Monday, 12 March 2012

A birthday PAWrty

Except for our youngest cat, Mao Tien Lien, all our pets have officially been with us for a year now.

It may seem strange the celebrate the birthday of a pet but we do so in our house. There was even a time when we would make or sometimes buy pancit and give it to them for one of their meals. That is, until they got tired of their birthday pancit and eventually we learned the noodles weren't good for them after all. We've partially brought the tradition back though by replacing their rice with noodles for their birthday celebrations. Still the same no-salt diet but with a celebratory twist.

Last Saturday was the celebration for Kazuhiko's adoption anniversary, 1 March 2011, the date we recognise in the family as his birthday. No Daddy in the pictures though--Daddy was busy tending to his sister (Daddy's not Kazu's, just so we're clear on that) who was having a dental operation.

I don't remember who took the camera from
me at this point so for now, it will have my
signature, haha.
Kazuhiko used to be the Philippine Animal Welfare Society's longest-staying cat in the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center. He was about two years old, give or take, in 2007 which is the earliest date that the proper PAWS records could be traced. That makes him seven or eight this year. We'll go with seven. XD

His original name was 1-2-3 and he was the reputed chief goon in the cattery, bullying all the other cats into submission so he could have all the food to himself. I've been told that he is the reason why the cats' dishes have been set up the way they are now: individual bowls set up on a metal frame. That way he wouldn't be able to drive everyone else away because the frame was far too long for one cat to guard.

He came to our family's attention just a few weeks after our cat, Prince, passed away. I took notice of him because he looks so much like Prince. At the time, my husband dissuaded me from adopting him because he felt that I might have only been drawn to him because of Prince.

Simon, one of the shelter's office cats, eyes
the food. Unfortunately, it's loaded with items
not suitable for feline consumption like
salt, garlic, and onions. Sorry, Simon.
I forgot about him when we rescued Yuki and he only came back on my radar a month later when we were about to pick out a kitten to adopt as Yuki's sibling. I asked about 1-2-3, why was returned by his previous adopters, what the supposed problems were.

I returned home that afternoon with a new kitten, and news for my family on what the cat who looks like Prince is reported to be like.

"He bites," I was told, "he pees on people, and he doesn't like cuddles, getting stroked, or petted. He prefers to be left alone."

It sounds bad now that I look at it written down like that but in our minds at the time we all felt like it wasn't behaviour that we couldn't manage. After all, our family has had nearly hundreds of cats come and go, whether from death or their own volition, and each cat had a distinct personality that we could all accept and deal with. How much different would a cantankerous feline be?

He looks unhappy with the set up in this shot
but he was honestly such a good sport
over being turned into a toy cat and wore his
party hat with full feline dignity.
I'm working on fixing up my 4 Paws Pet Project blog and I'll post the stories of each of our pets there so I can also share Kazu's pictures from when we first met. But everyone who has heard the story of his adoption agrees that this may be one of those times when the cat not only chose his owner, but waited for the perfect family to take him in.

In Kazu's case, it was our family. And Kazu took to me so quickly that it was obvious he ought to be part of our family.

As with Scotch, our first adopted baby from PAWS, we prepared a sort of heavy snack for the volunteers and anyone else present at the shelter at the time. And of course, we brought the birthday boy.

When we celebrated Scotch's birthday at the shelter, we had pasta and fruit salad so we had to set up his candle on a paper plate. This year we had cake! And one of the volunteer veterinarians, Dr. Maripi Diaz, had the awesome idea of cutting a birthday hat for Kazu--which Cha later decorated with balloons. I kept the hat so I can put it in his first year scrapbook.

We'd already sung happy birthday and lit a candle for him before but we did the cake shots over just so he can have pictures while he was wearing his party hat.

If you're wondering if PAWS volunteers might be nutters, I can't say that we are. For one thing, I don't think it's nuts to be this in love with cats, dogs, or really, any other animal.

It is my humble opinion that we all just happen to be human beings intent on helping animals, in the same way that there are those who want to do all they can to help other human beings. Neither side is better than the other because we are all just doing our share to help other living beings. I just happen to belong to the one that chose animals.

Back to my boy's birthday.

Because of his reputation, most people were hesitant to approach him but seeing Kazu lying placidly on the floor, watching the people walk back and forth past him brought home how much the nearly savage little boy has become the docile feline expected of his age.

This next photo has got to be something of a "crowd favourite" since Cha had never been able to touch Kazu before without coming away with a bloody hand.

Of course, as people fill up and food slowly runs low, things wind down. Even for the cat.

All the other photos are here. There won't be any other birthdays at the shelter for a while since we've already got a full house with our seven cats and five dogs plus the occasional foster kittens. But you can bet that the next time we have new adoptees, they'll have their birthdays there too.

P.S. I have been asked by both Cha and the husband why Kuro and Yuki did not celebrate their birthdays at the shelter and just in case you, the reader, know me personally and are wondering the same thing, this is the reason behind it:

Yuki was my personal rescue and was not registered at the shelter until it was time for her to be given her shots. Kuro, on the other hand, was adopted straight out of the quarantine so neither of them were really shelter cats.

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