Monday, April 14, 2014

Plight of a stray cat

Last Thursday, we left two 5-days old kittens to an animal hospital for care.

We had no one to seek help with their feeding for last weekend because we have to be away for "work". The Mrs took care of them from Wednesday after the stray cat mother disappeared from our parking lot together with another of their sibling.

On Saturday, the vet called us to inform one of the two kittens died. It was expected since it had not been taking much milk, body cold and sleeping all the time.

Four or five months ago, the mother was pregnant and delivered three kittens also. However, someone stole them and for days she was seen looking for her three lost kittens. This time, it is her and one of the kittens' sibling that is lost.

Out of six kittens and a mother, only one survive. That is the stark reality facing stray cats, which many is not aware off. They reproduced many but survival rate is low.

The Mrs have been providing food and medical help to stray cats hanging around our parking lot. However, this particular mother stray cat was exceptionally friendly and communicative. We talked of providing our home to her.

Being a stray cat, the mother stray cat could not be domesticate. She runs off whenever we tried to hold her. Either she is too happy with her freedom or just plain insecure.

This is not the first but the second time we tried to help the mother stray cat with her newborns.

In both cases, the mother stray cat refused the box provided with towels padded for warmth and took her delicate kittens elsewhere. Initially, the mother stray cat would return for feeding but stopped coming and disappeared.

The Mrs is sympathetic to stray cats but we had inherited our mother's glee towards cat, especially kitten. Furthermore, we are asthmatic. Thus, we are not cat friendly.

However we learned to appreciate them from the sister-in-law, who upon retirement took care and provided for 15 stray cats. Once in a while, the Mrs would help her, especially when taking the cats to the vet.

She started with three cats. The three may have told all the other cats in the neighbourhood of the kind lady giving them food and shelter to come and stay with them.

We begin to learn that cats are biologically and emotionally similar to human.

Many past practises to feed cats with fish together with the bones is not proper. Just like human, the bones will get stuck in their throat and be an irritation that sometimes led to their death.

Like human, cats needs proper hygiene. That is why some cat owners bathe them.

They are sensitive to diseases like flu, bronchitis, fever, etc. Everytime one of the cats catch any disease, sister-in-law would quarantine her in a cage. Otherwise, it would spread to other cats and one after another could die.

One ex-YB who used to tend to some 40 stray cats was left with 10 cats after a disease epidermic. That ex-YB is also asthmatic.

Quite sure, most thought those alley cats are hardy and tough. We have mistaken them with wild cats living in the jungle.

Stray cats that survive by scavenging food through rubbish are susceptible to diseases. Usually they do not live long. So to maintain their specie, biological science logic claim the animal reproduce in large numbers and frequently.

That is one irritating character of stray cats that may have made the Chairman of our Persatuan Penduduk upset and rear his ugly head. He became obsessively anti-cats to the point of inhuman abuse on them. He is our #1 suspect for the disappearing kittens and cat.

Our sister-in-law faced the same cat reproduction problem till the vet advised her to neuter the female. Like human, they have to ikat peranakan.

Perhaps some animal activist would scorn at such practises, however admit it. One have to be cruel to be kind. Family planning is necessary. With 15 cats, it is already a handful for sister-in-law. She can't even travel for holidays.

Sending to the SPCA does not help. If no one comes to take the animals, they will have to send them to sleep. That is unless someone donates large sum of money to the animal shelter.

Money donated and spend for animal care including feeding stray cats is tax deductible. Keep the pet shop receipts.

Sister-in-law's present predicament to travel reminded us of our late grandmother. She worries of her chickens in the coop whenever she has to be away with us. "Siapa nak kasi makan ayam aku?"

Now we are worried too.

We have to pick up the kitten today. The cost which conclude medical and probably burial will be more than RM400. No joke.

"Siapa nak kasi makan anak kucing kami?"

The Mrs works till late evening. We have erratic schedule. Sometime SOHO, sometime at cafe and spontaneous meetings.

The kitten need to be fed every one and half to two hours.

Oh no ... no no ..... Please don't look at us. We are not good at feeding, change "diapers", and taking the "baby" everywhere like a house wife. We only like babies when they are already fun to play with.

This is heavy responsibility. Any boarding school for a Bumiputera kitten?


Anonymous said...

Alamak hai tuan sedih saya membaca kesah tuan. Saya sendiri sudah ada tujuh ekor kucing stray. 2bulan lepas saya ada kutip kitten tapi sudah mati. Sekarang tggl satu kitten itu pon ada penyakit perut luar paru (perut buncing). Tggu masa. Susah jg anak kucing perlu check comes feeding time. Saya pula kena pulang weekly ke rmh ibu sendiri yg kurang sehatnya. Saya doa ada insan yg ada masa untok menjaga baby kucing. InnSya Allah.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir.

God bless you! It is heart breaking to see animal carcasses on the roads. Thank you for making a difference to an animal's life. Try sending the kittens to UPM vet. Cheaper and your cats will get the right medical attention. Please spay the cats when they are old enough to do so. You will save many unwanted lives. My husband and I like you and your Mrs, loves feeding stray cats and dogs. Patience is the key if you wish to domesticate the older cats. However, do not spay a tom cat as once spayed he does not know how to survive in the wild. Only spay if your tom cat is fully domesticated.

Keeping a pet is a commitment. And privilege. They give you a lot more joy in the long run. They teach the young ones the meaning of responsibilities. My senior dogs take my diabetic father for walks every morning! Hahaha. Contrary to many believes, a cat and dog can live harmoniously side by side. I have seen it. We just need to bring the cat and dog upward together. Kind of like our nation. And I have seen how both cat and dog are hostile to other cats and dogs that are in their 'territory'.

Please keep up the good work sir! I hope your kitten will survive to adulthood. If he or she does, that little thing will be very very manja. Trust me on this.

To other readers, do give mongrel or non pedigree cats and dogs a home instead buying from the pet shops. You save lives and give them a chance. Always spay your pets. Always spend about 15 to 20 mins a day with them. Always bring the dogs out for a walk daily. Always vaccinate them annually. Most importantly let them know that you love them. You will be amply rewarded with a lot of love from them.

Your pets are happiest when they see you. In fact the feeling is similar to how you feel when you fall in love with someone. That is how they feel about you. Everyday.

May Quin

Anonymous said...

Hi Brick,

1. Animal boarding is available in most pet shops. About RM15 to RM30 a day. However you can safely leave them to their own device for a couple of days if you put out enough water and food. Also, the neighbors would be helpful should you need to go away.

2. Always spay your pets.

3. You can feed the kitten in the morning and night. It will survive. I have rescued a couple of kittens like yours. They make it adulthood and are very affectionate.

4. The adult strays are usually nervous. Hence you need to be patient if you want to convert them into household pets.

5. UPM vet is good and cheap. But far. The trip is worth it though.

6. Always vaccinate your pets.

7. Read up on how to interact with your choice of pets.

8. Adopt from streets or pet shelter whenever possible. Give the 'under dogs' a chance.

9. My brother has sinus and we have 2 dogs and a cat in our household. No problem. Sometimes, for some strange reason, the animals never affected our health. In fact we are happier because they are part of our lives. My mom is asthmatic. Try suggesting putting the pets up for adoption, you will hear no ends to how we are ungrateful and if we will treat her like that too. :)

Fara Abdul said...

i understand you. my sister and i spend time feeding stray cats near our neighborhood every sunday night. we knew the cats there. its been a joy feeding them and watching their antics.

there was one orange male stray who was diagnosed with FIP. the whole test and medicine costed about rm700 but sadly the cat died 2 days after discharged from hospital. what saddened us that he left too soon. if only we could take him in earlier but of course, it is beyond us. we only hope he and other strays who passed away left for the better.

Wan said...

I'm also taking care of stray cats. Before, there were 14 but now only 3. I'm a Malay and live n the US. I belong to a local organization called 'Triple R Pets' which main objective is to trap stray cats in our own backyard and send them to a volunteer vet to be neutered or spayed, then release them back in our own backyard. This way, their populated will be curtailed. I advice that you do the same or else you'll end up having too many cats to handle as female cats produce litters 3 times a year.

silvershamir said...

I have 13 cats and all were once strays. I spayed and neutered all...when they were about 5 to 6 months old. Its best to spay the male cats before they start sniffing the females....more humane. I know its wrong.but to save on vet's fees, i get the help of a govt aninal clinic attendant to neuter my cats. He does home service which is fast and slightly cheaper.

My Say