Category Archives: Austen

Child of Angel, adopted with Aaren

Blame Game

This evening ended on a sour note. I sms’d PH, adopter of Itchy and Scratchy (no more Mum – she’s shown herself undeserving of it).

I wanted to get an update about Scratchy’s babies – whether our help’s still needed to get them rehomed. I must point out that our last message to her to get pictures and keep in contact went unheeded. This time, as ever, I’m the one initiating contact.

I missed PH’s call and when i returned her call at 5.20pm, the first thing she said to me: “Please take the two kittens away.”

My vein throbbed. I composed myself and asked her how was the adoption effort – she told me the same story about her sole attempt she had already related previously. I asked about her children, grown professionals with high-flying careers, whether she’s asked them to help ask around. She said no, whatever it means.

I then asked whether the kittens are socialised, especially the b&w one. She said they are. I then told her I’ve discussed with Foster Mum and she has agreed to foster them. However, she can only take them after Chinese New Year. I also informed her that the boarding costs.

There was a pregnant pause. PH repeated the boarding fee amount, and then paused again. Then she asked” I have to pay that?” I said “Yes”.

PH started shouting, harping about the non-sterilised state ofItchy and Scratchy, adamant that it was Foster Mum/our fault. I calmly told her: “Please don’t shout.”

Then I told her she’s not the only one upset. During the adoption screening, she had said that her old cat died from FiV problems and he was fed Friskies. When I raised my concerns about food, she had reassured me that she had been told the problems with Friskies. I even sms’d basic info and brands she should be considering (because she doesn’t use email). When we first visited the cats in early Oct, I even brought along copies of food info for her reference. When we visited the cats and the kittens in Dec, we saw that the food they were being given was worse than Friskies.

So I told her i’m very upset she’s not taking care of the cats. She said it’s her children who bought the food. She also said they would only buy good food that the petshops recommended. I told her point-blank that that food we saw was not something any petshop would recommend. She went silent for a moment and then said her children loves animals. I said fine, but do they understand the problems of that food? Did she share the printed info I gave her with them?

She said, “maybe, maybe not. I’m very busy” and, I quote, “can’t be bothered about such small things”. I was having trouble containing my temper but I did manage to say civilly, “PH, how can you say that. They are your pets and this concerns their health!”

She refused to continue the discussion and ended by saying that they will think of something and settle the two unwanted kittens themselves.

I sent an sms at 6.20pm or so, telling her to call me after she’s calmed down to discuss the fate of the unwanted kittens, and that no matter what she decided, to please not send them to SPCA or AVA to be killed. I’ve not got a response so far. I can only hope she’s thinking.

I feel that I’ve failed Angel, Austen and Aaren, and now Aaren’s kittens. It’s a painful lesson in trust and my screening capability, but one I will not forget.

EDIT: I am disappointed at the outcome of this conversation. But I have been expecting it. The signs are there. Also, there is an adopter willing to take one of the kittens, and at worst, we’ll shoulder the boarding expenses of the other kitten – it’s not the first time we strain and stretch our resources. But I am too upset to talk to PH right now.


Visit – Austen and Aaren aka Itchy and Scratchy

Early on Sunday morning, btmao and I set out for a few errands. First on the list – visiting the fab 2, Austen and Aaren aka Itchy and Scratchy, and to get pics of Scratchy’s babies for adoption notices.

We thought we were late, since Austen and Aaren’s mum, PH, told us the babies were born early October. PH was away so her helper, A, showed us the family.

Frankly, I was abit shocked to see the babies initially. They were very small for babies born 2 months ago. Then A told us their actual birthday was Oct 30, in the daytime. She was sure since

  1. She’s the one taking care of the kitties
  2. Aaren birthed them on her bed!

That figures. so the kittens are barely over a month in age, and definitely not ready for adoption yet.

The babies are still very shy, and after half an hour, we still managed to lure out only 2 of the 3 babies – two calicos. The third, a b&w who resembles Mummy, didn’t show.

It was tough to get good shots. We tried though. But after an hour, we concluded it was still better if PH or her children could help by taking the photos instead. So we left, after thanking Arlene for her help.

We did manage some decent shots, so here they are:

Aaren aka Scratchy and 2/3 of her brood

Pretty Mama – Aaren resembles Angel, her mum, a lot.

Pretty Auntie – Austen aka Scratchy. See the sibling resemblance. The sisters live in a landed property compound, and according to Arlene, since the kittens’ arrival, this girl has been staying outside. She’s been spayed since we last visited, when they BOTH were scrawny and small-sized for their age (especially when they were assumed to be already spayed). If you put her side-by-side with her sis, you’d see the difference immediately. Ah, the wonders of sterilisation – Austen is now sleeker, and bigger than Aaren!

Goldies! Aaren and Austen’s housemates.

Scratchy’s babies looking for homes

I spoke to Aaren aka Scratchy’s mum.

Scratchy and her babies, about 4 weeks now, are doing well. There are 3 – all gingers. Anyone interested? Please email sephycat at gmail dot com.

I’ve yet to do a photocall for them, but expect pictures in the next two weeks.

And also, the babies’ aunt, aka Scratchy’s littermate, Itchy has been sterilised. PHEW!

Update on 13 Dec 06: <Picture of 2/3 of the brood here. Also they were born Oct 30.

She gave birth!

This morning, I got the surprise phone call of the month. PH, the lady who adopted Austen/Itchy and Aaren/Scratchy, was flustered. And no wonder, Scratch had just replicated!

There are now 3 new kitts in PH’s home. PH insisted that she was not told the sisters were not sterilised when she adopted. In fact she said she was told they were sterilised. She also was dismayed at having three more felines.

I can hardly believe it as both were rather slim when we visited.

Foster Mum was the one who handled the adoption for us, which happened in March, since PH was at the cattery for another pair of sisters, who were older and sterilised. They had decided they like Angel’s girls, then 4-5 months, instead. It was a workday, and of course I couldn’t get to the cattery to meet PH on such short notice. So I just had a brief conversation about the usual.

Knowing our mutual modus operandi, and our zeal for kitty mojo robbery, Foster Mum would not have neglected to inform PH that the sisters, then a bit young for sterilisation, will need to be done at the right time, which in their case happened to be soon.

I talked with Foster Mum, and then returned PH’s call. Basically, I reiterated to her that given the sisters’ age, and our modus operandi, they were definitely not sterilised at that point in time, and it was not likely that anyone would have told her they had been neutered.

Actually, I also recall sms’ing PH to remind her to send the girls for their vaccination booster the week or so after they went home with her, and to schedule their sterilisation,  which would be doable in a month’s time. (No emails as PH is a self-confessed luddite) I do think it is likely that it slipped PH’s mind, as she is a very busy professional. But I did not want to stir the pot nor to create more ill-feelings. That’s not going to help the situation any.

So I said to PH:

Since it’s past, and there’s no way to verify what exactly happened, let’s chalk it down to miscommunication/misunderstanding, and look forward instead.  The important thing is to resolve the situation now.

Luckily, she was not antagonistic nor irrational. In fact, on the whole, I thought PH was taking the situation well.

We decided on our course of action:

  • PH will get Itchy sterilised asap
  • PH will let Scratchy keep her babies until they are weaned or about 2 months old at least
  • PH will get Scratchy sterilised
  • Foster Mum will take over the kittens when they’re weaned, and we’ll take on the responsibility of rehoming the little ones.

PH mentioned a likely suspect who fathered the kittens, a stray who frequents her garden. I shall try to convince her to get the virile one sterilised too.

But there you have it. More things on the plate. As they say, Murphy’s Law always applies. The bright spot in this mess is that PH doesn’t seem to be bearing any ill-will, and as disinterested in the blame game as we are.

It is certainly a lesson for us – never give up sms’ing reminders until you get confirmation young kittens you adopt out are neutered.

Visit! Asher (of the drains)

Yesterday, after we visited Mandy, we did something that was LONG overdue, follow-up on Asher, who was adopted by VZ on Jan 24 06.

He looked like this then, but bigger:

He was adopted together with Ariel, the littlest lion:

Yesterday, when we caught glimpses of Asher, we hardly recognised him – he has grown remarkably. Well, we only caught glimpses because he was so shy. But for a tweenager less than a year old (he was a late November/early Decemober 05 baby), he is really large. We couldn’t take pictures – there was no opportunities, even though we stayed a full hour. We did get to know his “sister”, Jill, a locally-bred Norwegian Forest cat a bit older than him. We also met Gus, who’s a 5 year old westie, and Cab, who’s a very handsome and LARGE labrador, showing all the grandeur of his nine years.

Gus and Cab were gracious hosts, and sat with us as we chatted with V and learnt about Asher’s idyllic lifestyle. We even managed to touch Jill. Looking at her, we can’t help but think that Kheilly has Norwegian Forest cat in his blood:

But the elusive star of the visit remained out of sight for the most part. Perhaps we’ll arrange a 2nd visit later, and this time get pictures of everybody.

Asher shares a very large garden with Jill, Gus and Cab. It’s a great way of life, and we’re happy to see he has the run of such spacious grounds.

Unfortunately, dear little Ariel does not share this fantastic life with Asher. On 26 Jan, two days after V brought them home, Ariel passed on. Asher was also sick, but clearly survived and thrived.

We were not surprised at the outcome – Asher had been the largest and healthiest kitt in Angel’s litter. We were rooting for Ariel though – he was such a cool little dude, always surveying his littlest kingdom on Mount Angel.

But what was heartwarming was V’s stance. We felt gratified, and we are (still) grateful to V for taking on full responsibility for the kitts, and getting the kitts medical attention asap when they started getting sick the next day they were home, on the 25th. It was very nice of her to stick it through with the kitts and keep Asher. I’m making special mention of this, because Foster Mum has countless jaded stories of how adopters return cats at the merest sign of illness or ask for help with medical bills and attention, sometimes months after adoption. Some even wait for Foster Mum to go to their homes, to get the cat and send him/her to the vet, and do whatever’s necessary!

These stories can make one very very weary, because you’d wonder at the mentality of adopters who can’t seem to suck it up and BE RESPONSIBLE.

It is also stressful and a financial strain for fosters and guardians, because it’s almost like you’re merely getting alternative foster arrangements for the cats, not get them permanent, loving homes. Adopting out to such people also ties fosters and guardians’ hands financially, because having to continually be there to help adopters with the cats’ medical needs means we can’t help more cats. It is something that troubles us a lot.

But back to topic. Like Austen and Aaren, Asher has found a good home. At least I’ve not failed Angel entirely.

Asher’s family photos, at Foster Mum’s.

Home visit: Austen n Aaren

Earlier this evening, we finally made it to Austen and Aaren’s, or as they’re now known: Itchy and Scratchy.

They’re part of the Angel Triumvate, the lucky kitts of Angel who’ve survived, and thrived.

The girls have a big garden to run in, and two large labradors for company. They looked fine, and of course much larger than the 2 month babies we remembered them as. Still, they’re very slight and slender, as expected of 10-11 month olds(?) Aaren, it seems, has been making full use of the garden, and is a champion bug-buster. As cats are wont to, she would also bring in the occassional bonus of feathered beings. Apparently, the maids find the macabre offerings a tad disturbing, but they’ve not stopped Aaren from being herself, which is nice of them, good for Aaren, and of course, baaaaaaaad news for the garden denizens.

Amazingly, the girls have swapped personalities. Austen used to be the shy reticent one, and Aaren the bold outgoing affectionate one. About the time they were adopted, they became each other, and thus polar opposite of their own initial persona. But it is not that surprising. Kittens are young, impressionable, and malleable. That’s why I would advice potential adopters to consider grown cats if they do not have time to spend moulding the babies, and/or do not like the idea of having to adapt to varying behaviour(s) in the same kitten/cat over time.

But that’s another story. Austen and Aaren look well, and that’s all that matters.

As their ‘mum’ is not net-savvy, I also took the opportunity to bring along a printout of Hey, what’s that in my food dish?? and the pertinent links (What is Fido really eating, What’s Really in Pet Food), to reinforce the points we’ve previously discussed about food.

We also had a good chat, despite being there all of 45 mins. All in all, we’re happy, and we think their ‘mum’ is also happy that we’re not crazy nazi-fosters. I still have some misgivings – but I do hope they’re just personal bias.

We had planned to visit Asher, their litter-mate, as well, but well, plans change. We’re gunning for the Deepavali holiday to visit him and Mandy, as they’re both in the same locality.

Angel’s babies hold the record for the longest interval between adoption and follow-up visit. I do aim to rectify their status before they hit their first year birthday! Erm, embarrassingly, Sara/Mocha is a very close second.