Tuesday, March 14, 2017

24 hours with St Francis Kitty

Seems like nowadays I only post here when it's cat related. I still take pics, just lazy when it comes to writing words to go along with the pics.

From February 15 to March 1, my wife and I were on holidays in Manila (Tokyo between February 19-24) and this is what happened during the last 24 hours of our holidays before returning to Sydney.

On Tuesday, February 27, we had late dinner at the mall next to our place and on the walk home, we heard some meows. They were the meows of a tiny cat but they were very loud and numerous. It was dark so we didn't see anything right away but we looked and eventually saw a very tiny kitten. We figured it was looking for its mother. We waited from a distance to see if any mother cats would come to claim it (maybe it was looking for food) and we looked around to see if there were nearby cats that it might belong to. There are adult cats that hang around the building but it wasn't theirs. When we brought it close to them, some didn't care and some were even scared of it. We gave it some canned tuna and chicken and it ate them both. It may have been meowing because it was hungry. We're aware that a kitten this young should only drink lactose free milk but it was late and none of the 24hr stores had any.

This is the area where we found it.

Tiny kitty was very hungry.

The area where we spotted tiny kitty was next to a busy road and we didn't feel comfortable just leaving it until a mother cat or someone else came for it (tiny kitty is very adventurous and we were afraid that it would wander off to the road and get run over by a car) so we took it up to our place. We gave it a bath and a bit more food then we went to bed. We kept it in the bathroom and blocked the doorway with our luggage so it wouldn't be able to get out but we'd still be able to hear it if it wanted anything. We figured we'd get some rest and think about what to do with it in the morning. Of course, being a kitten, it meowed a lot. It meowed whenever it was hungry and whenever it wanted to go poopy (pet store was closed so we couldn't buy litter... it just pooped in one corner of the bathroom). So I didn't get much sleep. Also, I was very emotional because I love cats and I wanted to make sure this kitten gets taken care of but I'm aware that we only had a few hours left in Manila.

Welcome to our home.

Good morning! 

Tiny kitty getting some warmth.

A bit of adventuring on top of a stack of pillows and linen.

We spent most of the day walking around like emotionally exhausted zombies while getting supplies (like proper cat milk and a carry case among other things) and getting in touch with various people to see if they can take the kitten even if it's just temporarily. Huge thanks to my mother for spreading the word but it seems that people either don't like cats, can't have cats or already have a lot of cats. We also talked to some staff/security guards in and around our building to see if there's anyone who is in charge of the cats (some try to feed them out of pity but no one takes any ownership over them) and we asked pet store staff questions regarding what can be done when you find a stray cat (nothing that could be enacted before our flight that night). We also looked into animal welfare organisations and reached out to some cat cafes for any useful information. Seems like most places are at capacity so the most they could do is to help advertise the kitten for adoption.

(I also had to sort out an issue with replacing the mail box lock and coordinate with building staff about fixing our window. Those aren't cat related but they certainly didn't decrease my stress levels.)

Tiny kitty loves strings!

Loves them so much!

"I demand more play time!"

Getting some sunshine!

Time was running out and I was considering options like extending my trip as well as bringing the cat back to Sydney (we looked into it, it's a very difficult and costly process). During all this, I knew I could ask my aunt and uncle if they'd be willing to help. I tried other options first because they already do so much for us and it seems shitty to ask them to get involved because I felt like taking care of a stray kitten. But no time left so I asked them and they said they're willing to help.

My uncle (not biological but dad's best friend) picked us up to drive us to the airport and during the drive, we talked cats. He has 3 male cats and we're hoping this kitty is a male cat (we can't tell yet, either too young or we're stupid) so my uncle will just keep it. If it's a female cat, maybe we can still convince him to keep it and hopefully there won't be any issues once we get it desexed. We told him we're happy to pay for supplies and the desexing. He did a good job reassuring me and calming me down (I've been on panic mode since we took the kitten up to our place) and when we arrived at the airport, I felt sad about leaving the kitten but I felt hopeful.

Finally, some milk!

More adventuring.

I used a paper bag to bring tiny kitty up to our place and it likes to sleep inside it.

We don't have a name for it yet by the way. I figured whoever claims it should get the right to name it. But my mother has been calling it Francis because our building, street and general area is called St Francis. I'm hoping to return in a few months so I could pay tiny kitten a visit, maybe help with the desexing and whatever else.

Anyway, there's our story. I swear these cats will be the death of me. I can't resist the meows.

"Escape!!!" During one of tiny kitty's escape attempts, its hand got caught and couldn't get it out and it screamed incredibly loud!

There, there...

About to go to the airport. Not too long now before we say goodbye.

I wonder if it knows that we're leaving it. I'm so sorry we can't do more for you. If I move to the Philippines I would like to adopt you.

About a week since returning, I got in touch with my uncle and he said not to bother contacting anyone to get the cat adopted because he'll take good care of it. I'm soooo grateful to him for this. Now I'll get to see it whenever I go to Manila. Apparently it feels at home and has adjusted pretty well. And it has made friends with 2 of my uncle's cats. See below for some pics he sent me.

Lots more pics of tiny kitty here. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Saga of Leo a.k.a. Garage Cat

I thought I'd put into words what I remember of Leo's little adventure with my wife and I.

Thursday, June 18, 2015: We noticed some paw prints on the bonnet of our car. We figured it was either a cat or a giant rat.

Please don't be a giant rat.

Saturday, June 20, 2015: I'm driving home at night and on the back of our building, I see a cat crossing the street. I thought it might be the cat that's been dirtying up our car. It was headed for some big rubbish bins behind one of the restaurants on our street so maybe it was hungry. We started to leave some food for it in our garage and whenever we've gone back to check, the food bowl is always empty so we kept leaving some food for the cat every day (sometimes more than once a day).

Saturday, June 27, 2015: Our first photo and actual sighting of Leo! We didn't know his name at the time so we started referring to him as Garage Cat. We came home that afternoon and we saw him on the garage behind us. We tried to get him to come out but he seemed content just resting on those high boxes so we just left some food for him and went up to our apartment.

Thursday, July 2, 2015: We get home from work and look who's there to greet us! He was very friendly to us although still a bit cautious. We spent a bit of time with it before going up in case he hasn't had any human companionship in a while. It seemed to like our company and spend a lot of time rubbing himself against my car and the various items in the garage. We also went for a bit of a walk, trying to chase some birds and just general exploring around the garage area of our building.

The building manager was around so I told him about Garage Cat. He said that he's been seeing him in the security footage. He had some cat food which he gave to us to give to Garage Cat.

It seemed to like my MX5 a lot (maybe because of the soft top) so I started parking it in our garage instead of our other car.

Friday, July 3, 2015: Garage Cat is there to greet us once again as we came home from work. That means more quality time with his new human friends! Or maybe it just wanted more quality time with my car. Yeah, probably that.

Whenever we'd start to leave, he'd follow us and start meowing loudly once we're out of sight. It was a mix of cute and a bit heartbreaking so we've been distracting him with food and escaping while he ate.

Oooh nice.
Can I have it?
Yep, this is mine now.
Definitely mine now.
No, you can't have it back!
Mine! Mine! Mine!

Saturday, July 4, 2015: We're heading out to grab some lunch but it seems like someone doesn't want us to leave. We promised him we'll be back shortly and he eventually let us use his car.

After lunch, we come home and Garage Cat is hanging around so more quality time! He seemed to like rolling around in the sun.

Here he is mid-roll.
Is he saying hello?

Sunday, July 5, 2015: More fun with Garage Cat.

He scratched my face shortly after this photo was taken (see next photo). But I think he was just trying to get close. He's cute so he gets a free face scratch.

We did a bit of research and figured Garage Cat might be a Bengal cat so we got in touch with Alison over at bengalrescue.com.au. She told us that he is indeed a Bengal and advised us to take her to the vet so they can check if she has an owner.

Monday, July 6, 2015: I bought a cat carry case during my lunch break but Garage Cat wasn't around when we got home so we went up and had dinner first then went back down at around 8pm but he still wasn't there. So we looked around the area for a bit and eventually saw him coming towards us. He seemed happy to see us, even rolling around on the ground for us even though it must've been cold. We tricked him into going inside the carry case with some food. We waited a little so he could eat since we figured it must be hungry. Eventually we closed the case and headed off to Struggletown Vet in Randwick. He did his crying meow a lot but luckily we weren't too far from the vet.

Once we arrived at the vet, one of the staff members scanned him to see if he has a chip and yes, he does have one! That was when we found out that his name is Leo! Appaently he's been reported as missing and the owner lives in Surry Hills which isn't that far from Kingsford by car but seems like it'd be pretty far for a cat. I wonder how long it took Leo to end up at our place.

Leo at the vet.
Our first and last selfie!
The nurse said she'll get in touch with the owner and Leo can stay there in the meantime so we left him at Struggletown thinking that we may never see him again. It was a pleasure having him stay with us and being able to take care of him for a short time.


Well... not quite.

After my wife and I left the vet, we just sat in the car trying to process the events of the past couple of weeks and got emotional. After about 20 minutes we went back and asked if we could say a proper goodbye to Leo and the nurse was happy for us to do that so we were able to see him again!

I'm gonna miss this cutie pie so much!

The nurse told us that she's called Leo's owner and that she was over the moon when she told her that Leo has been found and that she's on her way to pick Leo up so we hung around until she arrived. The nurse told us that Leo is 3 years old and he's been missing for 6 weeks. The owner eventually arrived and she was very happy to see Leo and Leo seemed happy to see her too! I hope he enjoys being back home! Stay warm, Leo!

When we got home, we made sure to spend lots of quality time with our own cat Indy who's been very understanding with us devoting part of our time to another cat.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015: I woke up feeling a little empty and missing Leo a lot and hoping that he's doing well back at his home with his family. We only really spent a week with him but it felt a lot longer. I dreaded going down to the garage and not having Leo there to greet me. I'll be honest, I had a bit of a cry. He was a good friend.

Here's the little bed thingie we made for him. He seemed to like sleeping there.
This place feels so empty all of a sudden.

When I got to work, I got a message from my brother about Leo. It turns out that he belongs to a friend of a friend.

And my wife has since found Leo's owner on Twitter.

Closure! And everyone's happy! Woo hoo!

Epilogue: I've never felt the need to name any of the cars I've owned but I've decided to name my MX5 'Leo' in honour of our good friend. And also to remind me who the car really belongs to.