Sep 30, 2015
Just 2 days ago, I had breakfast with a senior vet of over 70 years old at Potong Pasir. We ate laksa which is high cholesterol. I did not drink the soup. He drank every drop, ate the clams which I gave my portion to help and would leave the egg yolk uneaten. Yet he had no high cholesterol levels due to his medication.
He mentioned that a Malaysian vet phoned him about infections in a Rottweiler with tibial fracture and what are the options? Amputatation of the leg? Euthanasia? I suggested Antirobe antibiotics.
Today a cat came in with tibial fracture. The stray cat activist is a woman in her late 50s and had been feeding stray cats for the past 20 years. Her monthly feeding bill using mainly Iams cat food, is around $800.
"I have 6 cats now. This cat is around 3 years old and came flopping down in front of me. I had no intention of adopting another cat."
Her cats would watch the birds from the windows every day. She had wire-meshed all her windows except the one in the kitchen. So, this newcomer fell 8 storeys down. Vet 1 had given this cat the painkillers, antibiotics and an IV drip. He had an abdominal X-ray which showed no ruptured bladder or kidney damage. The other 2 X-rays were emailed to me.
The solution was to insert a pin of appropriate diameter to join the 2 tibial fractures together.
"I can only afford to feed the stray cats," the retiree told me that her cat food bill was a large amount. "I can't help them when they are sick."
"I do have volunteers sometimes,": she mentioned one lady who would not contribute any money to buy the cat food.
"Is she working?" I asked.
"It is hard to find volunteers and so you are fortunate," I said.
"She does not want to pay for the cat food, but she feeds a particular cat every day from my supply."
The commercial dog and cat food costs keep going up every year as Singapore faces higher labour and rental costs every year. The government also increases rentals of commercial premises every year and so these escalating costs eat into the savings of this retiree.
It is a difficult world for the stray cat feeders. This cat's fracture of the tibia was in mid-shaft. A pin was inserted and will be taken out 6 weeks later. A small 2 mm of the pin protruded
From the X-rays and observations on the 2nd day after surgery, the cat was normal. Hence, the kidneys and bladder were not affected by the cat falling 8 floors in a Singapore apartment.
AN ALBATROSS ROUND MY NECK
"Should I join my friends on a China tour?" the retiree caregiver asked me. "My family vet says that it will take months for the fractured tibia to heal."
She had not taken holidays for many years since she started caring for 30 stray cats and her own 6 cats every day.
I had told her that the pin needed to be taken out 6 weeks after surgery but she had another opinion from her family vet who said a few months. Her planned travel was 7 weeks from the surgery.
She was just worried about the 30 community cats in Tampines being deprived of food.
"Can you get the other lady volunteer to help you?" I asked. The lady volunteer would only feed a particular cat with food provided by her. She must ask her and make it convenient for her to do it.
"As for your own stray cats including the one who fell 8 storeys, can you find a pet sitter?"
"Yes," she replied. "She charges $35 per day."
"Can you find somebody who charges cheaper?"
"Looking after so many cats is like an albatross round my neck," she had done a very good job. But she is from the earlier baby boomer generation who does not know how to use social media to get donations and volunteers. So she is all alone with no interest in travelling.
I assure her that her leg fractured cat will have healed by 6 weeks as her travel would one week later.
"Take a break," I told her as she was worried about the stray cats.