shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Taking Dommie & Katie out for walks // Riamfada accepted the new cat carrier//Riam male or female


The last weekend saw the start of the horrendous air assault by Israel on Gaza and the deaths of innocents caught up in this tragedy. Israel said they had no choice in this matter with the excuse that they must stop the rockets fired on them by Hamas. The reponse of Israel was totally out of proportion to whatever damage was caused by the rockets.

I cannot but respect the bravery of the Palestinians in their preparedness to fight with AKs and homemade rockets against helicopter gunships, jets and modern bombs for what was taken from them by force and the continuing refusal of Israel to have peace on terms other than that of Israel alone.

I felt sickened by the death of children and women and men and the suffering of the people in Gaza as bombs after bombs rained on them. We see those so called precision strikes by one ton bombs. I see also the buildings so close by that innocent lives were snuffed out by those one tone bombs. And many of those bombs dropped based on what they suspected only. Even if they know houses were just next door.

I find it painful that a people taken through Holocaust and collective punishment in ghettos of Warsaw and Krakow can find it in them to inflict collective punishment on the people of Gaza. And the cheering on with the deaths of children and women as their bombs drop from their jets.

I hope true peace with honour on all sides be there and needless pain and death and suffering stop there and the madness stop there.

I wish to all here a better and Happy New Year, a less traumatic and peaceful times than those in Israel and especially in Gaza. I rather not write on above, but I cannot remain silent either as those TV showed us those ghastly images, and likely with worse to come.


Photos and videos from
Riamfada 2008/2009 weekbreak

Back to more happy subjects.

When I got back home in late afternoon on 28th Dec, the sight of Dommie lying down on my favourite chair without a by your leave and giving me his lazy look inspired me out of my procrastination.

I fashioned for him a Tinkerbell harness out of a shoelace and sized for Dommie.

Me and my wife then tried the harness and leash on Dommie in a neighbourhood walk just for him. Katie saw the excitement and joined us for the first time in this neighbourhood walk.

Dommie was not happy with the harness and slinked along with his tummy close to the ground. My wife was not happy either, and with her nagging in my ear, neither was I.

I reminded her of that embarrassment when Dommie run about into other gardens and the embarrassment he caused us in having to call and call for him. That was to no avail. And the walk was cut short. And my wife said that leash and harness would never be used on Dommie again.


There was this long break, from Monday 29 Dec 08 to Friday 2 Jan 09.

Since Dommie tended to be very well behaved during neighbourhood walks (other than causing us embarrassment) my wife thought of taking him to the beach the next morning on 29 Dec.

I told her the chances that Dommie might spook and run never to be seen again. She thought long about that. And with the abrupt roundabout turn that we all known from wives, said perhaps the harness and leash be used on Dommie.

I happily obliged especially as Dommie did not like that harness. It felt good to irritate him especially as he turned traitor on me transferring his affection all to my wife. It would make you sick to see the saccharine look on his face everytime he gazed on my wife. Instead of sleeping with me as before, he would sleep on top of my wife.

With him harnessed up, the three of us got into the car and took him on his first car ride. Soon he got over his fear and was on my wife's lap looking out of the window as we drove along.

We thought of the beach near that Wave development. When we reached there, an army jeep drove up to us and told us to move on. There was this GCC summit of all the Sheiks, Emirs and Kings of the Gulf countries going on in Muscat. I guess after the attack on Bombay, the security took no chances on armed insurgents attacking from the sea, perhaps helped by a man, his wife and a cat on a leash.

We were not going to argue with machine guns and moved on to another part of the beach.

Dommie was a bit awed by the occasion. He tried to hide under the car, but was persuaded to slowly join us on the beach. Every time a wave crashed, he spooked and tried to climb up my leg to hide in my baggy shorts.

I found out as a pioneer of taking a cat on a leash to the beach that it was a very bad idea to wear baggy shorts.

Soon he accepted the waves and stopped trying to climb up my bare legs.

Then some others joined us on that patch of beach, with their dog.

That prompted Dommie to climb up my leg to hide in my shorts. It was not very comfortable to me even if Dommie felt reassured and my wife felt it to be funny.

I suggested to my wife next time we took Dommie to the beach, she should wear a skirt while I wore jeans.


My wife with her familiar

That new cat carrier was first placed on the living room floor next to the bar. Riamfada did not seem to be bothered by that at first sight.

The next day, that carrier was placed on table next to the laptop. Riam seemed ok with that as he would perch on the basket near me when I go into Internet.

The parallel bars were pushed nearer the table as well. I chose to make this process very slow and steady. I could not afford to keep buying cat carriers after carriers.

I placed his usual sunflower seeds containers on top of that carrier. When he landed on my shoulder as I knew he would, I reached out to get the sunflower seeds to give.

Photos and videos from
Riamfada 2008/2009 weekbreak



That was done over that period of holiday.

I then left the living room periodically. Riamfada got bored without me around. He hopped on top of that cat carrier. And he took from the sunflower seeds left on top. I would get back and with indignation in my voice, waved to Riamfada to get away and rescued my precious sunflower seeds.

I felt so hypocritical using reverse psychology on Riam. This went on a few times, with Riam becoming bolder and more assertive, squawking away at me.

Then on Wednesday, I resorted to removing the seeds from top of the carrier and placing the seeds within the carrier to 'protect' them.

Riam went into that carrier. To have the door closed on him. And my finger through that grill for him to nibble on. And more seeds, one at a time.



Even when Riam accepted going inside the carrier on Wednesday, I decided not to take him out in the carrier there and then. He would be going out often with us in the future that I felt a few more days to consolidate that acceptance would be better. I got rather tired of one step forward and two steps back.

At the start of this long break, Riamfada flew away from me when I approached him with the harness. He headed back to his room. I thought about why he did that as he had not minded the harness earlier. Then I recollect the way he trembled when I took him to the beach and out for lunch. And that while he did not mind the harness, that perhaps he thought I was taking him far away.

I got the harness on him with a bit of resistance. Left the harness on, and then took it off later. So he got used to harness on him not necessary that I would take him out for a drive and far away. I might put the leash on him, and took him to patio on the basket and read a book outside with him. Or a walk around the garden that he accepted.

He did not mind the neighbourhood walks. After Katie joined harnessed Dommie on Monday morning walk, we decided perhaps Katie could join us with Riam and Dommie. We decided to take chance that Dommie need not wear leash on neighbourhood walks. Anyway, I had no 2nd leash for Katie.

On the first walk for the four of us, the kitties followed us in delightful if somewhat frustrating ways. They followed, and rushed ahead, and rushed back. Then when we neared our house, Katie went one way, and Dommie the other way and did not come to us when called. Since we were near home 300 meters away, we all went back.

Evening came and those two did not appear. I was happy not to see them, telling my wife we would save on kitten kibbles as they were eating us out of house and home. I could get on my favourite chair without having to kick one or the other away.

Then I felt more and more uneasy as they still not appeared.

We went out to call for them. At the point we last saw Katie, and at my voice, two black and white creatures darted out from under a car. It appeared Dommie went back to Katie and kept her company. And we all went back home.

While Riam was not taken out to further places until I was sure he accepted the carrier, we took to going for neighbourhood walks the next few days. The kitties would hear the click of our gate opening, and like magic appeared and meowed away to be included in the walks.

Kitties became better and better during those neighbourhood walks. They kept near us even if they decided walls were better to walk on. When we called them, they would reappear and moved near us. Riamfada got more confident and poised. I even like to think he enjoyed those walks. He shivered a lot less, and turned his head about looking around and absorbing the changing scenery and trees about us. Getting the harness on him got easier and easier too.

Photos and videos from
Riamfada 2008/2009 weekbreak




Over the days, Riamfada reaccepted the harness again more and more.

From time to time in neighbourhood walks, we would do recalls


In an email exchange with Raz, she told me Riamfada might be a female after all. And that the underside of tail might be an indicator.

So here is a photo of her tail, more in

Photos and videos from
Riamfada 2008/2009 weekbreak

Do tell me what you all think.


It was not all just on beasties and birdies. We enjoyed ourselves too with good food and good friends.

Monday night was dinner at one of our favourite restaurant, the Great Kabab Factory. Its a very tacky name which delayed our trying of that restaurant earlier. But once there, you do want to get back again. My wife wrote more in her blog

See through her eyes some of our sagas I described earlier. For good nightmares, read her driving lessons.

On Tuesday night, my wife arranged her weekly dinner party to be at that Dosteen restaurant. Originally, we were recommended by her driving instructor to the Arab World restaurant a couple weeks ago. But on getting there the first time, and seeing the Arab World restaurant to be empty of people and Dosteen across the road to be packed, we tried Dosteen. To find food to be so delicious and inexpensive and service so good, we been back there a couple more times. But Tuesday we had Joe and Tilly & Jr, Bob & Ally, Arica & new friend. A South African couple did not manage to make it.
All agreed the food to be delicious and they would be back again.

During the dinner at Dosteen, Joe was telling us he found a new restaurant with the most delicious poratta, an Indian bread also known as rotipratta.
Me and my wife were intrigued enough to take his offer to have dinner for the five of us on Friday night in that Keralan Ananthapuri Restaurant in Ruwi. This restaurant opened only in early Dec 2008.

We dropped in to Joe and Tilly's apartment on Friday evening. The nut cookies made by Tilly were so wonderful that she could see the greed in my eyes and gave us a few to take home as well.

Not only the poratta was delicious, the three dishes we ordered were heavenly, a dry beef curry, a mutton curry and a chicken curry. The restaurant ambience was great, with items and objects from South Kerala, from an elephant headpiece, to Indian dancer masks, and traditional grinding stones. We will be back again in this restaurant.

It was on Friday afternoon that I decided to try to take out Riamfada in the carrier. I harnessed him, and took him to the carrier. He got in and I closed that door. I hooked the leash line on him and the four of us went for our neighbourhood walk. I wanted to be sure of his acceptance of the carrier before we took him to further places by car.

It was a short walk outside. Light as the carrier was, it was not fun carrying the carrier. We stopped periodically. The kitties lying down while I opened the carrier for Riam to get out. He got to top of carrier and flew to me on recall cue. We moved on 50 meters down the road, and did that again.

And yet again, and again. Riam accepted getting inside and outside the carrier. He accepted sunflower seeds, cracking them and eating them inside and outside the carrier. Of course, photos and videos were taken. But with the dinner above, there was not the time to upload that for inclusion here.

(editted on 6Jan09 to include the uploaded new carrier walk photos here)
Riamfada first outing in cat carrier

Then we went back home to leave the carrier at home. And resumed our neighbourhood walk.

My wife will be flying to Singapore on 5th and back on 12th January.
It will be unlikely I feel like taking Riamfada to far places without my wife. But it is good to know all the elements to bring Riamfada further away are now in place.

You all will be seeing more of Oman through our collective eyes together later on.

read a rant I made that you might have missed in


If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice


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