Marty and Henna, TEC pioneers


Final update to Sunday morning vidding.

On the other side of Area 3, opposite Martin’s gangland lives Marty, alleged father of some of Emily’s last litter which comprised Philly, Rheilly and Milly (who we brought home), Billy (Philly’s best pal in life, he is over the rainbow bridge now), Lilly (Milly’s bff before they were separated) and Willy (who are MIA since 2003).

Marty Majestic

Marty is a born lover, so much so we wonder if he was ever ‘owned’. The day he appeared, btmao ‘dated’ him, and as a gentlecat, he kept the appointment, turning up promptly the day after. Of course his date with btmao was a proxy for time with the vet. So he got de-mojoed real early in our relationship. In fact it’s a record in itself.

Marty was already a mature big-head when he appeared, so we estimate that he was at least about 3/4 when he debuted. That was about 5 years ago.

He’s a very territorial boy, an absolute catist, who strangely is best friends with another cat – Henna. But just as he is catist, he is also totally in love with people. We used to worry about his safety because of this. True enough, he sometimes got kicked or bullied, or conned into eating funny stuff. He would learn his lesson, and keep away from people. But only for a while. But finally he learnt a lesson that stuck, literally. One night btmao found him distraught and shaken – he was covered totally with glue, even between the paws. And it wasn’t just regular glue – it was strong super glue. The pungency alone must have freaked Marty out. We were at a loss about how to unglue him. Luckily, help was only a phone call away – Foster Mum suggested olive oil. So we went and got some, extra-virgin just in case.

It took a fair bit, since Marty was still spooked and unwilling to let btmao touch him for too long. But over a few days, the olive oil rub was spread over his whole body. It did work madly well too. Marty is a changed cat now. He still loves and trusts btmao totally. But he no longer approach other humans easily, in fact he runs away at the first opportunity, especially with males. The super-gluing crew are beneath contempt, and it was a traumatising time for Marty, and us too, as we worried about him. On the bright side, he suffered no permanent damage that we could tell, and is now much more street-wise. I guess we should thank the gluers for teaching him trust with humans is easily betrayed.

Marty does have a recurring health issue though – mega-colon. In fact, it was the impervious midnight litter-bug feeder who alerted us to his first run-in with the problem. As we said, the impervious feeder does nothing but feed, so we’re left with the picking up in the aftermath of her kindness. After that first vet visit/hospitalisation, we talked with the impervious one, many times over, to ask her to change the food she’s feeding, or stop altogether. But no, we might as well be talking to ourselves. Year on year, Marty commemorated that first hospitalisation with yet another one.

We found a bit of relief, as you would know if you’ve followed Marty’s saga, only when the impervious moved away and stopped feeding.

Grand Dame Henna (photo taken in late 2004, she’s a bit plumper now.)

She is the careful one, and no one could get near her unless she wanted the contact. She was, and is still, especially scared of dark-skinned men, west Asian races like Indians and Bangladeshi, and runs for dear life every single time she even becomes aware of one. At first we thought it was just men she was so deathly frightened of, but no, men of other races don’t set her off. West Asian women do not cause the run for life either. Only men of west Asian races ever evoke such an extreme reaction. How she is able to clearly distinguish between races and gender we have no idea.

In fact, no one could touch her for the longest time. Henna would wait for the food to be left alone before approaching cautiously. And she never let up her guard, even the slightest noise would send her off. Gradually, she would tolerate btmao’s presence and would even headbutt and brush against her. But it’s a one-way trip – she would not allow btmao to initiate contact.

It was great for her safety that she’s so wary of people. But Henna was also the most vexing, because we could not de-mojo her. In fact, she was only sterilised sometime early last year, and not by us. A very determined lady who believes staunchly in sterilisation, managed to trap her one night. We heaved a collective sigh of relief.

For one thing, Henna was getting on in years. No doubt her litters were always 3 kittens or less, and she’s an attentive mum, but we’ve not seen her with live kittens since SARS – which incidentally saw the disappearance of who we believed was her last living kitten, a lovely Henna replica who was just as wary of people.

For another, her virility was maddening as she was a regular at btmao’s soup kitchen. If she was like Buffy, or Bella, or Buddy, all cats of area 2 who are still intact only because their schedule’s unpredictable, then we wouldn’t feel so much like we’ve not done our duty. But she is really a tough one to rob!

Soon after SARS, Henna suffered some strange sort of skin problem where she lost patches of fur. It got progressively worse and she looked almost bald. She also looked sickly and lost weight and appetite. By our reckoning, she was at least 6-8 years then. At that time, she still had not got to the stage of trusting us so a vet trip was out of the question. btmao only managed an application of revolution, in the hopes that it was skin parasites. But after that, Henna disappeared. We thought she had succumbed, and were saddened.

But miraculously, she resurfaced after some weeks, still looking rather moth-eaten, but with her appetite restored. It took a long time, but finally her coat was restore to its full tortie glory with btmao’s tlc and good food.

So far, she’s been trouble-free. She is rather attached to Marty. Though Marty never misses his feeds, sometimes she would do a no-show. However, it is certainly Marty who’s helping her keep track of time, and btmao’s routine. During the episodes of Marty’s hospitalisation, she would totally miss every feed. So here’s to wishing great health to Marty and by extension, Henna.

Vidded: Marty and Henna having a tete-a-tete meal, and getting TLC from btmao (whose calves, knees, hands and arms guest-star)


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