try a concept that may be novel: don’t dump, and if you really think you MUST, then be responsible, talk to the caregiver and shoulder your inductees’ maintenance costs.

But that’s too much to ask for. Just as good karma feeders have to be fished out of their feel-good wading pool, dumpers need to be rubbed in the nose with this fact: being kind isn’t just about grabbing the easiest, most convenient solution. Why? Because dumpers are abusing the concept to disguise their own lazy conscience and to get that “high” of having notched a good deed on their misshapen totem pole of karmic goodness.

The best reward for dumpers is for them to get a taste of their own medicine, sans candy-shell.

Working Class Cats

We got linked to this interesting blog: Working Class Cats, via this post: NYTimes 20071221: To Dismay of Inspector.

What’s interesting is the focus of the blog. Putting the words Work and Cats together seem such an oxymoron at first glance. After all there are no seeing-eye cats, nor are there police cats (unless you count this furry one)

But even if mousing is not recognised as a respectable profession, as in the NYTimes piece, surely there are other trades the cat ply? For example: Prison Yard Cats

Is there any denying that the cat, just like the dog, has work cut out?

Schmelly Schfetishes


Milo, the KMM crew’s self appointed throne companion

The Mama of the KMM Crew, caught me lurking on their blog, researching her thesis on throne companions then and now, and asked me outright:

Calsifer – care to shed some light on this feline preference for all things stinko?

Since the conundrum of the fetisher cat who turns up his nose at an unsanitary litterbox, and yet seeks out air passed through sanitarious routines piques me so, I took the bait.

First, an understanding of How the Sense of Smell Influences Behavior is required, because THE NOSE KNOWS.

In addition, the very important Jacobson’s Organ (or vomeronasal organ), employed in the curious open-mouthed ritual called Flehming is described here. It may not look it, but your kitty is actually enjoying the experience of Flehming. (If your kitty is legal-aged, you could consider giving him or her another avenue to intoxication: catnip, or kitty moonshine .There is even catnip tea, as recommended by fabcats.org)

Though there is outright no answer to schfetishes in googledom, what is certain is that le nose is such a crutch of the cat’s world of esteem and purrstige. It is said that:

Your cat will rub up against you and other companion pets for a scent exchange. While depositing his scent on you, he is also picking up your scent, which he will carefully lick and taste off his fur. (And we thought he was just grooming himself!)

(source)

We can thus infer that cats WANT their people’s smell on them. Essence of Jammy Toesies or Eau de Armpit are therefore much preferred fragrances compared to say, Parfum of Hair (though the hair follicles are an entirely different obsession).

If you’re observant, you may be rewarded with a close-up study of how your cat carefully going through the ritual to determine if yourpersonal concoction of Essense of Jammy Toesies qualify.

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This outcome would be the ultimate affirmation of your essence‘s quality.

the REAL Pest Busters

Go see the real pest busters at work, on lingcat’s blog.

They even guarantee to get only the non-tipped ear vermin.

Small mercy for cowardly softies

I was reading this post on the Washington Humane Society’s blog.

From fostering this handsome boy, the blog writer has become his new parent.

China Man was adopted from Washington Humane Society
Great news for the new mum and kitty!

It also set me off thinking. For certains reasons, we are not able to foster any of the cats we rescued. But thankfully, Foster Mum is able to do so on our behalf. Given the fact that we’re already finding it unbearable to “give up” the ones adopted out, we’d be even more hard-pressed to actually adopt them out if we had been able to foster them, it is really a mercy to us heart-cowards to have Foster Mum.

Kudos to all fosters, who open their hearts and homes to needy animals, and then find that steel-nerve to let go when these kiddies find permanent homes to go to… or decide to give these kiddies the homes they need with them.

Poor financially, but rich in compassion

In No Bank Accounts, Dawn spoke about how some caregivers who can’t even afford to open a bank account (the de-facto national bank of Singapore, POSB requires a monthly minimum of SGD$500.00 to be maintained in its basic savings accounts – the POSB PassBook account- or charges will be imposed), do not let their financial straitlaces hinder their efforts to sterilise or provide medical attention to the cats they’re caring for.

Dawn says:

I have to say that since I joined CWS, I have been surprised by how many people do not have bank accounts and wanted to know how they could ask for reimbursements. Some mentioned the minimum amount to start an account was too high for them – it’s amazing to me that they continue however to sterilise the cats and bring them into the vet, though they clearly aren’t well to do. It’s also very impressive that they are willing to do so despite their financial situation. Often people who claim they cannot afford to sterilise the cats are much better off then these caregivers who do.

I remember this post Dawn made too, where she remarked:

Someone made the comment that he felt Singaporeans were busy and that’s why people do not volunteer. The session wrapped up before I could answer that. I think that frankly everyone is busy – it’s what you make a priority of. There seems to be this impression that one volunteers because one has a lot of free time – in fact I find people who actively volunteer are probably the most busy people I know. One of the speakers on the panel for example volunteers with several different groups and works part-time someone too – yet she volunteers. I think countries with higher volunteerism rates are not any less busy – but that their priorities may be different, whereby giving something back to the community is considered to be important.

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HELP is not something you need to search deep or far to give… (Featured: Martin and Marcus, of Area3)

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… what time you have to do what you deemed needful or beneficial is determined by you.

Life is what you make of it. I’m one to talk, having walked out on an unhappy job situation a few months ago, with naivete, or perhaps pig-headedness, convincing me that I can attempt to feed myself and still continue to fulfil my commitments, both minionly and otherwise, by earning money through an alternative livelihood. Mid-life crisis was a great excuse for my reckless job-leaving while the horse breathed, but it’s been beyond floggable for a fair bit now. Reality has caught up, (especially with the kitties piling up vet bills, to the point that we’re asking for help), and given the mash I call my brain a few more good mulching whacks.

I will admit to being tempted to try for the CWS Adminstrative Officer position opening up due to Dawn’s imminent departure. But once again, reality has brought me up short – I still have no means of plugging the gap that the CWS salary would pull in, if they would have me.

But back to topic, helping doesn’t mean giving up everything you have or signing a contract with the devil. Gauge what you can give and adjust as you go along. No one needs to burnout or burn the address book.

The important thing is to make a start.