All I Want For Christmas Is You

I’ve got a little angel falling from the sky last October, when I did some errands and was waiting for the next bus to come.

A man was strutting his brand new 250cc sports motorcycle (seriously, a racer motorbike to use in congested streets in Bandung?) and has been blowing the gas over and over to draw attention.

Eventually, on certain blow, the corner of my eyes caught a glimpse of a ball shaped shadow falling from the sky, right in front of the incoming bus, and catch it in reflex.

In my arms, a startled kittens stared blankly at me as the motorcycle continue to show off and while trying to make his way through the traffic jam. When the kitten finally realize that he landed on a wrong place, he tried frantically to get off my hand, and his unpredictable jerks gave me such trouble that I ended up twisted my right wrist trying to hold him from being crushed by the bus.

I pushed him into my bag because the sprain weaken my hold, and go away from the terminal as far as I can, then after he calmed down a little, I re-open my bag and try to dig for some pocket cat food, only to find out that I ran out of it already, and left with one bottle of Kewpie baby food that I just bought to feed sick kittens at home.


I was kind of worried that he didn’t like it, but my laugh breaks loose when, out if his impatience, the tiny kitten didn’t wait until I come up with a small spoon, and instead tried to drill his head into the bottle for an immediate hunger relief, and as he did so, drill his cave into my heart.

Kewpiekewpie gendong

and Kewpie is his name

Kewpie did well as soon as he gets into the Whiskers’ Syndicate, although the vets told me that he got a terrible state of gastrointestinal condition, probably because he was separated from his mother too early and too long.

Unfortunately, Bandung still doesn’t have enough technology to address his problem and bring him back to health. Severe malnourishment had damaged Kewpie’s fragile system and that it’s possible that his days is not very much left because as healthy as he is, he is never as vibrant and lively as other kittens. I almost always find him sitting on the sideline watching, and he is tired so easily he slept away most of his days, unlike other kittens.

Still, I was so glad of the chance given to spend my life with such an angelic creature, that I didn’t pay too much attention on my hurting wrist then. I just want to shower him with every attention, give him good food, plenty of toys, nice beds, everything he probably can’t even dream of when he still live on the streets. At those time, my wrist is second to the last priority. I put ointments on my twisted wrist and ignore it, thinking that it’s just a small accident, and that it will heal as time pass by.

kewpie with martha

fast friends with Martha

He falls in love to a pet bed that I was making for sale, so I just let him have it and made a new one to be sent to Australia.


Kewpie’s chosen home. He spent most of his life rolling all over inside the cave if not sleeping

kewpie in squid bed looking side

A kitten his age supposed to still be nursing instead of eating garbage

The cat bed followed Kewpie to his grave when monsoon came and a virus attacked his weak digestive system, and he left a big hole that he drilled into my heart during his short stay on earth.

I know it’s meant to be. Kewpie is still very young, he is still so small, and it is unfair for him to have to live less-than-perfect life without access to proper medication. I know it is best for him to leave soon, so he can go back to heaven and reborn as something better, but there’s still this gaping hole that he drilled into my heart.

Like the pain he left, the ache on my wrist lingers, and was growing worse. Every time I try to lift something, it stings right through my upper arms. Despite, I continue to use my wrist as if as nothing happened.

Or else, no one will keep the Whiskers’ Syndicate clean, alive, and running.

Quite a few friends and family know what happened to my wrist, but no one know about how it continue to worsen because I keep lying to everyone while trying hard to convince myself that it’s going to be OK, and it only take longer because instead of resting it, I continue to use it.

Soon enough it become too painful for me to type, and I am falling behind on answering emails and sending thank you note to supporters.

Then it becomes painful to click mouse so I skip resizing pictures for facebook or google+ and instead upload them as they are. Some seems to be OK, the other ones are just weird and I am obviously not satisfied with my work, but it’s the best thing I can do.

Last week I can’t even click a pen to use it to write without cringing in pain. It took me hours just to finish one post card that I sent along with every order, and I need the bus driver and post office staffs to help me carry items to be shipped even though they are less than 2 kilograms.

It is when my close friend Kay Meow remind me to seek help before it’s too late and my wrist turned into a bad arthritis. It’s a good advice and I intended to follow it, but The Whiskers’ Syndicate is at critical moment right now and I don’t feel like abandoning it even for a while to take care of myself, even if I want to.

I feel like I was pushed around trying to hold the momentum and fund raise for our defunct roof before the cats all died out of sickness or brawls. There is no way forty something adult cats stays together in less than 36 square meters (about 380 square feet) without at least clawing at each other.


When our “Achoo” boy cleared up …


another one gone worse.

The fund raising has been in itself, a roller coaster adventure. We have hope when we are referred to an online auctioneer that benefit animals, but there is no further contact from the auction house and our messages went unanswered. We are very happy that we are appointed as charity of the month by Etsy For Animals Team, in which portion of their sales in December 2013 will benefit our repair fund, but there is not much sales to hope for, until the team launched an emergency fund raising that ended up well enough to buy two extra large to contain the cats when it’s time to repair.

With new flourishing hope from the emergency fund raising, we are trying to knock more door to be included into other auctions that benefit animals, but we have little luck and the donation meter stuck for about a week, until a kind friend posted our story in a celebrity’s facebook page and people come to help, among which is our friend Nikki Prindle who set out in her personal campaign to collect donated items for the Whiskers’ Syndicate.

The last best news is that we will be included in an online auction that benefit our rescue in January and April 2014.

In the middle of all the uncertainty, I called my doctor, made an appointment, and listening to my story, he touched my wrist and move it around, a gesture so gentle yet left me shouting in sheer pain. It seems like, in the doctor’s world, even an idiot can easily ruled out that my wrist has gone bad enough, and in his own words: going to be a bad arthritis if I came see him a few days late.

And I planned to visit him a few days late if Kay Meow didn’t urge me to find help immediately.

He looked at my face as he ruled his judgement, and made a challenge:

He will overturn my arthritis, and completely heal them, but I have to:

1. Stop taking more jobs and stay with whatever I have now.

2. See and work with physiotherapist he recommends for the whole week.

3. Take heaps of medication that, like life, is sugar coated, but left a bad after taste.

When I got out of the hospital, my heart can’t sink any deeper. I really need to repair the cattery. I really need to help the cats, I really need to make it now, because once the year turned into a new one, we will be drowned in the merciless rainy season, and seriously, I need to keep everyone alive because I don’t know if my heart can take another ache if someone die out of pneumonia or Chlamydia and I can’t help it because the mobsters don’t have proper place to stay.

But I also need this hand. I am a rescuer, a seamstress, crafter, cook, cleaner, translator, blogger, and at the very bottom line I am right handed. I am ambidextrous and I have no trouble using my left hand, but I was born right handed so it’s still my dominant hand.

So here is my choice: I continue to do what I am doing now, and lost my hand (hence the cats will die because I cannot work with one hand) or step back and fail the fund raising effort and the cats will die from the harsh season.

I talked about this to my captain, and as I lamented about my failed efforts, she wrote:

 Maybe the Universe (God) is saying – look here are people to help you and I make them succeed. You need to take care of yourself and the kitties and slow down. You keep trying to NOT do that so God makes you not succeed to teach you lesson.

I was actually  startled long enough reading that, that she has to ping on me and ask “Are you listening?”

It seems like in my frantic rush, I forgot to stop, take a breath, and look around, and I did it long enough to missed the one door that God had left open.

We have people cancel their promise to us, we have people backed out from donating items to auction, we have people forgetting their pledge to donate citing various reasons to justify their spending (which is actually their right, so we’re not complaining, though disappointed), we have people moving away from us and care for his and her own joyful Christmas tirade.

But we also have those who dropped by and stay to lend their hand without having to be asked to do that. We have friends who take their own initiative and cover the holes that we have not yet touch, and we have those who try to share our story online and offline whether or not the seed they sow will grow, let alone bare fruit.

Most of all we have our faith that if God put us here, He will lead us through it, one way or another. We gone too far to turn back now, even if we can turn back. Whiskers’ Syndicate is the only animal sanctuary in Bandung, breeder capital of Indonesia, a country without animal welfare. Our house is the only place they can turn to, if they live long enough to get to us, so we can’t afford to just break down and cry and return all our rescues to the street and refuse all others who come.


a street cat like this one is coming everyday and beg in front of our door since the flood

We can, actually. No one will blame us, but we won’t do it because we have one more thing that might work: YOU.

Animals have no one else to turn to but us, and we do not have anyone else to turn to but you.

1. We tell you once and we will tell you again: 1 USD equals more than 10 thousand Rupiah. You got your eyes right, which is why we always say a little bit bring huge help.

We need USD 5,600 to repair our sanctuary and we only have USD 1,000 as of today. Would you chip in just USD 1 to help our Christmas dream come true? Spare your change, throw us your coins here.

2. EFA/ Etsy For Animals team with members all over the world is on sale to benefit our cause during December 2013 only.

3. Join Lori Skaggs on our Quest2Canaan in Facebook. If you like animals, and especially cats, chances are there will be something that catch your heart off guard.

Help Lori share our stories. Sharing is free, and yet it saves lives.

4. Don’t feel like donating money? Our friend Nikki Prindle is helping us collecting items that are not available in Indonesia but is crucial for the cats. You can find what we need here (scroll to the bottom for a complete list)

We only do this because we believe that there is still good in people. We only do this because we believe that there’s still kindness left in every heart, we believe that if every small things that we are band together, we are strong. We believe in you, and at this moment, you should see that we stretch our hands and paws for our life and you can make it happen.

We believe that you are our Christmas miracle, and so all we need for Christmas is you.

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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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