Friday, December 30, 2005

It's sickening...

Cat 'cooked alive in microwave'
BBC News (Tuesday, 27 December 2005)

The body of a cat, which had apparently been cooked alive in a microwave oven, has been found on Teesside.

Cleveland Police officers and RSPCA officials were called to a house on the Blue Hall estate in Stockton-on-Tees on Monday afternoon.

The body of the one-year-old female cat was found in the house.

The animal and a microwave oven were taken from the house for examination and police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

Three held over cat in microwave
BBC News (Thursday, 29 December 2005)

Three men have been arrested over the discovery of a cat's body in a microwave, where it had apparently been cooked alive.

The body of the female cat was found at a house on the Blue Hall estate, in Stockton, Teesside, on Boxing Day.

On Thursday, Cleveland Police said the three had been arrested and freed on police bail. More arrests are expected to follow, a spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, the cat's litter of five kittens are being cared for.

They are expected to be rehomed in the new year.

~5-Cat Style

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A season to celebrate?

This is an article by the BBC about an animal welfare society in Nottingham, much like the Cat Welfare Society right here in Singapore. The line that struck me most was, "But they need more help, particularly over the festive season."

I guess people the world over act especially irresponsibly towards their pets during the festive season -- the season of love and good cheer.

How ironic.

Animal charity needs more carers
By Anna Blackburn BBC News

Harry has settled in well at his foster home An East Midlands charity is renewing its appeal for foster carers to look after sick birds and animals.

The Animal Accident Rescue Unit (AARU) is a Nottingham-based group of volunteers which has been operating an animal ambulance service for 20 years.

The AARU has a dedicated team of foster carers who nurse the animals back to health while a more permanent home is found for them.

But they need more help, particularly over the festive season.

One foster carer is Carole Penny, long-term volunteer at the AARU who has taken in eight cats over the past four years.

At the moment, in addition to her own cats and German Shepherd dogs, Ms Penny has Charlie and Harry staying with her.

Harry is a relatively new addition to the family as he was only found wandering the streets a couple of weeks ago. He is just a kitten and was suffering from a distended stomach when he was first brought to Carole's house.

Very timid and nervous to start with, Harry has come on "leaps and bounds" since he first came to stay and is settling in well to his new foster home.

Ms Penny said: "I don't want to get attached to the cats, I want them to find a home and go.

"Of course I love them to bits but if I kept all the animals that come into the house, I'd end up like the old woman in shoe with a whole houseful."

Charlie is Ms Penny's other foster pet and he has been with her for about seven months.

Charlie was very skinny and in a bad way when the AARU brought him to Ms Penny's house, but with a great deal of patience, the black and white tomcat has recovered well.

He has lost most of his teeth but this does not stop him from enjoying a good meal and his frequent cat-naps.

And after a long search, it looks as if Charlie may have a permanent home.

But it is not always such a happy ending. Some of the animals looked after by the AARU are just too ill to make a full recovery.

Ms Penny said: "I had a cat called Tigger who I was fostering but he died a few weeks ago.

"The way I see it, at least he died safely, in the warm and he was loved."

~5-Cat Style

Is South Korean scientist responsible for producing world's first cloned dog?

Did South Korean scientist, Hwang Woo-Suk, really successfully clone a dog? A South Korean investigation panel is still looking into the works of the disgraced scientist, but is unable to reach a conclusion on whether his team did produce the clone.

Snuppy, an Afghan Hound puppy, is claimed by Hwang to be the world's first cloned dog. Dogs are known to be notoriously difficult to clone because of their reproductive cycle. Based on blood tests conducted in a DNA testing lab in Seoul, it was confirmed that Snuppy is indeed an actual clone.

Snuppy, short for Seoul National University puppy, was born on April 24. It was carried to full-term in a yellow Labrador surrogate mother. The pregnancy was normal.

Please click here for the original article.

~5-Cat Style

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What a tumbling Christmas!

Hello, everyone! :D How was your Christmas? Mine was filled with food and fun. It began with food and ended in lots of fun. Let me show you.

Here's the table heavily laden with all kinds of scrumptious goodies, from the must-have Christmas turey that was perfectly succulent to giant platters of salmon sashimi. There was huge bowl of mashed potatoes that The Flyer made from scratch. It was superb. There was a huge bowl of sweet, juicy cherries. There were numerous plates of jelly made my darling Grandma. There were two Christmas log cakes (chocolate and durian flavour) and one towering chocolate cream puff tree.

Food was literally spilling off the sides of the table and my kitchen console. There was just so much of it!

"Eat! Eat!" and "Take more!" were bouncing off the walls and echoing all throughout the house as the family helped themselves to the food.

Notice the balloons and streamers? They were puffed up and hung up by The Flyer.

After dinner came the games. We played Tumbling Blocks, it's pretty much the same as Jenga, except that The Flyer and I customised it a bit by writing our own penalties on each block. Whoever knocks down the tower will have to pick a block and perform the penalty written on it. So, of course, everyone was doing their darnest not to bring the tower tumbling down.

You can tell from the intensity on our faces that it wasn't as easy as just pulling a block out from below and stacking it on top.

"Which block should I move?"
"Not that one."
"I'll try this one... No, it's tight. What about this?"
"Whoah! It's wobbling! CAREFUL!!!"

This is my Granddad staring down the tower. I guess he can't believe how The Flyer and I have left it standing on pretty much just one block -- a lousy foundation for any sort of structure. So he stares and stares and stares...

... Then he makes his move... slowly... carefully... he pulls out a block. In his great relief and joy, he slaps on the block too roughly at the top of the tower and it collapses! Uh-oh... now he has to perform a penalty. He chooses a block and reads the words on it. It says, "Vibrate like a washing machine" and my Grandfather gamely quivers on his tooshie.

As the game went on, some of the other penalties that had to be performed were...

1) My Mum had to make the sound of a blue tack being stretched
2) The Flyer had to do an infomercial selling a ruler as a backscratcher
3) My Aunt had to be a smurf for 30 seconds
4) My other Aunt had to be a salesman selling a support pillow
5) My Mum again had to walk around the group like a duck

And they each performed their penalties very sportingly indeed. :D A big applause for all of them!

During the game, when my boyfriend pulled out a particularly tricky block, he turned it over to read the penalty written on it. It said, "Do an impression of Michael Jackson." My boyfriend mopped his brow and said, "Oh boy, I better not knock this down. This impression will be hard to do. Because first I will need to find a little boy to chase."

The rest of us were just grateful that we didn't bring the tower down because there were lots of other penalties just waiting to be performed, like walk like an Egyptian, dance a jig for 30 seconds, do an impression of Bill Clinton, make the sound of crickets, make the sound of a waterfall, etc.

Of course, there were easy penalties like crack your knuckles and sing a Beatles song. Then there were also blank blocks (meaning you escape with doing nothing), SOS blocks (you can use it to escape doing your penalty at any time) and Sabo blocks (you pass on your penalty to the person seated on your left or right).

After the games, it was time to open all our prezzies. That was nice. By then, it was almost 3am and everyone began to leave with yawns and sleepy eyes.

I hope your Christmas was just as fun. Do tell me all about YOUR Christmas! :)

~5-Cat Style

Saturday, December 24, 2005

1 Ton of Prezzies, 1 Spoilt Fridge

I deserve the Military Order of the Purple Heart. I bravely survived the ordeal in Orchard Road.

The sweltering heat. The rude crowd. The non-stop pushing and shoving. I was elbowed in the ribs at least twice. Then the heat turned into refrigerated cold each time I entered a mall. More rude crowd. Nine of my ten toes were crushed under heavy shoes. And of course, a nightmare won't be quite a nightmare without the pouring rain.

But I survived!

And I came through with almost all the prezzies I needed to get. There are a few people I will need to beg and grovel for forgiveness from. Otherwise, I'm quite pleased and surprised at the speed I was able to shop at.

Right now, there are two men fussing in my kitchen, trying their best to repair my fridge. Two nights ago, it stopped dispensing water and ice. It was supposed to be a simple repair. It got complicated when they failed to find the water pipe leading to the fridge. They asked me where it was. I was stumped. We all looked for the missing water pipe together, but it refused to be found. A good half hour later, one of the electricians found it crouching behind the washing machine. So now, they're pulling out all their screw drivers and other painful-looking gadgets and working as fast as they can to get my fridge fixed. Once they're done, they can finally go home and relax and celebrate Christmas with their families. I will quickly get dressed for two Christmas dinners lined up tonight.

I'm not too worried about being late. After all, as this afternoon proved, when it comes to speed... I've got it!

Merry Christmas, everyone! :D

~5-Cat Style

I'm off to shopping hell

I am off to town to do some super urgent last-minute Christmas shopping. It will be a killer navigating my way through the malls and then getting a cab out of there. I just may never return. So... AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

~5-Cat Style

It's Christmas Eve... so...

Yesterday has quietly turned into Christmas eve. I didn't even realise it until now... at 1.11am in the morning.

I've always loved Christmas. Always. But I confess. It somehow feels less merry for me with each passing year. Time seems to be slowly taking away not just my youth, but the magic of Christmas as well.

But I still want to go on celebrating Christmas. Maybe I don't want to give up finding that magic. I can remember how lovely it felt. How warm, comforting, joyous and fun it used to be. Right now, it is still all that... just a lot less.

This reminds me of a Christmas story written by one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. It's not your typical let's-be-merry Christmas tale. It casts an eerie, almost sad glow on Christmas and the jolly old Santa Claus we know.

Nicholas Was...

older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.

The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually working in the factories.

Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves' invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.

He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher


By Neil Gaiman

~5-Cat Style

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bombay & Callas meet their adopters

The meeting with Bombay and Callas' adopters went very well. The young couple are very nice people with a genuine love for cats. They were excited about having the kittens over to see how they would respond to them and their house.

The kittens were having a good ol' time exploring this new playground filled with so many unfamiliar sights, so many exciting smells. Unfortunately, this meant that they did not show the same keen interest in their adopters. I explained to the couple that the kittens were just overwhelmed by the strangeness of the things surrounding them and a thorough investigation was in order. Only after their curiosity is satisfied and all the mysteries of the new place are uncloaked will the kittens then focus their attention on them.

The adopters were very understanding and stood back to enjoy watching Bombay and Callas zooming around underneath the table and chairs, and pawing at anything that dangled and swayed. At one point, Detective Callas knocked down a display made up of many small wooden elephants. The loud crash gave him a shock that lasted about 1/3 of a second and then he quickly shot off to scrutinise his next case.

I spoke to the couple about screening their windows for the kittens' safety and they are agreeable to it. This is excellent. Not only is the house large and clean, it will also be safe for the kittens.

I have a good feeling about the new adopters. They seem committed to loving both Bombay and Callas, and giving them a good home to keep them safe in. The trial adoption will begin very early in 2006. If Bombay and Callas are wonderfully settled in by the end of the trial period, the permanent adoption contract will be signed and Bombay and Callas will be successfully rehomed.

When it was time to leave, both kittens were visibly sad. They did not want to leave their new playground so soon. They hadn't had their fill of fun yet. Callas, the smart, observing one, saw Bombay being put back in his carrier and immediately went into hiding underneath a display cupboard where he couldn't be reached. So it's quite clear, the kittens are very comfortable in their new home.

Incidentally, I asked the adopters if they would be renaming the kittens. After some thought, they said that they would probably keep Bombay's name and change Callas'.

Suggestions for a new name for Callas anyone?

~5-Cat Style
I am just about to bring Bombay and Callas down to their new owners' house. I won't be leaving them there just yet. The purpose of this trip (having learnt a painful lesson from Bombay's previous adoption) is to observe how both kittens take to their adopters and, more importantly, how the adopters interact with Bombay and Callas. I'll also be doing a home safety check to make sure that the new environment is safe for the very energetic, lightning-quick kitties. The other volunteer has very kindly offered to come pick me and the kittens up. She should be here any time now.

~5-Cat Style

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chen Kaige's The Promise... I would rename it, The Pau

Ever since I saw the trailer for Chen Kaige's The Promise in the movie theatre, I knew right away I had to watch it on the big screen. It looked spectacular! The battle scenes alone promised to be a Chinese version of Lord Of The Rings. And this was one director who knows how to make a movie. I couldn't wait to catch the film!

So last night, The Flyer and I trooped off to GV Tiong Bahru to catch the 9pm screening. I was excited. We were in for a real treat.

The movie began. The colours were brilliant, almost cartoonish. The effects were stunning. The shots were no less than gorgeous. It was looking good. Pretty darn good!

Within 15 minutes came the battle scene. Yippee! The warriors' costumes were beautifully designed. In fact, they were almost too beautiful to be manly, and too exquisite-looking to be fought in. But, what the heck? That's a small, lovely-looking bungle. I can overlook that.

Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guang Ming
Then came the 'big deal' of the movie -- the running of the bulls.

Erm... I think that their computer graphic designers probably didn't spend enough time studying the way the bulls move... and that Chen Kaige made a horrible mistake thinking that having his hero (the slave, Kunlun) running quickly on all fours is a cool thing. I say this simply because that entire scene was awful. It was bad. It was so bad... it was really sad.

It was at this point in the movie that it hit me. This movie that I was expecting to be like Lord Of The Rings was turning out dreadfully to be more like Kung Fu Hustle. Oh crap...

Things go downhill quickly from here.

Jang Dong-Kun as the slave named Kunlun
The plot is a wafer-thin one to begin with. The story starts with a goddess/fairy/ghost (I still can't figure out which she is) violating children protection rights. She, played by Chen Hong, forces the poor, starving, orphaned child (the young Qing Cheng) to make a gigantic, life-changing, fully committal decision (at that young age!) -- one that dooms her to a life of never being able to hold on to true love. Stupid and typical.
Then the plot is made even more laughable by giving Kunlun the dumbest superpower ever -- the ability to run... to run so fast he can go back in time. To dumb down the power even more, it is made sure he only achieves the full power towards the end of movie, which means that he only uses it twice. Boring!

Cecilia Cheung as Princess Qing Cheng
Cecilia Cheung was a poor choice as lead actress. She was completely unbelievable as a seductive, victimised beauty. Her acting was so wooden, Pinnochio would have easily beaten her to the Oscar. And while Cecilia is a goodlooking lady in most movies, they have succeeded in making her look quite awful here. The make-up artist decided to go with a strong white foundation all over the face, yellow powder on the lower eye lids, and much of nothing else for a healthy glow. So you can just imagine... Princess Qing Cheng looked more like a whithering ping ren. Chen Kaige, as director, should have reminded them that this was "the beauty of all beauties". She shouldn't be looking sallow, jaundiced and completely malnourished!

Nicholas Tse plays effeminate baddie, Wuhuan, the Duke of the North
I noticed this, and it wasn't just me, but almost all the men (be they goodie or baddie) were very... er... feminine. They spoke softly. Their movements were girlish. And they all had at least one sob scene each where they wept buckets. Except for General Guang Ming, you would have thought the rest of the cast were played by convent school girls.

On the left is Cecilia Cheung donning a cloak of feathers, and on the right is Jang Dong-Kun looking like a runaway from Cirque du Soleil

The climatic scene that kicks off with the mighty General needle-stitching the baddie's outfit
Of course, like in all endings, the villain must reveal the reason for his blackened heart, his irredeemable evilness. In this one, the big reason would be... drum roll please... ... ... a small pau stolen from him as a boy. What the @%#$*^@...!!!

Hiroyuki Sanada, the only thing worth seeing in this silly movie

The only thing that was good about The Promise was Japanese actor, Hiroyuki Sanada. His acting was superb. He was funny, macho, and could really cry convincingly. The other villain-turns-good character, played by Liu Ye, comes next. The rest are forgettable.

I'm sorry if I spoilt anyone's weekend plans to go watch this movie. But better that I save you time and money that you can now spend on a more worthwhile movie.

King Kong or Narnia anyone?

~5-Cat Style

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Please don't buy a pet on impulse this festive season

The Christmas Kitten

I once was a cuddly kitten,
But now I am a stray,
'Cause when I was no longer fluffy,
They sent me on my way.

They've kept their big watchdog,
As he can bark and growl,
But I could fly at strangers,
If I caught them on the prowl.

I slink around their garbage can;
I mew outside their door;
But it's clear from their behaviour,
They don't want me anymore.

Now I'm cold and hungry,
And getting very thin,
What have I done to hurt them,
Why won't they let me in?

I crouch in sheds and boxes,
In my bedraggle fur,
So shivery and dejected,
I cannot even purr.

They have another kitten,
Their children's whole delight;
But probably next Christmas,
It will share my wretched plight.

Author Unknown

~5-Cat Style

Monday, December 19, 2005

No need for T-N-R for this dude

For the uninitiated, TNR is a term short for Trap-Neuter-Return. It is the only method proven to be humane and effective at controlling feral cat population growth. Using this technique, all the feral cats in a colony are trapped, neutered and then returned to their territory where caretakers provide them with regular food and shelter.

As for this guy in the strip, some may argue he was indeed 'trapped', neutered... I'm not sure, and from the looks of it, he won't have to be returned. ;)

~5-Cat Style

An article by BBC - Scientists study Christie success

Novelist Agatha Christie used words that invoked a chemical response in readers and made her books "literally unputdownable", scientists have said.

A neurolinguistic study of more than 80 of her novels concluded that her phrases triggered a pleasure response.

"Christie's language patterns stimulate higher than usual activity in the brain," Dr Roland Kapferer said.

Her grandson Mathew Prichard told The Times: "It's not really a mystery. She was simply a writer of great plots."

More than two billion Agatha Christie books have been sold

Enduring popularity

The Agatha Project study was carried out by scientists from universities in London, Birmingham and Warwick for an ITV1 documentary.

It involved loading Christie's novels onto a computer and analysing her words, sentences and phrases.

It aimed to explain the enduring popularity of the work of the late author, who created detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot and wrote novels such as Murder on the Orient Express.

Peter Ustinov played Christie's character Hercule PoirotThe team found that common phrases used by Christie acted as a trigger to raise levels of serotonin and endorphins, the chemical messengers in the brain that induce pleasure and satisfaction.

These phrases included "can you keep an eye on this", "more or less", "a day or two" and "something like that".

"The release of these neurological opiates makes Christie's writing literally unputdownable," Dr Kapferer said.

Christie was also found to have used a very limited vocabulary.

"It means that readers aren't distracted and so they concentrate more on the clues and the plots," said Dr Pernilla Danielsson of Birmingham University.

They also found that Christie frequently used dashes to create "a faster-paced, unreflective narrative".

Christie is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling author of all time and attributed with selling two billion books worldwide.

Dr Kapferer said: "Our next step is to seek to replicate these experiments with other leading authors to discover whether their writings cause similar neurological activity among readers."

Please visit for the original article.

~5-Cat Style

A big thank you to Dawn and Jolanda

Poor Bombay and Callas had to be caged in the house for the very first time in their lives. But it was for their own safety that I did it.

You see, yesterday I opened my apartment to the public for viewing (I'm selling it) and I didn't want anyone getting in the kitties' way and the kitties getting in their way... couldn't risk them getting trampled on by busy feet walking through the house.

So on Saturday, with the kind help of Dawn, I met Jolanda to borrow the cage from her. And what a large one it was! Definitely roomy enough for the two kitties. In fact, I almost could not extend it enough to get it to open up in my narrow utility room. I had to get into a yoga-acrobatic position, ingeniusly using my toes to push the base up and finally opening the cage fully. Phew!

I then made the cage as comfy as I could for the kittens. There was a small litterbox (courtesy of Jolanda), a water bowl, a large thick towel for something soft the kitties could lie on and some of Bombay and Callas' favourite toys. To amuse them further, I tied a ribbon at the top of the cage and left its two tendrils dangling enticingly. It worked like a charm! The ribbon was so inviting to the kitties that they were on tip-toe almost all of the time.

A big thank you to Dawn and Jolanda for helping to make the kittens so comfy! :)

~5-Cat Style

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Flyer's very own personal hairstylist... well, it used to be so

I'm taking a well-deserved break from all that tedious packing. So why not use the time to upload the photos I promised you? The photos of Jack playing personal hairstylist to The Flyer.

Jack absolutely adores being on The Flyer's shoulders. I don't know why. Hmmm... Maybe it's because she has plump shoulders so they are more comfy to sit on. --> (don't tell her I said that!) But the moment she sits her bum on the floor, Jack will be up on her shoulders in a flash! And very much like Edward Scissorhands, Jack will masterfully style her hair with very speedy swipes of the paw.

This is Jack posing proudly beside his masterpiece. On the right is Callas wondering if he can have a go at The Flyer's hair too. On the left you'll notice a tabby's bottom sticking out. That belongs to Diva. She must be fighting another kitty for her favourite spot on the lap.

This is my favourite photo of Jack! Awww... what a sweetie!
(You'll notice quite clearly that her left eye looks kinda dopey. Although the vet says that there is a permanent scar on her cornea, the good news is that the eye is functionally normally.)

This is Jack's impression of the Egyptian Sphinx.

I know these two photos are very blurry. But even then... doesn't she look so sweet?

And I leave you here with this photo. A typical pose on a typical night. So you can see... we owners/fosters are playthings, scratching posts, rests and automatic feeders to these kitties. But we are more than happy to be all that and more to them. I choose to see it as being their mommy.

~5-Cat Style

It's a beautiful day! The sun is shining... (song from Queen)

Today is such a beautiful day, I just had to take a few minutes off from doing massive loads of housework to stare at the clouds and indulge in a little day-deaming from my bed. Then two little birds, red in colour, came to play among the flowers in my balcony. How Enid Blyton-ish!

So I ran to grab my camera and aimed for a fantastic shot of the birds. Then a gust of wind blew and shook the leaves which drove the two little birds away. :(

Now with no twittering birds to photograph, I stared back up at the puffy clouds and day-dreamed some more. This is the view from my bed.

Here are some gorgeous clouds looming overhead... creating a perfect backdrop for my flowers.

Isn't it a perfectly lazy day? Great for doing absolutely nothing.

Before long... and I'm talking MINUTES... dark gray rain clouds swarmed in, threatening to make the rest of today very very wet.

I'm hoping the weather holds up somehow. I have a ton of packing to do around the house and I would love to have lots of sunshine steaming in from the windows to brighten my dusty day. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

~5-Cat Style

Friday, December 16, 2005

My heart aches for my two little ones

I find myself missing Bombay and Callas' sisters very badly tonight. Diva and Jackaroo were such sweet kitties. And I was especially close to them because both were the weakest of the litter of five.

Diva was the runt with a bad cold. She was the tiniest tabby with a constantly dripping nose. She not only was the reason for me feeding every kitten antibiotics and vitamins twice a day everyday, she was also high maintenance because she refused to eat solids... so I had to bottlefeed her every four hours, all through the day and right through the night.

Jack was also a poor thing. She had her left eye badly scratched... my guess is it must have been from rough play with her siblings and a claw got to her eye. The poor kitty's eye got badly infected and the membrane had moved right across the eye. I was so worried she would be permanently blind. I had to apply an ointment twice a day directly into both her eyes (and all the other kittens' eyes too) to prevent further infection.

So you see... I really spent a lot of time with both kittens and that is why I grew to be very close to them. I suppose my missing them has a lot to do with the e-mail I received from the very sweet couple who adopted them.

Here's a wee bit I'd like to share...
(please note that Diva has since been renamed Cloey, and Jack is now Jackie)

"Cloey is always sleeping on my neck and Jackie would play with my hair the whole night long. They aren't shy no more .... they sleep wherever and whenever they want. They play like crazy, knocking my stuff all over but it's fun watching them pouncing on each other and yeah, stepping all over my dogs. Haha!!"

Yes, that's exactly how Cloey got the name Diva in the first place. She was so terribly demanding of attention. She would mew and mew till you sat down on the floor. As soon as your bum hits the ground, she'll be on your lap right away. But that wasn't enough. She had to have the best seat in the house. And that would be the space on your lap closest to your body. If any other kitten has that spot, Cloey would mew and mew till the cows jumped over the moon. Now that Cloey has her fave spot on your lap, you would think that would satisfy her, right? Wrong! You had to... HAD TO... look directly into her eyes. Turn away to look elsewhere and she'll mew and mew again. So there I would be... seated on the floor with Cloey on my lap and staring straight into her eyes. Oh my goodness gracious me... talk about a diva!

But just look at her. How not to spoil her?

The new home that she and Jackie are happily living in now have dogs. At first, I was a little apprehensive about how they would cope with the strange, new species. I suspected it would be alright since none of the kittens have been exposed to dogs, so the good thing is that they haven't had a bad experience with them. But I couldn't be sure. Thankfully, they got along very well with the dogs right from day one.

In fact, the new owners informed me that the dogs were a little afraid of them since the kitties totally digged chasing their waggy tails, so the doggies found themselves running away from the little ones. I've been told that the dogs are now very protective of the kittens and often snooze with them. On my home visit to see them, I saw photos of Cloey and Jackie sleeping beside, even on top of the dogs. It was a lovely sight.

This spot where you see Cloey posing at is her absolute favourite. It's the bottom of the fridge where the vent is that lets out warm air. It's also the spot Bombay chose when he fell sick with the fever.

Cloey may have been the runt of the litter, but she sure loved spoiling for fights. I often wondered why that was, especially since she regularly lost to the others.

This is one of my fave shots of Cloey. It was during the Latern Festival and I was filling my belly with juicy pomelo. The Flyer and I saw that Cloey would fit perfectly into the skin which we had peeled open so carefully. So there you have it! A photo of Cloey bursting from a juicy pomelo. Please forgive the graininess... I was still learning how to photograph quick-moving kittens.

I loved cradling and cuddling my sweet sweet Diva... oh, sorry... I mean, Cloey. Isn't she an angel?

And here's a shot of sweet Jack. Unfortunately I only have this one shot of Jackie in my computer now. I'll go download more from my millions of CDs of photos tomorrow.

Jackie is the sweetest thing. She loved jumping up on The Flyer's shoulder and playing personal hairdresser to her. She'll swipe at every strand with her paw and then lick each hair into shape. So since Jackie left us, The Flyer's hair has been an utter mess. No more personal hairdresser to doll her up everyday.

I'm glad the new owner now has the pleasure of enjoying Jackie's undivided attention on her hair.

This is a group shot of my kitties finding something totally fascinating on the floor and giving it a thorough investigation.

I miss my darlings. Good night, my sweeties! Sweet dreams, Jackie! Sweet dreams, Cloey! The Flyer and I miss you soooo soooo much.

~5-Cat Style

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Leapin' Lizards!

I'm baaaaack!

I had a grand ol' time in Bintan. I have never been pounded and rolled around like a piece of dough so much in my entire life. I spent 75% of my time being pampered and spoilt by non-stop spa treatments and facials. It was truly shiok ah!

Interestingly, I didn't see a single stray cat or dog there. But I did see THIS!

A freaking big lizard! Most people assumed it was an iguana. But look at it. It doesn't look anything like an iguana. It looks more like a komodo dragon. I badly wanted to go closer for a better shot of it on my cam. But I decided that I didn't want to die from a poisonous bite just as my vacation was starting.

Can anyone tell if this really is a komodo dragon?

~5-Cat Style

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Five Cat Flew

Hello, Friends!

5-Cat Style has gone on a holiday and will be back today. Thus I had to play butler to Bombay and Callas, to see that they are properly fed and promptly medicated. Bombay has fully recovered and is up to no good once again. At this moment he has decided that it will be death to all Christmas cards this year! Callas is just as naughty, following in his brother's footsteps. At least Bombay tries emotional blackmail to win back your favour when he realizes that he's pushed his luck too far, Callas seems to be unapologetically mischievous!

Sadly I've also noticed a most regrettable phenomenon. I fear I'm becoming allergic to cat fur, saliva or something feline. Since 16, allergies have started to surface and in a way, I guess I'm not surprised. As it is, I have developed an allergic reaction to my much loved condiment of vinegar... so why not to darling 'ol cats? Sigh. But pray anyway, won't you, that these reactions are but momentary and will disappear soon enough never to manifest again? *wheeze* *sneeze* *cough*

In other news, I was watching a program on Animal Planet about cats earlier. They showed a cat which was bred to have extremely short legs while maintaining all other features and size of a normal cat. Apparently it was bred to combat the 'problems that cats posed to furniture'. So that breed of cats cannot jump or hunt. It has sinced been taken off the list of accepted cat breeds. Also, they featured a cat circus from Bolshoi, Russia. I'm still amazed at how they managed to get the cats to do their bidding! Hahaha! Contrary to most circuses, this one seemed rather humane. All the tricks that the cats were made to do are behaviour that they normally engage in on a daily basis, eg. climbing up a pole and sitting on the top before jumping on top of an unsuspecting clown. *grin* It was rather amusing and the cats looked really pretty! Just to let you know, I'm generally against the use of animals in circuses and other performing acts, plainly because of the methods of instruction used. I have been told that hunger grafting is a method used in most zoos when training their animals for the animal shows. Its effective and results come fast, unlike the use of positive reinforcement. Some zoos in the US, for example, have penned out very strict and specific guidelines, based on well-documented research, for the use of hunger grafting so as to ensure the well-being of the animal while achieving their goals. They carefully maintain a detailed measurement of food given and withheld, as specified by these guidelines; amounts which are measured to the ounce. However, zoos elsewhere (Singapore included) do not keep to these guidelines. The unlucky ones end up dying from hunger or malnutrition, after prolonged periods of starvation. Either ways, is it really worth it? Its still starvation anyway, just a difference in extent. We need an animal police!

Well, I hope you all have had a weekend as great as the one that 5-Cat and I have had. Its back to work again for most of us tomorrow and I wish you all a great week ahead! Til the next time then, Mon Amis!

~The Flyer

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bombay makes a full recovery

A BIG 'thank you' to all you well-wishers. Bombay has made a full recovery and is back to his playful, curious self. Take a look at the photos below!

Bombay spots an unsuspecting victim and begins to stalk...

... poor Callas!

When the stalker is momentarily distracted by a chirping bird, Callas makes a quick dash to safety.

The stalker mourns the loss of a tasty morsel.

Callas stops to catch his breath from that breakneck escape. He looks up to find a sorrowful kitty...

... staring right back at him.

They decide to let bygones be bygones and quickly become firm friends.

They also decide that they will now be strict vegetarians.

Bombay watches Callas scoff down leaves like there's no tomorrow.

Callas: We're not eating anymore?

Bombay: Watching you gave me an indigestion.

~5-Cat Style