Back then, not so long ago, I thought it was the end. I was behind on anything, and slowly lost everything.

Around me, the world keeps going round; merry and jolly, as if nothing happened.

It was as if I was out of the world, watching the earth roll by, leaving me behind; and when I finally lost sight of it all, I know it’s the end.

The shelter that has been my dream, the world that has been my vision, the tears and blood, pain, sacrifices, sleepless nights. The shelter that has been my history, the lives that has been my timeline. My friends, the family I made all the way through the decade of The Whiskers’ Syndicate.

I told a friend then, that this is not what I had imagined. When I am gone, I want to go in peace, but I don’t want my legacy to disappear alongside destruction, death. I want my legacy to keep on living, my gift to keep on giving, their stories to keep on telling; but most often, things are never what we imagined to be.

I repeat those memories as I walk Siegfried to the crematorium; it’s just that then, I added that I now believe that cats, or animals in general, can see beyond human sight. I told him, as that little fuming speck in the horizon was closer and closer, that he had chosen the right time and the right place, because had he left a few days earlier, it would have been devastating.

Had he chosen to leave me a few days later, it would have been the whole different story as well, at least for Rufus.

He got both calicivirus and indigestion during the outbreak, and although he is too tough for just the two to beaten him down, he came back from the dark days trembling and weak.

When I see him, he reminds me of Muhammad Ali.

So as I signed the last paper, and asked to write down Siegfried’s name in his box with my own hand, I pulled out that small brick sized package that I carry with me and thank him for all his love and bravery, and the gift of life that will be his legacy to the next in life.

Rufus will have his treatment, a special elixir that flew from Beijing where it was freshly made. The special mushroom that will turn bitter the moment it was twisted in the wrong way, the toil and labors of many bees.

Rufus clawed and bite until he tasted the sweetness and the warm, tingling sensation of the dark fluid on his tongue.

And like Siegfried at the beginning of his sickness, he hated me more than anything when I showed up with the small ampule no matter where I hid it.

But like Siegfried, Rufus stand back up in two days; with a slight tremor, but he stands up and walk down the isles of our cattery straight to his bowl, and eats like a champion.

Like Siegfried, Rufus sits straight by my window this morning, with that grand, intense looking eyes, and his signature one ear.

One day, next week, when he came back home, one last time, I will again put that row of bottles next to his box and Rufus, side by side.

And let Siegfried cross the rainbow bridge as he see for himself, his legacy that keeps on living.

~ 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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