Taken By The Storm

By the time I finished this post, the weekend is too far over. I fully realize that I have completely missed one schedule, but I couldn’t have done it any other way.

Three days double shift, three other days normal 8 hours; the plan was I take advantage of my geographic location; 12 hours ahead of the other part of the world, and steal at least one weekend night manning The Whiskers’ Syndicate, and the other day a little rest.

On my way cruising that plan, I come across Murphy’s Law, and as it notoriously said: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Starting with a scratch.

One of the hammock kitties suddenly had rash all over his belly. He had his flea prevention and there was no flea on him. And then his two brothers start scratching. I put on rash ointment so they won’t scratch the whole day, and think that it might be some microscopic visitor hitch-hiking to soon be gone.

The next day I found out that Ash’ EGC had flared up so badly she drooled excessively and unable to eat. It hurts her enough even to open her mouth to lick something. I still thought that it is her immune again, so I give her her prescription and go back to work.

The next day, it’s Bobtail.

Bobtail had turbulent history. He was OK before he was adopted but the recent negligence that brought him back to me destroyed him. He was full of parasite and only recently bounced back to complete health. I know he will be all right; he is a strong guy and a smart one, to ever run away from his new home and walk back home, but it takes time. It’s just so happened that he contracted EGC midway.

At the back of my mind, some alarm start blinking.

And then the next day, Estebel got her mouth full of ulcers, just like Ash and Bobtail. At the same time, I noticed that more kittens went into scratching frenzy; some scratch themselves raw, while the other had infected scratch wound on their back.




That night Nekomi (pronounced nay-co-mee) stopped eating.

The next day practically the entire sanctuary refuse their food, a scandal never before happened even in our worst nightmare.


By then the alarm no longer blink. It was blaring with a siren impossible to ignore; and as I staggered from autopilot to manual steering, I’ve got full list of rash, EGC, fur loss, vomiting, foul odor stool, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and desperate look of 75 pair of eyes every where I turned around.

My survival instinct woke up, and start kicking.

Most common cause of all those faults list is fleas, but none of them have fleas. They don’t have worms, and they weren’t sick before.

The next on the list is allergies, but to what?

So I start eliminating their vitamins, supplement, one after another, until I was left with only cat food.

But I have been using that cat food for years and nothing happened. I like that brand because it contains higher protein rate than the other, and it helps all those emaciated and underweight cats catch up (relatively) sooner, hence healthier. And now The Whiskers’ are allergic to it? Doesn’t make sense.

I noticed that several months ago, that brand I used gone out of Indonesian market for quite a long time (around 1 month), that forced me to feed the cats home made food because I can’t afford better brand.

Most of other brands that I can afford has lower rate of protein, aside from huge amount of chemicals and fillers. Feeding the cats those brands for mere practical reasons means I only look for trouble, in my opinion, so I go with home made food because at least I know what they eat.

After a month, that brand came back to the market, but the supplies aren’t stable. Sometimes it’s off for one week, sometimes abundant. The Syndicate seems to like it a little less, but until last week when Templar (a kitten) start scratching, I didn’t notice anything wrong.

Maybe the manufacturer change some of the ingredients, maybe they change supplier of some ingredients, maybe it got contaminated somewhere along the logistic line, or someone tampered with that brand.

The latter thought came to mind because last month, Indonesian police apprehend a veterinarian and his accomplice for manufacturing and distributing fake Royal Canin that cause a lot of cat got sick. And since Indonesians are so creative and enthusiastic with “free money” someone else might get the idea.

I don’t have time to guess, anyway. If cat food seems to be the main problem, then I have to change immediately before things got out of hand.

Back to the Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

And guess what? all that catastrophe happened when donations flow is at the lowest.

Yeah right. Of all the time in the world, dear God, Thy choose now? Thy sure loveth me.

I shared my concern with Lori, and if some of you noticed she has been more aggressively pounding on your doors for donation, it’s because I have to change the food to better brand, which is of course, more expensive.

On one of the days when I got only one shift work, I went around town to find what better brand that won’t make our finance collapsed overnight, and ended up with this:


It is USD 15 (per bag of 7 kgs/15 lbs) more expensive than the usual brand, but it doesn’t use rice, or corn, or soy, or by products. I am not going to promote that brand, but it is my best shot at the moment.

I should have changed the food gradually, per common theory, but I stop the old cat food immediately and change with the new one.

And it extinguish the fire in seconds.

The cats love it. When I opened the bag, for the first time after the incident, they no longer lazily wait for me to distribute the bowl in the cattery.



A few drops on the ground and this is what I get.

Can you see it in their eyes?

Two meals, one day, and they scratch less. No more vomit, diarrhea gets better, EGC recedes, and life’s looking good.

Those with dermatitis will need time to heal all those grisly wounds, and rashes, and my math instinct is still kicking me, but for the time being, I can breathe.

The next day, I got a message that there’s a package for me from USA.

Our friend Karen from California told me last month that she sent some cat grass seed and mouse toy, but when I retrieve the package, we got a surprise:


After the whole week enduring what must be unbearable itch, The Whiskers’ Syndicate got something new to play aside from my hand made toys; and they play with it so intently they forget scratching.

Since it’s only one, I bring it back and forth from the house to the backyard so both the kittens and the adults can take turn to play.

The next day, another message come saying that there’s another package from USA. This time, it’s our other Californian friend Christine Stewart sending a package of Revolution, de-wormer, and catnip!

So while the kittens dominate the Cheese Chase, the adults got high on substance.

At least they’re not scratching. They forget about those painful rashes and ulcers and for one moment, after all this ordeal, they can go back to well… being cat.

Ultimately, THANK YOU. Thank you Karen, thank you Christine, thank you everyone who responded to Lori’s mayday on facebook. You guys can’t come in better time.

And to everyone else, I hope this can show you how much a little help means humongous to us. The Cheese Chase is only USD 15, but it made the kittens and cats get over their misery. Catnip is only a few Dollars, but it helps the cats get over that whole week full of turbulence and climb the rainbow to find that pot full of gold, sardines, happiness.

I also hope to re-assure that even 1 dollar small coin you donate really help us save life, because otherwise we won’t be able to buy better food that break them free of agony.

Last night, late Sunday, after trying fruitlessly to publish this post (internet disturbance!!), I finally give in to the influenza that has been pounding my head and shutting my nose for the whole week (in addition to cat food gate).

Nose-diving onto the bed,  and slowly disintegrate into exhaustion, I can still hear the ball rolling on the Cheese Chase, and some catnip mouse crashed onto the concrete.

It sure is one heck of stormy week.

~ Joise


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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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