At long last, after close to a week long, she is home again. Unlike her children, she still has no name. When he departed, her rescuer left me only with two names, one for her baby Ginger, and the other for her baby Missy.

But she is the mother none the less. Through and through, all over again.

So I didn’t suspected when she eats a lot, drink a lot. There is a container always full with cat food for everyone in the house, because all of them still growing, either growing up, or growing old, and her daily job is hogging the two containers. One for the water, the other one for the kibbles.

She doesn’t care who it is. Be it small Bandit or Moppet, teens like Julia and Kinta, boys to men like Kaka or Cali, even fellow mother like Thelma, if it is not Ginger, she will swat them off.

Naturally, she has also been growing; to the sides.

Except that her stitches hasn’t grow dry even after a month, and the bald patch around it, shaped like a perfect square hasn’t grow long.

She would let me carry her. She let me poke her belly, joking that she will soon give birth to another batch of babies. She rolls around if no one is watching; playing.

Still, something amiss is growing. I knew it, though I don’t see it. It’s something with her tummy, something with her eating so much and drinking so much.

So when my vet drove the four cats who belong to the lady with financial difficulties after fixing, I asked if she could bring Mama Ginger with her for checking.

I told her my concerns, and my vet agreed that she might be brewing wet FIP.

She told me that she will be going to Bogor for a job related necessities, a town ten hours drive from Bandung one way, and that she will bring Mama Ginger with her as the town has some advanced equipment never seen in the whole country.

Mama Ginger is grumpy when she walked through the door, but otherwise looked healthy. She immediately go home to her two containers, and hog them away from the others.

The prognosis is not as bright as her demeanor. The vet told me the bad news first: she has FIP.

The good news that follows: it’s still in early stage, so she might have some chance.

That last news sunk in with more power than the bad one. Mama Ginger, might. have. chance.

Mama Ginger might have chance. Yes, we will never know, and we’re dealing with FIP. But Mama Ginger might have chance.

That’s all I need to know.

She asked me if I have enough in my med armament for a long and nasty battle.

I told her I will give it my best.

After all, I have one cat with dry FIP currently, and this cat’s prognosis is way worse than Mama Ginger. Since she lives normally, however, it’s natural that I tried to support her the best I can. This cat is very thin, skin and bone, and balding, but after a few months of Transfer Factor, Immune booster, spirulina, astaxanthin, tumeric root, ginger, and whatever bulk of supplements, she is still alive and kicking, and her fur grow back, and her appetite heals, her energy level up. It’s all temporary, but then again, all life is temporary.

Tomorrow (today), Friday, will be Eid Al Adh, a day when Muslims sacrifice goats and cows. I have no comment on the sacrifice, but I have a lot of animosity toward the way they are done, one of the biggest is that the ritual is done in public (or semi public) area and children are watching.

Now you know why people here can be so mean, look what they are watching, life, year after year.

I don’t want to be on the road watching such butchery alley after alley, all the way around town.

I did what I have to do, I finish my work and get my job done. Then I went to an upscale supermarket uptown. Following the newest, stricter regulation by our government, it is more expensive and more difficult to have imported items, especially those that required ingredients inspection.

Everywhere in town, Manuka honey, with medical standard level, went out of stock, but I know there are three bottles left in that upscale supermarket. Mine is diminishing very fast to sustain Daisy and Queenie as well as my FIP cat, and it won’t last too long since Mama Ginger now need it too.

What usually take me an hour, ended up hold me on the road for three. The traffic of people flocking out of town for the long weekend, the hordes of people coming into town for long holiday.

But it’s life I am fighting for, not just shopping.

I jumped onto the parking lot, filled with expensive cars and people in fancy dresses, and slipped in. Obviously a few pairs of eyes would follow. After all, among Zara and Mango and H&M, I only wear T shirt, skater’s jacket, oversized jeans (actually it used to fit, it’s me who is shrinking) and an overdue flip flops; no make up and cheek full of freckles.

My target was locked. That certain shelf, with rows of bottles covered with acrylic door. The one that has yellow label. The one CCTV is watching.

Medical grade Manuka Honey.

And there they are, three bottles, just like the last time I saw them.

I bought my current one for USD 70, about two months ago.

My smile disappeared once I got where I wanted.

One bottle of Manuka honey is now One Million Three Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand Indonesia Rupiah.

Seriously. I have never seen any food sold for over a million.

It’s just USD 133.5, but it’s still hard to believe for someone who lived in a country which minimum wage is USD 200 a month.

My hope sank, though I am still breathing. I stood in front of the shelf long enough until a waiter came approaching; then I know my eyes didn’t play trick on me.

Well, one heck of assault weapon is gone, and the handicap probably lost too.

Still, Manuka Honey or No Manuka Honey, life goes on.

I got back home three hours later, to find Mama Ginger rolling on the empty cardboard tray that used to keep kitten’s food. She doesn’t seem to bother her growing tummy.

What taken me more was those eyes. The brilliant, full of spirit, round eyes, enjoying life to the last, like kitten charging for the first time into the world.

Two months, maybe four, maybe six, or never, who knows, it might be a different story. Like platform nine and three quarters can bring its chosen ones to a train journey into Hogwarts, or slammed the unqualified onto hard concrete. Mama Ginger’s platform five and a quarter might clear a path to a better life, or none.

Until then, I can only try.

~ Josie

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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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