Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My personal bodyguard

I've always had this dream (and it is likely to remain so) of having a big tiger (yes, those real orange-coloured ones that you find in the jungles of Malaysia) as a pet. One whom I could take for walks without a leash and who would walk beside me, and I won't even have to lock the doors at night because my pet tiger would be on guard. 

But...of course, that isn't possible in this lifetime since I have no plans of migrating to live in the jungle.

Little did I know I actually already have a smaller version of my dream-come-true...

Yes, this is my personal bodyguard, and coincidentally, he is called Tiger, too.

This morning, since it's a public holiday, I thought I should go for a walk around the neighbourhood, something I have not done for a long, long time. As I headed out down the road, Indy and Pole followed. I know they would usually do this, but they would stop after a few houses. 

But as I reached the end of the road, Tiger came trotting after me, and he was meowing very loudly. I knew he was trying to get me to come home as that's about as far as the cats would go. Beyond that point, it is already considered crossing into enemy territory, and one may not be safe anymore. So, Tiger meowed and meowed for me to return.  

I had no choice. I couldn't let him worry, so I turned back and we both walked back to the house. No, actually, we FOUR walked back - Tiger, Pole, Indy and me.

Then, I thought maybe I could sneak off up the road instead when Tiger's not looking.  

So I tried....

No way...I could not get away with this either.  

Tiger came trotting after me, this time with Indy and Pole as well, so three cats came after me, urging me with meows to get home and not cross the boundary.

I just had to turn around and go home with them.  

I mean, HOW could anyone disappoint these sweet little things, right?

I guess just as we create boundaries for their safety, they also do that for us.  

Just as we impose our rules on them (for their own good), they also do that for us (for our own good), and we just have to respect and appreciate them for it.

My son took this photo this afternoon when I was dead tired and had plonked on the floor for a nap. I didn't know Cow, Tiger and Bobby had joined me too! Notice that Tiger is on guard and not sleeping.

P.S. Cow was in a cranky mood this afternoon and bit Ming-Yi real hard on the hand. It bled in spurts. I had to take her for a tetanus jab! Now, Cow is feeling real bad about it and he is camping outside Ming-Yi's door, meowing softly.  

Life is never boring....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pole gets the pink box

Pole is really fighting her way back into the house, I think....(I hope!)

 She took over the pink box tonight...

 Bunny has to take a tshirt box.

As tough as he looks, Bunny is a real....bunny.

And when one learns to give and take,
there will be peace on earth and goodwill to all cats!

Goodnight, folks!

Pole fights back

Last night, after what I thought would be a peaceful night where Pole had taken one of the tshirt boxes as her bed, there was an "episode" in the room.  It happened too fast to be caught on camera, though.

So, there was Pole, sleeping peacefully in the tshirt box while Bunny was on his pink box, as usual, both in the same room. 

No issue with that. 

Cow came in and wondered why Pole, of all people, was in the room, so he neared the box to look and check if it was really Pole.

Pole got up and hissed. Then she growled. Real fiercely.

Before I knew it, Bunny, poor thing, was so afraid, he jumped off his pink box and ran out for his life!

He was so scared, he slept out in the porch all night.  

 Pole, after the hissing and growling episode last night.
Nobody's taking my tshirt box away from me!

This morning, all was well again....

 Bunny was back for breakfast as usual. Raw chicken followed by kibbles.

 But on the way out after breakfast, Bunny decided to take it out on poor Indy.

There was a stand-off, which we humans intercepted. Note Indy's fluffed-up tail.
Indy ran upstairs to hide and Bunny ran out of the house.

Sorry, but did I start this?

No, Cow, not you. Don't worry...

Er....did I miss anything?

And with that, we wish you all "Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin" and may there be peace on earth!
(Since there can be peace even in the animal kingdom!)

P.S. Later, my son said he saw Indy carrying a squirrel all the way from upstairs and he ran out the window downstairs. I know only female cats hunt. Maybe Indy found the squirrel from somewhere and he wanted to take it back out to the garden? We won't know....

Monday, August 29, 2011

The new guardian of the tshirts

Pole has been coming back quite a bit these days...

 The other day she even shared the table with Bunny!

 Now, she's right here in the room with me.

Goodnight...time to call it a day... 

Sleep tight, dream your troubles away...

Goodnight, in spite of any sorrow 
There's a brand new day on it's way tomorrow 

Someday, all your dreams will come true 
Someway, for me and you 
So close your eyes and dream of it my darling 
Till then goodnight, 
Goodnight, sleep tight.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Breakfast, Pole-hunting and making memories

My typical day starts with Cleo (the alarm clock) waking me up, and usually, there would be at least two cats in the bedroom (Which two? They take turns and I haven't quite figured out their system yet!). This morning, it was Bunny and Indy. Bobby is of course, still sleeping at my foot.  Usually Cow sleeps next to him.

So I get up and everyone else is either just outside the room, on the stairs and at the foot of the stairs.

But today, Pole wasn't here.

I decided to feed the rest first and will go look for Pole when it's a bit brighter.

So, first thing first, everybody gets one round of kibbles.  

Then, it's waiting for Bobby to come down so that I can cook his stir-fried chicken for him.  That's Bobby's breakfast.  Bunny and Cleo get their raw chicken treat. They are the only ones who would eat raw chicken.  

Round One is done.  

Then, as the sun rises, there's Round Two.

The reason there are so many rounds is that all the cats don't eat very much at one go.  Rather, they eat frequently.  It's like feeding on demand, which of course, many vets do not recommend, but what would you do if they just refuse to eat a lot, right?  You wouldn't want to force them, and anyway, HOW can you force a cat to do anything?  

This is Round Two:

Cleo absolutely INSISTS on fresh foods. She thinks food from the container is more fresh than those dished out, even if you do it right before her eyes. So, she just HAS to eat directly from the container. 

Cow is very "chinchai". He doesn't mind eating from anywhere, and when he was young, he would wait for Bunny and Pole to finish eating, then he comes and picks up all the left-overs. So, as cranky as he is (he hisses and bites whenever he feels like it), you just got to give him credit for his "good side". My son says he never quite had a childhood as he spent his time looking after Bunny and Pole, and later, Tiger, so that explains his slightly "dysfunctional" behaviour now.  We accept Cow as who he is - Cow.

 Indy is a very easily-contented cat. He has had Round One, he doesn't need Round Two. This is Indy's granite table.

Bunny is also quite contented. No need Round Two.
(He looks like a feline Schwarzenegger, right?)

You know, when I rescued Cow, Bunny and Pole from the roadside five years ago, I was told they would not survive as they were only 2 days old. Then, I was told they would be very small-sized since handfed kittens are usually so. I don't know how Cow and Bunny grew to be so big! They are not fat, they are actually big-boned, muscular and very tall! My son says they are so long-legged, they look like those long-legged robots in Star Wars. 

Yesterday evening, there was quite a scene at home. I was out giving a talk and when I returned, I saw Bunny sleeping contentedly on the "favourite chair". You see, the favourite chair belongs to Bobby. But the cats will try very, very hard to take turns on it whenever Bobby jumps down. Yesterday, apparently, according to my husband, Bunny wanted the chair. But Bunny is not aggressive or demanding, so he waited patiently at a distance. The moment Bobby jumped down, he rushed over and jumped up and settled comfortably on the chair. 

But Bobby is blind and his sense of smell isn't too good either.  So, Bobby came back soon after, and unknowingly climbed onto the chair only to be scratched by Bunny. My husband witnessed the whole thing. Now, he's an old-schooled Chinese who firmly believes in respect for the elders, so he reprimanded Bunny, and tried to carry Bunny down, but NO....Bunny would not allow this. He looked at my husband and meowed loudly as though pleading, "But I waited patiently for this chair and I've got it now, so it's mine for now!"

You've got to give it to Bunny, you know...he really has a way of getting what he wants, so husband relented and Bunny got his chair for the entire evening. We pacified Bobby by putting him on the sofa instead.  

I don't know why, but everybody seems to like that chair.  

Back to my breakfast story now...

So, I have to hunt for Pole.  She's usually in one of the neighbours' house.  There are three houses that allow her to sleep on their porches.  

So, I went out calling for Pole.....

 There she is. Obviously, she's decided it's Sunday, so she could sleep in.

 Oh, it's time for breakfast already??

 Cleo never fails to dutifully wait for her mum.
This is what I call unfailing loyalty and filial piety. 
(My vet doesn't agree but we have agreed to disagree on many things!)

Cow comes out too.

 Bunny also.

Cow and Bunny are Pole's brothers. They both chased Pole out of the house after Pole was done breastfeeding her litter.  Ever since then, Pole lived as a community cat and seems to prefer it. That's four years already now. 

 I carry Pole back and put her on the ground, but she is still scared, so I carry her into the house.

 When this happens, Pole always gets a special treat (to tell her it's worth coming back). So, it's Fussie Cat for her first. But this can has been in the fridge for three days, and no, no, Pole wants it fresh as well.

 Bunny doesn't mind. "I'll eat it", he says.

Indy also doesn't mind and neither does Tiger. So, there goes the 3-day old canned food. All finished now.

 Pole gets a fresh can, and oh well, everybody gets a bit too.
 Is this counted as Round Three?

 Indy is very easily contented. 

 Cow also.

 And Bobby wonders why everybody is eating again, so he also comes out, and he's almost finished his stir-fried chicken (just one piece left, and he cannot see it. Never mind, Bunny will eat it up later.) 

Bobby actually cannot remember when he has eaten, so he'll ask for food each time I come home....from anywhere. His cue is me coming home.  But he cannot eat too much at this age or he'll have pasty stools, so I have to limit his meals to just twice a day.  

Husband ensuring Bobby gets his chair this morning.

Eh, who are you calling "dysfunctional"?
Ok, point taken, Cow. You're not dysfunctional, you're....SPECIAL!

So, that's today's breakfast story.  

And as simple as it may be, it's memories in the making. 

Cherish moments with your loved ones, you'll never know when they would be taken from you, or you taken from them.

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Karuna goes to the vet's

My mum called this morning to say there were blood stains on where Karuna lies on the floor, so it's off to the vet's for Karuna today.

 She has wounds again, and this time, it's due to pressure on her body as a result of lying down too much. Her fur was shaven, and the wound cleaned with water. 

There was also already a layer of "air" between the skin and the flesh, and this skin would have to be cut. 

Karuna was muzzled and the vet proceeded to cut the skin off. Can't use any sedative as she did not take the  anaesthesia well the last time. Karuna was calm throughout and did not put up any struggle at all. 

 Bad skin all cut off. Povidone iodine paste to be applied on it. Antibiotics to cover any possible infection.

 Karuna has an ear infection as well (she's had it since the last time she was at the clinic). Ear-drops for this.

The underside of her body is VERY oily. This is due to seborrhea where the skin secretes too much oil. Malaseb shampoo can be used, but we'll not do this yet. Velcote for healthier skin. 

Karuna is very arthritic due to old age, so a glucosamine equivalent (called UC-II) was prescribed. This product is actually cartillage from chicken breast and is a new product.   

What Karuna needs is not to lie down so much, and to walk a bit more. But how do you tell an old lady to do that?  She is estimated to be 11-12 years old now. 

Well, we'll just do what we can and hope those pressure wounds will heal. 

Walk a bit more, Karuna?

Old age...we'll all get there one day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bobby's lunch routine and other idiosyncracies

It has been quite a challenge feeding Bobby for the last two years or so ever since he became extraordinarily picky over his food.  

I have to try all sorts of food just to entice him to eat and at one point, nothing worked. He refused to eat, or would just pick at his food and ended up losing a lot of weight.  

He doesn't care for AD either.  

So, when i discovered Canine Caviar AND he actually liked it, I thought I had found an elixir from doggie-heaven. By just eating Canine Caviar for three days, Bobby actually visibly put on weight. I thought my worries were over.... 

But not so....

Bobby grew tired of it within a week and refused to eat it. And I'm stuck with a whole packet of Canine Caviar which I now turn into lunch "cocktails" for him, like so....

That's canned food cut (I have to keep changing brands and flavours too) into square bite-size pieces, and the Canine Caviar kibbles are used as a "decorative" tops. The trick worked for a few days, but now, he eats all the wetfood and leaves the kibbles!

And Bobby won't approach his food until Cow has done a food-testing procedure by eating a bit of it. Cow is Bobby's trusted connoisseur. "You eat first and check if there is any poison."

 Then Cow moves away (he just eats a wee bit), and Bobby approaches his food.

And eats!

Without Cow's food-testing, there is no way I can get him to eat at all. He'll just sit and wait until Cow comes along. And Cow seems to know his duty.  

Bobby is also becoming more and more disorientated in the house. He used to be able to find his way around effortlessly despite being completely blind, but now, he bumps a lot into the furniture. But he is "padded enough", so it doesn't injure him.

Bunny and Tiger act his "buffers". When they see him approaching a wall, they go infront of him so that he bumps into their bodies instead.

Bobby is also suffering from "separation anxiety". Apparently when I am not at home, he sometimes goes into a panic trying to look for me. He'd go upstairs and all over the house frantically searching for me. And when he cannot find me, he howls. There is nothing anyone can do to pacify him. He'll howl until he gets tired and falls asleep. Earlier on, my husband would take my unwashed clothes from the washing machine and place it in front of him. That worked! He'll think it's me and he settles down and lies on my clothes. Now it doesn't work anymore.

I guess when we grow old, we will also have our own idiosyncratic problems.

That is why I cannot leave the house longer than necessary.

Bobby's bodyguard and best friend, Tiger.

Flashback to five years ago:

Bobby looked after Tiger when he first came.

When Tiger had that persistent sore which wouldn't heal for one whole year, Bobby helped lick it and it would heal, but would flare up again soon after. It looked like a sporo wound, yet it wasn't sporo (when tested). It was all red and sore and it would even bleed. It was the size of a 20 sen coin, on the side of his neck.  

It was finally cured by one session of acupuncture. When I told the vets, they guaranteed me that it would only be temporary and it would definitely recur, but it hasn't ever since (November 2009). It's almost coming to two years now, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  

If indeed it's healed for good, it looks like 12 needles did the trick! The acupuncture also cured Tiger of his limp (which no vets could - I took him to three vets) and gave him a new sense of feline confidence (which he never had since young). I got him the acupuncture to cure his limp, actually. But the sore also got cured in the process! The vets have always told me that Tiger has some breathing problem (shallow breathing) which probably explains why he lacks confidence. I think the acupuncture might have even addressed this as he became very confident after 3 sessions.  

See this:

Never underestimate TCM. Remember the eastern people were civilised first!