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Thank you for your patience, and interest, and see you there,
29 June 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible. How do you rob a tom with a moniker like that of his mojo? With patience, of course. Oh and load up on the gumption pills too. Ivan is a full-fledged virile Tom - big head, battle-scars and all. Where did he come from? We're not sure, all we're sure of is that he's definitely 4 yrs at least. We noticed that Ivan began haunting and terrorising the resident cats in the Street Gangs' Area 1 and Area 2 about 1.5, maybe 2 years ago. He is LOUD, but extremely cautious. But depending on how one views it, he might as well be called THICK. His modus operandus is to make a ruckus, so you know he's there. But he won't show himself. And even after you've put food down, he'd continue to cry for a while before he breathed, and find the smell of food in the air. Then he'd cry somemore, but this time with that "Dude, is that food?" vibe. You have to locate him, get his attention, go back to the food-drop, signal, point, and otherwise make a FOOL of yourself to get him to see where the grub is. Then, you have to move FAR away before he'd come of hiding and eat. He is the resident terror - every cat we know in Areas 1 and 2 bear proof of his personal attention. The moment we saw him in his full seedy glory, we knew we had to rob his mojo. The greater good was at stake. The plan was to befriend him, and then betray him - the usual mojo robbing procedure. But we underestimated him. With Ivan, we encountered roadblocks, high-speed crashes and sleepless nights. Ivan is the frequent-flyer of catdom. He commutes, sporadically and elusively, between Area 1 and 2, and goodness knows where else, but refuses to publish his itinerary in advance. So we've been relegated to reacting to his appearances. And it has been hair-tearing, teeth-gnashing days. Finally, half a year back, a school-girl in Area 1, K, whose family also feeds the local gang members, told us Ivan is a regular at her place. He's as sneaksy as ever, but allows her dad to carry him. We thought: Hope at last! But it was not to be. Ivan was either very intuitive to mojo-robbing vibes (given his caution/thickness about food, we doubt), or had really unpleasant experiences with boxy thingies. K's dad couldn't get him into the carrier either. So back to the drawing board. Now we know he's decided to be a permanent guest around Area 1 at least. What could we do? He wouldn't let himself be carried or put in carriers. Cajoling, and betrayal wasn't gonig to work with le Terrible. Entrapment might be the answer. We decided to loan a cat-trap from CWS, and asked K's family to help with getting Ivan used to the trap and to lure him in. Patience, we said, because if he's spooked before he got trapped, there'll be no other option. A month passed, then two. We twiddled thumbs. During this time, K told us that Ivan could be an abandonee - they have their suspicions about who owned' him, but could not be sure. So we had to let it pass. Poor boy, a bit of his incessant crying seemed to make sense. Then, in late February, Ivan decided he liked btmao's dinner service! btmao became the annoted friend, not that it surprised me - she does have a way with felines. Within a week, Ivan was literally eating out of her hands! This was too good a chance. We made logistical arrangements with V, our transport guy who also does cat/dog rescue, and booked the mojo-rob pro through Foster Mum. On Mar 3, 2006, V helped btmao nudged Ivan into the carrier he prepared. SUCCESS! The euphoria was unbelievable! Still, I felt a little bad, because he was crying horribly and trying desperately to get out of the carrier. His plaintive attempts to get out deflated the euphoria really well. Ivan officially lost hold of his mojo on Mar 4. He came back later that evening. Looking at him then, I felt really sorry for him - he lurched, and was limping from achy right hindleg arch. But by all accounts, any damage he sustained was self-inflicted - apparently he was a monster in the clinic. We did debate on whether he need medical attention. But, given his reaction to being confined, it seemed we might be setting him up for worse injuries instead. V wasn't for taking him in again so soon either. And he helped us out of our dilemma by assuring us that it's not something that's likely to bring Ivan down. He's seen cats with similar or worse get well - given his extensive mojo-robbing experience, it was somewhat comforting. Plus, a number of vets have remarked on the stoicism of toms before - otherwise they would all be prim ninnies, not battle-scarred veterans on the mating scene. There was no help for it, Ivan had to recover on his own. Good thing though, V promised to help us trap Ivan should he really need medical attention. We notified K, so that they could also watch out for him too. K's family were all stunned at Ivan's eunuch-hood. They did not expect him to be so rob-able, and by us, and so quickly and easily. Personally, I felt that Bast must have been smiling on us on this venture. btmao made a conscious effort to feed Ivan brekkies and din-dins, to help him get up his strength and recovery rate. We monitored his progress. The Natural Balance goodness did wonders for him - his recovery was rather rapid, in 3 weeks' time, he's back to 90%. His limp is totally gone now. The best part in the whole deal is, he regained his trust of btmao after only 2 days. He was still in love with btmao and now he ADORES her. I haven't seen him in the last month, since he's so wary of others, but btmao said he was a LOVER - more interested in headrubs than food. And with his mojo-swagger gone, he's staying put - gone are the days of here-today-gone-tomorrow. The cats in Areas 1 and 2 can rest easy too. In defence of Ivan, he deserved the title of "Terrible", just as his namesake was "Terrible":

The English word terrible is usually used to translate the Russian word grozny in Ivan's nickname, but the modern English usage of terrible, with a pejorative connotation of bad or evil, does not precisely represent the intended meaning. Grozny's meaning is closer to the original usage of terrible—inspiring fear or terror, dangerous (as in Old English in one's danger), formidable, threatening, or awesome. Perhaps a translation closer to the intended sense would be Ivan the Fearsome. (Compare the city name Grozny.)


- Go to Pawprints: TNRM - Go to Singapore's Love-Hate Relationship with Trap-Neuter-Release Management - Go to Pawprints: TLC for cat minon requisite education

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