Monday, January 26, 2015

Ian from Yishun - his story

On January 15th we took in a cat that had been ill with gum disease. He is a stray cat from Yishun, rescued by Annette. We worried there was more to his illnesses than gum problems, so we took him to the vet for a check up, ready to provide him a space if he needs off-the-streets medical care.

Ian, also known as Xiaohei
We brought him to the vet and got his kidney and liver function tested, as well as for immune system diseases FIV and FeLV.

Ian waiting at the vet
It turns out that Ian is FIV positive, which meant that steroidal treatment (which he previously received) for his gum disease would do more harm than good. He would instead need to be on lifelong FIV medications.

Annette spoke to Ian's caregiver and a fostering situation was set up for him where he could receive his medications in the caregiver's family member's home. He was very happy to have gone back to Yishun!

Ian comfy in his new home
We handed the medication over to his caregiver, as well as his test results so she can go to her regular vet to get more FIV medications for Ian when it runs out. We love how this story ends with Ian being happy!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Adopt Tikki: kitten rescued from steel factory in Tuas

| Tikki, ticked tabby girl from Tuas |
Tikki was rescued alongside her sister Jenny from a steel factory in Tuas, a cat-unfriendly environment, by Janet with the help of her friend Jiayuan. When they first arrived at 8 weeks old, they were rather fierce towards humans, hissing away every time we went near them, although never violent.

It took a long time for us to get them to like humans. Socialisation is something we take very seriously at Love Kuching, because we don't want adopters to return cats back to the shelter because of behavioural issues that could have been prevented. We got a lot of humans to cuddle them all the time, fed them treats, introduced them to toys. In the meantime we got them vaccinated and vet-checked.

Finally one day they stopped hissing at people they already knew. But Jenny, the smaller, weaker sister of the pair, faded last week and passed away. She had been doing well but started to look weak, then last Monday, she hyperventilated and presented even more severe weakness. We gave her oxygen and fluids therapy but we could not save her, even with CPR.

Tikki remained strong after losing her sister, and we continued to expose her to cuddles and hugs. She still takes a while to warm up to people, hissing at you if she doesn't know you, but once warmed up is actually very into physical affection from humans.

Acts tough...
...but actually likes human contact.
She is also an animal lover in that she gets along well with other cats of her age, and older, as well as with dogs.

Respectful of older cats
Doesn't mind the Socialisation IC, though she won't play with him!
She is a ticked tabby kitten with a long tail, now 3 months old, vaccinated, dewormed and Revolution-ed, trained to use the litter box, eats well both dry and wet food.

If you would like to adopt a cat that acts tough but is actually affectionate, Tikki is suitable - for both petless and dog- or cat-households. See right side bar under 'How to adopt' or click here to find out how to adopt Tikki.

Tikki acting all, "Don't mess with me," unconvincingly!


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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Feline Therapy Outreach at Renci Nursing Home

Ninja with a wheelchair using patient in a ward at Renci
Last June, Renci Nursing Home at Novena contacted us to conduct animal assisted therapy with cats for their patients as part of their rehabilitative therapy programme. Our Outreach Team, at that time consisting only of Camellia and Nicole went down to visit their staff to map out a feline therapy programme for their needs.

The home was concerned with therapy programmes for ward-bound patients, some of whom cannot even sit up on wheelchairs. Our therapy programme has 3 objectives: physical, psychological, and social. So we crafted a programme for their ward-bound patients and started with one ward when we launched the programme. Since then our programme has expanded to cover three wards, and we are also in the works of planning to cover other Renci branches.

Butter on a bedbound patient's lap
Each patient who is interested and doctor-approved for the therapy goes through a checklist of therapy activities each time the therapy cat visits their bed, in order to fulfill the 3 therapy objectives. This way, the nursing home can use the collated data to assess the patients' benefit from the programme. Each patient gets to touch the cat if they want to, to encourage the psychological benefit from a cat's affection.

Cola Bay being touched by a patient on her bed
Some patients have stroke or arthritis, so patients may need assistance from our volunteers to create the physical contact with the cat. They may also need help with movement of their hand across the cat to stroke it, which creates a physical therapy benefit for the patient. Each patient's therapy session is evaluated to see if the stroking is volunteer-assisted on independently initiated by the patient.

This bed-bound patient initiated contact with Teapot
Patient encouraged by volunteer to physically stroke the cat

Kieran being stroked by a patient who can sit up

During each patient's therapy session, the volunteers will use the cat as a conversational icebreaker to get the patients talking. Sometimes these patients have no one to talk to the entire day, or may not have anything to talk about with their ward mates. Some of these patients also talk or sing to the cats, prompted by the volunteers if they are more reserved.

Socially interacting with Butter
Using Butter as a talking point to encourage conversation
How do we get suitable cats for therapy? The cats either are fostered by us, or belong to our Outreach Volunteers, such as Dharma and Gracie. For Renci Nursing Home, because the therapy session is held on a weekend, ad hoc volunteers can join in with their own cats too. Cats are screened with a checklist for health and personality.

Peanut and Butter's parents volunteering
Before each therapy session, the cats are groomed, nails trimmed, and given calming supplements to ease their stress of being handled by different people throughout the day. This is to protect the welfare of the cats as well as to prevent any aggression that might arise if a patient should accidentally handle the cat too roughly. They are also transported in carriers dabbed with essential oils so as to ease travel anxiety to the home. Each cat wears a harness and has a leash especially for those who are more active.

Teapot getting nails trimmed
Krystal getting her fur brushed with a Furminator

Supplements we administer to the cats beforehand
Kieran being fed her supplements

Yeah, some of them don't like the taste!
But it's effective in calming you, Duatau Bay!
After the grooming and supplements, the ad hoc volunteers are briefed by the Outreach Volunteers on safety measures, therapy steps, hygiene protocol - for instance, placing a pee pad on the patient's lap or bed before the cat is placed with them, sanitising of hands and observing doctors' orders on which patients should not have contact with the cats.

Dharma briefing the volunteers
We go to Renci Nursing Home every 4th Saturday of the month. If you wish to join us, drop an email to our Outreach Volunteer Camellia at outreach@lovekuchingproject.org.

We promise you it will be fun, and meaningful - sharing the love of cats with those who need it.


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Adopt: Ayumi from a school in Upper Aljunied

| Ayumi, calico with bobtail |
Ayumi and her brother Leiko arrived at Love Kuching on 6 November at 3 weeks old. Both of them were found in a drain at a school, with no mother in sight. Leiko passed away from fading kitten syndrome the week after, something that orphaned kittens often die from as a result of the lack of mother's milk. Ayumi continued her growing up journey with us and is finally ready for adoption.

She got weaned off milk and on to solid food, which took a long time, and she needed to eat wet food as she did not take to dry food until she was about 8 weeks of age. Hence she had perpetual 'food face' as she was always covered in wet food stains.

Ayumi at 7 weeks was still unable to eat dry food
"Me tried to lick my paws after swimming in my food bowl!"
As a result of her messy eating habits she got a skin infection and had to go on antibiotics. Her skin was also cleaned and medicated so as to prevent the infection from spreading.

At 8 weeks old she got a vet check and a vaccination, and received an all clear. She has also been Revolution-ed and dewormed. She remains very tubby even after deworming!

Ayumi the tubby
Round and fluffy, and great with dogs!
Her personality is quite unique. While she has been accustomed to hugs from the volunteers she doesn't really enjoy them, prefers to scamper around and explore on her own. She likes independent play toys more than sitting on human laps.

Her favourite toys include itty bitty mice
Queen of self-entertainment
She is very good with other animals, dogs, cats of all ages. She bonds well with everyone and is a very extroverted kitty.

"Me like make fwens."
If you are keen on adopting Ayumi, see right side bar under 'How to adopt'.


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015: Volunteer with us! Make it your new year goal

Come the new year, we will be growing even more in our existing work, and so various programmes will need more hands on deck. Like we always say in the rescue industry: if you cannot adopt, foster; if you cannot foster, volunteer; if you cannot volunteer, donate. There is something all of us can do to make lives better for cats in need. For what we love we shall stop at nothing to create change.

We want to use this blog post to highlight areas you can pick to join our Love Kuching family and extended network.

Where can you volunteer in 2015? 

#FosNet


The first dire need we have, is for you to join us as a Foster Caregiver in our Foster Network. This volunteering option allows you to work from home, around your schedule, at a level you can commit. You will not be handling boisterous kittens that need a lot of poop scooping and play, nor need to host any adopters in your home. Your only liaison is with our Foster Network Volunteer, Amizadai. 

The cats we will farm out to you will be sick or injured cats: this is so we can expand our current brick and mortar space of 5 suites for sick/injured cats. We often have more requests to shelter stray cats needing medical care than we actually have space for. Many people turn instead to expensive hospitalisation or boarding options for these stray cats, and their welfare is not great being in such locales because the human to cat ratio is not optimal. This is not counting many other stray cats that get sent to SPCA. Our other option to a Foster Network is to -actually- increase our brick and mortar space. But with rentals very high right now and our cash flow not optimally in excess, 2015 is not the right time for Love Kuching to move into that yet. You being in our Foster Network is the only way we can save more cats. 


Foster Caregivers can give more dedicated care

Bring home a cat to foster, free up a space for another cat

But what if you have very little experience in medical care for cats? Medical care varies from cat to cat, as do the durations each cat will need fostering for. The simplest commitment will be a short 2 week duration, with oral medications you can mix in food. The most extended and intensive type of care will be those that need topical wound cleaning and medication application, injections, and some may will need fostering until they die because they cannot be released back to their original stray territory (terminal illness). You can commit to any level, the simplest, the most intensive, or anything in between. We will match the right case to you.

In case you worry that your cats might get into a fight with the foster cat, we will provide you a cage if you need one. Besides that, all medications and medical supplies will also be provided. You will also get food and litter supplies from us. And before you start, as well as along the way, you will get training support. This way, you can also learn and grow in your cat care skills. 

Learn hands on medical care from us!

Adoption is a lifelong commitment, but fostering is not. Because we as cat lovers simply cannot adopt every cat in need, fostering is one way we can make a difference in the lives of cats that need help. If you want to find out more and/or sign up as a Foster Caregiver, drop an email to ami@lovekuchingproject.org




Foster Care

Currently, we have 6 Foster Care Volunteers who are paired up to cover Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights weekly. They come in every week to do cleaning of the foster space as well as medical care of the cats, hosting ad hoc play/clean volunteers, and interacting with the kitties that are for adoption in order to socialise them.

Shelter kittens need a lot of positive human contact

This job scope is expanding to preparation of medications, supplements in food, on three other nights: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. However, on these nights, whoever is on duty will not need to clean; the focus will be on the medical care of the cats and preparation of supplements. The time slot will also be different: instead of 7-9pm, it will be 8-9:30pm.

Application of topical medications

Learn clinical care like fluid administration


We have Foster Care Volunteer slots available for Wednesday nights weekly, and Friday nights weekly, from 8pm to 9:30pm. You can volunteer alone, or as a pair with a friend or loved one.

We do not need any experience in medical care of cats from you. The key attributes you should have are availability, teachability, and passion. As it is a weekly, long term commitment, you should be available on the night you choose (Wednesday or Friday) over the long haul, ad hoc personal commitments aside. Being great at learning on the go is also something we want - a hunger to learn is always better than experienced minds unwilling to learn. You will not only learn from Elaine who is in charge of the medical care on most days, you will also get a chance to learn from other Foster Care Volunteers during joint sessions with them. Also, we want passionate people - you should be interested in critical intensive care of medications, learning about holistic therapies, keen on hands-on work. 

Basically, helping sickies feel better!
If you are keen on this, email elaine@lovekuchingproject.org.

(Psst. Have we yet bragged about how great a place we are to volunteer at? We bond over common interests, our common passion about cats, be it with other volunteers in the same portfolio or across other portfolios during our gatherings. We are also open and don't hold back, and everything is about the 'we' not the 'I' in our work. All of us share the same goals and agenda in Love Kuching, and there is mutual respect for one another. 32 people have helped create it as such a community, why not come be a part of making it too? We are an all-inclusive community!)

And, as always, if you are keen on ad hoc volunteering instead, you can always join the play/clean sessions hosted by our volunteers on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. Volunteering is fun with friends or family so you can also feel free to volunteer with someone instead of going it alone.

Share this post with people you know might fit the bill for any of the volunteering opportunities listed above. We want our family to grow!



Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our Love Kuching Project DBS Current Account 027-905975-3 or via Credit Card   
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Monday, December 29, 2014

A stray cat with skin infection: Yvie from Yishun's story

 | Yvie, a tortoiseshell tabby cat |
Yvie's rescuer Evon contacted us about a stray cat near her home which had some apparent flesh wounds. The wounds seemed superficial, but then it got worse, and was not flea dermatitis as Evon had applied Frontline for Yvie already. We took Yvie in on Sunday 21st December.

Her flesh wounds were mostly around her face and ears:

Yvie in our last remaining suite
The infection around her face and external ears
Both sides of her face affected
Since the vet was closed on Sunday, we cleaned and medicated Yvie's wound that night and then took her to the vet the next day. Because she had been scratching, we applied a steroidal antibacterial cream, and the redness of her scratches went down the next day.

The vet did a skin scrape to look under the microscope and found that Yvie had mites (scabies). Because her skin had gotten so infected and itchy, she was given steroidal and antibiotic jabs. We also applied Revolution for her, and she has a second dose to follow up, so as to make sure she is mite-free.

We continued to keep her wounds cleaned and medicated. She was not very keen on being indoors though: she disturbed her neighbours, messed up her suite, did not want to eat food with any supplements. She only needed a follow up dose of Revolution, so Evon came to take Yvie back to her stray territory, and we passed the Revolution to her so she can apply for Yvie back at Yishun.

Yvie was happy to be back at her place!

Yvie back at Yishun
Looking at ease indeed!
We love happy rescue story endings like this. Keep up the good work, vigilante rescuers!



Donate to our cause by making a deposit to our Love Kuching Project DBS Current Account 027-905975-3 or via Credit Card   
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Pawprints

Funds raised for Dec 2014 as at 5 Dec 2014