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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Fri 15 Sep 2006

The night feed

Category : meow

A week's supply of fish is carefully chosen at the market or Cold Storage and is "cleaned," i.e. eviscerated, before storage in the freezer in airtight "lock and lock" containers. I like the plastic trays inside which prevent the fish from sticking to the container.

The night feed starts with a thawing of the fish at room temperature at about 9pm. If we are back late, soaking in water hastens the process. The thawed fish is toasted for about 30 minutes. its a simple meal but dreadfully tasty, and the three boys exhibit an air of anticipation. Before the meal typically, Tiger and sometimes Xylo too, will come to us and mew plaintively, as if starving. Guess its quite the highlight of the day.

When the toaster's bell goes off, it's still at least 20 minutes to meal time since the fish has to cool down a little and then de-boned and portioned out, next to the sink. Tiger likes the food steaming hot and is the only cat allowed up on the counter to sneak an early feed of his portion.

We can safely do this as Tiger is a good natured cat that befriended every new comer (he experienced four introductions) and started playing with all within a day or two after release from quarantine. Tiger also gives way to the rest at feeding time and does not overeat.

While de-boning the fish, Mr Bats usually mews and is talked to reassuringly so he does not feel left out. Xylo is tenacious enough to not need any reassurances, and we also partially credit that to his 4 months in the wild, double the time the others experienced.

All their tails are straight up in the air at this point, and we can hardly lay down the paper as they will walk all over it. Xylo used to dig his head under the paper and walk around under, watched wide-eyed by Tiger and Mr Bats who eventually pounce on the moving newspaper!

When the feeding bowls are laid out, Mr Bats, who is the mildly temperamental cat of the three, hesitates sometimes and has to be dropped in front of the bowl and stroked before he gets going. Its nice watching them chomp away, and its the highlight of my day too! Often I still think of how Tiger and Mr Bats would have been killed off during the SARS outbreak if not for the timely intervention of CWSS and Mettacats. I still wonder if I did the right thing in taking Xylo in but remembering how Xylo swallowed his first feed of fish hungrily helps.

Mr Bats and Xylo eat to completion. All retire to lick paws and cleanup with their incredible tongues.Tiger, however, will stop eating after a couple of mouthfuls. Xylo, with his insatiable appetite, will try to eat Tiger's food if he has the chance. So Tiger's bowl has to be secured and returned when he exhibits interest once again by returning to the newspaper. Sometimes, he seems hesitant, but when fed by hand seems to relish his meal [I just did this]. We often comment he'd never make in the wild.

Some its a three step process: thaw, portion out, monitor. When we return some late nights, we sometimes catch cat naps between steps! Tiger and Xylo do come by to remind us they are expecting a feast and Tiger is surprisingly vocal.

No ants prowl at night so the bowls are left out without ant traps. All is consumed during the night when the boys are active. The bowls are cleared as part of the morning ritual that includes washing up the dishes, replenishing the dry food for breakfast and clearing the kitty litter. We do all this pretty much without thinking and quite quickly too. But still, its nice to get back by 10pm and do this comfortably.


Photo taken during the nightly meal of fish on 2nd June 2006.

To add - notes about fish.

Posted at 4:58PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .