From time to time, that house will have cats; usually kittens picked up by kids to be played around, and then abandoned wherever when it’s time for them to go home.

I have seen some of them survive, grow up, and move out. Most of the time I will see one of the sweatshop workers (usually cheap garments or knockoff) dig a hole on the front yard.

This time, it was a nursing kitten, the same age and size as the other eleven I have on a drop off not so long ago. Kids won’t travel too far with a kitten to handle, so I thought his mother is probably nearby.

Everyday when I go to work and pass the house, I would turn around and look for him. Some days he was there, some other days, he was not. In the sun I will see him walk by the curb, under the rain I will see him huddled against the wall of a garbage box by the curb.

In any day, he is always alone.

Not far behind him, in the shades, at the corner, there will always a plate of plain white rice and water. Sometimes it’s eaten, sometimes not.

When there is no one around I will add a pouch of whiskas for the sauce over the rice, at other time, I can only wait until the road was empty and everyone went inside. Sweatshop workers, and especially sweatshop owners are not the friendliest kind of person, due to the nature of what they do.

And yet, I still hope for a mother.

Upon the first ray of sun a few days ago, just at the end of a storm two days straight, I saw him. Curling at the curb, under the sun, lifeless.

I knew it then his time is up.

And yet, my rider is not the most caring  person, and he pretended he didn’t hear me asking him to pull over, and sped up so I won’t jump. He dropped me off at my destination. I paid him in full, but I ripped the bank note in half first, before giving both halves that he deserves.

I always know I am capable of ultimate good, but I also know I am capable of the meanest evil.

I picked him up knowing that he might not stay long with me anyhow. I picked him up knowing that my house was only a transit.

I picked him up knowing that I am probably just an undertaker.

And yet, he lived through the night.

I keep giving him antibiotics, fluid. I keep dripping milk and baby food into his mouth, I keep spraying honey water to help him with his mouth sores.

I didn’t hope much.

And yet, he lived through the week.

And then, he got better.

There were times when he has to be the last in line to receive treatment, at the peak of the calicivirus outbreak that overtook our house. There were times I can only come several times for his food and treatment because I have to go back to work to make up all the time I lost during my sickness.

And yet, he survives.

There were times when I thought I am like any other. People who call themselves human, yet walked past him just like wind.

There were time when I thought I failed him.

And yet, he persisted.

If I pass him over he will follow me. If I gave food to the twins he will come toward me, when I had forgotten that I haven’t give him his second syringe of food, he’d remind me.

There were times when I feed him with my eyes half closed, and wake up hoping I didn’t choke him with syringe

And yet there he is, curling up on my leg. Still breathing, still sleeping, still following, still holding.

This morning when I scrambled out of my bedroom because I remembered I haven’t give him his honey water (last night) I saw him sitting there, greeting me, with two round eyes and mouth that no longer dripping.

And yet he is still 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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