The Ancient Ones (TAOs) & Joy

When Jon and I were living in Seattle, we were very blessed (and still are) to have met a couple – Vigo & Paula – known to us more affectionately as UV & AP (i.e. Uncle Vigo & Aunty Paula) or TAOs (The Ancient Ones). Aunty Paula came up with “The Ancient Ones”, not us!

AP & Joy

AP & Joy

UV preparing salmon to barbecue for dinner!

UV preparing salmon to barbecue for dinner!

Vigo & Paula live about 2 hours away from the University District in Seattle and when we were living there, we visited them very very often. They live in this incredible house that overlooks Puget Sound and since the house is surrounded by nature (they get deer walking in their garden sometimes!), Jon and I always felt so peaceful and calm in their house. Going to visit the TAOs was like a getaway for us.

Jon’s smirk as he chases a deer

Now that we’re back in Singapore, Jon and I would often talk about the times spent at the TAOs and we only wished we treasured those times more. We love and miss so many things we’ve done together over the years – touring around the island eating truffles and ice cream, making pasta from scratch, pizza on the barbecue, competing on who can make the spiciest chicken wings, making bison burgers from scratch (including the burger buns!), all the desserts and cakes we baked, making kimchi pasta, seeing Joy walk on snow for the first time, approaching deer, talking about our University, our future after University and about life over the dinner table…

burger buns we made for the bison burgers!

burger buns we made for the bison burgers!

The BEST waffles, hands down.

During our every visit to the TAOs, Joy would always be part of the journey. It was evident that Joy enjoys being at the TAOs. Probably because she had a huge space to run around, but most possibly because she gets treated like a queen. AP would shower her with hugs, cuddles and treats.

Joy loves sitting on the dashboard as she gets a full view of everything going on outside

Joy loves sitting on the dashboard as she gets a full view of everything going on outside

Joy sitting on top of her favorite bag.

Joy sitting on top of her favorite bag.

Since TAOs were really familiar with cats and we knew would always welcome Joy with open arms, we would always trouble them to help us take care of Joy when we went for holidays or went back to Singapore for summer.

We got Joy when she was approximately a 2-month old kitten from the PAWS Cat City shelter in Seattle, Washington (see the ABOUT page for more info on Joy). Joy was unfortunate to have suffered through a couple of injuries as a result of being malnourished during her time as a stray cat. One fateful day, Joy decided to jump into the bathtub and since Jon was in the bathroom at that time as well, he witnessed Joy’s leg get caught. She didn’t jump high enough and one of her legs hit against the bathtub. We soon realized that something was wrong with Joy’s leg. At first, we thought it was a sprain and decided to give her a couple of days to heal. She would meow whenever she wanted something and would hobble painfully around the apartment. As the pain did not seem to wear away, we decided to bring Joy to the vet, where we later realized that she had a fractured femur and had to go through surgery. Unfortunately, it was not long after her surgery that we had planned to fly back to Singapore. The TAOs had kindly agreed to take care of Joy for us and this was the first time we would be apart from Joy. Looking back at the events, it was funny how Jon and I went into “nervous parents mode” and was fussing about Joy down to every detail. We sent the following ridiculously detailed letter to TAOs which now sounds so hilarious:


Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle
Address: 14810 15th Ave NE, Shoreline WA 98155
Surgeon: Russell L. Bennett
Tel: (206) 545 4322
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8am to 6pm

Animal Medical Center of Seattle – 24 hour
Address: 14810 15th Ave NE, Shoreline WA 98155
Surgeon: Dr. Holmgren
Tel: (206) 545 4403
Office Hours: 24 hours

Note: Dr Bennett from Animal Surgical Clinic is Joy’s primary doctor who did both her surgeries. Animal Medical Center is available 24 hours and they can provide good advice and information if needed. We have visited them before and Dr. Holmgren took care of Joy so she does know quite a bit of information about Joy’s condition. However, they are different business units and they don’t share medical information so if you call after hours, they will not be able to give you detailed information about Joy that is classified under Animal Surgical Clinic.

Taking care of Joy:

  • Joy eats Royal Canin for Kitten 36:
  • We leave the food available for her and top it up when it is almost empty. She usually eats late at night or early morning, as well as in the afternoon. For treats, Joy likes eating strawberries, hard-boiled eggs, raw chicken meat, raw salmon and her favorite is seaweed. However, she only eats very little at a time and likes it cut into bite-size pieces (i.e. very small) so if usually give her a quarter of a strawberry etc.
  • Joy drinks from her water fountain and sometimes from a water bowl. We don’t think she’s very particular about what kind of water she drinks and she is ok with water from your tap.
  • The brand of Joy’s litter is Ever Clean Extra Strength Scented: this brand of litter is very effective and Joy is good with keeping her litterbox neat so you don’t need to clean it very often. The litter is also very powerful and keeps the scent within so it is likely that you won’t need to buy another box. If you have to, and cannot find this brand of litter, we have changed the brand of the litter a couple of times and we don’t think she’s very particular about which brand of litter is used.
  • Joy’s documents are in the folder and include her adoption information, dates of vaccination as well as all her hospital and discharge information. To form scar tissue at her femur, she is encouraged to do a lot of exercise, and she does not need to be restricted in her movement. By the time you receive her, her sutures will be removed, she will not need anymore pain medication and will not need to wear the E-collar.
  • For toys, Joy loves the fly that is attached to the string, her stuff toy dog which she hugs and bites, as well as the wooden box with holes that has balls inside. For the last toy, she is pretty good with it and always gets the ball out and if not watched, she may lose the balls since she likes playing soccer with them.
  • Joy is usually taking naps during dinnertime (about 6pm) and is usually asleep until about 9 – 10pm. She also goes to bed when we go to bed at about midnight and is asleep until we wake up at about 10am or so. Sometimes, she wakes up a little earlier but she is usually quiet until she realizes you are awake. Joy likes to snuggle with us on the bed and sometimes sleeps with the entire blanket over her. She loves to put her head on the pillow and sleep like a human but if the room is warm, she doesn’t like to be under the blanket. She also sometimes sleep on her own bed which we put next to ours.


And, just before we went to fetch Joy, we received the following “Rehab progress report” (HAHA).


Thank you for letting Joy stay with us. Joy has been a lot of fun and we have enjoyed her as much as, hopefully, she has enjoyed being here. We can see definite improvement in her leg and probably couldn’t tell which hip was the last operated on if her hair would grow all the way out. She has gotten lots of exercise and has used her leg muscles a lot.

One thing so cool about her, with all her curiosity she doesn’t get into things or on things she shouldn’t. We’ve had fun and look forward to her bringing her mom and dad over to visit. As you know, Joy is a great entertainer –she loves to play tag with you—she discovers things to do, but is always gentle and friendly. She sleeps very well at night and, if not sleeping looks outside the window at whatever is going by on the water. Since The Ancient Ones get up at 6:30 and have coffee on deck, she is very happy to join them and look for a few flies or bugs to chase. She is usually the first one out on the deck and will jump into UV’s chair while waiting for coffee. (No , she doesn’t get any).

Weight: 10 lbs plus or minus a couple oz.
Eats about 2/3 to 3⁄4 cup of dry food a day –grazes throughout day.

Water provided beside food and a small cup is always in the upstairs bed room (Joy usually drinks the cup almost empty twice a day along with drinking off and on as she grazes.)

Her elimination has been good. Her box is cleaned every day.

Exercise Program: Several times a day

Up and down stairs –fast (does 3 -4 times a day) Chasing lines, toy fly & jumping on the bed. Using scratching post with ropes to play with

Boxing with comforter as buffer (this allows her to strengthen forward leg muscles and opportunity to chew without hurting herself or instructor.) Usually at night shortly before going to bed. She does like to bite, never hard enough to break the skin, and when you admonish her, she stops and licks your hand.

Walking lessons with a lease….(This is the only thing Joy is poor at, but that is because she really doesn’t want to do it. (except she did very well one night when we were out. I think the dark made the difference.)She has actually gotten better if leash is held so Joy must walk beside you….A few treats are expected –mainly seaweed.)

Walking in yard with leash attached as she pulls it along. This allows her to develop her curious nature and an opportunity to chase a few bees and butterflies. By pulling the lease behind her it also allows her walker to step on it if she starts to run out of sight.

NOTE: Joy naps a lot between all of her activity. There is no limp when she walks now. Again, Joy has been great fun here at the Re-hab center.


Looking back at Joy’s kitten days always makes Jon and I feel like “proud parents” and feel heart-in-the-throat that she’s all grown up (please don’t laugh at us. Its an emotional moment, okay!). Nevertheless, I always feel so lucky to have these “documents of proof” that I can read from time to time and remember to good ol’ days :)

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