Saturday, July 30, 2011

Living in a Cat Household

It is sad to see so many homeless animals trying to survive on a day to day basis.  Most of my cats have been from the streets needing care in one form or another. And to be honest, it is a huge responsibility as they depend on you for their life. We take into consideration their needs and well being for decisions done in the home. It's similar to child proofing your house. And when their time comes to go to the Rainbow Bridge, the heart break is staggering.

But seeing them grow from a scrawny, frightened kitten to a beautiful, confident cat is a reward in itself. And each of them have their own unique personality. I've observed that each may have the following characteristics or a combination of some.

- the brat - he comes first
- the affectionate one - always happy to see me
- the obsessive one - always happy to see me and never leaves my side, always almost causing me to fall on my face
- the loner - lives in his own world except at meal times
- the bully - has his own private space and woe to the kitty who trespasses
- the lap kitty - always has time to snuggle whenever a lap is available and the reason for my stocks of lint roller refills
- the prima donna - her attitude is that every other cat is beneath her

No matter the character or temperament, they all have a special place in my heart and I couldn't imagine life without them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas Presents

Except for the babies, Bitty is the only cat I have who is not neutered. Since he is blind, I am extra paranoid about having him separated from familiar surroundings. He also gets stressed out when he is held by strangers. The only time I was forced to leave him at the hospital was the time he was ill and dehydrated. He would hiss at the nurses and they would be afraid to go near him. Incidentally, I became the mayor of Animal House in Foursquare because of the amount of time I spent there, falling asleep with Bitty on my lap so that he won't be too agitated. Anyway, now that he is 11 years old I am not comfortable with him undergoing any surgery unless it is imperative.

Late last year, Cupcake, one of my female cats came into heat. She had to undergo blood tests and then be scheduled for spaying. She's quite small, so we didn't think she'd be in heat so soon. Bitty and Cupcake didn't interact, with Bitty being the snob that he is. And I was also thinking, he's blind, chances of him getting her pregnant were small. Well, I will never underestimate you again, Bitty!

We welcomed 3 beautiful babies last January 5, 2011. I was at work when my Mom called and told me "You have to get home right away, Cupcake's about to give birth".  I was so excited to see Bitty and Cupcake's babies. When I got home, Bitty's miniature version was already born. During the intervals, we got clean cloths, a bigger box for Cupcake, some sterilized scissors and a small dropper. Cupcake didn't have any problems with the two other babies, but the fourth one was breeched. She must have been exhausted at this point so we had to rush to the hospital. Sadly the fourth one didn't make it.

We named them Toffeenut, Peppermint and Macchiato. They are all boys and all welcome addition. As they are growing up each are showing their distinct characteristic, Toffeenut is the wild child, Peppermint is the sweet-always-in your face-kitten and Macchiato is the big and quiet type.

Cupcake has been spayed after the 3 kittens were weaned. But her mother instincts are still there, the other cats better beware when they play rough with her babies. Mommy Cupcake just comes out of nowhere to defend her babies even if they are bigger than her now.

It is a delight to watch these three kittens grow up. Whenever I get home, seeing all of them happy and healthy just makes it all worthwhile :).

Toffeenut aka Bitty Junior


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Compassion and Responsibility for Animals

In almost every part of the city, homeless cats and dogs can be seen wandering about, looking for food and shelter. Everyday for them is a struggle for survival.

CARA Welfare Phils. - Compassion and Responsibility for Animals is one of the NGO's here which does something to help the plight of these poor creatures. Their advocacy is spaying and neutering animals to help control the population of unwanted cats and dogs through a low cost clinic.  

I first encountered CARA when I had several feral cats who kept on having kittens. The cost of spaying and neutering could be expensive but something had to be done for these street cats. The kittens would be tossed in garbage cans or left alone to die. 

I called CARA to ask about their program and I became quite curious about their activities. I found a group who had the same passion! It was so uplifting to see people go out of their way to help these animals have a better life. Some people thought you were crazy or stupid to spend on an animal that wasn't your own, and a street animal at that. 

CARA is not a shelter because there is no area big enough that would house a number of cats. When a cat is rescued it would be fostered in the home of one of the members until it is big enough and well enough to be adopted out. There would be a regular adoption event, where the cats are brought in, with the hopes that it will go to a loving home. 

Adoption events is the program I volunteer in. I love to see the adoptive parents find their new babies but mostly I do it for the cats :). It is a joy to know that they will be going to their new homes and be part of a family. 

I have also met and have become friends with some wonderful people. We share stories about our pets and tips on caring, food and everything about our furry babies. But it is the love for animals that bind us together. 
Photo courtesy of Marvie Yap
There are times when the situation can be overwhelming, heartbreaking and often frustrating. Knowing that I have a very supportive family, good friends and good people with me is a blessing I am very thankful for. Being with them for a year and a half now, I am amazed at the dedication and patience of each volunteer. Every life is precious and every life counts!

If you want to learn more about CARA, please visit their website at


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Goodbye, Beautiful Stranger

Today started out as any other day, drove to work and went out to visit clients. On a busy street, I went to the innermost lane to take a u-turn when my attention was caught by a black cat. It wasn't on the island but was on the street, a few inches away from the tires of incoming traffic. It was just sitting there but I could see it was panting. Instinct made me slow down, I wanted to go out of the car but there were other cars behind me and so I had to drive by. My conscience could not let me just drive away and do nothing. I felt something was terribly wrong. It wasn't a kitten that I could just place in a shoe box but a fully grown cat and I didn't have a carrier in the car. So I asked my colleague (who was going to meetings with me) if she'd mind if we looked for a store who sold pet supplies. This was of course, made out of courtesy because we were not leaving that area without looking out for the cat.

There was a big grocery nearby but they didn't sell pet carriers, it was frustrating because as time went by the cat was on the street. We asked for an empty box from the store and the good people there, after hearing that it was for a distressed cat, helped us out, they even punched holes on the sides and secured the box.

When we went out, traffic was slowing down but there were a lot of trucks. So we navigated carefully, going to the innermost lane. The cat was still there but it was on it's back and convulsing. That really got me worried. I went out quickly while my friend waited in the car with tape to close the top. People were kind as they did not blow their horns even if I was slowing down traffic. I approached her and carefully picked her up. I couldn't see any wounds on her but I couldn't just stay there to inspect her. She raised her head to look at me, she had beautiful, round, green eyes. She let out a series of meows and allowed me to place her in the box.

After securing her in the car, we went to find the nearest vet clinic. All the while, my friend and I were making plans on what to do as we had several meetings lined for the day. She was quiet but moved against the box a couple of times, we weren't sure if she was convulsing again so we hurried for a clinic. At that point, any vet clinic would do, not knowing the severity of her condition.

When we found one, the vet quickly examined her. I was certain she was a girl, and after filling out the form I informed them that I was still thinking of a name that would suit her. The doctor said she was run over by a car, based on the marks and wound on her side made by the impact of hitting the pavement. At this point, she started fighting back against the hands which were helping her. We calmed her down and I stroked her head while the doctor continued checking on her injuries. She started to urinate and defacate blood and the doctor gave her a shot meant to revive her. I whispered to her "you'll be okay, just hang in there" but I could see in her eyes that she was gone.

I don't know how to describe how I feel right now. I only knew her for a short time but my heart feels so heavy. And sadly, this happens often to so many homeless cats. I just try to console myself by thinking that she did not die alone and tears were shed in her passing.

photo courtesy of Cyra R. Cancel 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Stray Cat's Hard Life

Popoy was the neighbor's cat. I saw him when he was still a kitten and he would come by to eat with the stray cats we feed.  He was a very friendly cat, he would stay in the garage at times and would never poop or pee. As he got older, he would seldom hang around as he would be looking for female cats at night and sleep only he knew where, during the day. Sadly, as he was no longer a cute kitten, he was left alone on his own.

As it is their instinct, he would get in cat fights and would come to us when he was wounded. We would be worried for him when he wouldn't be back for days. As we cleaned his wounds and gave him medication I had planned to have him neutered and of course, off the streets. He was a strong cat, however, and wouldn't be confined. After one nasty fight, I kept him in a cage so we could give regular medication. I placed an e-collar on him and when I went out the next morning, he was gone! I was thinking how can he get around the streets with an e-collar, he would get run over. Good thing, kind neighbors helped look for him. The e-collar was gone but we were able to retrieve it too, eventually.

We were not giving up on having him neutered and adopted, but the little rascal wouldn't show up for days. And when he did I was usually leaving for work. Then last February, my worst fear happened. Popoy was laying down in the garage and couldn't stand up. He was still a sweet boy when we placed him in a carrier, but he howled in pain when moved. His x-rays showed that his hip was broken and the vet said it would be caused most likely by a beating. This poor, sweet boy was hit so hard, it broke his hip.

Popoy was a survivor, he stayed in the hospital to recuperate. He was under pain management. We were told it would take time and his hip would heal on its own. After just a few days, he was already showing signs of improvement. During visits, he would even try to escape. I also talked to his vet about having him neutered before being released.

He has fully recovered at this time and is one of the biggest and friendliest cats at home. It is a wonder how he still trusts so much after all he's been through.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A New Life for 2 Former Stray Kittens

When people ask me the breed of my cats, I proudly tell them domestic shorthair. It's not that I have anything against purebreeds, in fact, I love cats of all shapes, sizes, purebred or not. It's just that there are so many homeless native cats (as they are called here) struggling to survive in the streets.

We have numerous stray cats coming to the house for meals and every so often there will be a kitten who will pop up looking for food and shelter. It is so sad to see them looking from the outside where all my fat cats are playing or just lounging around. And it is so difficult to have cats adopted out. People usually prefer dogs or those with breeds. 

Bee was such a kitten, nobody knew where he came from. He was very friendly and it wasn't hard to fall in love with the little guy. I was constantly worried about him especially when I heard cars coming at high speeds. He wouldn't last out there. We took him in but had to separate him because of skin problems. Before long he was healthy and clean. At that time, my sister's friend was looking for a cat to adopt. We got in touch with them and Bee was welcomed into his new home.
Not long after, on the way home from work, there was a little orange kitten lying on the road. I thought it was dead and I went out of the car to place it on the side as it didn't seem right for the body to get run over into bits. To my surprise, it let out a meow and looked at me when I picked it up. So when I got home, I had this smile on my face and my Mom said "let me guess, you brought home a cat". A few minutes later, she was bottle feeding the kitten.

As a rule, we separate new found kittens or cats from the rest of the brood for health reasons. She stayed in my brother's room, which has now become sort of a nursery. He named her Jelly, short for Jellyfish.

She was so tiny, but very curious and adventurous. At this time, we were told that there was someone looking for a kitten as a companion. But since she was so small and still bottle feeding, we asked them to wait for a bit longer. By the time she was big enough, the person had already adopted a kitten. It was okay with us as it was a chance for the stray kitten for a good home. And then I ran into the couple who adopted Bee. They were looking for another kitten who would be his companion. In the next few days, Jelly was in her new home and best of all, she was with Bee.

I still miss those two, but I am happy for them and very grateful because I know the people who adopted them will give them the love and care they need.