(Not) Dreaming of A Wet Christmas

Growing up on the beach-side Surabaya, I got used to the salty air and sticky sweat, especially during dry season starting March to October. The heat on mid day can reach over 35 degrees Celcius (or 95 degrees Fahrenheit). On those days, the only thing I waited so much is rain.

When I moved to Bandung, it’s like changing sites between hell and heaven. Though Bandung is much much hotter now due to excessive land development and rapid (if I can’t say horrible) deforestation, the weather is still “mild” for me, who used to bear with kettle-hot climate.

On dry season, you will expect no rain, the temperature can reach 35 degrees Celcius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on mid-day, just like Surabaya, and do rain whatsoever, not even wind. I feel like a popcorn inside a microwave. The cats don’t tell me, but they are less active and prefer to curl up on my bed under cool shade when at other time, they should have been playing.

In rainy season the weather become so nice, with soft breeze and small showers that invite kids to play under the rain; even the cats seems to enjoy the cool wind. They went outside more, even if they just sit around watching the other play, or let themselves drift slowly to slumber-land at the corner rim of the little garden.

The only quirk is that it is always rain during 4 pm (the office end on 17:00), though I don’t mind because I get to feel that cool wind while I was biking or went home after a side job. I don’t know if it is the storm, or the rain angels are extremely disciplined, but everyone here in Bandung will get wet starting 4 pm, and since they seems to catch the constant rhythm, they either gone home before 4 pm, or gone out after 7, when the rain will usually subdue.

But that was four and a half years ago, before El Nino and La Nina was born, right above Indonesia. El Nino was born near Christmas (hence the name “little boy, referring to Jesus Christ) and La Nina tagged along later. While El Nino brings us prolonged draught, La Nina carry over a lot of rain, and since both babies are storms, they bring harsh wind along.

It is when things get unpredictable, or at least some of them.

This year La Nina is coming, so I can expect heavy rain with harsh wind. Sometimes for a very long time.

Learning about this from experience, I have never left my umbrella unattended, unless it lays down inside my bag. It kept me dry during the long commute, now that I moved away from down town, but it will not save the Syndicate.

In her last visit, my mother had given me a precious gift by giving a nice backyard for the mobsters. (read about it here), however, a green green grass of home is not immune from water, and under pouring rain, it will be a pool of mud. Some of the cats love it, especially those who has longer hair, but the other usually curled up in the (semi final) cattery.

I call it semi final, because it hasn’t got proper flooring yet when I post about it, but with the help of our kind supporter who dropped by and send in donation, I finally have enough money to bring in the floor. It’s only a cement plaster over dirt and stone, but at least the cats won’t be wet; or so I think. It has not yet have doors, nor a wind breaker or wide canopy to prevent the watery wind to come inside the cat’s house, but I think since the roof is high, the water won’t come in, at least not that much.

La Nina proved me wrong. Like a fast growing child, she is bigger this year. Torrential rain comes everyday, and they fall for a very long time, often the whole day, sometimes two days in a row, along with hefty wind. Without a canopy to break the wind in front of the structure, the cattery is nothing in the face of the “little” storm and the cats ended up wet anyway.

wet inside out
Trying to stay as far away from the water, though it won’t help
wet house
No where to run
leak on the roof
A leak on the cattery’s roof. Tortie is seen at the bottom right trying to take cover inside a basket

PS: The photo above is rather blurry because I slipped when taking photos. Luckily I push the button before landing on the floor.

When the rain is longer, water even flooded my back veranda, though luckily the house is not flooded.

flood in the back veranda

the mud goes in

Under such circumstances most cats brace themselves running under the rain straight into the house, but some are too afraid to make the move, not to mention the chilling air. For most of continental people, 17 – 20 degrees Celsius might sound “mild”, but for tropical creatures like us who used to live in around 30 degrees Celsius, it’s “harsh”. For these special cats, I offer a personal delivery by carrying them into the house (with an umbrella in the other hand, of course), back and forth, one by one, until there were none.

looking for high place
Too afraid to jump down and run

It is safer for the cats to stay inside the house during the rain, and it’s warmer too, maybe because my house is only 36 square meters and there are about 40 cats with me. However, the continuous extreme weather took toll on their health, and it is only with plentiful vitamins and a good food that all of them survived the storm, hopefully until the end of rainy season in Easter next year.

Without adequate flow of donations to thicken the savings of larger and well known rescues, I can’t do much about the rain soak, a fact that made me worried whole day long, especially when I left the cats during my day job, and even when I am home to keep the cats dry, I can’t help cursing myself for not being able to do more. Building a wide canopy in front of the cattery that large (it’s 5 meters wide, 3 meters long and 3 meters high) would cost over USD 300 and I won’t have another pay check until my last salary next December 20th, after which I can spend more time browsing the internet for a chance of grant application, if any.

So, may your days be merry and dry – we mean bright – and that everyone have a happy holiday.


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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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