Although I can easily imagine how it must feel to be her, it doesn't mean I can easily find out what to do; just like that bunch of guys in the market who got the unexpected present.
It was a wooden crate, used to temporary hold eggs or fruit during transport; locked at all six sides with nails. The size is only three quarter of a soda bottles crate including the height.
Inside it a female young cat was screaming her lung out, frantically trying to push the crate open. I can simply imagine. If I was locked in a place just the size of my body, I'd be claustrophobic too, despite the fresh air.
Worse thing is, that cat was locked up with her babies, who cried and scream as their mother step all over them in her desperate attempt to get out of her box.
Looking from above is three guys. Two youngs. one older, maybe one of the young's dad. One of the young men sells eggs, the other sells bottled water and mini laundromat next to the egg stall. I was passing with a big bag of tuna for the mobsters.
I heard one of the young guys tried to pry the crate open, so I thought that they will be all right. Besides, the other tuna seller across the street called me, just in case I want to buy her fish as I used to. I never tell anyone that I never buy from just one vendor. So I walked away.
It's all too familiar; in human world and even more in animal kingdom. Young, clueless, single mother with small kids. Homeless and hungry. Yeah sure. All of the mobsters of The Whiskers' Syndicate has more or less the same story, especially the homeless and hungry part.
The real reason was that I can't stay too long; because if I did, I will lose my will and bring them home; and I know full well I can't. My house is full. I cannot afford an outbreak if I keep it too full, and I surely don't want a battle royale in the house, much less cannibalism, though I am sure it isn't going to be so extreme.
When I came back to that place, just passing to go home, more people gathering. The mom had been running back and forth from the crate to the egg seller who was sitting nearby, sorting eggs; either demanding explanation or telling everyone about her worry over her children, or just asking for food. To me it sounds like all of the above.
Once in a while, the other guy who sells bottled water will step out of his stall, pick up some kittens and put it back into the crate, while the other kitten climbed out of it trying to follow their mom.
"Good luck" I said silently. I mean, trying to contain a kitten?
Curiosity kills the cat, however; and I swear it kills me. I was wondering what is the matter that more people surrounding the crate. It's just feel different. It didn't feel right; especially since one or two woman squeal in warning behind me.
I turned over and peeked.
Jesus Christ; that cat is still young, but she has... six kittens? It sure sounds like teen's spirit.
I saw that the guy has trouble chasing four kittens who runs to all direction. I put my tuna down and helped him catch two.
He sighed as he put the kittens he caught into the crate, and look at me. "They can get run over by car, or motorcycle"
And the the egg master added from behind "Look, kitty, take care of your kids, people can kick them because they won't look at the street.
I pull out some tuna and the mom come strolling with her mouth full of meows.
Two of the kittens jumped out of the crate again and lick the tuna. Maybe they are just too hungry; but it's their age, I guess. They are small for their age but I figured they just learned to eat.
And then I found myself on the same crossroad that always stumped me no matter how many times I pass them. The question is no longer to bring or not to bring; the question is whether they survive or not if I left them.
They are still cute though, and they still have their mother; so I think some people will feel pity or is smitten by their cuteness and pick them up.
But when I pass that road again sixteen hours later on my way to visit Catherine in hospital, I saw them there. One mother, six kitten. They are all exhausted, so they crumpled inside the crate. The babies tried to nurse, but from the look of the mom, there's not much left.
I am standing at that crossroad again.
I could have left them the second time; maybe tomorrow. But it started to rain.
I walked pass them and watch from afar. I was hoping one of the two guys will drag the crate to safety, but they didn't. They just told the mom to stay away because it rains and they don't seem to bother if she stays in their stall's porch.
The hospital that I want to go to is just a few steps away. I thought I'd just visit my friend for an hour or two, accompany her until she has her dinner and get her medicine, and then I will go home, passing that crate again and if they are still in the open I'd decide.
I walked away, went into the hospital, and press the elevator button.
A loud thunder was grumbling. Well, it was indeed dark. I am sure it's going to rain really hard. The daily forecast said we even should expect heavy thunderstorm. I can hear a few seconds later big drops of rain started. I saw people running to secure some roofing.
The elevator pings, and it opened its door, but I didn't step in. I walked out.
The cats were still there.
I asked the egg seller if he has an unused box that I can use. He immediately understand that I wanted to bring the cats home.
He asked me to wait for a while, and when he came into his shop, his dad came out.
"Those kitties are for sale" He said, serious face. "One little cat two and a half Dollars" (of course he said it in Rupiah)
I was about to wonder if he is telling the truth or was joking. Sundanese is a very good liar. It was even recorded in history that they can lie with a straight face.
His son came out with a box and as he hand it to me, "He is crazy. don't listen to him. You can bring the cats home for free. They are not belong to us in the first place"
When I picked the kittens up from the crate and move them to the box, the guy who sells bottled water came over and stoop over me.
"Do you need some ojeg?" Ojeg (oh-jeg) is like taxi, but with motorcycle instead of car.
He walked away and came back a few minutes later with a smiling chubby guy. He explain what I was doing and asked the ojeg to drive carefully and go gentle on the speed.
I picked up the box, mount the motorcycle, and thank him.
"Well, at least I can do a little if they are going to be saved. They are too small to understand and it will be a pity if their lives ended, but we don't live here all day. We are closing and come back here tomorrow and no one will watch them"
Call me stupid, or idiot. Maybe a moron. I worked very very VERY hard not to bring anymore home but once I manage to steel my heart, I picked up SEVEN? Something has to be wrong with my brain.
And yet, since they are home anyway; I deworm them (can't use revolution yet), clean them up, give them steamed tuna every day (instead of dry/tinned food) and here they are, two days later.
This little Tortie reminds me of Ellie.