Take It or “Leaf” It…

March 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers were in Malaysia taking photos of some birds under a man-made structure. Suddenly our friend asked about an insect, which he had initially thought to be a big grasshopper, on a horizontal metal bar. The moment I looked at it, I was over the moon!!! It has been one of my dream insects to see in the wild! Itchyfingers had found a nymph in Sungei Buloh some time back, and we have always hope to spot an adult one day…So even though it was not us who spotted the adult this time, I was equally excited!!!

leaf
A Leaf Insect! Just what was it doing on the cold, man-made metal bar?
Did it forget to camouflage itself? Well, at least it hung on to a part with
some rusty bit on it for better coverage… 

As there were many birds around, I was worried that one of them would decide to take the Leaf Insect for brekky…So I looked around for a stick to try to lure it down. It didn’t cling onto my stick, but instead fluttered its wings in what seemed to be an attempt to fly, before falling down onto the bench and stayed motionless, acting dead – a trick often used by stick and leaf insects to escape from predators…

leaf2
Couldn’t help but picked it up with my itchyfingers….Look at the size of 
the gorgeous insect! That’s at least 9cm from head to tail. The stretched-out
forelimbs made it look even bigger….

I think this species should be the Gray’s Leaf Insect, Phyllium bioculatumI have seen a specimen of this at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. According to Wiki, this is a male, with longer antennae. The two dots are characteristics of this species, where it got its scientific name bioculatum, meaning “two-eyed”. No wonder it could fly…

tisu-boy
Tisu Boy was “forced” to hold it for a photo…Though he likes and finds it
fascinating, insects are not his favourite creatures….

tisu-girl
Tisu Girl loves the Leaf Insect so much that it was tough to let it go..
In Chinese, we call it 爱不释手 :p It was such an interesting looking insect!

Then suddenly, an evil thought came up to my mind…I like the Leaf Insect so much that I was so tempted to take it back home! Afterall, there are people who do bring back insects to keep as pets; or people who collect butterflies or caterpillars in order to take nice close up photos of the metamorphosis process in the comfort of their home. But luckily, I was able to sweep away all the temptations and evil ideas! All wild animals, insects and plants SHOULD remain and BELONG to the wild! We should not be removing anything from the wild and bring them home for our own selfish pleasures, well, unless maybe the animals are injured and in need of help. Imagine if everyone were to take something they fancy from the wild, eventually we will be left with nothing! We have to remember this: Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints!

leaf3
So after admiring the Leaf Insect for a while, I decided it was time to find
it a nice place to hide….The specimen I saw had the transparent wings
opened up for display. Here, I think they were closed up and aligned with
the abdomen…

leaf5
From the side, you can see that the abdomen is really extremely flattened…

underside
The underside looks like this leaf colour!

leaf4
Like its Stick Insect cousin, the Leaf Insect is slow-moving and often
sways with the motion of the wind. It moved to the patch of leaf with some 
dried area to blend in…Seriously, when I was admiring it while it was motionless 
on the leaf, passerby were totally ignorant of the presence of such a big insect!
That really shows that they are experts in camouflaging and that is why it 

is often so difficult to spot a stick or leaf insect! 

It was our last day of stay in Malaysia and it was with much reluctance, I had to really “leaf” the insect alone for our long drive back home. I am glad I left it to where it belongs, so that the next lucky person who stumbles upon it can find the same joy and excitement that I had experienced….

Also see related posts:
The Walking Stick
“Leaf” Me Alone
The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
Attaining Immortality – Body Preservation

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My Fat Lady

March 17, 2013 at 12:56 am | Posted in itchy fingers | 2 Comments
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The first time I saw her was on a raining day. She was sitting at the carpark and when I approached her, she greeted me with her sweet voice. That was when I was smitten by this beautiful fat lady. A few other encounters at the same spot at the carpark later, we became friends and I named her Dusty for her coat colour. Yes, Itchyfingers is talking about a kitty…. 😀

dusty
Meet Dusty, the Carpark Warden at my new block…A bit chubby but very 
beautiful…She is also very sweet-natured…

Whenever Itchyfingers come home, we will try to make a detour to check out if Dusty is around…and most of the time she would be, often lying underneath someone’s car.

This day, when we were playing with Dusty, Tisu Boy saw some white stuff on her butt. Initially we thought it was just some dirty thing that she picked up from the ground and got stuck on her butt hole. Then when it dropped on the ground, I noticed it curling up! My goodness! It’s a worm!! Dusty just excreted a disgusting worm from her butt!!!

We knew that Dusty needs deworming but we didn’t have anything that can transport her to the vet. Even if we have, Itchyfingers are totally inexperienced with cat handling as we have never kept a pet cat, even though we love cats. We didn’t know who is the feeder and couldn’t get help from the person. In the end we sought help from Tisu Boy’s colleague who owns a rescued cat and borrowed a cage from her.

Unfortunately we had to do the caging ourselves and that worried us a lot cos of our inexperience. Should we lure her inside with food? Or should we catch her and put her into the cage? Will we need to chase around for hours? Will Dusty hate us for caging her? Will she bite and scratch us in her struggle?

In the end, we decided to try the more civilised food method first…

lure
Tisu Boy trying to lure Dusty into the cage with some kitty biscuits…

eat
But the smart girl seemed to smell a rat…pun not intended…She took some
biscuits from the ground and those near the entrance of the cage but simply 
refused to move further in…We had to pacify, plead and coax her to go in….

Then I saw it again….!!!!

worm
Oh my goodness!!! Another disgusting worm wriggling out of Dusty’s butt hole!!

This made Itchyfingers so determined to bring her to the vet immediately. I read that worms in the guts can cause some serious problems. So we tried again to give her some more biscuits…I was already contemplating the catch-and-cage method and let her hate me for the rest of her life, when, out of a sudden, Dusty decided to move into the cage for more goodies!!!!! We were so happy that she did that on her own, and miraculously while our itchyfingers were fumbling with the various locks of the cage, Dusty didn’t struggle much or try to force herself out of the cage! Totally unaggressive at all! She didn’t even scream until we carried her to the car. Her cries were so heartbreaking…Itchyfingers felt like “Catnappers“….But we had to do this in order to help her…

where
Dusty continued to meow while we were on the way to the vet…Again, the
sweet girl didn’t struggle but was obviously nervous and shaken …She only
stretched out one of her paws once throughout the whole journey

Luckily it wasn’t too crowded at the clinic and we got our turn within half an hour. Dusty had her weight taken and the chubby girl weighs 5.7kg! No wonder Tisu Boy was complaining of the weight!

scared
Much to our surprise, Dusty was so well-behaved and cooperative during
the whole consultation. No struggle at all when the vet checked her teeth and
sticked the thermometer into her butt to check her temperature. But she was 

drooling a little cos of nervousness….Even the vet said she was very sweet-natured….
I always suspect she must had been someone’s pet before since she is so tame…
But if that’s the case, why did the person abandon her? How can they bear to
do such a thing to this sweet kitty?

med

She was then fed some deworming pills behind doors so we weren’t sure if
she did struggle…We were instructed to apply this topical gel Selamectin  
two weeks later on her neck – the only area that cats cannot reach to lick
themselves. The gel is supposed to “fights both internal and surface parasitic
infection”. Once applied, it is absorbed into the body through the skin and
hair follicles, and travels through the bloodstream, intestines, and sebaceous
glands. Parasites ingest the drug when they feed on the animal’s blood.”

I had initially thought if the medical fee is too costly, we would try to appeal for some help through the Cat Welfare Society. Luckily, the bill didn’t turn out to be too hefty a number so I guess we would just absorb the cost. We brought Dusty back and this time she was totally quiet and calm, though I thought I saw her eyes were a bit wet with some tears at the corner…Or was I just imagining things? She turned away when I wanted to take a photo…

The moment Tisu Boy opened the cage, Dusty ran out immediately! I thought she would be scared and angry at us for making her go through all this. But apparently she was just running out to check out if it was her familiar car park, and maybe count the number of cars around… 😀 When Itchyfingers called her, she was still responding to us by meowing back! The sweet girl was not a bit angry with us!!!! This is just so great to know!!!! We pet and praised her…but then…

evil-worm
There was another evil worm coming out from her butt! Like the other two
that we saw, it was immediately caught and crushed to its death! Die! You
stupid evil worm for causing discomfort to our daring Dusty! Die! This is
probably a segment of the Tapeworm, which is transmitted by fleas. Cats become

infected with this tapeworm by ingesting fleas during self grooming and licking.
See this site for an interesting illustration of the transmission

Hopefully the medicine will clear up these evil worms in Dusty’s tummy very soon!

Also see related posts:
> In Loving Memory of Puss (2000 – 2012)
> Puss in Boots
> Odd Encounter

Maneki Meow

March 13, 2013 at 12:30 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Last Sunday Itchyfingers were among the many people to turn up at Jurong Point Shopping Centre to ogle at the many beautiful girls and handsome boys…They came in all shape and sizes…slim, rounded, black, white, young and mature, but all so beautiful and gorgeous! Itchyfingers were at a beauty contest again, and if you have been following Itchyfingers, you will remember that we went to a similar event last year, in search of the fairest of all – The Most Beautiful Domestic Cat!

This year, the contest aimed at searching for Singapore’s Next Top Feline and the Most Prosperous Cat, as well as a voting contest for the Maneki Neko (the Japanese Lucky Cat or 招财猫) Lookalike. These beauty contestants have to be non-pedigree, community cats. Like last year, the event organised by Cat Welfare Society aimed at raising awareness of the plight of community cats and hopefully more people will discover their beauty and adopt these homeless animals.

We arrived late and missed the most of the search for Singapore’s Next Top Feline… 😦 The worse thing was, I just missed seeing Princess Samantha on stage!

Samantha
This time, Princess Samantha transformed into Empress Dowager! Isn’t
she cute? At 19, she’s gorgeous…She was one of the three finalists for the
Next Top Feline…just missed by that little bit! What a pity!

Ferrari
We also missed Ferrari Chua! But luckily he and his mummy were seated nearer
to us so we could sneaked in this shot…Ferrari used to be pure white when
he was younger. Now at two, he started to spot some light brownish tones
on his face and body. Very handsome boy!

Mili
This beauty, Mili, looks so much like our cat friend, Dusty!

maneki
I din catch the names of this cutie and his friend in the cage…but look at 
his eyebrows! 😀 So cute!

scared
Getting nervous cos of the crowd…He and his friend went to the finalists’
round!

Marine
The title of the Singapore’s Next Top Feline went to Marine, a cross-eyed
cat…We were standing a bit too far from the stage so couldn’t take a nicer
close-up of Marine…

Many of the contestants were not only far from where we were, some of them were also inside cages. Hence we didn’t take that many photos this time. But this boy was so big that no matter how far you were, I think you could still get a BIG picture of him… 😀

big
At two, Horatio Chua is a hefty 10kg! 😀 Not obese, but I think he’s just a
big boy… 😀 Mummy was offering his fans a chance to carry him, but not
many dared to take up the challenge! 😀 He was contesting for the Most 
Prosperous Cat title!

Horatio2
Horatio on stage…he looked by a furry carpet…

Horatio1
Staring into the eyes of his admirers…”Choose me….”

Horatio
Hanging on to mummy...

Finalist
The top 3 +1 finalists for the Most Prosperous Cat on stage. The two skinny
ones were hiding inside the cage. Alas, their combined power, cuteness
and sizes were no fight for the other two mega-sized contestants…

In the end, the one with the loudest applause from the audience won! I was initially disappointed that Horatio didn’t win…But I guess maybe his fans were just more shy and less vocal…Hahah….But when I went up later to take a closer look at the champion, my goodness….What a handsome boy!

Benny
Look at those soulful eyes!!!! This is Benny, the boy that likes packs of tissue
paper…He looked so nervous…

Benny3
I think many people were like Itchyfingers, instantly mesmerized by this
handsome boy and went ga ga over him! The poor boy was surrounded by
so many fans who lose control of themselves and everyone wanted to molest
him…Hey kitty kitty kitty… 😀

Benny2
“Daddy, these people are crazy…I wanna go home…”

See related post:
> Who’s the Fairest of All….

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