Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Patience is a virtue

Was what I learnt over the long Chinese New Year weekend.

You see, we have discussed this for a while now, and have finally decided on adopting a cat (Our first kitty together, yay!). What we didn't know was that it wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. The first place we hit, was the SPCA. Don't get me wrong, I think the SPCA as an organisation is doing a great job providing a shelter for rescued, unwanted, stray dogs and cats. On top of that, we also learnt that there are volunteer vets who regularly check on these animals to make sure that they are healthy and well taken care of.

We both went ga-ga and goo-goo the moment we stepped in. They were all so adorable! Even the adult cats! Julien was especially fond of this cat called Yoda at first. He reminded Julien of a young Tom with his big pointy ears and yellow eyes, and Julien couldn't stop with the baby talk. I was stuck in another corner with three Siamese kittens (Sherry, Cinnamon & Donut) with the most gorgeous blue eyes.

After some discussion, we finally decided on Cinnamon which we thought was very docile. She was unlike Sherry who would gnaw at your fingers like she hadn't been fed. It was really funny to watch them. Donut was pretty active too, but not as crazy as Sherry. We picked up Cinnamon (the gentle one) up just to see if there would be any positive interaction. It was only during this time upon closer inspection that Julien realised she had some black spots on her bottom and was pretty concerned about it. So we asked one of the volunteers if this was any cause for concern and we were told that this was "nothing" and that it was probably just some leftovers from the last time it went for a pooh (Pardon?). The other two had bottoms as pink as Julien's pursed lips, so there was something a little odd about Cinnamon for sure. Another volunteer also told us that if we were both working, it would be better to adopt a kitten that's at least three month old since they would be more independent then. Leaving them alone for hours may cause them to be depressed and they might stop eating altogether even if we left food out for them. We decided to sit on it for the day and go home to think about it. That was day one at the SPCA.

We decided pretty much on Donut some two days later, and went back to take a look at him. Unfortunately, both Donut and Cinnamon had been adopted. Sherry was also pending for adoption. It was extremely disappointing. We looked around again, and we saw Sumo, a ginger white coloured cat who was really huge for his age at 4 months. He looked more like he was about 8 months old. We had learnt from our previous lesson that these kittens get adopted really fast, so we decided right then and there to speak to someone for adopting Sumo. We were referred to an Australian lady who had a really loooooooooong chat with us. So long that we didn't have time to adopt Sumo that day. She wasn't very receptive to letting us adopt him either because again, we were both working, and the cat would be lonely. So she kept asking us to adopt two instead for companionship. She then shared with us that she had two cats herself that she had adopted from the SPCA but they don't get along well. (Hmmm... now that's exactly what we don't want to happen). Why push for two when the adopter might not be able to manage two and if both cats don't get along well? Again, we were told to think about adopting two cats and to come back the next day.


So we came back again the third time, only to find out that Sumo had already been adopted. Just great. It was also on this day that we had met another volunteer, an English lady this time, who told us that we were required to stay home to be able to feed these 16 week old kittens about 3 times a day. So basically someone should not be working just to be able to adopt a cat? This is very odd to me. According to the wikipedia - as they reach three to four weeks old, the kittens are gradually weaned and begin to eat solid food, with weaning usually complete by six to eight weeks. Kittens live primarily on solid food after weaning, but usually continue to suckle from time to time until separated from their mothers. Some mother cats will scatter their kittens as early as three months of age, while others continue to look after them until they approach sexual maturity- since this is already the order of nature, that the kittens will eventually be separated from their own mother, in my opinion, there's no need to over do things on our part.

We could tell she was pre-interviewing us, asking us questions here and there, so we shared that Julien has had cats all his life, and that Tom is now 20 years of age. She then proceeded to ask if Julien had a garden back in Paris, etc. When we told her that most Parisians live in apartments and their cats roam freely in their apartments, she commented that Tom probably wasn't a very happy cat then., and that pretty much topped the cherry on the bloody cake. I mean, hello! Do your part to asses the adopters, but no need to get personal or assuming. I personally don't wish to go back to the SPCA. Julien is still pretty open to the idea though.

My conclusion so far from the encounters we've had, is that the SPCA is great, but perhaps they might want to look into engaging more local volunteers who aren't expats and who live the regular life of a Singaporean, since it might be a lot easier to relate to another Singaporean who genuinely wishes to adopt these animals, and give them a home.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Salut Julien & Ting, and hello to the twins kitten…

Nous avons obtenu l’opinion d’un sage, un certain Tom (100 ans aux prunes, une récente ablation tumorale maligne sous anesthésie générale sans aucune séquelle, et un régime sobre et strict depuis sa plus tendre enfance). Son avis d’expert est sans équivoque : les deux petits félins branleurs Singapouriens aux yeux rigolos, qui sont, en quelque sorte, ses arrières-arrières petits cousins (même pas issus de germain) par alliance, ont vraiment l’air sympa.

Alors Tom leur envoie une photo, pour le futur album familial que vous n’allez évidemment pas manquer de commencer au plus tôt.

Les premières croquettes et pâtées refusées, les premières pisses partout, les premières griffures sur les objets que vous aimez le plus, et les premières chutes irréparables de souvenirs sentimentaux du style « un cadeau de mon conjoint auquel je tenais beaucoup », le cadeau pas le conjoint, enfin si bien sûr je tiens aux deux, mais aussi les premières fugues où tu les cherches partout ces c… de greffiers en ameutant les voisins et en pleurant qu’ils sont perdus pour toujours pendant qu’ils sont endormis dans un placard, Tom connait bien tout ça pour l’avoir pratiqué souvent : mais il espère, modestement quand même, que ses successeurs feront aussi bien que lui, sinon mieux !

Avant de se coucher, dans des conditions de confort dignes de son grand âge (son coussin préféré, vous voyez ce que je veux dire), Tom a tenu à ce que je siffle un verre de bordeaux à la santé de ses lointains cousins, et à leur faire part de ses vœux de prospérité, de crottes à côté de la litière, et de petits vomis dans les endroits les plus inattendus (où tu marches dedans quand c’est déjà froid et gluant, pieds nus en pleine nuit), et il vous félicite tous les quatre !

Good night quand même,
Miaou, bises.

PS : sorry for you Ting, Tom does not speak English, despite his International education… maybe Julien will translate.
PS 2 : Mamie Suzanne est fière de vous !