Dad of A Lifetime

It wasn’t a good day when I first met Peta. It was a chaotic night at the newspaper office where I worked as a part time proof reader, things went wrong when a colleague slipped some saucers and broke a dozen of them, sending us into the cafe owner’s madness, I ended up going home too late at night, and got caught under the rain.

I was totally focused on pedaling as fast as I can, and get home as soon as possible. I don’t care being hungry, I don’t care being cold, or wet. It’s almost midnight and I am still at the other end of the city. My mind was fixed. I will stop at nothing.

But when I heard a faint meow from the roadside, I changed my mind. So much for a resolution.

I got down my bike. There’s a deep sewer line by that road, and I peeked in there helplessly thinking that after I’ve been showered under the rain, I still got to dive into the sewer.

Nothing. It’s empty. Still I heard another faint meow, like a hopeless plea, so I looked around, and soon enough, the street punks around start to walk toward me with their usual treatment for a cheap chick. I can’t blame them. It’s almost midnight, and no girl on her right mind is still on the road, alone.

“What cha lookin?”, asked one of them.

I didn’t answer. I just keep looking.

He was about to tackle my arm when I heard another meow and immediately ran toward the voice.

“She’s looking for a cat” said another one.

I can hear them follow me, but I don’t care. I just want to take the kitten, the sooner, the better.

But that was until I realize that the small kitten was pinned under a hawker’s stall. One of the stall’s foot seems to broke, because it tilted to one side, and the opening below is too small for me to reach in.

The meow stop. The kitten must have been afraid and tried to hide, but I was using my cell phone as a flashlight and got glimpse of a white spot just right under the stall’s broken leg.

I took a deep breath, prayed, and stand back up. Behind me, four punks were staring at me.

“If you lift the stall , I’d buy you all some cigarettes” I say, trying to sound casual. “If you’re strong enough, that is”

“Hey”, one of them cringe, “Are you saying we’re some kind of a pee wee?”

I shrugged, smiling, openly challenge them.

The challenge works. Four of the punks went straight pass me and within a few minutes, were in the middle of trying to move the hawker’s stall. So, before they change their mind, I rushed back, lied on the dirt, reach out, and practically drag the kitten out of under that stall against his will.

I don’t remember the other detail. I just give them some money, push the part-angry-part-frantic kitten into my jacket, and pedal home. The rain is just getting harsher.

At home, I dumped the kitten into a pile of towel, clean it up, got to my room, and flopped on my bed. I am dead tired.

Thank God the next day is Sunday, and I wake up with the little kitten on top of me.

wake up

Since I found him on Peta Street, I call him Peta, but before some of you guys got a wrong association, Peta Street is not named after the controversial movement. PETA is an acronym of Indonesian students group armed by Japanese during Pacific War around 1945, the same group of armed students who turn back against the Japanese and instead fight for Indonesia’s independence.

The newly found Syndicate is timid; he didn’t want to let me off his sight, but he roam inside the house freely over the next week and found a niche of his own.

When Peta was around 7 months old, I’ve got an offer from an acquaintance to bring Peta to Jakarta to a spay and neuter day. She told me to bring along as much as I can and got a real bargain for spaying.

I was persuaded to wait outside when I brought him in, and my acquaintance actually took me out for a lunch, because I have been driving non stop since the morning.

A week later, Peta start to lick his tummy excessively. There’s a small wound on his belly, and I thought it was because he tried to climb the fence a short time prior and got stuck, but over the next few weeks, the wound grow into an ulcer, and there were more ulcers coming at the surrounding area, so I took him to Bandung vet.

His case is very similar to Sports, another member of the Syndicate, so the vet goes straight to a USG, and deliver the same verdict. Peta was victim of malpractice.

This is what actually happened: It’s not all vet at the Spay/Neuter day. I have been introduced to a vet, but one of his team member is a civilian with no veterinary education whatsoever. This team member was a volunteer with the team and over the time, think she is familiar enough with the procedure, and she was the one handling Peta and Sports. She cuts their testicle pockets open, but instead of removing the testicle, she actually cut it, but left them inside. These testicles fell to Peta’s belly, got rotten inside, and infected his entire stomach wall.


Peta has to undergo the second surgery to remove the rotten “meat” and since it has already infected his stomach, it took him over four months to completely heal. He was cared for in Boo‘s clinic and even occupy his previous space.

It is so lucky that Peta belongs to The Whiskers’ Syndicate. However, since the Spay/Neuter day also take in stray cat, what would happen to them since no one will be overlooking their development?

It is tragic that the very effort to save their lives ended up killed them in such horrible way.

After he got back home, Peta was shocked. He withdrew from everything, including me, but received consolation from Goldie, who had just lost her three kittens, and Kaitou, the godfather of the Syndicate.

kaitou and peta
Kaitou and Peta: Like father and son
Peta, goldie, kaitou
Kaitou, Goldie and Peta, the smaller one is Eden and Nevaeh (head not seen)

It was the sincere acceptance that brought him back to Peta I know, and even brings out another gold in him.

Peta has a talent with kittens. Whatever their background might be, as soon as they got home, they were drawn to Peta, and he open heartedly welcome them, and willingly nurse them.

Over the years, Peta had become a father figure of the Syndicate, and even more after Kaitou died out of poisoning last year. Peta just don’t care about how the kittens look, he just welcome them all and allow them to curl up beside him, and remain quiet even when they snuggle and suck from his belly. I have lost count of how many kittens he helped me raise, and how much he had witnessed die, but he just continue to welcome new kittens.

peta and chibi
Peta took in Chibi, two days after he got home from his surgery. Behind them was Kaitou
peta and indy
Peta and Indy. If you can’t see where Indy is, see the inset at the right
Peta and Braille
Peta and Braille. Braille is blind at birth, Peta took him after he lost his mother

I have lost my own father over 10 years ago, but every father’s day, I always remember him, and feel sorry that he left us so soon, but father’s day this year, for some reason, I passed over the spot where I had found Peta, and remembered how much we had been through together.

Above all else Peta reminds me of the other side of my father that I should have remember more. A dedicated father, one who worked hard so we can live well, one who always told me not to give up, and one who brought me up into who I am today.

Peta reminds me that I should have been grateful that though the sun not always shine, it will not be rain forever, so when the new day come, we shouldn’t be afraid to step forward, and do the best.

This month, and the next is going to be a very hard time for us here at Whiskers’ Syndicate. Our rent will be over and we have to move by the end of July. I have applied for a mortgage, and herewith I would like to ask that you all pray for us that we got the home.

Along with a permanent home is our dream to establish a Trap Neuter Return facility, the first in Bandung, and probably the only for a very long time.

We need help as much as we can get, and despite our effort you can see it on the right bar that we’re slow moving, but we wanted to go through with this. We wanted to go through so there will be no more like Peta, so we can show people and vet alike how to treat animals and be responsible to their lives because above all else, they had surrendered their fate to our hand.

Happy father’s day, everyone. Happy father’s day, Peta, and for any other cats just as graceful and dedicated as him.


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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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