Friday, July 27, 2007

Why? Again

Sometimes, I wonder what we are doing. What the heck were we thinking when we first decide to feed the first stray cat??? And how did it become more and more cats, with the food turning into more and more expensive cat food?

I remember the first cat I'd fed. I was living at another HDB housing estate, and there had always been stray cats at the void deck. At first, there was an uncle who fed them every night and he would sterilise selectively, but he had to move away. Then I met the Malay auntie who only feeds (rice + fish + Friskies) but would never sterilise. Luckily, someone did bother to sterilise. There was even a sponsor who lived elsewhere, but offered to pay the cost of sterilising the cats without even appearing. She had helpers/volunteers who helped to trap the cats for sterilisation.

Anyway, about the first cat I fed - it was a dark grey tabby kitten of about 7 months, very skinny, scrawny and always looking hungry. I didn't pay much attention to him the first time, but the 2nd time I saw him, I just could not walk away. I probably wasn't working then and was nuah-ing at home, hence I could see that the kitty hung out all afternoon without sleeping...probably too hungry to sleep. He looked really famished, so I went to the kopitiam, bought a piece of fried fish which the kitty gobbled up in a flash.

After that, like most ignorant folks who didn't know any better, I started buying the supermarket variety of cat food to feed the cats that I bump into. Perhaps it was SO's influence (then my boyfriend), that I starting coming into contact with more stray cats. Later, I started taking cute kitten upstairs to feed, clean up and play. There was Lucy, another grey tabby kitten (most likely abandoned), and there was Xiao Hei (abandoned by his own cat mother, I was told!), whom on the very first visit to my home, was smart enough to LS on a piece of floor rag instead of dirtying other inappropriate places (I didn't have a litter bin then).

Fast forward to many years later, somehow, we've become folks who would touch and sayang every stray community cat that crossed our path, in all and every housing estate. It didn't matter that we were strangers. As long as the cats are friendly and game for a pat, we gave them a pat or two, after which we would leave a few kibbles for them to munch (so that they won't follow us). Somehow along the way, the supermarket variety of cat food became objectionable, and supposedly better quality and much more expensive cat food took its place. Meanwhile, we have to face the nasty looks from non-cat people and their sometimes rude, offensive questions and comments. Most of the time, we had put up with such nonsense and just grin and bear it. Then came the cat-fostering and rehoming thingy, the mess and chaos at home, the forever-there cat hair, the cajoling, disciplining and mothering of foster cats.

Sometimes, I wonder what are we doing? What have we gotten ourselves into? Are we just a bunch of cat-crazy, illogical, cultish folks who don't know any better then wasting our time and money on "useless" animals? Why do we let our liking and even love for cats overtake our lives (sometimes) and inconvenience us like this, when we already lead busy, stressful lives just eeking out a living in this cold, urban, concrete jungle?

What is our connection to them, and what does it all mean?


jennifer_yq said...

great post... i should also blog abt my story abt that first special community cat that i fed

zj said...

how meaningful it is to be reminiscing. :)
i fed my 1st stray with a whiskas pouch at the age of 17.
i just woke up one fine day & had the strong urge to feed a cat. (i was neutral abt cats then)
its so random, thats why i've always decided that its predestined that i end up leading the rest of my life filled with stray cats & having to sterilise.
feeding cats however, can be a slippery slope, i started with cheap friskies & whiskas. den going on to more expensive catfood, now i end up buying 5 cartons of canned food at 1 go, thus having 120cans stocked up in my room.
much money spent but im lovin it. :)

san said...

I first fed Minah on whiskas. She loved it. Now I have sevral brands of wet and dry catfood but I keep the occasional Whiskas when none of the cats want the erm...more expensive food (and supposedly better) at all. Ms Akira would sometimes only eat Whiskas.

kuro.shiro.neko said...

i have been very lucky, having lived in a neighbourhood where people are generally quite tolerant of strays.

i even met an auntie who claimed she was afraid of cats, but saw one pregnant grey cat whom she could not turn away.

the cat is now happily residing near her block, and of course sterilised (by moi!)...

auntie p said...

Yes, it's great when your neighbours are cat-friendly! Most of my neighbours are alright with stray cats, except for one particular Indian family who's complained about every little thing. *Grrr*

Their uncompassionate behaviour towards cats (from my encounters) is making me dislike them a lot...

grrr_jessica said...

HAHA, i know exactly what you're saying!
You have no idea how accurate that applies to me now.
It starts with one cat and its all downhill from there.
It's hard cause my mum hates animals.