Monthly Archives: July 2007

Clannies monthly stats (Jul 07)

In accordance with Tracking – TNRM Reimbursement from CWS:

  No. Remarks
Total number of cats 21
  • 5 in Area 3: Marty, Hannah, Martin, Marcus, Mary
  • 9 in Area 2: Sasha, Benji, Benny, Sally, Kenji, Stanley, Senji, Scottie, Saba
  • 7 in Area 1: Ian, Baby, Chica, Salvi (free-ranging pet cats), Ivan, Cara, Isam
Total sterilised 16
  • 5 in Area 3: Marty, Hannah, Martin, Marcus, Mary
  • 4 in Area 2: Sasha, Sally, Benji, Kenji
  • 7 in Area 1: Ian, Baby, Chica, Salvi, Ivan, Cara, Isam
Newly sterilised this month 0  
Still unsterilised 5
  • 5 in Area 2: 4 males – Benny, Senji, Stanley, Scottie. 1 female – Saba
Newly abandoned this month 0  
Newly killed or missing this month 1
  • 1 in Area 3: Macy (not sighted since mid-June)
Number of complaints this month 0  
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Atom is just afraid of loneliness

Remember Atom’s recurring problem? (SOS: Something else bothering Atom) His alopecia (hair-loss) was not food-allergy related as we first suspected. It’s in fact psychological, which makes his problem psychogenic alopecia

For background, his mum wrote a few weeks back with interesting observations:

hi calsifer,
How are you doing? As I told you, Atom’s symptom has gotten much better.

He, once, used to lick almost half of his tail till he bleeds and reveals raw skin.

However, when I came from the states, he was doing much better… like…licks only small area (ard 20cents coin size i’d say?) and didn’t lick it everyday.

While I was in the states, my brother was having school holiday, and spent lots of time with Atom. After I came back from the states, I was just too tired to stay out late, neither i had to entertain clients often.. and I stayed at home a lot(wk days & wkd).

Anyways, we only stayed at home and spent lots of time withhim and could see his symptoms got much much better. Last week, his tail was healing (since he didn’t lick for a while) and we were a bit suprised by seeing him naturally getsbetter.

However, both me and my brother was busy this wk, I enrolled gym so I come home ard 9 pm only. Also my brother got busy because of his final exam. From wednesday, he started licking again badly, and 1/3 of his tail shows raw skin…

I am not sure, but only assume that his problem comes from boredom or loneliness or..whatever stress he gets while he’s alone. He usually stay very close to us while we’re at home.. like..when we’re watching tv, he’s right next to us near sofa/ when we both sleep he’s either my brother’s room or my room. He sleeps right next to my bed or even sleep at the corner or my bed. If there’s only one person at home, he follows the person.. he even waits in front of the bathroom if I (or my brother) am taking a shower.

I just thought he must be bored during the day, and wants to spend time with us.. so tried to play with him as much as possible for last few weeks and his symptoms wasn’t bad at all.

However, it all came back this week … Currently he’s under no medication/no treatment/no food changes (I still fee him natural balance after i got to know the cause wasn’t food allergy). How do you think of it? Do you think it’s likely as I assume?

Sorry for the long email, thought I need to explain enough so that you can understand.

Have a good day!

btmao and I discussed this, it’s not uncommon, but is definitely a possibility. We both agreed that it seems like Atom needs a companion for when his mum and uncle are busy or away from home. We have always advocated that 2 cats are better than just the lonely 1. This is also bourne out by experience, both with our lot and while doing adoptions. A fair number of potential adopters we meet are in the market because they are considering adopting to provide companionship for their only kitties at home.

Of course it’s a big commitment to make, so I tried to read up more on it before I replied with my thoughts and (hopefully) helpful references for Atom’s mum to consider.

I’ve sent her the link to this article “Bored or Lonely Cat? There’s Help for That“, and I quote:

Contrary to popular belief, a new nationwide survey of veterinarians raises doubt concerning the solitary nature of cats and highlights the growing consensus within the veterinary community that many cats may be suffering the devastating effects of separation anxiety syndrome

According to a new survey of 174 veterinarians from the across the country, animal experts now agree that cats are by nature social – not solitary – animals. When asked, more than 8 out of 10 vets agree that cats do not prefer to be left alone, and more than two-thirds of vets argue that cats would actually prefer to live in the company of other cats. Furthermore, the majority of vets believe that social isolation is becoming a major cause of behavior problems in today’s domestic cats.

According to the “CAT-PANION Survey” conducted by Harris Interactive® and commissioned by ARM & HAMMER¤ Multi-Cat Strength cat litter, 7 out of 10 vets surveyed agree that cats living in a household with a feline companion lead healthier, happier lives.

While most cat owners pride themselves on the level to which they pamper their pet with the best of everything, single cat owners may be denying their feline friends what they need most — the companionship of one of their own species. Cats need stimulation during the day like humans, and when left alone, exhibit the same feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. In fact, authorities in Switzerland have passed an anti-cruelty law requiring people to buy/adopt multiple cats since it is the nature of an animal to have company of its own kind.

The “CAT-PANION Survey” further revealed that 76 percent of the veterinarians find that most cat owners are unaware of the signs of loneliness in their cats. Further, 86 percent of vets surveyed say that separation-related anxiety will lead to some form of negative behavior.

Tell-TAIL Signs Your Cat is Suffering from Loneliness

1. Overgrooming – Your cat’s pulling of his hair or excessive cleaning – similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans – is his way of showing that he needs more consistent attention.

2. Spraying/Squatting – Your cat’s strategic marking with deposits of urine or stool is another sign of the impact that your absence has on your cat’s sense of well-being.

3. Excessive Vocalization – Your cat will try to communicate unhappiness about being left alone with loud and insistent vocal sounds.

4. Destructiveness – Your cat will “move items” out of anxiety while you are away.

5. Aggressive Behavior – Your cat will act out aggressively towards you when you try to leave the house.

According to the survey, more than half of the veterinarians agree that cats exhibiting negative behaviors tend to improve simply by adding a compatible feline house mate. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Schwartz, many cat owners view the negative behaviors associated with separation anxiety syndrome as irresolvable; leading to the forfeiture of their beloved pet. In fact, behavior related issues are the most common reasons for euthanasia and the abandonment of millions of otherwise healthy cats.

Of course, getting Atom a feline friend is not the only option (though personally, we feel it’s the best one.) For one, the process by which Atom is introduced to a new feline friend is vital to future peace, both short-term and long-term. It’s not simply a matter of shoving another kitty in Atom’s face.

In any case, I also provided these alternative ref links for Atom’s mum:

Quite a fair of info is online. But they’re mostly similar and these are the most representative, in my opinion, for no-additional-cats options. There’s even one on how to play with your cat =)

Now, if you have a balding kitty or one who even seems to lick overmuch, do not rush out to grab another kitty or kitty toys. It is important to establish the cause of your kitty’s problems. If you’ve read through our blog entries on Atom, you’ll see that Atom has been to the vet, and other possible causes of his problem investigated and ruled out. That is very important – always work with and consult your vet first.

Newsobserver 20070726: Linked by love and a microchip

Dagney the cat is reunited with his person after FOUR years lost on the streets. The message is clear: microchip, dammit! And keep them indoors! (ref my response to this comment requesting for help with locating lost cat in Singapore)

Read the story and you’ll notice something – Dagney was still near home throughout his wandering years. So remember that, and if your kitty does get lost, don’t panic – check the vicinity first!

Published: Jul 26, 2007 12:30 AM

Modified: Jul 26, 2007 02:51 AM

Linked by love and a microchip
After four years, Dagney the wayward cat is reclaimed by his joyous owner

GARNER – A microchip inside Dagney the cat led him back to his owner’s arms Wednesday after four years on the street.”There it is, my angel baby,” Kelly Damron whispered to the cat as the other felines in the SPCA of Wake County Lost & Found Pet Center meowed, as if watching their own fantasies come true.


Kelly Damron cradles Dagney at the SPCA of Wake County Lost & Found Pet Center. Owner and cat were reunited after four years apart. ‘I was afraid he was going to be skinny,’ she said. ‘He’s not.’

Dagney arched his back and paced. “That’s OK,” Damron said. “Take your time.”

Damron thought she occasionally spotted Dagney on the streets after he wandered away from her Cary home in 2003 but never could track him down. She kept his picture in her living room as a reminder and thought about him when the weather got bad.

He finally resurfaced in Damron’s life this week, after a couple who had been feeding him took him to the SPCA. The connection: a microchip that Damron’s vet installed in Dagney years ago. It contained her contact information.

Nobody keeps track of how many pets have recovery microchips, but Adam Goldfarb of the Humane Society of the United States said, “We’re seeing a lot of growth, and we’re going to see a lot more.” The SPCA of Wake County installs microchips in 2,200 pets a year and scans every stray it receives for a silicon clue of ownership.

Damron said Dagney’s microchip gave her hope that she would be reunited with her cat, even as she moved on with her life. She has children, ages 3 and 1, that her cat has never met.

Tears appeared in her eyes Wednesday as she touched Damron’s fur again. She talked about his toughness and admired his healthy build.

“I was afraid he was going to be skinny,” she said. “He’s not.”

After awhile, Damron picked up Dagney and put him in a blue pet carrier. They were headed to the “V-E-T,” she said, and then back back home for a quiet party that would include a healthy portion of giblets for him.

Welcome back, Dagney, to the life of a house cat. You’ll never go outside again.

 

Staff writer Toby Coleman can be reached at 829-8937 or toby.coleman@newsobserver.com.

 

BostonGlobe 20070726: With a purr, death comes on little cat feet

art.cat.ap.jpg
Oscar the cat doesn’t like to be put out in the hall when a patient is dying. (source)

This is a very interesting, and touching, story I got off Are cats so useless and detrimental to human lifestyles and activities? No cats would be allowed near hospitals or hopices, let alone be raised in one here in Singapore.

I agree with Dawn though who said:

“It occured to me that I wonder whether Oscar’s ability to literally sniff out death (if that is indeed what it is) may not be taken quite so well in Singapore, where people might feel more squeamish about this. Some people might feel that it was inauspicious. However I think Oscar basically is reading the signs somehow that the person is going to pass away – and is just offering what comfort he can. It’s not as if he hastens death. If relatives can be alerted too to say goodbye – I think that most people would appreciate the opportunity to do so.”

Here it is. (And here’s coverage CNN: When death comes calling, so does Oscar the cat)


With a purr, death comes on little cat feet

Oscar the cat makes his grand entrances just as life is about to leave.

A hop onto the bed, a fastidious lick of the paws, then a snuggle beside a nursing home patient with little time left. Oscar’s purr, when keeping close company with the dying, is so intense it’s almost a low rumble.

“He’s a cat with an uncanny instinct for death,” said Dr. David M. Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist. “He attends deaths. He’s pretty insistent on it.”

In the two years since Oscar was adopted into the third-floor dementia unit of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, he has maintained close vigil over the deaths of more than 25 patients, according to nursing staff, doctors who treat patients in the home, and an article in tomorrow’s New England Journal of Medicine, written by Dosa.

When death is near, Oscar nearly always appears at the last hour or so. Yet he shows no special interest in patients who are simply in poor shape, or even patients who may be dying but who still have a few days. Animal behavior experts have no explanation for Oscar’s ability to sense imminent death. They theorize that he might detect some subtle change in metabolism — felines are as acutely sensitive to smells as dogs — but are stumped as to why he would show interest.

“It may just come down to empathy,” said Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, a leading behaviorist and professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, when told about Oscar’s eerie knack.

In any event, when Oscar settles beside a patient on the bed, caregivers take it as sign that family members should be summoned immediately to bid their loved one farewell.

“We’ve come to recognize him hopping on the bed as one indicator the end is very near,” said Mary Miranda, charge nurse in the Safe Haven Advanced Care Unit, the formal name of the surprisingly cheery floor that is home to 41 patients suffering in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and other mentally debilitating diseases. “Oscar’s been consistently right.”

Said Dosa, who treats patients at Steere: “This is a cat that knows death. His instincts that a patient is about to die are often more acute than the instincts of medical professionals.”

Oscar’s tale is emphatically not one about people dying alone and neglected, with only an animal for company. The Steere staff has a reputation among geriatric professionals for dedication, compassion, and top-notch care. The center is sunny, clean as, well, a cat’s whiskers, and filled with antique furniture, flowers, and nature prints that impart the feel of a cozy country home.

“Caregivers are always there trying to make the patient comfortable until the very end,” said Brenda Toll, a registered nurse and unit manager. “But Oscar’s a component of dying… It’s kind of weird, but kind of lovely. He’s become part of the death ritual, along with lowered lights, aromatherapy, and gentle music.”

Keeping pets has been a trend in nursing home care for several years. The Steere Center, founded in 1874, has 120 residents, plus six cats, a slew of parakeets and a floppy-eared rabbit.

Oscar’s sole domain, however, is on the locked dementia ward. He came to the unit as a kitten in July 2005, brought by a staff member to replace the floor’s previous resident feline, Henry, who had died some months earlier.

A gregarious cat, quick to solicit ear scratches from a visitor, Oscar can be clownish at times. “Just go and try completing a medical form when Oscar’s near enough to whap the pen,” laughed Dr. Joan M. Teno, professor of community health at Brown and associate medical director of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, an agency specializing in end-of-life care.

But it is Oscar’s keen sense of impending death, not his occasional kittenishness, that has made the mixed-breed cat legend.

“Medical people are skeptical at the start. But you wind up believing,” said Teno.

“Oscar is a normal cat with an extra-normal sense for death,” she said. “He is drawn to death. Either he wants to give comfort. Or he is just attracted to all the quiet activity that surrounds a patient close to dying.

“As a scientist, I want to offer a biological explanation for this,” she said. “But I can’t.”

Occasionally, families are spooked by a cat keeping death watch. And their wishes trump Oscar’s. The cat is shooed from the bed and locked from the room. Oscar doesn’t like this.

“He kind of rubs aggressively against the door, paces back and forth, yowls in protest,” said Teno.

Other families are deeply appreciative of Oscar.

Jack McCullough of East Providence lost both his mother and aunt at Steere; the octogenarian sisters, suffering from disease-induced dementia, shared a room. Marion, his mother, died in November 2005; Aunt Barbara died on March 9 of this year.

In both cases, Oscar predicted death: Hopping onto each woman’s bed near the final hour. Cuddling close and purring.

“Oscar’s presence gave a sense of completion and contentment,” said McCullough. “Both women loved pets.”

He added: “The staff was wonderful. But Oscar brought a special serenity to the room. What’s more peaceful than a purring cat? What sound more beautiful to fill one’s ears when leaving this life?”

And as with any feline, a hefty portion of Oscar’s days are given to zzzzs. He likes to sleep on stacks of patient reports. Or on the desk at the nurses’ station. Or in the linen closet.

When awake, however, and strutting about, Oscar the cat projects something very much like the quality that ancient Romans called gravitas — a solemn dedication to duty.

“He seems to take very, very seriously what he does, for whatever reason he does it,” said Dosa.

Oscar makes regular “inspection” rounds of the unit, sauntering in and out of patient rooms — as if checking on the condition of the occupants. But he never joins them for a snooze.

Until.

“He only shows great interest in individuals when they are about to die,” said Dosa.

Dodman, the Tufts professor, was puzzled by Oscar’s death fixation. “Sounds like a pretty scary cat — I’m surprised people don’t hold up crucifixes when it enters a room,” he said jokingly, referring to the belief that a Christian cross will deter vampires.

But Dodman, author of “The Cat Who Cried for Help: Attitudes, Emotions, and the Psychology of Cats” and other bestselling books on animal behavior, said felines don’t deserve their reputation for indifference.

“There are just so many stories of cats who sense when their person is sick, and how the cat will show special attention to them,” he said. “Cats give comfort and affection as much as they take comfort and affection.”

As for Oscar, Dodman said, “perhaps [he] senses some change in the metabolism or mental aura of the dying person.”

Meanwhile, Oscar is surely the only cat to have won official recognition for his dedication to the dying.

At the entrance to the dementia unit hangs a plaque from a hospice organization saluting Oscar “for his compassionate quality end-of-life care.”

© Copyright var crYear = new Date(); document.write(crYear.getFullYear());2007 The New York Times Company

In Singapore, authorities exercise classism towards volunteers

Just yesterday, I whinged about Singapore’s state of compassion and judicial discrimination against animal cruelty. Today, I get another whingebout about my favourite subject – authorities and their ham-fisty and buck-passing attitude towards animal issues.

Fresh on Dawn’s blog, 2 posts this morning illustrate once again why cats have it tough and cat caregivers get driven up walls. The gist of these two posts? A HDB-flat dwelling complainant want a cat problem solved, s-o-l-v-e-d, not remove or harm the cat in any way. But the town council officer wants to wash his hands off the issue and pass the buck to the caregiver, to the extent of publicising her name so all complainants go to her directly. His attitude is residents pay conservancy fees and their complaints are his priorities, his work’s prerogative.

The equation just doesn’t add up – the caregiver is a resident, so she pays conservancy fees too, just like the complainants. She’s certainly not paid to handle the cat complaints for or in-lieu of the officer. She volunteers her time. As a volunteer, she has neither wages to compensate for her efforts nor is she vested with authority to make fair/equitable decisions, or any decisions at all for or in-lieu of said officer.

So the blatantly glaring question: Can the officer do this? What right or basis?

Logic has certainly flown out the window.

Here’s my pick of the gemmy quotes on Dawn’s posts:

I just spoke with a complainant … She pointed out which cat it is and she said she had nothing against the cats – she just wanted the problem solved basically.

… the town council officer … said that there were problems there and they were getting complaints from two blocks in the vicinity (including the complainant’s block) almost every other day. He said that cat issues were not a priority of his and that he wanted to put the resident caregiver’s name on the notice board so that other residents could call the caregiver directly.

The complainant also told me this was the third time she had complained about this (and the first time I had heard about it) and that the officer had told her that firstly, they were not the ones in charge of cat issues, and that secondly she was the only one who complained in her block!

I wrote back to the officer to say … The residents who care for the cats are more than willing to help – but they’re not getting paid to do it. Why their names should go on the board is beyond me unless the town council starts deciding to pay them to do the work.

It’s also worrying that this is the attitude because in that case, dengue and mosquito cases should not be handled by the TCs either – after all, that’s NEA’s portfolio. Littering – again NEA. A bit more co-operation and working together – and a bit less of the shoving of the work to someone else – would be the best way to solve problems.

This officer … said that they have to work for residents who pay conservancy charges and hence need to take care of their complaints… caregivers are residents who make the decision to care for the cats hence it should be their responsibility. He said he had his limits.

I wrote back to point out that when residents help to check for larvae in homes, why doesn’t the town council make these volunteers ‘in charge’ of dengue?

He also said TC is not trying to push responsibility to anyone because it is just a phone call away to trap the cats. … the complainant I spoke to did NOT want the cat removed. She wanted the urination to stop.

… in another case where the cat was in fact just removed… the problem has not stopped at all! Which means the TC removed again, the wrong cat. So how is this helping ANY of the residents?

It’s a shame that some town council officers seem to forget that residents who are caregivers pay conservancy charges too – and in fact penalise them for wanting to help. Is it any wonder volunteerism in Singapore is in such a bad state? It’s better to sit around and not do anything – you get rewarded for it, whereas if you try and help, then more work gets pushed your way.

While I go and take a deep breath, you can marvel at the complete overt illogic and classism of the town council officer on these posts:

Angel unwell again

Foster Mum called earlier. Angel is going for another steroid jab for her once-again swelling gums (the last time she was sick was in May). We’ll see her this weekend.

Angel_20070630_03x

Angel’s a sweet girl, content to sleep and purr, and mind her own business. We just wish we managed to get her a home. But well, you can’t rush these things. Plus there was hardly any potential adopter interest in her even before she was diagnosed with FiV. Her chances are even slimmer now. but we can hope, and continue to do so.

Kitten burned alive, and reflections on Singapore’s record

A nice person in the US wrote to enquire about Shadow‘s wellbeing and mentioned the case of Adam, a feral kitten trapped in a cage and set on fire by 2 girls in Sonoma county, CA, USA (details and updates here on pet-abuse.com).

Adam, now 3 months old, has undergone two skin operations... Tina Wright, head nurse at the Animal Hospital of Cotati,...
Adam (source: SFGATE.com)

I googled for news coverage of poor Adam, and found this article (dated Wednesday, July 18, 2007) on SFGate.com representative and balanced of the views about animal cruelty cases like this.

I quote (emphasis mine):

It is difficult to quantify the will to live, but a tiny kitten that was set on fire and nearly burned to death is as good an example as any.

Wrapped in towels in a cage at the Animal Hospital of Cotati, Adam, as the hospital staff calls him, is struggling to survive against all odds.

The kitten was only 8 weeks old June 19 when two 15-year-old girls allegedly poured flammable liquid on him while he was trapped in a cage and lit a match.

An 11-year-old boy and his friend saw the smoke and heard the cat shrieking amid what they described as the girls’ laughter. They found the kitten cowering near death in bushes next to a creek and brought him to the apartment manager.

The girls, whose names have not been released, were charged in Sonoma County Juvenile Court with felony cruelty to animals last week after an intensive search, a $10,000 reward fund and a Bay Area-wide furor.

The barbarity Adam endured stunned and angered community leaders, who cite studies showing that young people who abuse animals are more likely to someday abuse people.

“Hurting or terrorizing or torturing animals is one symptom of conduct disorder,” said Lisa Boesky, a San Diego-based clinical psychologist, who specializes in identifying violent tendencies in juveniles. “We need to ask the question, ‘Why did they do this?,’ and then address that.”

The money and attention being lavished on Adam has angered many in the neighborhood, where a 16-year-old boy was killed a year ago to much less outrage.

“The mentality here is: They can put up a reward for a burned cat, but they can’t put up a reward for a kid who got killed,” said Shawna Shaffer, the apartment manager who called for help after the kitten was brought to her office. “But we’re talking (in both cases) about the way kids are being raised in this neighborhood.”

Some are questioning the decision to keep the cat alive at considerable expense instead of putting it out of its misery. The surgeries and care alone will probably total from $20,000 to $30,000, Hinkle said. Money is being raised by Forgotten Felines, and the veterinary surgeon, Lisa Alexander, has been operating pro bono.

“He is fighting for his life, so we would never bail out on him at this point,” Hinkle said. “This is what compassion looks like, what the children in that neighborhood need more of in their lives.

“From my perspective, those girls need more help than this kitten. My goal for Adam is for him to be the poster child for what the community can do if it comes together.”

It strikes at the heart of the problem, th recognition that animal abuse is something to be looked into, not waved aside as youthful impulse or worse, curiosity or fun. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I would like to cite again Singapore’s record and prevailing attitude, ie, not enough is being done!

Ironically, today’s editions of the major local papers ran features on how the law is going to study the psychology of kleptomania and set benchmark sentencing/rulings that it hopes will help both convicted kleptos and the society. Now why isn’t this applied to animal cruelty cases? It sure doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the logic, does it?

Also, I note the mention of community leaders’ reaction and the community’s reactions. Once again, Singapore’s prevailing attitude is shown wanting, to put it very mildly. (More here. And for the latest and freshest, check this latest TNRM caregivers vs authority saga on Dawn’s blog, taking place between 20 Jul to 24 Jul 2007: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

I’m appending both the SFGate.com article and the klepto article in today’s TODAY for ref.

Adam, the torched kitten, may need all 9 lives

San Francisco Chronicle

COTATI

Adam, the torched kitten, may need all 9 lives

With ear tips and tail amputated, he’s vulnerable to infection — burned back is an open wound

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adam, now 3 months old, has undergone two skin operations... Tina Wright, head nurse at the Animal Hospital of Cotati,...

It is difficult to quantify the will to live, but a tiny kitten that was set on fire and nearly burned to death is as good an example as any.

Wrapped in towels in a cage at the Animal Hospital of Cotati, Adam, as the hospital staff calls him, is struggling to survive against all odds.

The kitten was only 8 weeks old June 19 when two 15-year-old girls allegedly poured flammable liquid on him while he was trapped in a cage and lit a match.

An 11-year-old boy and his friend saw the smoke and heard the cat shrieking amid what they described as the girls’ laughter. They found the kitten cowering near death in bushes next to a creek and brought him to the apartment manager.

The girls, whose names have not been released, were charged in Sonoma County Juvenile Court with felony cruelty to animals last week after an intensive search, a $10,000 reward fund and a Bay Area-wide furor.

Little Adam purrs and bats playfully at toys in the dog-size cage inside the hospital and has free rein in the master bedroom or in a playpen at the home of head nurse Tina Wright, who takes him with her every night.

But he is a long way from being out of danger. His tail and the tips of his ears had to be amputated, and his entire back is nothing but raw tissue, the skin having been burned completely off.

“If left untreated, he would die,” said Dr. Katheryn Hinkle, the head veterinarian and owner of the Animal Hospital. “He would get an infection. You can’t have that much open skin and not get an infection. He is also very vulnerable to viral disease at this point.”

The kitten has already undergone two operations in which the surgeon stretched skin from his sides and partially covered the open wound on his back. He will need several more skin-stretching operations before the wound is closed, including grafts from other areas of his body.

“Every week he’s going to have some skin-grafting technique to close that big gap on his back,” Hinkle said. “There’s not enough skin on the sides to complete the job.”

Hinkle said it will take at least two more surgeries and possibly several months before Adam’s exposed areas are covered. She said the most difficult part is the feline’s rear end. “He’s got pieces of his pelvic bone sticking out,” she said.

“The degree of injury is greater than our normal level of trauma that we care for,” Hinkle said. “He’s our most critical patient, and we’re watching him constantly.”

Adam cannot leave his cage inside the hospital because of the danger of contamination, and nobody is allowed to touch him without gloves. His bandages are changed every morning at 7 a.m. He eats both dry and wet cat food except after surgery, when he is on an intravenous pump for 24 hours to monitor his intake of fluids, medicines and painkillers.

“Monitoring the IV pump requires me to stay up all night,” Wright said. “It is exactly like having an infant. I have to haul all the stuff back to work in a diaper bag.”

The kitten was one of six feral litter mates captured along with a male cat on a Santa Rosa farm and brought back to the trapper’s apartment in the Apple Valley neighborhood. The plan was to get the cats spayed and neutered at Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County, an organization dedicated to controlling wild cat populations humanely. The cats were to be turned loose on the farm again after being sterilized.

The trapper left three cages on his porch overnight, but the two containing the other five kittens were stolen. The male cat was left on the porch, and nobody knows for sure what happened to the other kittens.

The barbarity Adam endured stunned and angered community leaders, who cite studies showing that young people who abuse animals are more likely to someday abuse people.

“Hurting or terrorizing or torturing animals is one symptom of conduct disorder,” said Lisa Boesky, a San Diego-based clinical psychologist, who specializes in identifying violent tendencies in juveniles. “We need to ask the question, ‘Why did they do this?,’ and then address that.”

The money and attention being lavished on Adam has angered many in the neighborhood, where a 16-year-old boy was killed a year ago to much less outrage.

“The mentality here is: They can put up a reward for a burned cat, but they can’t put up a reward for a kid who got killed,” said Shawna Shaffer, the apartment manager who called for help after the kitten was brought to her office. “But we’re talking (in both cases) about the way kids are being raised in this neighborhood.”

Some are questioning the decision to keep the cat alive at considerable expense instead of putting it out of its misery. The surgeries and care alone will probably total from $20,000 to $30,000, Hinkle said. Money is being raised by Forgotten Felines, and the veterinary surgeon, Lisa Alexander, has been operating pro bono.

“He is fighting for his life, so we would never bail out on him at this point,” Hinkle said. “This is what compassion looks like, what the children in that neighborhood need more of in their lives.

“From my perspective, those girls need more help than this kitten. My goal for Adam is for him to be the poster child for what the community can do if it comes together.”

Adam’s next surgery will probably be on Thursday or Friday. “In the end, he’ll be adopted into a good home,” said Wright, who also works for Forgotten Felines. “I have the option (to adopt him), but I try not to think too far ahead.”

E-mail Peter Fimrite at pfimrite@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/07/18/BAGR3R2ETO1.DTL

This article appeared on page B – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Kleptomaniacs, why do they keep on stealing?

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Kleptomaniacs, why do they keep on stealing?

Psychiatric evidence in case against shoplifter will help set sentencing benchmark, says judge

Wednesday • July 25, 2007

Leong Wee Keat
weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg

A kleptomaniac who stole while serving probation for previous thefts was yesterday given a brief respite from a heavier sentence.

Judge of Appeal V K Rajah adjourned a prosecution appeal against the sentence to call for further psychiatric evidence on kleptomania — a mental illness in which one has the impulse to steal.

Besides the incidence and prevalence of the illness here, Justice Rajah also asked for evidence on the circumstances that may lead to kleptomaniacs here stealing.

Noting that the prosecution would rely on this case for future benchmark sentences, Justice Rajah said the new psychiatric evidence would aid the Courts in deciding on “the right equilibrium” between deterrence and rehabilitation for future kleptomania cases.

Goh Lee Yin, 26, was spared a lengthy jail sentence in May even though she had stolen while on probation. She stole two handbags from Coach and Louis Vuitton, worth about $2,300 in total, midway through her probation last year.

In Nov 2005, the former Chief Justice Yong Pung How had set aside a 2.5-month jail term imposed by a district judge and placed her on 24 months’ probation instead.

CJ Yong had said: “The court was unfortunately saddled in this instance with having to choose between imprisonment and probation, neither of which represented a truly satisfactory or appropriate solution.”

Midway through her probation last November, Goh committed the latest offences and was sentenced to a day’s jail and a fine of $8,000 in the Community Court.

In his grounds of decision, Community Court Judge Bala Reddy said Goh “has to realise that she has breached the limits of rehabilitation efforts that were aimed at enabling her to seek treatment and stay out of prison”.

Goh first shoplifted when she was nine, initially stealing items of little value such as razor blades and cosmetics.

Her lawyer, Mr Spencer Gwee, told the Court that she had fulfilled a condition of the probation order in serving 250 hours of community service.

The appeal case will be adjourned to a further date.

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