Sunday, August 30, 2009

Joanie search and the alley cats

I went Joanie searching again today, and as usual ended up feeding the strays in my neighbourhood.

The food I had left for Joanie was eaten up, but only in two places, so I will concentrate on these two spots now.

I did not see Joanie anywhere. But I saw the three Joanie look-alikes.

Suki meets Cleo up close

Cleo (the tri-coloured princess in the family) has been one of the last to accept Suki. Well, you know what happens when two ladies are seen to be wearing the same clothes, right? That explains it all...

Today, I decided to put them up close together. With mackerel as "bait", of course. And it worked! Cleo did not run away this time. Guess the lure of the the mackerel was just too...irresistible?

Then, after feasting with Cleo up on the kitchen slab, Suki had a second helping with Vixey down on the floor (Vixey cannot climb), and after that, she even took over Vixey's bowl, and dear little Vixey (as always) moved away to let Cleo lick the platter clean.

Btw, you won't believe what Suki has done to Vixey's favourite bungalow. She conveniently used it as a toilet, so I have had to discard the box (I mean, bungalow). Now, Vixey's assets is down to two (bungalows). Poor Vix.

Of ping pong balls and tudung periuks

Happiness is a brightly-coloured ball.
That's Suki playing with the orange ping pong ball which has been Little Chief and Indy's childhood toy. And we got her the pink ball with a bell, too. Somehow, she still prefers the orange-coloured ball, which incidentally, is already nipped (thanks to the ever boisterous Indy Jones!).
Then, after the balls, it's biting the handle of Vixey's basket. No, she didn't ask Vixey for permission. Kittens don't need permission to do what they want. Or cats, for that matter. They "just do it", Nike-styled.
And after that, it's toppling over the tudung periuk (that's the Malay term for food cover), and Bobby's looking on.
Isn't it fun to be a kid? Or a kit?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Me and Bobby

XL and XS?

No Joanie sightings again

I went Joanie searching again this morning and came across three grey tabbies that looked like her from afar. But it's not her. These were not afraid of me, and came close enough to eat the food I had placed on the ground.

The food I had left at the three spots yesterday evening had been eaten. I'd like to think it was Joanie who had come to eat it. I hope it is... I placed food there again, in those three spots.

I went inside the drains to search too, but she was no where to be found.

This is sheer BLISS

Every cat will eventually find his or her space.

Looks like little Suki has found (claimed?) hers.

Big Sister Vixey

No words needed to describe this!
This is where you'd find Suki on a cold day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Didn't see Joanie today

I went round in the evening again to the three spots. The food was eaten in two spots. I'd like to think perhaps Joanie had come to eat.

There are two cats who look very much like Joanie in the alley. They are also grey tabbies with white paws, but on closer scrutiny, it's not her.

I ended up feeding some stray cats.

My daughter, who is taking a course in vet pharmacy, asked her lecturer about Joanie's case, and the lecturer said Joanie is probably feeling much better - that is why she left. He also said it is probable her infection has cleared and she does not need antibiotics anymore.

That's comforting to hear.

Happiness is in the moment

I suppose when you're young and innocent, ANYTHING is fun, and everything is a toy. Look at Suki here, playing with the coathangers and that's Indy looking on.

Indy has been quite lonely ever since his best friend Kimba passed away last year (you can read the entire story in Indy Jones and the 4 Pillars of Kindness, will be distributed free on 31st Aug). None of my other cats could "cope" with the boisterous and playful nature of Indy. He plays till he drops (literally)!!

Right after Kimba passed away, Indy took Creamie and Crackers under his wing and became their guardian and big brother. Then, C&C went to their new home and Indy was alone again.

So, I'm glad Indy has taken Suki under his wing now. The two are sparring partners! They play together so well.

Indy really has the kindest heart I've ever seen. And so has Vixey, actually. For this, I am thankful.

It's raining hippos and rhinoceroses

Good morning, everyone. It's raining hippos and rhinos here in Subang Jaya. And while little Suki is nicely tugged in with Vixey in their warm basket, I cannot help worrying if Joanie is alright out there. I hope she has found a nice and dry spot in the drain where she is comfortable.

I went out yesterday morning but did not spot Joanie at all. I did leave dry food in three places and these were untouched when I checked on my way back.

Then, I was out the whole day so I didn't get the check again in the evening.

It has been truly a very busy week. Busy, but productive. Remember that death comes anytime, so while we are still alive, we ought to make full use of this time and do everything we can.

Coincidentally, I gave a talk about Gratitude to the IMU students on Wednesday, and I told them we can be thankful no matter what happens, if we choose to see the positive side to any situation. There is always a silver lining behind every cloud and thunderstorm.

The No Plastic Bag Bazaar is just around the corner (on 31st August). I hope you will find some time to come support us. This would be our first secular (big) event. I'm given a speaking slot at 5pm, towards the end of the event.

And next week onwards, you won't be hearing much from me, especially in the mornings, because my college semester will begin again, and I've been give a packed-to-the-brim timetable to manage. Teaching calculus for 22 hours a week! Is that humanly possible? Well, I'll just have to do my very best.

I like Yoda's famous quote: Do. Or do not. There is no try.

So, let's just DO it. Don't try. Just do it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Suki is Indy's new friend

These two are great sparring buddies now!

No Joanie sightings this morning

I went on a Joanie search this morning, but she was no where to be seen. Spoke to an Indonesian maid, and she was quite sympathetic but she had not seen Joanie anywhere.

I left dry food in three places where she was sighted. On the way back, the food was untouched.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Joanie spotted again!

I had a totally mad day today and have been on my feet from morning till now, and I'm going off again now, to give a talk tonight at my daughter's uni, IMU.

After coming back from Mayo with Maria's cat, Hong Yee brought Aunty Kiew and before I reached home, Aunty Kiew had already spotted Joanie. This time she was on my road but one block down.

According to Aunty Kiew, Joanie saw her, and ran off.

We looked around further, but it started to rain. Quite heavily too. Aunty Kiew left some kibbles but I know the neighbourhood cats would quickly munch it all off.

I guess (and hope) Joanie would be able to find food, somehow.

There are lots of kind people in my neighbourhood, and some houses leave food out for the stray cats.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A treat of sardines

I went again, this evening, with a can of sardines, to the exact spot where Joanie had come out from this morning. I looked inside the drain on both sides, and she was not there.

I brought a little bowl, and left some sardines there with the hope that she might come out to eat.

Then, I went to the back alley to check.

This evening, the neighbourhood cats (strays as well as home pets) had all come out for their evening sojourn. So, I ended up giving them a treat of sardines instead! And did they love it!

I must have fed about ten cats in all, and after the treat, all of them followed me, like an entourage of cats tailing behind me. It must have been a really comical sight.

I then went back to where I had left the bowl of sardines for Joanie. I found two white cats (with collars) happily licking up the last traces of sardines from the bowl!
Oh well, never mind. At least I got to give the cats a treat.
I shall try again tomorrow, though I doubt Joanie would respond to my voice (that feed-me-antiobiotics-and-take-me-to-hospital voice).

We FED Joanie today!!

Yesterday, Hong Yee (the lady who introduced me to Aunty Kiew) emailed to ask if it would help if she brought Aunty Kiew over to my house to try and look for Joanie. I guess it is worth a try, so Hong Yee and Aunty Kiew came this morning, at about 11am.

We patrolled the neighbourhood, and Aunty Kiew used her usual "cat call" (meow, meow, peeet....) to get Joanie to come out. We split up and an Indian lady told Hong Yee she saw Joanie this morning in her backyard. I was so excited when I heard this, and quickly ran back to get a flyer to give to this Indian lady.

It was on the street behind mine that Hong Yee received a call from Aunty Kiew to say Joanie had been spotted. We both rushed there and there she was!!!

It was Joanie!!!

Joanie responded to Aunty Kiew's "cat all" and came out of the drain, looking suspicious. I ran home to get a can of food. Had run out of mackerel, so I brought dog food instead, and Joanie's Tupperware.

Aunty Kiew dished some food out, and Joanie ate!

Although Aunty Kiew was THIS close (a matter of inches), Joanie did not allow herself to be caught.

She ate quite heartily, though. I stood at a distance because I did not want to frighten her. She may associate me with antibiotics, something she doesn't quite like. I also brought the carrier along.

Hong Yee and I decided to go into the drain on one end, and Aunty Kiew, on the other end. And we would wait.

But all it took was one split second, and Joanie escaped right before our eyes. Again! Cats are THAT fast!! They move, I would say, almost at the speed of light.

Later, we brought Suki too, hoping to entice her out. Suki mewed, and mewed, but Joanie would not come out.

Then, we all went back to my house and had a drink.

Later, we went out again, to the same place, and Aunty Kiew used her cat call. Joanie came out again, but Aunty Kiew could not catch her.

We dare not be too aggressive in trying to catch her as that would only frighten her away. You can never catch a cat using force, Aunty Kiew said. And she is absolutely right.

Aunty Kiew had been feeding Joanie for two years now, so Joanie would respond to her familiar cat call.

Well, we did not manage to catch Joanie, but at least we know she is ok, and we even managed to give her a meal. For that, I am relieved and thankful.

I will buy some sardines or mackerel, and try to feed her again tomorrow. Or later, this evening.

I wouldn't mind if Joanie preferred to live in that drain, as long as she is safe. It would be a bonus too, if I get to feed her every day.

I'll be thankful for the little blessings in life!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Searching for Joanie with my cats

That's the drain I first spotted Joanie in, it is right under the pavement leading to my house. I crawled through it (it's much smaller than it looks), and was this close to her, but she dashed off.

That's Pole, Cow and Bunny helping me search this evening. The last photo shows the drain into the corner house where I saw Joanie dash in twice. I think she has found her space in there.

The vet says...

I told Joanie's vet today, that Joanie has left my house. I had waited until today, just in case she might come back. Also, I'm more composed now. Yesterday, I was fluctuating between breaking down and putting up a brave front, and the slightest word would swing me to the former.

Of course the vet was surprised, and we talked at length. We both finally came to the conclusion that it is Joanie's decision on what kind of a life she wants.

The vet told me we had already done everything possible for Joanie, and the comforting thing he said was this: "She must be feeling great since she wants to be on her own again."

Yes, I hope so too.

Last night, I emailed one of my friends in Singapore who is a medical doctor and also a cat-lover (he taught me about TNRM). He said something very wise when I said I was worried since Joanie is supposed to be still on antibiotics: "Sometimes the body immune system is better than antibiotics and keeping in a stressed environment may be more detrimental to her health." Now, that is also comforting to hear.

It also made me realise that while we humans think Joanie is better off sitting on a soft towel in a cage, she may be so uncomfortable and stressed because this is not the life she wants or is used to. Maybe to her, sitting inside a drain is a luxury, being free to roam is a luxury.

Even my own Cow and Bunny, who get to sleep on the bed and sofa, sometimes prefer sitting on the hot tar road under a car, or in the drain. They actually like it.

It is just like what a vet used to tell me, that statistically, zoo animals live longer than animals in the wild, but are the zoo animals happy? Sure, they have food and shelter, but are they happy?

It all boils down to present-moment living and the quality of life.

It is not how long we live, but what kind of life we lead, moment-to-moment.

So, where are you now, Joanie? Wherever you are, be happy.

Thank you for your prayers

I would like to thank all of you who have written to me personally to offer comfort ever since Joanie left home. I guess being a feral cat, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I was unprepared for it to have happened so soon.

It is ironical that I noticed a change of behaviour in Joanie ever since the last visit to the hospital. The surgeon who examined her said two things: (1) that it may not be advisable to put Suki with Joanie because Suki came from the street and may carry diseases. (2) if ever Joanie starts producing milk, I must separate them because Joanie's milk would be laden with antibiotics.

Immediately after that trip, Joanie started distancing from Suki, and that is why Suki began to room in with Vixey, squeezing herself into Vixey's basket and sharing Vixey's router.

Strange how these coincidences happen, isn't it? I shall postulate no more lest I be termed a fool. One of my vets used to say I make a big mistake "humanising" animals (assuming that they think and feel like we humans). He says they don't.

We'll never really know, would we?

Here are some photos of what has been happening around the house since last night.

The first photo shows my daughter, Ming-Yi, who had just come back from university on Friday, playing all night with Suki.

The second photo shows the two soft toys we put as companions to Suki in the big cage last night. That's Lion and PoundPuppy, both washable toys. Lion has faithfully accompanied Tiger and Little Chief when they were small.

The third and fourth photos show little Suki going up to the router again, for warmth. I know the router has electromagnetic radiation and is not safe. I'll take her away and put her back in the cage.

The fifth photo is a rare one, because it shows Polar (or Pole, for short). Polar is from my first rescued litter (with brothers Cow & Bunny, more than three years ago). After living with me for about a year, and after delivering her first litter (was just a little late in getting her spayed), Pole decided she would be happier living outdoors, so she migrated out. She comes back daily for food, sometimes a few times. But there have been times where she disappeared for days on end.

Pole has also made friends with a Rottweiler in one of the neighbour's house, and can be seen eating his food in his compound.

Perhaps Joanie wants to live like Pole too. Females are hunters. It's their natural instinct. Even her daughter, Cleo, prefers to be out of the house.

Pole, incidentally, accompanies me whenever I go searching for Joanie. The moment she hears my voice (calling for Joanie), Pole would come out from under a car or from the bushes, or from someone's house compound, and follows me.

Wherever you are, Joanie, be safe and happy. I miss you terribly, of course. I've been coming downstairs every morning and the first thing I do is to check on you, feed you, and give you your medication, and to rejoice that you are getting better every day.

I will miss all our trips to the hospital where you will be in the carrier while we both listen to Josh Groban belting away his Italian songs.

I am glad you feel well enough to be on your own now.

Be safe, Joanie. And be happy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's night time now

At dinner time, the TV was playing Disney's Peter Pan and when it came to the part where Wendy was singing to the Lost Boys about a mother's love, all my defenses broke down and I went into the kitchen to have a "good cry" (I wonder now, why they call it a "good" cry).

Ever since going missing, I think I saw Joanie thrice today. I was very sure it was her the first time in the morning, but the next two times, I'm not that sure. However, from her movements, I'm quite convinced that it was her.

I went out again just now, to look for her. I thought being nocturnal, she might come out at night. Throughout the day, in all the times that I saw her, she was inside the drain, never once on the road.

Maybe she wants to be in the "wild" again, and sleeping on a blanket inside a cage just isn't her cup of tea.

My daughter kept Suki company just now, and we brought down two soft toys for her. Now, she is fast asleep inside the big cage - Joanie's home ever since coming back from the hospital.

Tomorrow morning, I have to give a talk. This won't be the first time I'd have to put on a brave front for the audience and deliver a public talk again.

I wonder now, if Joanie is inside that drain (in that corner house), because I caught a glimpse of her using that route TWICE today. She would go along the big drain and turn right into this smaller drain (within the compound of the corner house). Maybe she has found herself a "home" there and is comfortable. I certainly hope so.

My friend from the Spore Community Cats advised me to think of Joanie having an exciting adventure now. He says worrying does not help and he is absolutely right.

So I should not pour my emotions out here - no use going there.

I figured the only way to console myself is to accept the fact that Joanie needed my help when her life was hanging by the thread and when she needed nursing care. Now that she is well enough, she has decided to return to her feral life, and I should be able to let her go.

Just as I'm writing this, Aunty Kiew text me to ask about Joanie. Call it good or bad timing, I don't know. I have not heard from Aunty Kiew for quite long now. So I told her what had happened.

Aunty Kiew merely said, "Oh, so naughty!" And she told me Joanie sometimes would disappear too, over in Old Klang Road. Then she said, "Ahh...she is a stray, that's the way they behave."

I guess Joanie enjoys the feral life. And Aunty Kiew said if I could catch Joanie, perhaps I should bring her back to Old Klang Road and let her have her old life again.

One day at a time, I suppose.

Be safe, Joanie, wherever you are now (I hope you are in that drain, safe and sound, and dry).

I spotted Joanie again this evening

This time it was Cleo who alerted me that Joanie was under the pavement inside the drain. I quickly jumped into the drain, and I saw a cat running away, straight down and turned right into another drain leading into the corner house down my road.

She behaved in the same way this afternoon as well.

Assuming that it is Joanie, at least I know she is near.

I've consulted friends to ask for ideas on how I might be able to get her to come home. Putting food out won't help at all because my cats would instantly eat it all up. I don't know what else to do now.

We took Suki down the road again just now, but Joanie did not appear.

It is already getting dark now.

She's been in my house for more than 2 weeks now, and on the first five days, I was with her for many hours in the hospital. She knows her name and she knows me.

Poor Suki is sleeping against the router now, for warmth.

Come back soon, Joanie...

Flyers distributed for Joanie

It is now 4.21pm, I've just distributed flyers, and talked to as many neighbours as I could, regarding Joanie. No one has seen her.

We have even taken Suki down the road twice already, hoping her mewing would attract Joanie out of her hiding place.

Polar, Cow, Bunny and Tiger (all my senior cats) followed me on my rounds.

Where are you, Joanie?

I hope she will come back when she is hungry. I just gave her a treat of canned mackerel this morning and she loved it very much.

I must have looked into all the boxes and under the beds more than ten times today, each time, hoping...I might see Joanie peeping out at me.

It has been five hours

It has started raining again. From the time Joanie went missing this morning till now, I have been out a total of four times, looking for her. If you've read the posting before this, I actually spotted her inside the drain. I am 95% sure it was her because I was THIS close, only to have her dash away from me. Cats are just so, so incredibly fast.

Just now, Tiger accompanied me on the hunt. Cow and Bunny are aware of what is going on. I wish they could speak, then they would be able to tell me where Joanie is, or if she has just decided to go for a day out.

Perhaps Joanie is sick and tired of sitting in the house. Perhaps she is sick of being force-fed the antiobiotics. Perhaps she knows she has healed and she knows she does not need the medication anymore.

I don't know why she ran away.

I hope it is just for a day out, and she will return for food later in the evening.

Wherever you are, Joanie, please be safe and happy.

If you prefer to be a feral cat as you were before, I can understand and respect that. But be safe, please.

Joanie - Spotted!

I went round on foot again, looking for Joanie, and this time, Cow and Bunny followed me. About four houses down, Cow was there in the drain, and seemed to be telling me something, so I quickly got down into the drain and looked. There, about 4m away was a cat, and it was tabby.

I know there are at least two more tabbies on the road (they are Tiger's friends) so I wasn't sure if it was Joanie. I called her name, and the cat looked in my direction. She was inside the drain, but under the driveway of a house, so it was too dark for me to know for sure if it was Joanie.

I called several times, and she looked in my direction. When I approached her, she would move further away.

As I was alone, there was nothing much I could do except to wait, and I used my handphone to call my daughter to come and help. Perhaps we could block off the drain on both ends and "corner" her until she comes out.

My daughter was still asleep and did not hear the phone.

I must have stayed in the drain for 15-20 minutes. The cat looked at me and did not budge.

Finally, I decided to quickly run home and get my daughter.

We got a can of mackerel and got into both ends of the drain. The cat was still there. My daughter shone a torchlight at her, but still, we could not be sure if it was Joanie.

Knowing a cat has tremendous patience, I decided to crawl into the drain and get her while my daughter would block off the other end.

The drain was incredibly slimy and very narrow, and I could barely get in. I was on my hands and knees and there was rough concrete debris, animal faeces and "other things".

I must have crawled about 4 m into the drain when I encountered pieces of wood supporting the pavement above from collapsing. These pieces of wood hampered me as it made the space half the size now, and I could barely get through.

I had to use my hands to clear off the cobwebs, but I was very near the cat now. I saw that familiar marking on the head. It IS Joanie!! And I saw the white paws too (on the hind leg). I was quite sure it was Joanie and was so excited.

Just then, she made a dash through the pieces of wood, and zoomed past me. Before I knew it (it isn't easy to move about inside the drain), she had whizzed past me and run off.


We tracked her for awhile after that, still inside the drain, and by the time I got out of that slimy drain, Joanie was no where to be seen again.

My daughter carried Suki down the road with the hope that Suki's scent or mewing might attract Joanie out and make her come home, but there was no sign of her still.

If a cat wants to come home, she will.

If she doesn't, there is no way any human can force her to.

My hands and knees are lacerated (from the concrete debris), and I have just taken a bath.

It is raining now, though not very heavy.

Joanie, if that was you, I really hope you know what you are doing.

Perhaps Joanie prefers the feral life, living in the drains where she feels more comfortable.

Sometimes we think sleeping on a soft blanket and being served mackerel and Hill's Science AD is a grand luxury. For us, maybe, but not for the cat.

They know what they want.

I hope that cat was Joanie. At least I know she is safe and independent.

It really looked like Joanie, though. I saw the familiar unique marking on her head and the white paw, and she did look each time I called her name.

The rain is getting heavier now.

Joanie, where are you?

Joanie is missing

I spent the last one hour scouring the neighbourhood looking for Joanie. The last I saw her was in the living room, under her favourite coffee table. The next thing I knew, she was nowhere to be found. I have search every nook and corner of the house - she is not here.

I have gone on foot, and by car, around my neighbourhood, calling out her name, but she is nowhere to be seen.

If this were the first time a cat has gone missing from my house, I would ring the panic button and cry buckets right now, but I have encountered this before...and learnt from it. Polar (also a female, but very independent) has gone missing for as many as 5 days to a week, but she finally came home, and still comes home now. Wolf went missing, but never came home.

Some of my friends scold me for not caging my cats, but cats are independent and free-roaming creatures. They will not be happy being caged up. None of my cats are caged up, unless they are sick. It is my decision not to cage my cats, even after Kimba passed away. I know there are risks that come with this decision, but I believe they will be happier being free.

I have also learnt that if a cat does not want to be found, you will never be able to find him/her.

It is ironical that my husband predicted that Joanie will run away once she has healed. He said he could see that in her eyes, that she is a free spirit, and wants to be so. "She is just waiting to run..." was his exact words.

Of course I hope Joanie will return. I know she has that homing instinct, because she went missing from her colony for 4-5 days when she was living in Old Klang Road. But when she was suffering from her obstructed labour and needed help, she went back to Aunty Kiew and asked for help. Aunty Kiew also told me that Joanie is a very "unsociable" cat and would not even allow her to pat her, or come near even though Aunty Kiew feeds her.

If Joanie does not return, I know she has healed and prefers a free life. If Joanie is in pain, is hungry or misses Suki, I am sure she would return.

I am very sad right now, and I am crying.

But this is a fact of life, and this is the way it is.

I have to accept things as they are.

Joanie has lived her entire life as a feral cat. Maybe she prefers to be so, and is not happy living inside a house. It is her decision and I have to accept that.

If you can, please pray that Joanie is safe, wherever she is.

I will pray for her safety and happiness.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joanie & Suki's trip to the hospital

I brought Joanie and Suki to the hospital today since Joanie's last pee was on Monday morning. The surgeon examined Joanie and said there is actually nothing much they could do except to observe her and....wait for her to pee. He also checked Suki and dewormed her.

Joanie had another blood test taken (this is now on a weekly basis to monitor her status) and it was "ok", "normal" for a cat who has gone through such a terrible ordeal. The results also show that there is still some infection inside her (from the white blood cell count), so the surgeon advised that she would have to go on antibiotics for a total of 4-6 weeks from the time of the surgery. It has only been 2 weeks.

Just before taking them back, the young vet came in and he too examined Joanie. Just as we laid her on the table, within minutes....yes, the miracle happened...
She pee-ed!
And a whole lot too.
Then, as I carried her to the sink to wash her up, I felt some poo coming out, and yes, she poo-ed as well!
The vet exclaimed, "Wow!! This is nice poo. I really like this poo!" It was very well-formed and certainly passed as "healthy poo". Any pee and poo from Joanie is always a welcome sight and smell!
We joked that perhaps it's the vet's voice that triggers the pee, or was it the aluminium top of the table? Or the gentle massaging that the vet had done?
We'll never know. I don't mind purchasing that table or recording the vet's voice if that's what helps Joanie to pee!
Just minutes ago, little Suki defecated, and guess what, along with the poo, was a 2 1/2 inch WORM!
Imagine this long worm had been living inside her tiny stomach for weeks...
Btw, the surgeon and the vet put Suki's age as anything between 3 to 5 weeks. I'd say she is about 4 weeks now.

Hide and seek!!

Just take a look at that! How on earth did Suki go UNDER the cage INTO the tray beneath? I cannot figure it out!
Isn't she just a bundle of joy?!!

Past midnight

Hello everyone and anyone who might still be awake at this unearthly hour! I came back past midnight after a rather interesting interfaith dialogue in Gombak.

Joanie and Suki are already fast asleep now. But Joanie has not pee-ed for today, so I might have to bring her to hospital again tomorrow.

Poor girl (Joanie, and also me!)

The reason there was no posting this afternoon is that I was running around doing AnimalCare work. I am delighted that many people have written to and called me, wanting to adopt the white kitten I had advertised. White kittens seem to be so popular (white supremacy?), and I did not even know she is purebred, because the cat experts have classified her as a "belgian shepherd laekenois kitten". Goodness gracious! I didn't know that! I'm normally not too interested in branding. A cat is a cat. A dog is a dog. I don't know their "brands"!

And to that, people sometimes exclaim, "HOW can you NOT know??? I thought you like animals!" Precisely, my friends, I do like animals....that is why I don't bother to know what breed they are. I like them all.

So back to this belgian shepherd laekenois kitten now - I have three people lining up for her, but I'm most likely to give it to the first one, a very kind lady by the name of Asnidar, whom I shall be meeting tomorrow. Asnidar was looking for a kitten to give to a mother-cat who has just lost her own babies. Hey, sounds familiar, yah?

And when Rani said she has another slightly older kitten as well, Asnidar said she would take them both! Oh wow! Isn't that wonderful?

Now, I have to ask Rani to ask around for more baby kittens. I need two more baby kittens for the other two persons waiting in line.

Suddenly, we have more adopters than adoptees?

This is almost too good to be true!

Good night........good morning!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good morning!

It is 6.21am now, and I've just finished feeding my colony and cleaning up Joanie's poo! Yes, she poo-ed a lot last night in her litter box, and it was well-formed. And wonders of wonders, Vixey poo-ed as well (she uses the bathroom). Again, I wonder if it's the coconut water... The fact that Vixey poos is an occasion to celebrate because she suffers from life-long constipation (due to a brain trauma and spinal chord injury about two years ago).

Miss FW left a lovely comment in my previous posting - thank you! It is so nice to know that there are people out there who are following Joanie-Suki's progress.

So I thought it might be nice to show you some photos of one part of my colony. The rest have eaten and gone out for their morning walk by now.

The first photo shows Joanie grooming Suki in their cage. Both had a feast of AD today. I should switch them over to dry food soon, or I'll be milked dry (AD is RM8.20 per can, but I get it for RM7.50 now)! They practically eat one can per meal now. That's a good sign, of course. AD is very good for Joanie, so I'll keep her on it for some time still. The surgeon did say her recovery might take months.

The second photo shows Bobby, my 13-year old "mongrel poodle". He's mixed, and we got him because my children were young at that time and were afraid of the bigger dogs at PAWS (I had wanted to adopt), so we had to get really small dogs. Hence, we ended up with Bobby (we were told his mother was a toy poodle, and the adult size would be 10 inches - Bobby must have taken after his father instead!) and Mac (a Pomeranian returned by his owner). Poodles, I just learned, are the most jealous dogs in the world, and it's true. Try living with one, and you'll see. But...Bobby has been super magnanimous, sharing his house with all the cats. Not only that, he also looks after every rescued kitten I bring back. Bless his kind heart.

The third photo shows our landlady, Vixey. Vixey is sitting on her router. Due to her brain trauma about two years ago, doctors aren't too sure how much damage is in her now. But, one vet suspects she has hypothyroidism, which means, she will always feel cold. That is why she always sleeps on the router. She doesn't want a hot water bottle, though. Even before the brain trauma, she would look for plugs to sit on (when she was smaller). One vet suspects her problem is congenital, and not a result of the brain trauma.
The fourth photo shows Little Chief (now renamed Wii, by my son). Little Chief is Vixey's brother. Both were found abandoned in a rubbish heap at the playground behind my house. Wii is at least three times the size of little Vixey now. Read Pawprints, please ("The Miracle of Vixey"), it's a very touching story of how Vixey survived the brain trauma and how Wii looked after her. The photo, by the way, shows Wii having descended into the kitchen sink, licking every bit of the can (a treat, to bribe them into accepting Joanie and Suki into the fold). Yes, the bribery is still on. I don't take chances.
The fifth photos shows Bunny. Bunny is one of the first kittens I rescued. He has just passed his 3rd birthday now. Bunny is our biggest cat, and one of the gentlest now. I volunteered him for a blood donation for a kitten more than a year ago, and a blood test revealed that he has FIV (that's like HIV in humans). He probably got it from birth since he too was rescued together with Cow and Polar. They were found abandoned by the roadside and were only 2 days old when I picked them up. Bobby helped me nurse them.
When Bunny was diagnosed with FIV, the vet almost insisted that I should have him put down. I couldn't understand this. Why should you put down a cat just because he has FIV? Do you put down a human who has HIV? I understand that FIV can spread through fighting (scratching) and mating. Bunny is neutered. But he used to fight (he owned an alley near my house) though it was the stand-off kind of "fighting".
So I came back and had a long talk with Bunny, and told him he must not fight anymore, and that he should stay home most of the time. He listened, and he stayed home! The vet told me the lifespan of FIV-positive cats is about 3 years (based on his experience), but I've seen one who is 7 years old at the clinic.
One day at a time...
We live each day, doing the best we can, for those around us. Life is not a bed roses, believe me. We accept this fact, and we do our best and be thankful for the good things that come our way.
That's all that matters, isn't it?
Now, let me prepare for my interfaith dialogue tonight at the International Islamic University. Can I talk about kindness to animals? I actually did mention a little, in my previous interfaith forum at the Pure Life Society, and many ladies were delighted that I did! They said it was the first time they had heard animals being giving their due rights in a religious forum.
"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.
"The deeper minds of all ages have had pity for animals." - Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher.

Monday, August 17, 2009

La La Lu

It is now 11.36pm. As I am here, racking my brains to think of what to say in an interfaith dialogue I'm attending tomorrow night, our two friends, Joanie and Suki have gone back to their cage and are fast asleep.

I am instantly reminded of this song from my childhood, "La La Lu", from Disney's Lady & the Tramp. For those of you who are too young to know this song, do google it and listen to it.
It's lovely...
La la lu, La la lu
Oh, my little star sweeper
I’ll sweep the stardust for you
La la lu, La la lu
Little soft fluffy sleeper
Here comes a pink cloud for you
La la lu, La la lu
Little wandering angel
Fold up your wings for tonight
La la lu, La la lu
And may love be your keeper
La la lu, La la lu, La la lu
Goodnight, everyone. And may love be your keeper always.

Three's a crowd!

Good morning everyone. I came downstairs this morning, and after feeding my colony, was pleasantly greeted by Joanie who had ransacked her litter box completely. When I checked, she had pee-ed on her towels - a whole lot too, some even spilled into the tray under her cage. And this is unmistakbly Joanie's because Suki was in her own cage all night.

Yes!! Is it the coconut water? The vet doesn't think so, but he has asked me to keep all the "constants", ie. the medication, the coconut water and the chicken soup (for the soul? no, for the bladder!!). Do anything, as long as she pees, he had said.

Now, let me tell you something rather interesting that happened last night. I was burning the midnight oil, trying to finish all my marking, and it was already past midnight when I decided I must sleep. But Joanie and Suki were still happily tugged inside Vixey's favourite bungalow, both sleeping like babies, and I was discussing with my husband if we should put them both back into their separate cages. I was still afraid Joanie might attempt to run away (back to Old Klang Road - one cannot be too certain about these things). We talked at length over this, and finally decided we should put them back.

When we went into the room, believe it or not....

Joanie was walking back into her cage...all by herself.

You tell me....can she read my mind???

That's last night.

Now, this morning, after breakfast for the twosome, Joanie and Suki decided they wanted to move into Vixey's bungalow again, and this time, with Vixey inside!

So, both of them moved in, and oh dear, poor Vixey thought three's a crowd, so she moved out. For a few seconds the three of them were inside this little cardboard box (I mean, bungalow) and that photograph would have....well, struck a lottery!! Wasn't fast enough to take a snapshot, but here's Vixey moving out of her abode, and this is her favourite bungalow too.

Poor thing, now, Vixey's in her Summer Palace in the kitchen.

I'd say Vixey has been extremely magnanimous in sharing her space and her houses with Joanie and Suki.

What a great cat! And who says she is mentally retarded? Well, all the vets say so, based on her medical tests (blood tests and x-rays), but don't we know better?

Vixey, as I've written in Pawprints, is like Yoda. You'd never really know how much she knows.

But, she knows...

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Joanie news

My regular coffee shop for coconut water was closed today, so I drove around Subang Jaya looking for coconut water to buy for Joanie. Finally, found a shop that sells it so I brought the coconut water home (yes, I can drive already, though I still cannot walk properly).

But Joanie is naughty today and spat out half of what I fed her.

I also saw two patches of urine in her litter box, but I dont know if it is hers because on both occasions, naughty little Suki was inside the same cage. Suki spends half the time with Joanie now. It relieves ME a great deal!

I also went down to the clinic. Rani had rescued a dog from USJ11 and is now boarding at the clinic. It's a very friendly dog and is definitely a home pet. Rani has asked me to help her find the owner. I've put up a pet profile at I hope the dog will be reunited with his owner soon.

At the clinic there was a very sick kitten. He's being treated for mange, and appeared to be very weak. He could not even get up. Was in a lying down position (sideways). Poor little thing. I stayed and talked to him for a while, telling him to be strong and that he must get well. He mewed, and then he got up and walked towards me. I hope he gets well soon. Will go see him again tomorrow.

Sometimes don't you wish you had a few pairs of hands, and a few houses (!) so that you can bring back all these sick animals and nurse them? If only we had more "animal nurses". Sometimes, as Terry said, all it takes is just to hug them. That already helps. Even if you don't succeed in healing them, at least you've filled their final days with love and caring.

AnimalCare is looking for fosterers and "nurses". If you are keen to help, please contact me. You don't have to be trained. All it takes is to look deep into your heart, and you will know what to do. It complements what medicine is already doing. It really, really helps. Believe me, it does.

For every life saved or comforted, you have given something precious and meaningful to a fellow living being.

Joanie and Suki

Mother and daughter are doing fine today. For those of you who don't know this case, Joanie was a stray cat who suffered from obstructed labour. When we were called to help, she was already dying - her babies had decomposed to a gaseous state, and the vets think she could have been in that state for at least a week. Her prognosis was so bad that the vets thought she would not even survive the surgery, but she did. She was in a critical condition for the next few days, but gradually, she showed promising signs of recovery. Please click on the Joanie label in this website if you wish to know her story:

Suki (aka Xiao Li) was rescued by Yen Ling after having fallen into the drain THREE times. Hers was a sad case because her own mother did not bother about her. Maybe the mum was afraid of water as Suki was found covered with filth, oil and moss in the dirty drain. She was only about 2 weeks old, and the mortality rate for kittens this young is very high.

To cut a long story short, I decided to put the two together. I felt Joanie was depressed because she had lost all her babies. Suki needs a mother's warmth and love. So, I tried, and it seems to be working well now.

Joanie is responding exactly as a mother-cat would. She lets Suki suckle all day, and is very protective of her. The vet tells me that although technically, Joanie has no milk anymore, sometimes the suckling can make her produce milk again. The milk production does not come from the ovaries (Joanie had a total hysterectomy to remove the uterus and all her decomposed babies), but it is from the brain.

I don't know if there is milk, but little Suki is so happily suckling.

Whatever it is, the emotional bonding is helping both of them.

Joanie is still not fully recovered. Those of you who have been keeping up with her news would know about her urinary problem. That part of the tissue connecting the urethra to the vulva was already dying due to the extent of septicaemia. We are now hoping that somehow, it will heal. To hope that it will regenerate is...well, too much to hope for. We would be happy enough if it heals and she can urinate daily. If she cannot, it can lead to severe kidney problems.

The good sign last night was that she squated to urinate - that's voluntary urination. Earlier on, the vets and I said we would already be so happy even if she just leaks it out. So, that's already a bonus!

The vets continue to be amazed at Joanie's recovery. Until today, they say Joanie is a total miracle. Every day of her being alive IS a miracle.

Yes, miracles do happen, sometimes, if you believe and work towards it. And even if it doesn't and things do not work out as you wish it would, at least you've tried your best, and that's all that counts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A picture of peace

I managed to finally "coax" Joanie to come out from under the bed, ie. I pulled her out, and in the process, I have some scars to show for it!

Not taking anymore chances, I'm putting her back into the cage. Earlier in the evening, I took her out into the garden to let her get a feel of some sand, but she just sat on it and did not pee.
I even got some chicken meat and cooked for her, thinking that she might prefer her "former diet" when she was a stray, but she merely licked up all the soup and left the solids untouched. Suki tried to eat the solids, though, and ended up having some chicken skin stuck in her mouth. I had to battle with her to get the stuff out of her teeth.
So Joanie has not pee-ed since the last trip to hospital. I also gave her coconut water today. Didn't seem to work.
I called the vet, and he too is puzzled. She seems to only pee when she is at the hospital. The vet thinks (and I hope he is right) that it is a behavioural problem and not a physiological one.
If indeed it is a behavioural problem, we need a feline psychiatrist to talk to Joanie, ie.
Psychiatrist: So Joanie, tell me a bit about your childhood...
Joanie: ........
Any animal communicator out there?
I'll have to send Joanie to the hospital first thing tomorrow morning. No Bentong trip for me tomorrow then. Anyway, tomorrow there is a big ceremony at LLLF - lots of people are going to release animals. I'm not much of a ceremony person because I'm scared of human crowds. And with a sprained ankle, it's best to stay home and rest.
Rest? With two dog and ten to?

All in a day's work

The following account is from one of AnimalCare's volunteers, Mr Lim. If you'd like to find out more about the monitor lizard, please contact him at
At 8.15am, I received a distress SMS from a friend in Kuala Kubu Bahru to rescue a mother cat and her four kittens. The SMS read “There is a mother cat with 4 kittens in Bodhydrama, Kuala Kubu Bahru n all r hungry n thin. D workers r going 2 send them 2 d market next week. Either here or d market, they will die. Can someone help. Plse advise. TQ. I m in retreat.”
I didn’t know how old the kittens are and I assumed that they are all new born kittens. So I left for Kuala Kubu Bahru at 10.30am armed with 3 packets of milk (for the kitten), 3 tins of wet food and some dry food for the mother cat. I also brought along a syringe to handfeed the kittens with milk. I have seen KahYein feeding the kittens with a syringe before but I have never done it myself personally. Like it or not, I have to handfeed the kittens.
I arrived at the Bodhydrama Centre at around 12noon and was shown the kittens behind the kitchen.
It was a relief to me when I saw the kittens. They are actually quite big – probably about 2 months old. They are a bit thin as the friend had said but they are definitely not dying. They were running around mischievously. The friend was very concerned that the kittens would be dumped at the market soon, hence the distress SMS to me for help. I then handed the foodstuffs to the workers at the centre and told them not to dump the kittens.
I hope my appeal to them did not fall on deaf ears.
I left the centre at around 12.45pm. From KKB, I took a country road through Bukit Sentosa to Bukit Beruntung.
I was almost reaching Bukit Beruntung when I suddenly saw a 2-feet long monitor lizard lying motionlessly in the middle of the road. It was lying in a rather dangerous spot of the road where there was a bend. I drove past it and look at it again through my rear mirror. Even though it was motionless, my instinct told me that the monitor lizard could still be alive. I immediately made a U-turn and drove back towards the lizard. Several cars were passing by that stretch of the road at that time and I was praying that they would not roll over the monitor lizard. After parking my car, I quickly ran towards the monitor lizard and found that it was still alive. A few cars and lorries drove towards me and I had to signal them to avoid them running over the lizard and me. I picked the monitor lizard up and placed it by the side of the road, free from harm. Then I ran back to my car again to collect an animal carrier from the boot of my car. (I had brought the carrier along to save the mother cat and four kittens).
I then smsed KahYein whether the vets at Subang Jaya or the animal hospital in Gasing can treat the injured monitor lizard. Her advice was to bring it to them. AnimalCare would sponsor the medical cost for the lizard.
I drove the injured monitor lizard to a vet in Section 17 and reached the vet at around 2.10pm. The vet has never treated a wild monitor lizard before but she said she would try her best. An examination of the lizard showed no external injuries but there are internal injuries judging from the bleeding in its mouth and blood clot on its skin.
The vet gave the lizard four types of injections. It took a bit of time to inject the lizard as it gave quite a very strong resistance. Furthermore it was quite difficult for the needle to pierce through the thick skin of the lizard.
The lizard is now in my house, recuperating from its injuries. I will have to nurse him/her for a few days before I release it to the wild unless somebody wants to adopt it. In the meantime, please send positive energy to the injured monitor lizard.
Any adopters?
AnimalCare Volunteer