Sunday, February 21, 2010


So this is a continuation of our story to adopt a cat.

After speaking with the koo-koo english lady from the SPCA, who almost drove me koo koo myself, I came home and decided right then that we're never going back.
It is also interesting to see how Julien and I are so different when faced with the same situation. I'm always more of a go-getter who won't take no for an answer. I try and try and try till I achieve my objective. In this case, it's to adopt a cat. Min had told me that there was this 1 month old kitten at the back of our house. She's seen it a couple of times and it's orange striped with blue eyes. My go getter instincts were screaming "get me a torch and some cat food cos we're goin on a kitten hunt baby!" - and that's exactly what we did. For 2 days I did that (once with Julien, another with min), and found no kitty. Then I found out from the kids who play in that same backyard every evening, that they had seen the kitten (Yay!) and it's really cute (Yay!) but since last week they haven't seen it since (Boo!). Apparently one of the boys splashed water at it, and another pretended to want to kick it. So it probably ran away. Poor kitty!!!

Thinking back on the past 3 days that we were at the SPCA (that's right, I really dislike that woman), Julien had mentioned that it didn't make any sense at all that they were refusing us to adopt a cat, but allowing families with young children to adopt these kittens. At first, I didn't really understand what he meant, but now after hearing this story from the kids about these boys, I now do. Kids can be sweet, but they don't know how to restraint themselves either at times. To them, they're just playing. They don't know if they're hurting the kittens or traumatising them. I went home that evening feeling sorry for the kitty.

Julien's take on all this is different from mine. He came home and turned on his flight simulator for the next 5 hours, while I was planning my next strategy of cat adoption. He says it's better to take our time and find a kitty that we both like. Also, his main reasons for wanting to go back to the SPCA despite everything was because it allowed us to see the cats for ourselves and be able to observe its characteristics better. I was mainly frustrated because all the kitties we liked kept getting adopted by other people while we kept being told that we had to stay home all day to take care of a kitten. So I decided to take Julien's advise and take our time but was pretty firm still on not wanting to go back. I was positive that I would be able to find other ways. Other better ways. I saw some of the cats in the SPCA and they seemed pretty fed up of being locked up in their tiny cages all day. Some of them were just restless, pacing about in their cages and going bonkers really. One cat in particular was clawing at nothing particular. I was just swatting it's claws about and through sheer luck, it somehow realised that there was something else above it's cage, (another cage of course with a HUGE cat), so it went crazy and started trying to reach into the other cage with its claws and started clawing the bottom of the other cat. It was quite a funny sight to watch. That fat cat above the crazy one woke up with a startle wondering what it was that just clawed it's bottom. So I wasn't very comfortable with the cats there after some thought.

I've always believed that things have a funny way of working themselves out. And in this situation, that's exactly what happened.
One evening, I came across a kitten called Tink Tink which I thought was really amusing since it sounded like my name - Ting Ting. So I called up the fosterer and asked if that kitten was still up for adoption. She told me it had already been adopted, but she had other kittens for adoption as well, and asked if I was interested to take a look at their pictures. I said yes, and she sent me two pictures. One of a tuxedo cat, and another of a ginger coloured cat. Both of them were from a litter of 5 that were found in a cardboard box, dumped by the side of a lift. So she took them all in and cared for them while putting them up for adoption. So far three had already been adopted. Only these 2 were left. We called Lilian (that's her name) back to tell her that we would like to see these kittens. Julien and I had already decided on adopting the Ginger coloured kitten if we found it ok when we saw it. We never really anticipated for what really happened in the end.

We met Lilian, saw the cats, liked the Ginger coloured cat that we now call Mouse (he looks a lot like a mouse) and was about to take him home already when we noticed that the other tuxedo cat started to be all quiet and depressed almost like it knew they were going to be separated. My heart just went to bits. So I asked if they're very close to one another. Lilian said yes. They go everywhere together. They really do, even to the toilets! After much brainstorming, we decided to take 2 cats first and try to see if we can cope for a week. If we can't, she'd take back one kitten. In some ways, it was a mistake because it's hard now to take one away. On the other hand, they're both just the sweetest, most well behaved kittens! They do play like any other kittens but they are very manageable so far only because they've both been very sweet. They don't drive you crazy with their mewing, and at night, when we lock them out of the room, they just quietly stay out!

You already know how we named Mouse. With Panda, we started to call him Rex at first, because Julien thought his stubby tail reminded him of a dog, which was funny. Mouse and Rex. The two animals that cats love to run after or run from. But Julien changed his mind after a while, and we named him Panda. Panda and Mouse adore one another. They follow each other around the house, and truly go everywhere together.

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.