Archive for February, 2011

posted by Michel on Feb 23

Where we are in the Philippines, they don’t sell the more traditional cat grit in efficient quantities or at affordable prices. Well, at least not for someone who’s running an animal rescue that is. The local “Handyman” does have cat grit in small quantities, but it doesn’t clump and it’s too expensive. Our catteries and kennels have a gutter that connects to a separate septic tank, but we don’t want that to fill up with grit rather than the “real business”. So we had to come up with some sort of recycling system. When our builders turned out to be working with just the right size of locally freely available grit for their concrete, I had an idea …

Cat grit recycle system

Cat grit recycle system

First step was to create a sieve which filters the pebbles to the size that we want or smaller. I used a strong piece of metal to fashion a ring and fishing net. Then we need a sieve with somewhat smaller holes than the first one to separate the “solids” from the pebbles. The best thing I could find was a plastic variety of chicken wire. Finally, we need 3 plastic bins that fit inside the metal ring and a “shower head” spray gun attached to the garden hose and you’re good to go!

  1. Get the first load of (relatively) clean grit by putting the sieve with the metal ring over the “clean” bin and shovel the grit on top while an assistant moves the sieve around a bit
  2. Twice a day, we put the contents of the litter boxes on top of the sieve while it rests on the “dirty” bin. The grit itself will fall through and the “solids” go into the gutter. Add water to the “dirty” bin so the urine can dissolve. Clean the sieve with the shower head.
  3. The next morning, we put the plastic chicken wire on top of the sieve and together they go on top of the 3rd bin, the “fluids” bin. Then, bit by bit, pour the contents of the “dirty” bin onto the sieve. Now the grit itself stays on top and the fluids go into the bin. Rinse the grit VERY well with the shower head and transfer the clean grit to the “clean” bin.
  4. Flush the gutter with the garden hose. We can now gather any left over grit from the gutter and wash it like we did in the previous step, after which it also goes to the “clean” bin.

That’s it! This way, a full bin lasts more than 3 weeks rather than just a few days, so some refill is still necessary. However, we don’t dispose of anything we shouldn’t into our surroundings and use only naturally available grit. Some people have told me that they dry the grit. We find that this would take too long as well as adds another level of complexity to the system. Additionally, our intended audience, our beautiful cats, seem to appreciate our efforts. So far so good!

posted by Michel on Feb 20

Fans of British humour will recognise the title of this post as a reference to the famous hilarious BBC television series, of which I’m a great fan. Regular readers of this web site will know however that what we’re dealing with is no laughing matter. Still, I chose this title to express that our recent visit was entirely characterised by the high number of young animals that we took in (see the previous post).

So, what happened this time around? Apart from caring for the current residents, we sterilised 7 dogs, caught 1 adult female cat and her 5 kittens, took on 2 more kittens and cared for 5 puppies. This pictorial tells the story …

The kennels and catteries are almost finished and our friend Nicky Jenken came to help

The kennels and catteries are almost finished and our friend Nicky Jenken came to help

7 dogs and 1 cat were brought to Aklan State University for sterilisation and were returned to their happy owners, thos without owner stay with us

7 dogs and 1 cat were brought to Aklan State University for sterilisation and were returned to their happy owners, those without owner stay with us

3 puppies Tita, Jiji and Pablo need medical treatment, 5 kittens born at AARRC, 2 more kittens from the Blue Starfish Resort and Nicky manages to restore Oprah

3 puppies Tita, Jiji and Pablo need medical treatment, 5 kittens born at AARRC, 2 more kittens from the Blue Starfish Resort and Nicky manages to restore Oprah's faith in humanity

Puppy Jessica was adopted by the Letrodo family, Falco has almost been rehabilitated, Biselda on the road to recovery and Neressa taking good care of Giorgio

Puppy Jessica was adopted by the Letrodo family, Falco has almost been rehabilitated, Biselda on the road to recovery and Neressa taking good care of Giorgio

posted by Michel on Feb 6

The new arrivals for early 2011 are pictured here. A kitten named Fifi and pregnant female Nanay (who gave birth to 5 beautiful kittens in the mean time) were found at Kalibo Airport while checking out our patients from last November. Both are still a little shy but are very friendly. Fifi is scheduled for sterilisation this week and Nanay and her kittens in around 3 months. Then Biselda was encountered while riding our scooter on the way home and the owner brought her to our house the next day for treatment. She suffers from mange and a hip injury due to a traffic incident. We can fix the mange but orthopedic surgery is not available here, so we’re hoping that making her stronger by improving her muscles with good food will help her move about a bit smoother. She walks and even runs, but it’s obviously not quite right. Jiji is originally from Sebaste, Antique (home town of Neressa), where she heard of a needy and sickly puppy, which we picked up after the annual town fiesta. She was found to suffer from starting mange and worms so we started treatment right away. She will also be sterilised in 3 months time.

Fifi, Biselda, Jiji and Nanay with her 5 kittens (born at AARRC)

LtoR,TtoB: Fifi, Biselda, Jiji and Nanay with her 5 kittens (born at AARRC)

UPDATE

But just as we thought we could concentrate on all of our patients pictures above, new ones came pouring in. Puppy Pablo was brought in by the owner of Biselda (see above) and from what I understand, he belongs to the people next door to him. Such a young thing and already suffering from severe mange that has all but complete obliterated his fur. One morning as we came back from walking our pack on the beach, we saw a tiny puppy crawling about, obviously way too young to be away from its mother. She had an eye infection apparently and clearly needed help. Since no one seemed to know where she belonged, we just took her with us and named her Tita. Our Dutch volunteer for this period, our dear friend Nicky Jenken (pictured on the right), was getting supplies at a local pet store and veterinarian, when she met Evan and Juanita from the Blue Starfish Resort in Jawili who told her that they had found two small kittens and didn’t know what to do with them. Of course we picked them up and this is the jolly couple (boy and girl) just after we arrived back home. The good news is that the word has been spreading about our activities. One early morning two people on a motorcycle brought their puppy Giorgio to us. He had stopped eating two days earlier after his mother had been found dead (we don’t know why) and they were quite rightly worried about him. He was dehydrated and suffering from anemia. The picture shows Nicky examining him. Fortunately, we managed to fix him up and soon he’ll be ready to home. Not without the firm promise that we’ll have him sterilised in a few months though!

New Arrivals Part II

New Arrivals Part II, Pablo, Tita, the two Blue Starfish kittens and Giorgio