Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When the day gets hot...

The outdoor cat will do one of two things:
#1: Crawl into a bush to keep cool

A cat in a bush is worth more than two in a _________.

#2: Crash under a car


" Who goes ther...?"

"Oh, it's just that no-life girl with her dumb camera."

" I see you..."

"... And you're coming too close!"
~5-Cat Style

Curious Problem, Simple Explanation

A family came to me with a problem that left me stumped. Their 8-month-old male cat had developed an odd habit.

He would suck on his own nipples very noisily, leaving his entire belly area wet with his saliva. While sucking, he would get an erection. Then the cat would fall asleep.

The family says that he does this very often, especially just before bedtime when he is most relaxed. They can't understand it because he was just recently neutered and all 'desire' should have been drained from him.

At that time, I had no advice to offer the freaked-out family. But after talking to fellow volunteers and googling for answers, I now know the reason behind this seemingly perverse behaviour.

You see, kittens are usually weaned when they are 6 or 7 weeks old. That is when their mother would gradually leave them for longer and longer periods of time. Some kittens may continue to suckle for comfort.

A kitten will retain his suckling instinct until he is about 10 to 12 weeks old. It is believed that ideally, kittens should stay with their mother or other role-model cats for at least 12 weeks.

Most people, however, feel that at the age of 6 to 8 weeks, the kittens are old enough to be separated from their mother. Unfortunately, this results in the kitten's suckling instinct being left unsatisfied.

Orphaned kittens, including those weaned too soon, are more likely to exhibit inappropriate suckling behaviours later in life. Cats like this will very often suckle on things like blankets, pillows, other cats, even people (especially their ear lobes, as they look like a teat to the kitten).

A fellow volunteer has a grown cat that still suckles on his brother's paw pads. This behavior is called non-nutritive suckling and is harmless. It is similar to a baby sucking on a pacifier.

Normally, cats outgrow this by the time they are 2 years old. Sometimes, they don't. But, we should let them outgrow the habit on their own for detering the cats from it may actually exacerbate the problem.

If you choose to try and discourage the habit yourself, Bitter Apple or similar sprays and gels made specifically for taste aversion might just do the trick. Apply a little of it on the cat's favourite suckling area or object. The unpleasant taste should repulse the cat.

Kneading, an instinctive action kittens make to get more milk from their mother's breast, can also be carried into adulthood. I have been told of a cat, now more than 10 years old, who enjoys kneading his owner's tummy. While he does that, he will salivate... A LOT. And this too is a natural occurrence.

I offered this explanation to the family and helped to reassure them that their cat was NOT sexually gratifying himself. Besides, he was just recently neutered. Maybe he needs a little time for his hormones to settle and the habit may then go away.

He is merely a poor thing -- orphaned at too young an age and misses suckling his mother.

~5-Cat Style

To all who participated in the Pawtrait Contest...

Bombay thanks you for visiting our blog and ploughing through the archives looking for his photo.
Here are the hints provided earlier:
  1. Bombay is a kitty who enjoys sleeping on soft towels and blankets.
  2. He was not at his best when his pawtrait was taken. In fact, it was snapped when Bombay was down with the fever just before Christmas last year.
  3. His pawtrait is stashed somewhere between pawtraits 16 and 31.
And this here is Bombay's pawtrait.

As you can see, Bombay is sleeping on his favourite green blanket. I had snapped this photo when the poor thing came down with a very high fever and was sleeping almost all the time. He probably picked up a bug at the adoption drive held in December. This photo can be found in the December 2005 archives under the entry titled, Mount Bombay Lies Dormant. This was pawtrait #26.
So did you manage to guess it right?
~5-Cat Style

Friday, February 24, 2006

Mystery Case #1002: The Clementi Dancing Cat

There have been many reported sightings of a graceful gray tabby giving free ballet recitals in the night.
~5-Cat Style

Mystery Case #1001: The Holland Village Ginger Cat

The case of a clearly lazy cat...

... With an overactive tongue.

~5-Cat Style

Thursday, February 23, 2006

'Monster' Cat In China Weighs 33 Pounds

A 33-pound cat in Qingdao, China, is being described as a "feline monster" because of its 31-inch waist and large size, according to a report.

The 9-year-old cat from the Shandong Province is so heavy it needs the help of its owner to get onto a bed.

However, the cat is in surprisingly good health despite its weight, Local 6 News reported.

The cat's owner said it has no interest in eating fish but prefers to eat six pounds of chicken and pork each day.

This fat cat is not alone in his weight problem, according to the report.

Obesity has become a serious problem for the modern cat, primarily due to a lack of exercise and a richer diet.

Cats are susceptible to a range of illnesses including kidney trouble and diabetes, if they are allowed to remain overweight.

Source: Internet Broadcasting Systems and Local6.com
~5-Cat Style

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The sleepy ginger who yawned and yawned

I managed to make a quick trip to my parents' house this afternoon to lunch on my Mum's delicious beef noodles.
A blistering hot sun, high humidity, zero breeze and a full belly make for unbelievable grogginess.
Of course, on my way back to work, I had to meet this lazy ginger cat who kindly and oh-so gently reminded me of what I badly wanted, but could not have -- a good snooze.

First he yawned a monsterous yawn (it looks small here because I only managed to snap the end bit)

Then he stretched

Here's a second yawn

And why not a third for good measure

And then it's off to LaLa Land

Hmph... Talk about rubbing it in.
~5-Cat Style

Monday, February 20, 2006

Soap suds & kitties

At Melvin and Stephanie's request, I demonstrated the fine art of bathing a reluctant kitty during my visit to see Bombay and Bangles last week.
Here are Melvin's shots of me soaping up and scrubbing down a very squirmy Bangles.

Step 1: Hold the cat securely in front of you and pour warm water all over his body carefully, but quickly, taking care to avoid his ears and face

Step 2: Scrub him down with kitty shampoo all over thoroughly

Step 3: Rinse his body well with water
Tip: If the cat begins to fuss, hold him firmly by the scruff of his neck

Step 4: Rinse again to make sure all the suds have been washed out for he will be giving himself a good lickin' all over
Tip: Dry him with a towel and make sure that the fan and air-conditioner have been switched off. You don't want him catching a chill

And here is Melvin's first attempt at bathing a cat. And Bombay is it.

Step 1: Beg cat to hold still in your wet, slippery hands

Step 2: Beg and plead with the cat some more

Step 3: Discuss bribes, like food treats or new toys, with the cat while massaging it

Step 4: Shower him with praises on his sexy, lithe body

Tip: Choking the cat will never help. It will remember. So will its claws
Photos courtesy of Melvin & Stephanie
~5-Cat Style

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hippo + Tortoise = Kenya's Odd Couple

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A baby hippo and a 130-year-old tortoise are still the same unlikely couple, a year after the hippo was separated from its family by the Indian Ocean tsunami.
The relationship between Owen, the 2-year-old hippopotamus, and Mzee, the giant tortoise, surprised conservation workers and made international headlines.

A baby hippo named Owen walks along with its 'mother,' a giant male Aldabran tortoise, at the Mombasa Haller Park in Kenya.

Owen was living with his family on the Sabaki River when massive waves from the Indian Ocean tsunami reached the East African coast. He was washed into the ocean and stranded on a reef.
Residents of Malindi, a small coastal town, used fishing nets to catch him. He was then taken to the Haller Park sanctuary, where he met Mzee and adopted him as a surrogate parent.

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park

Owen may have been attracted by Mzee's round shape and gray color, which are somewhat similar to that of an adult hippopotamus.
The tortoise at first resisted. But the persistent Owen kept following him around the park and into the pool, and trying to sleep next to him.

"The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added

"The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," Kahumbu explained

Mzee relented after several days. As the bond grew, the tortoise even returned signs of affection.

They are now inseparable.

Conservation workers plan to introduce Owen to a 13-year-old female hippo named Cleo early next year, hoping to see the two develop a strong relationship.

The female hippo has also lived without companionship from her species — for more than a decade.

The delicate process will begin with having the two animals meet and get used to each other's smell before moving them into a larger enclosure together with the tortoise.
Source: FOXNews.com
~5-Cat Style

The cats Melvin & Steph feed

Last week after my visit with Bombay and Bangles, Melvin and Stephanie offered to take me and The Flyer for a walk around the estate to look at the cats they help to feed.
The first cat we saw was an extremely handsome fellow. Melvin calls him Lazy.

And true to his name, Lazy was... erm... busy conserving energy.

At the click of my camera, Lazy snapped awake. He reminded me very much of the gray cat at the Ngee Ann City adoption drive held last November, the one I called Voldemort's Cat.

When he realised he was not in dangerous company, Lazy wasted no time in shutting down his hard drive again.
Without having to walk any further, there was the second cat. Melvin said that this one was called Fatty.
I told Melvin that these cats were beginning to sound like badly named dwarves.

Surely this gorgeous white cat deserves a better name than Fatty! Besides, he's not fat. He's just big-boned.

Melvin photographs these cats whenever he has time. As a result, the cats are used to posing for the camera. To prove this point, Fatty got up and sashayed sexily over to Mel and Steph.

Then sitting down slowly right in the centre of us, he offered me a shot of his side profile.

Next, Fatty suggested an artistic shot through the grilles of a white gate. He thought it was so mod to play white off white.

Fatty then sauntered over to an apple-green wall and asked for close-up shots to be taken. He knew the subtle green backdrop would make his white fur look even whiter.

I thanked Fatty for being such a sport and promised I would get Melvin to reconsider a better name.

As we walked by Lazy again, I was pleased to see that he was up. He really is a splendid looking cat. The Flyer thinks he has a very handsome side profile. I think all his sides are equally handsome.

A third cat caught my eye. It was a very nervous adolescent tabby. I only managed to snap three shots of him before he scooted quickly away.

I saw a ginger somewhere along the way, but that one was terribly shy. Every time I approached it, it would scramble for dear life. Poor thing... hope its fear of humans was not caused by abuse.
The last kitty I saw was this darling blackie. It's a real poor thing though. Here's why.

It was resting under a truck when I caught sight of it. I thought, "Awww... it looks just like Bangles."
But when it turned around to look at me, my heart broke.

This kitty is blind in its right eye. And it's so young too. What a poor thing...

As I walked away from the dear little one, I couldn't help but think about how it had gotten hurt and if it had received any medical attention.
I hope it learns to lead a comfortable life on the streets. With responsible feeders like Mel and Steph (and hopefully TNR), perhaps it will stand a good chance.
~5-Cat Style