Who Wants Brush Brush?

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Their dad commented that admist all the action and excitement that is happening at our place, I had to blog about boring things like vaccination and trapping.

Not boring things what. I just needed to keep track of the things I've done in December.

Truth be told, the things that have happened are starting to look rather foggy in my mind. Procrastination is my vice but all hail the mighty digicam! Dates, action, everything's in there! (It's embarassing to be gushing over digital cameras, I know I know). Anyhow, I've some interesting pictures in my new camera (Christmas present from their dad :D) of the cats moving in, their new room and them getting to know Patch.

I just need to, uhm, find time to upload to the computer first.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Second Trapping for the Month of December

Auntie L and I were down for the second round of trapping and we managed to get another 4 cats for sterilisation. Sadly, the 2 naughty males that we had wanted to get so desperately still managed to outlast our endurance and patience, even with the help of 2 other kindly neighbours whom we've never met, but seem to know the cats well. The boys have grown savvy of our tricks, choosing to stay away though their tums were growling. After 2 hours of baiting and waiting to no avail, we fed them and left.

Determined not to go back empty handed, we spotted and trapped 2 cats from the rubbish collection center, and found 2 more from around Auntie L's place. Though it's good to be able to "clear" 8 strays within 2 weeks, but to have so many unsterilised ones from just 4 blocks of flats just goes to show that our previous sterilisation efforts are not controlling the population. That, or our resident cats are just too plain nice (or rather, lazy) to chase intruders away. Funnily and frustratingly, the ones fighting for territory are the new ones; the residents cats do not give two hoots about the new kids on the block moving in. Compound that with people who dump cats (!@#$%^&*!), there's just no end to this constant sterilisation that drains energy and, well, our finances.

Auntie L refused to let me help her out with the bill this time, I feel so paiseh about it. She doesn't make much each month and has to feed 30 cats every night. I hear her worrying about not being able to cope with the growing number of mouths, the reason I'm all the more determined to help her keep the population in our area low.

More in the next post.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Painless Vaccination Day & Patch's Eye Condition

The doctor called to say that she would arrive in 10 minutes and I quickly zipped over to our place to bring Patch over. By the time I walked Patch over from our place to my mom's where the cats were waiting, the round of jabs was finished. Well, Patch did spend some precious minutes sniffing around and eliminating along the new route, but we couldn't have taken more than 15 minutes. Cats cooped up in a small room with nowhere to hide must have made jabbing a breeze. I had wanted to be there for the cats but I was sure their auntie Angela would have offered comfort to a similar extent. Perhaps even more for QQ, who simply adores her auntie A. :)

My only gripe for the fuss free morning was that the doc did not do a health check on the kids. Guess one can't ask for too much when one is being charged a concessionary rate. At the end, it was a painless day for me (no aching arms and incessantly meowing nervous cats); can't speak so for the cats though. :P

Anyhow, the doc attended to Patch once we got there, jabbed her and went on to check her eyes. It was disheartening to learn that on top of her diagnosed dry eyes condition, Patch's current discomfort is further exacerbated by entropion of her lower lids. The rolling in of the lids irritates her eyes even more, resulting in more active production of the eye gunk that not only obscures her vision, but also prevents oxygen from reaching her eyes. Therefore, it was even more disheartening, but to no surprise, to find blood vessels webbing across her cornea, a sure sign that her eyes are oxygen-starved.

Her dad cleans and drips her eyes religiously every day but to tell the truth, she can do with more than the twice daily frequency. However, it doesn't really help to drip more when we are at home, as the intervals are too close.

Poor poor Patch.


I'm cheating a bit on the dates on the posts to follow. Today is the 25th Dec but I really want to put things down in chronology order. Just want to note down in writing how much (or little) that I have done in these few weeks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vaccination Day Later Today

The guys are still going to get their vaccinations done this year. I'm worried that the stress of moving might affect their immunity and with Patch and myself potentially bringing back all sorts of bugs from outside, I've decided to give them their shots still.

Only difference is, we've called in the doctor this time. There's a housecall charge but we won't have spend half a morning lugging 30kg worth of cats and carriers to the vet. Moreover, I think that they would feel less stressed out by having the doctor to come around instead. They will still be upset and spooked by the presence of a stranger and a queer jab of pain, but I think they will appreciate not having to go out.

More later.

New Kitty Litter Spells Disaster

Their usual pine litter is out of stock in many shops and we've totally ran out of it at home. Given no choice, I bought the crystal type and prayed that they will take to it.

At first, they sat around to watch and sniff as I emptied a bag into their bin. Then Shishi took a brave step in and jumped out like it was hot water; it felt too funny. Becks walked around on the edge of the bin, dipping her paw in to feel but refusing to step in. The others just sat and watch. No amount of coaxing or encouragement worked so I turned in for the night, hoping for the best.

Checking the bin first thing the next morning, I was relieved to see that someone had taken a leak in the new litter. Feeling confident and after praising the kids for being smart and all, I left for a long day at the sanctuary.

I got back home, disaster awaited. Their uncle Philip told me that someone threw up on the floor. Nothing new really. But when I opened the bedroom door, the stench of uncovered do hit me. Definitely something beyond a couple of regurgitated hairballs.

Someone had emptied a full bladder and entire contents of his/her bowels onto the spare bed.

I cleaned up the mess as good as I could, but the mattress could not be saved. I dumped the mattress together with the soiled pillow. I was so shocked by the extent of the mess, I think I forgot to scold anyone.

The spare bed now lies empty except for two cushions that the kids use for kneading.

Lucky thing the mattress was a cheap one from the pasar malam.


The crystal type is so much easier to clean. There is no moisture at all to scoop out and the moisture in the poo bits are usually all absorbed by the crystals by the time I get home to clean. All I had to do is scoop out the dried bits which can be done in 3 minutes. Cleaning time is hence down by at least 80%. Moreover, the floor is kept cleaner for there is no more sawdust covering every surface possible caused by even the slightest of air movement, which is good for their dad's sensitive nose.

Down side: Stench of pee is strong within the box for crystals are not meant to be scooped yet on first use. The floor, though not dusty, is littered with tiny crystal balls that needed to be swept up carefully and diligently. Pee smell can gradually be detected in the room after 3 or 4 days of use.

Continue using, or go back to pine?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Baby Cupcak... Kueh Pie Tee?



Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cookies for the Kids

Seeing how the kids like oatmeal cookies, their auntie Angela and I decided to make some for them. The recipe looked simple enough, wholemeal flour, rolled oats, peanut butter and water, seasoned with the teeny pinch of salt and some honey. Combine, cut into shapes and bake for 10 mins. An hour of labour and a hundred dog shape cookies were borned.

We had a taste, I hated it. Not like I've tasted sawdust, but I suspect the cookies would taste and feel somewhat like that. Auntie Angela politely said that it wasn't too bad and that it reminded her of the coconut cookies they sell in Malaysia. Their dad complimented on the smell, but stopped short at tasting.

Mikan had a taste, he enjoyed the first cookie, licked the second one and walked away on the third. Shishi and Magmag gave it some attention and then decided it wasn't worth swallowing. The others wouldn't be tempted.

The Maltese was ok, but the Dachshund could use a bit more salt.

Patch, on the other hand, loved it. She had four in a row and wanted more. I was heartened by the appreciation though her dad mumbled something about Patch liking almost anything. No wonder they say dogs are man's best friend. ;D

Trapping on Tuesday Night

I met up with Auntie L on Tuesday evening to trap the few unsterilised cats we have lingering around our blocks. The two unneutered toms are a nuisance, prefering to choose 4a.m. for their face-offs on most nights.

We were dismayed to find a group of adults having a game of soccer at the void deck two nights ago. Yes, the words "adults", "soccer", "HDB void deck", "at night" did appear in the same sentence. But there were few that a formidable looking cat trap and a couple of crazy cat ladies could not dispel. The group paused for half-time when they realised there was a show to watch. To think that we were way more effective than the "No Soccer" sign displayed prominently on the wall was pretty amusing.

Anyhow, we were swarmed by hungry cats the moment we started to bait the trap. It was afterall feeding time and the sterilised busybodies tried numerous attempts to sneak into the trap to get the fish. Auntie L lured those away and I retreated to the far end of the car park where the pretty silver female was seen pacing. Hunger and the smell of freshly steamed fish proved too much to resist, the nervous girl was caught swiftly. She trashed about wildly in the trap, attracting the attention of the other cats and unfortunately putting the two toms on guard. Returning to the scene after rushing back to Auntie L's place to transfer the girl into a carrier, we baited the trap again for the two males but they had figured out what was going on.

To cut the long story short, we did not manage to get the two toms as planned. They did approach the traps a few times but only to sniff. We did, however, trap another black female cat that appeared out of nowhere. I spotted her at the refuse collection center, chewing through a plastic bag to get to the nasi lemak inside. The fish in the trap once again proved too much to resist. It also helped that she was not there to see when we got silver girl earlier on.

2 hours and 4 cats later, we decided to call it a night. Unfortunately, the two quarrelsome toms are still out gallivanting and painting the town red even as I post. But the consolation is that there may not be any receptive females out there tonight.


I am surprised that there are still so many cats that are not done around here. I thought there were only 3. I guess one will never know the actual situation unless one is out feeding every night. I'm so glad that I have Auntie L as my guide and she is appreciative that I can help her to trap cats.

Like what one of the caregiver said at the workshop, "Taking care of cats is in fact a community bonding activity, we won't probably get to know each other if not for the cats, ya?"

How aptly surmised.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Patch, the Chair and the Hair Dryer

What do you do when you get a pooch who is terrified of the hair dryer, a necessity in managing stinkiness in the fellowship of caninehood?

Put her in a circumstance that she is even more afraid of, of course.

An exhausting wrestling match ensued after Patch's bath yesterday. I had Patch restrained in a full body-lock to keep her from running away. With the hair dryer in one hand and a terrified pooch held tightly between my legs, I had only one free hand to rub her coat haphazardly. My wish to end the ordeal is of no less degree than the frantic dog beneath me.

I've likened the visual to a picture I took off the internet.

Heel, sit, shake paws - Bow down to me, grrr!

Restraining a medium size pooch pulling and tugging to get away is no mean feat. I was struggling to keep a grip on her and a moment of weakness was all she needed; Patch escaped to the dinning table and refused to come back out. While exasperatedly trying to reach in to pull her out from underneath the table, the dinning chair caught my eye, the neurons exploded with activity and I grinned.

Patch is afraid of the hair dryer - Patch is even more afraid of heights - I put Patch on the chair - She wouldn't dare to jump down - I can dry her without having to hold her down at all - Eureka!

Plan went perfect, Patch was dried within minutes and I phoned her dad quickly to tell him my brilliant plan.

"Eh, I know how to dry her with the hair dryer liao!"


"Yah, put her on the chair, it really works!"

"Oh, I used to put her on the washing machine when she was little to dry her, also can. But now I never, cause I lazy lah."

"... ..."


Tell me earlier mah.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage Workshop

The TNRM workshop was rather fruitful. Dawn shared tips on the the use of the cat trap and more importantly, the role of caregivers in their own housing estate - managing the stray cats in their area so that the cats are not a nuisance to the other residents.

It was nice to be able to meet other caregivers from Woodlands. I am happy to find out that besides doing TNRM, they are also working to seek the cooperation from our town council so that the cats in this area would not be trapped indiscriminately should complaints arise. What the caregivers need the town councils to understand is that by taking cats away (and putting them to sleep) does not solve problems in the long run. Neutering them and feeding them responsibly keeps a cat localised and this in turn helps to keep other cats away, hence effectively keeping the population of cats in check. Taking away the cats, on the other hand, creates a vacuum which nature abhors, so new cats move in, resulting new problems that are in fact nothing new. The diabolical circle turns yet another round, problem is not solved, even more cats get killed and people remains unhappy. Now, the statistics - people love it so let's bring it on - more than 10,000 cats have been killed every year for the past 20 years but face it, we still have a cat "problem" in our hands. I would think it makes more sense to endorse an alternative multi-pronged (wah!) approach this cat "problem" in our society.

It has been emphasised that while people may not like cats and want them to be removed from sight, they do not (necessarily) want the cats killed. What is unfortunate is that people think that when cats that are rounded up and taken away, they are brought to a beautiful cat paradise where they are immaculately cared for and waited upon hand and foot till they grow old and die peacefully in their sleep. Not true. Cats taken away are either (i) euthanised, a short-term non-solution that breaks the hearts of their caregivers or (ii) released in other area where they then become problems to this other area yet again.

Trapping and culling is not effective and there are people who feel uncomfortable with the idea that they are killing cats, however indirectly. We were told that in one instance, a pest control company refused to catch cats as they do not see them as pests. Mighty kind and ethical of them but there was no sweet ending to this case; the contract with this pest control co. was terminated after a year.

What caregivers can do, as adviced, is that besides sterilising and managing cats, they can also work with the TC so that the TC direct cat complaints to caregivers and caregivers in turn work with the complainants to try to resolve the issues. As residents in the same neighbourhood, we would like to keep the other non-cat-loving neighbours happy but at the same time, I would think that similarly as residents, we cat lovers have as much rights to want to live in a environment that we feel comfortable in, i.e. no rampant and regular trapping and culling of cats that are not causing nuisance. At this point of time, I can't quite see myself there to be doing mediation with the TC and the public. I have, however, exchanged numbers with the other care-givers so that I can lend support in sheer presence should they need the strength. My small little contribution in my small little way lah.

* * *

For every complaint made against cats that town councils receive and acted upon, how many grievances of the cat lovers have been voiced and heard? It is plain unfortunate that animal-dislikers seem to get more attention and understanding than people who wants to live in a society where people show kindness and tolerance towards stray cats and dogs (I do have to stop short at vermins - sorry Mr. Rat & family), that, upon sterilisation and management, can co-exist peacefully with us human inhabitants. I mean, that darn cat can't be taking up more than a 60cm square while lying there snoozing on the pavement, can it? And I do shoo cats away when I see them lying atop cars, how can I allow them to be comfortable and enjoying the night breezes when I know that they are going to leave dusty little footprints on the paintwork of gasp, $70,000 worth of metal? The cement floor splattered with dried human spits, littered with junk mails, decorated with used sanitary pads and tissue paper is likely to be considered far more worthy for a lowly cat, but sometimes even that is taken away from them. Animals (with exception of the zoo, but that's tourism, so it's a different story) are just not in the country's numerous economic masterplans.

Rehoming is a tedious, risky and supply-far-exceeds-demand process in sg. If cats can be allowed, or at least tolerated, on our streets (and in our HDB homes!), the cat caring community here would have much, much less headaches in having to constantly find foster homes and boarding facilities for their cats in the at-risk areas.

Anyhow, the workshop did end with good news - that AVA is resuming their support in the stray cat rehabilitation scheme once more, but I can't seem to find any press release on it. No issue, at least now I know that I am not so alone in caring for cats in my community.

For a better tomorrow! =^.^=

Talking Cats

Cracked me up this one. :D

Translated version.