Monday, July 2, 2012

Adopting a kitten

There's a lot of 'wildlife' in my neighbourhood and its surroundings -- birds, snakes, rats, monkeys, iguanas, feral dogs and cats. Those are the ones that I've come across so far.  This is partly because our housing development is nearby some forests and undeveloped land. I will talk about cats because they happen to be the most annoying to me at this point in time.

Birds fly away after stealing Rusty's food pellets, while the monkeys, iguanas and dogs are outside the perimeter fencing of our 'taman'. But the cats, they have invaded our roads and back alleys. They defecate in your garden, and reproduce. They also create a ruckus with their loud fights and mating calls which lead to all the dogs in the neighbourhood barking non-stop. They continue to populate the neighbourhood and back alleys of our homes because some neighbours like to feed them. They may think they are being kind but they don't realise that they are making the situation worse. They also say that it is good to have them around so that the snakes and rats can be controlled. I think that there other more effective ways to control snakes and rats.

Some neighbours have adopted the cats as their pets. Some know how to care for them responsibly by spaying or neutering them, providing them proper living arrangements, healthcare, food and litter boxes. Some, however, do not know or care so much. They leave them roaming outside to defecate in neighbours' compounds leaving a foul stench, and don't spay or neuter them, which then leads to these pets mating among themselves and with the ferals/strays.

Recently two cats gave birth and the kittens have been roaming around my back alley with their mamas. Over the past two months, some of the kittens have disappeared. They either died, moved away or have been taken by people I believe.

C is an animal lover and in the past year, she has developed a strong interest in cats. When she goes out cycling on some evenings, her main purpose is to look for cats, observe and try to play with them. So of course when she discovered two kittens hanging around behind our house, she went on a mission to 'rescue' them. For two weeks, she was always on the lookout for them but never succeeded in catching any.

Last Thursday, one kitten was deep in slumber and she managed to creep up behind it and caught it with her bare hands. The mama cat was not around. She has the intention of keeping it as her pet but she knows we've always 'forbidden' it, so she made up the excuse that she's rescuing it so that we can put it up for adoption to give it a better home. We are concerned because she has allergies. She once got into a sneezing fit and had teary eyes and some welts after playing with a cat outside on the road, came home with fur all over her clothes.... Furthermore, we have Rusty and that's enough of pets at home. We can't afford to feed another mouth and even if C takes full responsibility in caring for the cat, I'd still have to be the 'assistant' while she's at school,  help shop for supplies or drive it to the vet if it's sick!

According to this website, feral cats are hard to tame and if we need to control their population, the Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) method should be employed. "TNR helps the community by stabilizing the population of the feral colony and, over time, reducing it. At the same time, nuisance behaviors such as spraying, excessive noisemaking and fighting are largely eliminated, and no more kittens are born." However, I think it will be difficult to employ this TNR method here unless it becomes a serious problem. I also wonder if the local authorities or SPCA or other animal welfare group will have the resources to do it....

The female kitten is about two months old and is able to eat solid food. However, the mama cat hangs around our backyard every morning and evening and a mewing 'conversation' between mother and offspring ensues.... I don't like the idea of separating the poor kitty from the mama but of course, letting it loose back out there is also not an option since C has already got it, and also it would then grow up to be another reproducing cat. I've got some word out to get it adopted but so far these few days there are no takers. I'm hoping that it can get adopted soon by a loving and responsible person who will care for it and spay it. It would be good too if we can get the mama cat and also spay it and let it out in the 'wild' like TNR but it's very hard to 'catch'  a feral cat without the proper tools/trap.

So for now, we're doing what's necessary to shelter and feed the cat and keep it within a small confined space at the back of the house so that it doesn't run loose and mess up our home, or cross path with Rusty....

I'm still undecided if I should spay it. A check in several websites give different information about how old the cat has to be before it can go under the knife. Some say two months, others six months.....and I'm unwilling to spend too much money on what is currently a temporary arrangement. However, C is of course secretly hoping that she gets to keep it....

Anyone out there can provide advice, suggestions for solutions or interested to adopt this little kitty? Check it out here.

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