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Cats & Dogs Living in the Philippines

Lots of Cats, and Some Dogs Too!

My wife really really loves cats. She loves all sorts of pets, but she has a particular weakness for cats.  From what I can tell, she always had cats of her own when she lived in the Philippines and now we have cats in Singapore.

I know where my wife got her love of cats from now: her dad. On my last few trips to the Philippines we didn’t have the time to go to Pampanga to visit her parents at their apartment. We only saw her family’s house in Antipolo, in Rizal province. That’s not to say they don’t have pets there, because they do. There are quite a few cats running around and there are even two dogs as well. That’s different though, because the cats all belong to different members of her family. It doesn’t seem unusual for a person to have one or two cats.

On the other hand, the only person that really lives out of the apartment in Porac, Pampanga is my father-in-law. My mother-in-law is there sometimes, but she usually lives out of her free apartment next to the school where she teaches. So, all of the animals there can be attributed to him. Walking through the yard and the apartments there is like walking through an animal shelter.

The first animals you’ll notice are the three dogs in the yard. One of them is named Happy (the brownish one) and one of the others is named Mayumi (one of the white ones). I can’t recall the name of the other white dog, and I couldn’t tell them apart anyways. Once you get past the dogs and into the apartments you’ll find cats everywhere.

The apartments don’t have air conditioning, so the windows are open all the time. Surprisingly, they’re not screened in either. This is going a bit off topic, but I never understood why window screens aren’t in common usage in Singapore or the Philippines. With high levels of mosquito borne illnesses, like dengue for example, which can be fatal, you’d think window screens would be in high demand. That doesn’t appear to be the case though. Anyways, like I was saying, the windows are always open and they aren’t screened so the cats go in and out at their leisure. They seem to get along well enough with the dogs too, so you might see the cats hanging out in the yard. There must have been about 11 cats and kittens running around. I only took pictures of a few of them.

One cat in particular caught my attention. Her name is Samsung. She’s incredibly friendly and purrs so hard she nearly chokes herself when you put her on your lap and pet her. What’s especially strange about this cat, though, is that when you pet her, she crawls up towards your shoulder, starts kneading against you, and then starts licking/sucking/slobbering on your shirt. My father-in-law says it’s because he found her when she was really young and she never had the chance to do much nursing. When he took her in, he kept her wrapped up in blankets and she would try to nurse on the blankets when she was hungry. Apparently she never lost the habit. Great cat, but you can’t hold her when you’re wearing a nice, clean shirt that you want to go out in, or you’ll wind up having spots of cat drool on yourself.

Another interesting cat is named Jumong. I called her Captain Hook because she only has one eye. According to my father-in-law, some kid in the neighborhood shot out her other eye with a pellet gun.

Categories
Cats & Dogs

Fievel Goes To Heaven

This morning I was sitting at my computer in the room after just having gotten out of bed, checking my e-mail. My wife came in and said in a serious tone, “Fievel is gone.” She was trying to be tough, but then she sat down on my knee and broke down, saying that she was so sad. So, I asked where Fievel was, and she told me that he was in the living room, in a small box she had lined with towels so he could rest in the sunlight while she was cooking lunch.

We went out to the living room and I saw the box sitting on the couch. I shifted the towels and saw Fievel laying there on his side. He could have been sleeping, but his chest wasn’t moving. I poked at him a bit, tickled his belly and rubbed the back of his head, but he didn’t move. So, I picked him up and listened for breath and felt for a heartbeat, but he truly was dead.

We got Fievel just over a week ago. Someone had abandoned him in a pile of garbage and one of my wife’s coworkers picked him up. Well, actually her dog picked him up, but she brought him home, and my wife, being the cat lover that she is, volunteered to take Fievel in, in the hopes that he would recover. She went over to her friend’s house after a long day at work and brought Fievel home.

When I first saw Fievel he was in pretty bad shape. He was filthy and crying. He was crapping blood and struggling weakly. He cried quite a bit too. We did what we could for him. We gave him a bath in warm water to clean him up and made sure he ate. The strange thing was that he didn’t want to eat. We had to force him to drink special kitten milk that we got for him. For a few days Fievel seemed to improve. The bloody crapping stopped and he seemed to get stronger, but then I noticed that he had a serious infection in one of his eyes. There was quite a bit of pus, which I tried my best to clean up. He still seemed to be doing ok though, and I still had hopes he might recover. Yesterday though, my opinion of the situation changed. Fievel had been keeping his infected eye closed, which is understandable, but yesterday I noticed that he was keeping both of his eyes closed and when I checked I realized that the infection had spread. He couldn’t walk anymore either. When he tried to, he would fall over and then he seemed too weak to be able to get up. He would try, then fall back over and pass out where he was. I talked to Margee about it and we were considering whether taking him to the vet was a good idea, or whether it was just too late. Then this morning, my wife took him to the living room to get some sun. She sat there for a bit, petting him, and he seemed to take comfort from that. He meowed weakly a few times and settled into the towel, and then he died.

At least we can be satisfied that we took him in and gave him a chance to live, when someone else had simply thrown him in the garbage. We kept him as comfortable as we could and made sure that he was fed. We held him often, because he liked it so much. He even purred when cradled in one of our arms, which I thought was amusing. The kitten was so small, but it already knew how to purr. One of our other cats, Dapper, was finally getting over her jealousy and was taking a liking to Fievel. She would stop by the carrier we were keeping him in to check on him, and would often walk up and give Fievel a few sniffs when he was exploring the floor. So, at least Fievel died comfortable and knowing that someone was caring for him. How cruel would it have been to leave him in the trash, to die alone in the heat, or to be eaten by something?

My wife prepared a shoebox and I gently laid Fievel into it. Then she covered him with a cloth and some newspaper and then I taped up the box, and wrote a few words on it. While she went to finish preparing lunch, I took Fievel out and placed him into the trash chute. It seemed a wrong and almost disrespectful way to send him on his way, but where in Singapore do you bury pets? It doesn’t matter much though, Fievel was already gone. Still, I hesitated when it came time to push the chute closed.

I suppose he chose a good time to go. My wife happened to be off from work today. At least she was here to spend some time with him and she got to see him off. I’m sure she would have felt worse if she had been at work and I had told her what had happened when she got home. We didn’t have Fievel long, but he had become part of our little family. I was never too interested in cats, but it’s hard to have any pet and see it die, no matter how short a time you’ve had it. It’s even harder to have a young pet die on you. This is the first time I remember having a pet pass away on me since my hamster died in Germany when I was a kid. I still remember my dad burying it in the woods there. I’m consoled by the fact that we did our best for Fievel and he died comfortably.

Categories
Cats & Dogs

Fievel Goes West… way way west… to Singapore

My wife sent me an e-mail the other day from work and told me that a friend of hers had found a kitten. Well, it wasn’t really her friend that found it. Her friend’s dog picked it up out of the trash and brought it to their HDB flat. She said her friend didn’t want to keep the kitten and was looking for someone to take care of it. She started asking me if it would be ok if we took it in for a while. She seemed to really want it, so I agreed.

She told me that we would pick up the cat on Monday, but she e-mailed me on Tuesday I believe, saying that she was going to go get it then. Apparently the kitten was sick and her friend was scared it was going to die on her. My wife said her friend was thinking of just dumping the kitten back where she found it and leaving it there. That’s not really the point of this blog entry, but what kind of sick bastard would just dump a kitten somewhere to die? So, she went and got it right away and brought it here. Luckily I have a cat carrier handy that’s serving as its home for now.

The kitten looks more like a little rat to me. At best guess it can’t be more than a week and a half old. It didn’t seem to want to eat at all. It still fights when it’s feeding time. We’ve been forcing it to drink milk. When we first brought it here it was really weak and it did seem that it was going to die. Now it’s a lot more lively. We both think it will pull through. I did a little reading up on kittens and it seems that there may be some behavioral issues with this kitten in the future. If they’re separated from their mother too early they can have problems relating to other cats. I think it will be fine though.

We came up with the name Fievel for it because we’d recently re-watched the movie An American Tale and I commented that it looked like a little rat. So, my wife said we should call it Fievel and it stuck. Sometimes she sings that song from the movie, “Somewhere out there…” to the kitten while she’s feeding it. It’s amusing. We’re not too sure if Fievel is a boy or a girl, but either way Fievel is a decent name.

Our other two cats have been acting strangely since we brought the kitten in. Dapper went through a phase where she was very jealous and defensive. She’s slowly becoming less aggressive and more curious. I was starting to get tired of hearing her hiss at the cat carrier where Fievel is. Bouncy on the other hand has become twice the hateful bitch she used to be.

Hopefully they’ll all learn to get along.