Cats Of Medina And Mecca

I could not find kibbles in Medina and Mecca. I could not believe it. Something so simple and yet…wow! We encountered many stray cats as we traveled from Jeddah/Medina/Mecca. From the stray cats at the airport to skinny ones at the rest stops along the road to Medina and beautiful ones in Mecca. They tend to be unfriendly towards humans but was very pleased to meet a few new “friends” along the way. Those cats that we met on a daily basis while in Mecca were quite friendly towards me. Several would try to climb on my hijab and allowed themselves to be patted and held up. They get to eat rice with fried fish or chicken.

I actually wrote to a rescue group which is based in Jeddah. I also realized that animal rescue is not a big thing in Saudi as I had difficulties in contacting a few other groups for advise especially on getting cat food. Or could it be a language barrier? I have no idea. But those who are travelling for hajj or umrah, and you are a feeder yourself, please bring along kibbles with you as I can tell you this – you cannot find kibbles in the shops at both places. Even if you ask them about cat food? They will laugh at you…soooo……..;-(

IMG_20151225_040042.jpgA tom cat with his pretty girl friend in the surau of Jeddah hajj/umrah terminal airport.

IMG_20151225_064531.jpgTwo cats we saw (among many…) at one of the rest stops from Jeddah to Medina. The night was cold. Maybe about 15C. These cats were outside looking for food. I felt bad as I did not have anything to give them.

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In Mecca. Cats we met nearby our hotel.

See the black boy at the left side? He is blind on one eye.

We met these two regularly as they were always near our hotel. The one on the right has beautiful Bengal-like spots.

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Handsome Tom

Each time we walk to Masjidil Al Haram, we would bump onto this handsome fella. One of my favourites as he was very friendly. He has many other friends outside of the mosque. Not sure how they survive…

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One of the nights on the way back from our second umrah, we went out to feed the cats. Plenty of hungry cats….big and small.

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As I was preparing for Maghrib prayers at the outer court of Fatima Az-Zahra (The Floating Mosque in Jeddah), I saw a black cat at the upper wall of the mosque.

 

Matahari And Tattoo

Sometime last week we were somewhere in Taman Megah. Coffee and an afternoon chat were what we wanted to do. It has been a stressful morning and needed the caffeine fix.

After coffee, we walked around the shop blocks admiring all the seafood restaurants, cafes, the food court. Just down the road was this huge pet store. Right after crossing towards the pet store we walked pass a tattoo shop and saw three kittens.

They all looked so serene while sleeping in a flower pot in front of the tattoo shop. But as I stroked one of them, I saw that they were not healthy at all. One of them was this beautiful calico with her right eye was with severe infection and the eye ball was so bad that it looked as if it will pop out anytime soon. The other female kitten was with bad eye infection as well.

We decided to take two of these and left the third one which was healthy as apparently they have a mommy who took a swipe at me as I tried to stroke her head.

Matahari(above) This is Matahari on the day we found her.

Tattoo(above) This is Tattoo.

We sent both of the kids to the vet the next day for medical check up and it was decided that Matahari had to be operated on for the severe eye infection.

That night, Tattoo was all alone and cried all night. I took her to the sofa and while watching tv, had her in my arms. And she slept peacefully.

Tattoo asleep

(above) Tattoo

Matahari came back home a few days after and she is now One-Eyed-Matahari!

Photo0471(above) Matahari on the day we brought him home.

The two girls are noisy lots. They can really eat and have been really lovely. I gave them this huge pink teddy bear to snuggle up to. Matahari always ended up in the poo box and it is Tattoo who would sleep on the bear’s arms.

Post World Animal Day Blog

As I type this, I can see the kids all flaked out on the sofa, runner, cabinet…and Rexton, as usual is on the 3rd case step of the staircase going to the bedrooms upstairs. Sheba, as usual, on my lap. She doesn’t care which way I turn her to. She continues with her sleep.

Most of these kids were rescued or came by to the house and decided to adopt us. All 28 of them. Many were across the Rainbow Bridge now and a few more were adopted by friends.

They eat good food, attended to by great vets and the family love them very much. In return, they provide us with unconditional love and sooth our souls when we need them.

And they are all our lifetime commitment.

I have been surrounded by animals since I was young, always have been. However it is only a few years back that I have become more aware about caring more for them and taking a more proactive approach in understanding the rescues better than I ever did.

There are still so many abused animals out there and there are more humans who just do not care. Where does this end. I don’t think it will ever stop but I feel that if I can just do something small in my own way, at least something changed. And so, let me share with you some of the things I have started doing:

  • we stop eating sharks fin soup long time ago, maybe more than 10 years. There are so many other soups that you can eat and sharks fin soup is definitely not one of them. The act of cutting the fin from still-alive sharks and then dumping the bodies back into the water is cruel.
  • TNRM – a mini initiative. At the moment, I am talking to a few friends who will pool resources together to get this TNRM going for a few selected community cats.
  • Feeding community cats – I have selected a couple of areas to feed the stray cats on certain days as they might be too dependent on fixed feedings.
  • Making sure that all kids at home are neutered so that they do not fight for their territories, or for the males marking.
  • Consciously buying more echo friendly items so that the chemicals do not flow back to earth and do not affect the kids. Yes, they are expensive but it took me a while to adopt this approach, compensating certain items with home-made cleaning detergents. I will still buy off the shell products but will be more aware of the what the labels are saying.
  • The family is gradually turning to organic food products as primary source of food. Again this is not easy as the products are more expensive, and smaller in size. For instance, an organic clean chicken weighing about 1.5kg thereabouts costs about RM30/bird whereas the regular chicken is only RM15/bird. However to shift to organic bird, again, is a conscious effort after having to drive behind lorries filled up to the brim with chicken cages so many times in many of our weekend drives. This is in the scorching heat of 34C-36C, Malaysian weather. If you dont call that animal cruelty, I don’t know what is.
  • Educating family and friends with positive discussion that dogs are still animal ,and one of God’s creatures.
  • The Girl and I carry small pouches of cat kibbles in our handbags, just in case we meet hungry strays. There are a few cat kibbles, medicine supply and other emergency supplies placed in an emergency bag at the back our car trunk.

Cant change so many things at one go, or change a person’s attitude towards animals in a day as you can only change you. It takes a conscious effort to do this.

It is all up to you.

So, to those who have furkids at home – have you hugged them today telling them how much you love them and that your commitment is for a lifetime….

This is Dexy, our special kid. She was a special-need cat with all her limbs twisted. She passed on sometime in December 2011.

Marcus Antonius And Mr Odysseus Grey

Quite a mouthful huh?

Yeap! These are our two boys who are in the snip-snip clinic today. Marcus Antonius is the sibling of Julius Caesar who crossed the rainbow bridge late last year.

And Mr Odysseus Grey….is a visitor cat who visits our home on a daily basis. I have no idea where is his real home but then looking at things, he is looking for a permanent resident pass. He has been checking out the house – top bottom – sniffing at the tv rack, tracking slowly to the hallway upstairs, making himself comfortable by sleeping in the kitchen, and having meals from the kitty bowl, just like a resident cat.

Oh well, all PRs in our home has ONE main rule…..you gotta be snipped!

This is Marcus sleeping.

This is Marcus. He was making such a ruckus during the drive to the clinic by meowing so loud!

The new grey tabby – Mr Odysseus Grey-he must have weigh about 7kg. A big boy!

He is not a very happy camper.

Jane Avatar

Our little Jane is such a cutie pie. She loves nothing more than just playing with her big brothers and sisters, and loves sleeping in her hammock. But today, she decided that the walk back to her hammock was a tad too far and she decided to sleep on the carpet infront of the TV. Notice the big blue ball at the far back near the sliding door. That is one of her toys.

What a little baby…

I think after a while she realized that I was snapping her pictures away. She woke up and decided that my lap was still the best place to sleep.

Oh. By the way, Jane has a full name now.

It is Jane Avatar! 😉

 

Dennis

Dennis was the most recent furbaby that died due to the stray dogs. I couldn’t find him the day before that fateful day. Looked for him the entire evening. Called his name but he didn’t come back. The next day, the neighbour came by and told me that she saw him deep down in the storm drain.

The Daughter going down the storm drain via a smaller drain nearby. This was her very first attempt at picking up an ex cat in a storm drain…..she had never done this before as there was always me around. But somehow she wanted to on that day. Armed with a black bag, a long pole and disposal gloves, she slowly trailed down the small drain.

Poor, poor Dennis.

RIP Dennis.

Athena And Fluffy

ATHENA, THE GODDESS OF WISDOM

Remember Cik Nah’s best laksam?

You see, each time I go there to have either my laksam or nasi kerabu, I would sit on this stool while waiting for Siti to prepare my makan. There is usually this kitty who would come from some place and play, or just watch me eat. There was one time when we didnt see her for a while. When we finally saw her again, she was skinny with swollen tits, indicating that she had given birth and her kittens were not suckling. We tried to look for any indication of kittens but there was none.

I ate my laksam that morning and as she usual did, she slept on my lap. Her burnt orange shade of her fur was beautiful. Her pink nose was wet. She looked contend.

I told Siti that by the time I finished off my laksam and she was still on my lap, I would take her home.

I finished my laksam. She was still sleeping like a baby, infact she even stretched a little.

Yeap, she went home with me that day.

I named her Athena, from the Greek’s Goddess Of Wisdom. She is such a lovely girl with even temperament. No fleas infestation when I found her. Look at that pink nose and paw paw. Fine fur is still growing on her tummy after her snip snip.

FLUFFY

As I was driving out passing the guard house to the housing area with The Daughter sometime last week, I saw one of the guards holding a tiny kitten and was putting it away to the other side of the busy inter section.

I stopped the car and asked him who does the kitten belongs to? He said, it was a stray. I came down, asked a few people there, including an Indian lady who found the kitten near the entrance whether she wanted to keep the kitten. Everyone didnt want her.

Hmmm…the decision was quite clear. I couldnt let the tiny kitten on the street. She wouldnt be able to survive the days without food and shelter. She looked pitiful with the skinny body and sick eyes.

We decided to bring her home to feed her.

Nyom! Nyom! Nyom! She ate like a Tasmanian Devil. Poor baby.

The Daughter named her Fluffy. At first I wanted to put her up for adoption but since The Daughter is moving to her own place by end of the month, she wanted the kitten. She named her Fluffy.

Will take her to visit the vet in the next few days to check on her health, deworming and vaccination. She looks alright for now, and her eyes are getting better after some eye ointment treatment.

Interview By Meow Magazine

I feel so honoured when Charyen called me up to ask whether Meow Magazine could do a write up on the furbabies and me. Wow! Me?;-)

And so, one evening, the well known photographer Teng Wei came to the house for the photo session. I never knew that taking photos with these kids can be so much …..errr….trying….

Amadeus was nowhere in sight. Zeus was being himself – so full of himself…Uncle Kucing was very cooperative, and so was baby Whistle and Blackie. The rest were restless. Didnt like to meet our guest and didnt like to be held at one spot.

I was sweating like nobody’s business. This is hard work! In the end, I just simply love his finished work! Beautiful pictures capturing the best moments of me and the furbabies

With Uncle Kucing

With Princess

The front cover of Meow Magazine, February 2012 issue.

You can get the soft copy here. The hard copies can be obtained at all leading vets and pet shops.

When A Cat Is Gone

I have lost so many furbabies all throughout my years as I have been keeping pets ever since I was a child. We used to have dogs when we were living in the kampung. There was one favourite mutt named Bob who would follow my grandma and I each time we go to the paddy field or to the river. His brown coat shines under the sun and his eyes alert. We lost him to a careless driver who plough through a few electric poles and him who happened to be standing by the road side while negotiating a bend near our kampung home.

There was my civet cat named Mr Mus. A majestic looking creature who decided to eat my grandparents’ chickens after he got hungry one day. A few years down the road, I had another civet cat by the name of Mushy. Such an adorable thing and loves nothing but eating satay with my dad. On weekends, you can see both of them, dad and Mushy sitting by the side door to the kitchen. Both enjoying chicken satay and looking so happy.

Then, there was the endless fish, more dogs and cats, chicken, goats, rabbits, hamsters – one after another of whom I will name it Bruce.

Each and everyone of this furbaby is like a family member. Each are unique and possesses personality that differs them from one to another.

Each time they are gone, it feels as if a part of me is gone with them too. My heart breaks a thousand pieces and I will grieve for them for a long time. No words could describe the feeling of loss I experience. The pain is so deep in my heart that sometimes makes me unable to sleep.

As the years go by, the pain doesnt get any lesser, or better. It just feels the same – deep pain and a sense of loss. But life has to move on as there are other furbabies that need my attention. However, I think with all the years too I have managed to identify the grieving process.

Acceptance

Sometimes it is not easy to accept that a pet that you have grown to love and attach is no longer with you. They might just be gone one day or got sick and dies. I used to have a cat, Tiger. This long orange colour haired bundle of furball was the sweetest thing, ever. He would sleep next to me each night and fall asleep like a baby with his head on the pillow..every day I would comb his beautiful fur and talk to him. I lost him when the neighbour accidently ran over him.

I felt that part of my heart was ripped away and I was dying too.

 

Grieving

I grieved, cried for many weeks. I still do when I think of him. He was my friend after all and when I am sad, he would look at me with his soft, brown eyes and as if saying, “It is okay, mommy, I am with you…”.

Along the years, there were the many who had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. And those who were special too. They were special because of the condition when I first found them. Be it in the drain, from the nigh market, by the road side, or when the mommy cat came to the house with a big belly, looking for a place to give birth.

I grieved when my Dexter (the first Dexter) dies. I grieved when Socks, Killer, Snowy, Belle, Julius, PJ, Dexy and so many other dies.

In my grieving moments, I always thought that I would never ever adopt a cat again so that the pain will lessen. Besides, I still have a few more at home. But, hey. What do you know? They have ways to come into your life and make you love them.

Each time I washed the floors at home, automatically I would look for Dexy (our deformed cat) to move her well away from the wet floor as she didnt like to get wet. But she is no longer around. I used to wash the floors while having tears in my eyes.

 

Coping with the pain

Each one of us grieve differently for the loss of a cat. When Dexy dies, the first reaction I had was to look out for a deformed cat to adopt. I had this urge to care and love for a helpless kitty and at the same time blamed myself for her death. I thought I should have done more. I should have taken her earlier to the vet. I should have, would have, whatever.

But she dies anyway despite receiving the best care. She let me loved her for 2 and a half years. And shes gone. I sit by her grave everyday and still “see” her perching over her favourite spot on the sofa.

Right after Dexy was gone, we adopted Blackie and the latest addition, Jane to accompany Whistle and the others. We are back on number 27 as of today. The kids are an amazing lot. They are such a lovely and loving animals who love you back unconditionally. It doesnt matter what you look like in the morning, or how your ass looks while in that jeans. They just love you and you love them back.

And that’s, what matters.

 

(This is Uncle Kucing’s paw paw)

Satria aka Blackie aka (tba)

We do stuff for our furbabes.

I would wake up from slumber a few times at night just to feed that wee furbaby its milk. I fret over his blocked nose. There is no where safe at home from the fur of these babies. Food takes up most of the cost from everything else. My head spins each time I look at the vet bill. For instance, Bubble’s vet bill was about RM800.00 when she came down with something that resembled poisoning.

SPCA-DBKL Klinik Kembiri’s low cost neutering/spaying is a God-send too. Helps a lot if you have a bunch like ours and also when you send in rescues.

But I am digressing.

I wanted to talk about what we did last early December 2011 in that cold, dark night. We saved a kitten. With a dramatic background story of having to persuade a call-man to open up his car hood, I recall with fondness the happiness I felt when we pulled this tiny, black, helpless thing out.

Here is the story of Satria aka Blackie. FYI, the name of this little fella is a like a work-in-progress.

One night, George and I came out from Giant Kota Damansara and as we turned the gentle corner to the main road, I saw a glimpse of this tiny black thing who was about to cross the busy road.

I mean, this is the main road of Kota Damansara; a 4-lane main road with fast cars and big buses. And a tiny kitten wants to cross the road?

Even I would think twice about doing so.

I immediately stopped the car with a hope that George would open up his side of the door, grab kitty and we all could drive home. Not so simple. George did opened up his side of the door, tried to grab kitty but tiny kitty decided to make a u-turn and proceeded to run into a tiny water culvert by the side of the road.

After parking the car to the side, we waited by that tiny hole. I tried to fish him out by opening up a packet of wet food and placing it nearby. We waited some more.

And waited.

Looked like he was not coming out and it was beginning to get really late. And so with heavy heart, we decided to go home first and send the groceries before driving out again to wait for this little guy.

Around 1.00 am, The Teenager, her friend Aliff and myself drove out again. It was drizzling and when we drove past the corner I had this sick notion that I would see an ex-tiny kitty on the road.

I parked the car just a little away from this black Satria. Came out and started looking around. No sign of a kitten. Then, there it was. Tiny meows. From the parked Satria.

OH! NO! The last thing we wanted was a tiny kitty in someone’s engine!

People say you get what you fear.

Kitty was in the engine compartment. Oh, how did I know? I asked the guy who happened to be a call-man, who happened to be sleeping off what looked like an alcohol-induced sleep, to pop up his car hood.

After probing, kitty-calling and ensuring that our Mr Call-Man here did not start the engine after waking up from his sleep, and all of this the night was drizzling heavily, cars and buses wheezed us by, and curious people stopping, God, it was close to 3.00 am that this little guy was finally dragged out.

That was a month ago. Cant see his eyes? Ok, neither could we.

Here he is now.

One pampered tiny kitty.