Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Scans: Cats and Gattina

I started blogging in November 2008, being a green horn, I had no idea of commenting, or memes. Gattina soon became my friend. We soon found we have a passion about cats. It was a different kind of passion, she really was passionate about her cats. As for me, I cared for cats for a humane reason. We not only commented on each other's blog posts, we emailed each other.

The one time I ever got to Belgium was when I was on transit from Singapore to New York. With one from Belgium and one from ex Borneo, and now in New Zealand, it was strange that we should become friends. But we did.

Gattina has a new blog, Saturday Photo Hunt. This week's challenge being dark. In Borneo, our cats like the dark. We don't feed them in the evening, the idea is when they are hungry, they will hunt. Hunt they did, our cats were the best mousers. Once, a Sultan of Middle East scoured the whole wide world for the best mouser, and he found our Sarawak cat. He imported many of our cats to breed with his non mouser cats. I was so proud of my cats.

I have not asked Gattina for her permission to use this photo because I wanted to surprise her. I love this photo, Gattina is full of life here, and when I was little, the Vespa was very "ooo ah!!!!" in Sibu, Sarawak.

Below are two posts I wrote when I was involved in Cat Cafe when I was in Singapore.

If I recall rightly, the concept of Cat Cafes started in Europe where well meaning tourists fed stray cats with morsels of food. Other customers were irrate with the cats and those who fed the cats. Hence,that was the start of Cat Cafes.

It was in 2004, I was in Singapore living in a university campus. There were a lot of feral animals or stray cats as there were plenty of food left behind by canteen operators, hostel living students who miss their cats at home, and other just well meaning residents on the campus. Cats were however, "either you love them or you hated them". I belong to neither, I just didn't like cruelty to animals.

The university management, following up complaints by those who hated the cats, imposed a policy to euthanize all strays cats. If your cat was a pet, it should have a collar. There was a misconstrued perception that the campus was overrun by feral cats. With the cats rummaging through the rubbish and sleeping in the canteens, there was a potential conflict of the cat population with human hygiene.

J. arranged a meeting with a few cat lovers to consider the feasibility of establishing "Cat Cafes". I was invited because of my openness in verbalizing issues and my connection to a website and my PR exercise in many social issues.

From the initial meeting, and subsequent public relations exercises, we enlisted more volunteers donate money to buy cat food and to feed the strays in designated areas: Cat Cafes. We also caught the wild cats to neuter or spay them.

Soon these wild feral cats became tame pussy cats. Sterilized cats were inserted with a mirco-chip in their ears so that when the "cat-nappers" come to catch wild cats, they would know that these cats are clients of our Cat Cafe.

Soon our Cat Cafe business extended from our original 3 cafes to 8. The intended results are as follows: a reduction of the homeless cat population in the long term because of our successful sterilization program; maintaining the existing cat population in good health so that the cats do not constitute a health menace to other animals and keeping new, unsterilized cats from invading the campus.

One adverse result we found was illegal dumping of cats. As our activities were very high profile, we soon found people dumping their unwanted cats.

While I gave an initial donation and did the early publicity, I did not volunteer to feed the cats. But this anecdote is one which earned me my nickname "cat lover". In the beginning, a family adopted a pair of beautiful grey Persian mix kittens. This family left the campus without telling any one. Months later, (presumably they were well settled in their new home overseas) they emailed me about their abandonment of the cats. That was how I became a cat feeder, hoping to entice the cats to come to feed at a Cafe Cat near to my house. These kittens unfortunately had become wild cats, they would eat our food, but would still sneak into our neighbors house and steal their food.

Soon there were two groups of residents. "Get rid of the cats, they are a great hassle," and the Cat cafe group," Please give us some time." I was glad I had left to New Zealand then.

***This cat is someone's cat, some one killed it***

These are food for cats. These cats were fed by the cat cafe members including myself, but these are not the regular cat cafes.

The two cats that come to feed from these two bowls were abandoned, Binte and Dewey wouldn't be enticed to the normal cafe. So we fed them twice a day where they normally were hiding. They were spoilt cats, preferring only a certain brand of cat food and chicken.

If you look carefully, there are two bowls for each cat. The food is kept inside the smaller bowl which is then kept inside the big bowl of water. This water forms a moat against ants. In tropical Singapore, there are a lot of big fire ants. If the bowl of food is put directly on the ground, in no time, the food will be swarmed by ants. This was my friend J.'s idea. She is very passionate and experienced with feeding cats.

These cats caused a long saga in the university. There were those who like cats and those who don't. I don't know what has happened to them.

I was feeding Binte and Dewey because I couldn't stand cruelty to animals.


Ginny Hartzler said...

How interesting! I knew none of this. What a good idea a Cat Cafe is!! My best friend takes care of all the strays in the neighborhood and even has boxes and blankets out for them, put an expensive roof on her porch to keep them dry. We buy her cat food when she can't get out. Gatinna looks full of life, did she ever buy one of those scooters? We had three cats when we were first married, all in a small apartment. Do you have any pets?

Karin said...

Very interesting story! Doris, at Crocheting in Georgia also does the feral cat feeding and bringing them in for spaying. Allergic to cats myself, but I do hate the cruelty to animals.

Gattina said...

What a surprise and what an honnor ! you make me blush ! When I first saw the picture "jumping" in my face I thought "she looks like me", lol !
The cat café is an excellent idea !
You know when I was young I was afraid of cats ! can you believe that ? A friend of mine offered me a little black kitten when I was 21 ! It was a little "she" and she made me to a cat lover. She shared my life for 20 years !
Thank you so much for this post, isn't blogging a wonderful invention ?
We would never have known each other if this wouldn't exist !
Friendships have no borders !