Monday, March 27, 2006

Dear Mr HR Director

I refer to your advertisement seeking a companion and playmate to Kootoo Monster.

I am a 3 month old girl kitten measuring approximately 25cm from head to butt. I am always immaculately dressed in my charcoal brown jacket teamed with a white blouse, white gloves and knee high white boots. Together with my long full tail, I will be an attractive addition to your home.

I am not the friendliest kitten in the world now as I have to be wary of strangers. But I will not take long to warm up to you. A few soft words and I will be mewing softly back to you as I come to stroke your hand. I will gladly play tag with you and will also cuddle quietly right next to you when you just want some company.

I attach a few photos of myself and hope to seek an appropriate time to meet you.

Yours sincerely, Sweety Kitty

Look at my long full tail

I like to sit with my tail twirled around me for security. I may look a little dirty now but I will be at my most beautiful after a good bath and clean up.


T.C.S.S #2 - Japanese food and neko

I am just going to ramble on and on today. No specific topic in mind.

kuro.shiro.neko was blogging about all the great Japanese food she had the other day and it got me drooling again, even though it was after a very hearty fan chai lunch from the canteen.

I guess that she may be making a trip to Hokkaido soon. Then her meow meows how? For us, it is always such a difficult decision whenever we need to leave for long trips. What will happen to those little monsters when we are away? Will they miss us? Will they miss the human companionship? Who will clear their litter ad fill their water and food dish? Never an easy decision to make. Luckily for us, my MIL likes the little monsters and is willing to make the daily trip to our place to do the kitty chores and keep them company for an hour or two. That sort of eases our minds a lot more.

Ah, good things in Hokkaido. We made a 9-day trip there last year in Aug which was the end of the summer season. Quite hot. We were hoping for milder temperatures.

It was our first trip to Japan and I would have to say that Japan was like how it looked like on Japan Hour. Very clean and systematic with very friendly and helpful natives. It was a breeze to move around even though both of us do not speak a word of Japanese.

We had always wanted a big big 招财猫 from Japan but it seems that Hokkaido does not really have a good selection. The only place we found some good招财猫 was from a small little shop in Otaru. Very good workmanship and it would have cost us another 20% to 30% more if we had bought it in Taka Singapore.

But what did left a deep impression on us was all those good food we have. Heavenly. Very single meal. K.S.N (I think I got it right this time), you must try this yakitori shop if you are in Sapporo. This yakitori shop is damn good. Locals and office workers frequent it and we were the only foreigners there. The shop only has Japanese menus and we took the dinner set after a lot of referencing to our Japanese phrase book. Price is a bit on the high side but the food was real good.

Name of shop: Palace Toriyoshi (don’t know the Japanese name)
Map reference: S5 W5
Address: Japan Land Building 2nd Flr
Nearest tube station: Susukino (3 mins walk)

This shop is rather difficult to find but it is right in the middle of the soapland district (I hope you know what soapland refers to in Japan). The environment is a bit shady but full of eye candy. So much to see but nothing to do. Too bad the Wife was walking beside me.  Hahahaha…

Now for the neko in Hokkaido. We stumbled into this super big pet shop in Sapporo which sells goldfish to puppies to a single monkey to snakes to kittens. This is a very well run shop and all the animals there are very well taken care of. We spent quite some time in the kitten section and there were so many breeds there. Abyssinians, BSH, Ragdolls, Persians and some I can’t remember. The kittens are very well taken care of. They are very lively and healthy with bright clean eyes and ears. Their noses look clean and even their little nails are clipped. It puts all the pet shops in Singapore to shame as I think the best in Singapore is nowhere near that standard.

Ok, back to the pet shop in Sapporo. Very beautiful and healthy kittens. When we saw the Abyssinian, we went crazy as it reminded so much of our Chang Chang. And the shop girl even let us cuddle the little thing (after disinfecting our hands. Wow wow, super good habits the Japanese have) even though she knows that we are tourists and will not be buying anything. We showed her Chang Chang’s baby pics and we got a Japanese machine gun reply from her. All I caught was “kawaii”. So if you are in Sapporo, take a peek. I think it is called the Sapporo Factory and is a 12-minute walk from the Sapporo Beer Museum. Map reference is N2E4 Chuo Ku.


Friday, March 24, 2006

T.C.S.S. #1 – Women like cats more?

I’ve been reading quite a few cat blogs here and there and it seems that the majority of cat owners are ladies.

Is it because
a) men who are cat lovers blog about other typical male “hobbies” like cars, computer games, women (??), soccer or computers; or
b) there are definitely more female than male cat lovers; or
c) men are embarrassed to be known as cat lovers?

I think option b) should be quite correct. Maybe even option c). I don’t know. I’m just guessing.

Actually I only personally know of 1 male cat lover though he technically does not own any cats (his mother does). 3 of my current female colleagues have cats. 2 are married and I would presume their spouse either like cats too or do not mind having cats around.

None of my friends are cat lovers. They don’t not like them but it has never occurred to them to be a cat owner though I know a couple of them would prefer to keep a dog rather than a cat. None of them have any pets currently except for one couple who has this one fighting fish.

What is it then with dogs and humans, especially man? Speaking from a man’s point of view, I think it’s the character of a dog which draws them. Men (and most humans of either gender) like to be in control, to rule, to be “THE ONE” with the authority etc. I think you get the idea.

Dogs are pack animals and will instinctively follow the top dog, the Alpha male. And this therefore gives rise to the perfect match. One wants to lead and the other wants to be led. Man calls “Come here boy”, “sit boy”, “roll over” and the dog dutifully does (mostly) whatever is the command. Man’s ego inflated liao. Satisfied. Ho sei liao. For the ladies, maybe they don’t have such a high need to be in control or perhaps they don’t have this big ego to satisfy. I don’t know. I’m just guessing. So don’t slaughter me.

Try that with a cat and I bet most people will have their blood pressure rising to the roof. A few special cats may respond but I bet the rest will probably bo chup you totally (some even turn their backs to you) or they may get back to you later during the year and only if they feel like it.

So does that mean that male cat lovers do not have the need to massage a big ego or maybe they don’t have a big ego to start with? Or is the allure of a cat too great to resist for certain males? Questions questions questions. I think a PhD thesis can be written on this topic.

So what is the charm of the cat? Is it their loftiness, subtlety in expressing themselves, arrogance, non-dependency (but not totally) on human company, feline grace, soft mews and purrs etc? They are for me, at least. It grows on you. You need to win their love. You have to work for it. I don’t need to feel that I am the one in control all the time. You do your thing and I do mine and when the planets come into alignment every so often, the cat will be beside/on top of/near you, keeping you company with no words spoken and with just that gentle look in their eyes. I tell you. That is the best feeling ever. It’s like falling in love all over again. Every single day.

Some of the best times I had spent with them are when I come back home late from work. The Wife is sleeping already and the house is deadly quiet and dark. I open the door and 5 pairs of shiny eyes greet me. They come twirl around my feet quietly, sometimes with a few soft mews. And when I settle down onto the sofa/floor/whatever, they will be crowding around me. Chang Chang/Xin Xin will be on my lap while Kim Kim will be seeking head bangs. Bon Bon will timidly try to sneak in for a pet here and there while Yuan Yuan will be seated a metre or so away observing. I can feel my tiredness going away even though I have been working for more than 18 hours. I can feel my blood pressure dropping as I gently stroke them. It’s heavenly. No words spoken and no loud barks. I think it reaffirms the connection I have with them. Within 15 minutes, they will go do their own thing. Only Xin Xin and Chang Chang will be near me. And I am fine with that. It’s good to know they love you but they also give you your own space, your privacy. It’s great. A perfect match.

Don’t get me wrong though. I love dogs too and I also enjoy their company. When I was younger, my tuition teacher’s silky terrier, Buttons which is the sweetest dog ever, would like to nap on my lap while I spent 2 hours going over grammar, sentence construction, essays, paragraphing, Julius Caesar and The Old Man & The Sea (this book is too not-it for the lower secondary). I enjoyed her company and her big round black eyes just melt you. And I think hamsters and rabbits and fishes and chinchillas and guinea pigs and whatever pet will be great company too.

But cats are in a different league altogether. To me, they are above that. And I think only those who are/were owned by cats will know that feeling.


Monday, March 20, 2006

The last one (???)

Yuan Yuan:

You know something. Humans still do not understand our language. When we meow, we don’t always mean “Come pet me”. It can also be “Stay where you are and don’t come ka jiao me”. You agree with me?

Obviously my 2 humans are not the intelligent type ‘cos that’s what they did when I meowed them while I was crouching in the drain.

“Ohhhh, it’s so cute and small,” cooed the Man.

“I think it’s ginger, your favourite,” said the Woman, “Don’t know if it is a boy or girl.”

They came by almost every night thereafter for almost a month to check me out. The Man was very happy that I was a little girl. The Woman always say to him, “Ginger, pink nose and girl, win already”. I don’t know why also.

I never really warmed up to them during that time, not that I warm up to anyone. I just like to play, chasing wormies, and playing with my friend from the flat above. He will come down every night and I will just chase him all over the grass field, jump over the bushes, run through the drains and then just rest when we are tired. The Woman would always try to tease me with a string or a twig and I could never catch it and the Man would be laughing at me, saying that I am such a really cute and chubby stray kitten.

They did manage to stroke me a few times during that month but I always managed to squirm away after a few strokes. But then that night they started whispering to each other and the Man disappeared and came back with this box with a metal door. I did not mind exploring it as I saw this twig moving inside. I think I was tricked.

It wasn’t too bad in their place. On that first night, I had 4 pairs of eyes staring at me and Kim Kim & Xin Xin hissing at me. I like living there. I have Chang Chang and Bon Bon to play with and Xin Xin is like the mummy I’d never known. Food is always available and Mummy plays with me every night. But somehow, I still do not like to be stroked or petted. I will tolerate it but I’m not like the rest who will seek out Mummy & Daddy for cuddles. Mummy & Daddy say that I am a cat cat and not a people cat, whatever that means.

Name: Yuan Yuan (圆圆means round round in Chinese cos I was always a chubby thing with big round eyes and a round butt)
Birthday: Mid December 2004
Breed: Ginger DSH with a short stubby kinked tail
Weight: 4kg and growing (Daddy says I am a chunky girl but I think I am just big boned)
Rank: I don’t care about rank. I just want to eat and play.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Does it work?


kuro.shiro.neko was blogging about Japan and somehow the subject touched on Maneki Neko (招财猫), ie, those sitting cat statues you see in Japanese or Chinese shops/restaurants. One of its arm is moveable and seems to beckon you in. Apparently, these cute little things are beckoning fortune into the shop/restaurant.

When we were visiting Hokkaido last year, we noted very few stray cats and dogs in the streets. And the strays we saw all seemed very well fed. Perhaps most of the strays have been adopted and are living a relatively comfortable life.

How we wish Singapore can learn from the Japanese in this respect. Give the strays a chance to be adopted into our home and if they cannot be adopted, let’s seek to make their lives in the streets easier. Allow them to live. Don’t cull them just because of some complaints by cat/dog haters. If I apply this culling logic to humans, I think half of the primary schools in Singapore will have to be shut down permanently. I know most people will say you cannot equate a human life to a stray cat/dog’s life but to the many feeders and volunteers, they are their “children” they feed and take care of daily. These strays reciprocate with purrs, head butts, belly rubs. They give back 100% love unconditionally. They may fill a certain void in many lives. I cannot say the same thing about humans. How often do you see parent-abuse cases reported in the daily newspaper? How would you feel if one day, your child does not come back home for dinner? Will you be worried about his/her safety? And how will you feel if you learn from a neighbour/friend/relative that he has been captured (and culled!!!!!) by the authorities for making a din in the shopping centres/book shops/libraries running and screaming because there is a complaint against this inconsiderate behavior. Does this sound familiar?

Let volunteer organizations like the SPCA, CWS, Metta and ASD continue with their TNR (trap and release), mediation and adoption programs. With time, we will see good results. Most neutered/spayed cats are very docile and do not mess up the environment. We humans mess up our estate much more than all the strays in Singapore put together. Take a look around your estate early in the morning before the sweepers begin their work and you will see what I mean.

I seemed to have strayed from my original topic matter. Ok, back to the original topic about招财
猫. After Kim Kim came into our lives, on the first day of Chinese New Year, we will bring her out to the front door and then we will lift up her front paws to do the 招thing. We do this with all our cats without fail every year.

Obviously, it does not work because we had never won Toto first prize these few years. Haiz... Waste our time and effort. Hahaha...We'll continue trying though.

Have you ever done this or even thought about doing it?

PS: Actually Yuan Yuan wanted to post her story but somehow the picture cannot upload. So she will have to wait...and I still miss the block’s feisty calico which had gone missing since last year.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Cookie Monster

Kim Kim says:

Apparently I am not the first cat to enter Mummy and Daddy’s life *sulks*.

Before I was brought home, they had actually adopted one cat before from the SPCA. They called him “Cookie”.

His photo is still pasted on the wall and he looks a little bit like me with a white chest and thick black classic tabby swirls on brown fur. The only difference is that he has a pinky nose like Xin Xin. I have to admit he looks damn cute.

Mummy & Daddy still have not forgotten him as he is technically their “first” cat/child. However, he proved a little too much to handle especially when they were still greenhorns then. Cookie was returned to SPCA a week later. Mummy lost 2 kg in that week from stress handling him.

They decided to give having a cat as a pet 2 months later and I was adopted because I reminded them so much of Cookie. But I was a much better behaved kitty and that’s how Mummy & Daddy got back the confidence to handle more kitties who are even naughtier. And so they ended up with 5 of us. Haha…

They sneaked a visit back to the SPCA a few months after I was adopted (I know because I could smell him on them *sulks again*) to see if Cookie was still around. He had already grown into a strapping majestic tom cat (but already eunuch hehehe). Mummy said he looked like the top cat in the cattery. But they could not bring him back again as they know we will never be able to get along well. They know I won’t give up my queen seat to him easily. They are so right. Mummy & Daddy are mine. All mine.

But I hope he has already been adopted into a nice family who will give him all the love and care he needs. Mummy & Daddy would very happy if that happens. I think they still blame themselves for returning him.

Best wishes Cookie gor gor. The kxbc gang wishes you a happy life even though you are not part of our family.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

The only thorn among the roses

I think I will write this for Chang Chang since he is not the most intelligent cat in the world.

The Wife picked him up from her office lift lobby after hearing his sister’s frantic cries. What she saw really startled her. Two tiny one-day old kittens in a cardboard box on top of the letterbox with their umbilical cords still attached and their eyes still tightly shut, screaming their tiny heads off as they demanded their milk. They had been cruelly abandoned by their human owner.

With no experience in looking after neo-natal kittens, the internet was really a life saver. It provided us a good source of tried-and-tested articles on keeping them alive and raising them. A big thank you to all those who had put down your experience into words.

It was a challenge keeping two malnutrition kittens alive. Both would not feed much and were severely dehydrated. The vet could not offer much help except to try harder and feeding them every 2 hours.

Sadly, Duan Duan (短短), the one with the short tail, passed on 12 days later despite a good fight. She was the stronger and bigger one and till today, it puzzled us why it was not Chang Chang (长长, haha you guessed it right, he does indeed have a long tail). Actually I had resisted naming them for fear that we will grow too attached to them since the original plan was to bring them up and adopt them out.

The good thing that came from Duan Duan’s passing was that we could devote 100% of our effort on Chang Chang. It was hardest 2 months. He was weak, did not like feeding, had frequent fevers and severe constipation. While other 4-week old kittens were exploring their surroundings in their usual kaypoh kittenish ways, Chang Chang was still struggling to stand properly on his thin shaky legs.

Feeding time had always been a challenge. The Wife took the morning and evening feeds while I did the 3am and rushed home everyday during lunch to take the noon feed. The little boy would not drink his milk and neither would he take his dry food when he was due for weaning. And that’s not all. He had a few bouts of fits which scared the living daylights out of us. I’m glad to say that our vet made quite a fair of money from us during that time.

By the end of 2 months when his health had more or less stablised, we had become the national treasure of China and Expressions Slimming Centre would have been so proud that we lost a combined total of 4kg from stress (ladies, please note this new way to slim down).

Despite all that trouble, he grew up to be a loving boy who would follow you around the house if he was not challenging KK, XX or BB to a fight. We dropped our plans to adopt him out as he has promised to stay at our place to pay off all the vet fees we had spent on him.

Name: Chang Chang (长长 meaning "long long" for his long tail)
Birthday: 1 April 2004
Breed: DSH (but he looks like an Abyssinian)
Rank: 4th to be adopted but is currently fighting for the Top Cat title
Favourite past time: Lying on newspaper when you are reading them, kneading on our blankets, napping on our chests and poking his wet nose in everything we do.

I have to say that it was a rather good decision to keep him. Anyway, nobody would want a not-so-intelligent (we think the fevers affected his brain a little) and “ugly looking” cat following you around the house almost 24 x 7, dropping at your feet so very often for a little petting and sayang.


Monday, March 06, 2006

I am a cheetah. Hear me roar.

My teeth look okay?


Sweet sweet Mummy’s girl

Bon Bon:

Of all things, I am named after a dog. Can you imagine the indignity? Daddy named me after a dog which he thinks has a cute butt. And since I have a cute butt, he said my name should be Bon Bon.

Mummy says I am the sweetest cat ever (and I am not disagreeing with her you know) and do you know that “bon bons” is “sweets” in French?? Now I think the name suits me just fine.

I am the 3rd cat adopted into the household. Mummy and Daddy have always wanted a British Short Hair and my Daddy is in love with the grey classic tabby. But they could never bring themselves to buying one ‘cos they think giving a stray a home is better than buying. But I think they are just cheapskates. Cheapskates. Hehe…

They saw me in a pet shop for sale and somehow, the shop lady gave me to them for free. I really mean for free. She said Daddy was the only one I responded to although lots of people have come to view me but I was too “dau” for them. You know, Daddy cheated. I tell you. He did not wipe his fingers after his chicken rice lunch and I only responded to him because of that delicious smell coming from that finger poking into my cage.

Kim Kim and Xin Xin did not like me at all when I was introduced to them, especially Xin Xin. She didn’t like me taking all of Mummy and Daddy’s attention away. I mean I can’t help it if I am just too cute to resist, right? But I have been getting along well with them these past 3 ½ years, although they will hit me sometimes. I guess it’s just old age (Kim Kim) and PMS (Xin Xin). But please don’t tell them I badmouth them, ok?

Name: Bon Bon
Birthday: 20 June 2002
Breed: British short hair grey mackerel tabby (or at least that’s what the certificate says)
Rank: 3rd oldest in the family but going to be the lowest ranking cat soon (sob sob)