I have always noticed that, whenever I wrote about myself, no one reads. The views dropped sharply, the comments went empty, and donation zipped. So no matter how many friends (and more now) asked me to write about myself on the blog, I always returned to them reluctantly. I have accepted that The Whiskers’ Syndicate should be nothing about me and all for the cats. People don’t love people, they love cats.

But this one is about the cats.

I have once written that I have chronic coughing that doctors never found out why, but I am not writing in depth about it. I have several times written that I often quarantined the very sick, the terminals, and the babies in my bedroom, and I am going to write just another piece about it.

Our kitchen is not the only one that is leaking and rotting us alive. Long before the kitchen start to leak (from our neighbor), I have been sleeping with the enemy.

One bad neighbor on the other side has been leaking their kitchen to my bedroom; and since I have never had enough money to fix it, the damp and the mold continue to eat my wall that today it’s clear and present danger.

It was one doctor that was deadly curious about my coughing, that he asked me triple amount of questions and runs many, many tests because no medicine ever stopped me from barking until I turned blue or pee in my panties. The (short term) cure: stay outside in open air for half an hour and I will come back as a man, not a werewolf.

Until he saw me chatting and browsing cat photos over my cellphone, and saw the wall behind my bed. He asked me how long have I been sleeping in a room like that and asked that I scrape some of the wall and return to him the very same day.

I did so and within one week he told me that it was the mold that has been poisoning my lung and make my cough keep returning.

And the cats sleep in the room as well.

And the ones who has URI stays in there as well.

And if all the mold and spores (and some micro insects) can affect me so much, what it can do to the cats? My tests are paid by my medicare (the single payer system that some in USA called socialist and hate it so much but get me free medication all year long, no limits, tiny $8 per month premium), but the cats’ test I have to pay myself, which I cannot afford, so it’s just me and my logic.

I promised myself that if we ever match the USD 2,000, I will fix the kitchen, so we won’t be eating spores and the cats’ food won’t go rotten within 24 hours.

I promised myself that if we ever match the USD 2,000 I will fix the bathroom. Here in Indonesia we use some sort of a tub, or drum, to contain water and we take a bath by manual shower, meaning we use a big bowl to get water from the tub and spray it on ourselves. Cats love to climb, and some cats don’t feel like drinking from their bowl. So some cats will go into the bathroom, climb, and drink from the water tub. Some slipped and plunged in. I can’t close the door because there is no window in there so it will be stale if I close the door too long. Our bathroom is a drowning hazard and although there are no lives lost yet (just six cats go into the tub and can’t swim out, and freak the heck out me), there will be the first for everything.

I promised myself that if we ever match the USD 2,000 I will fix my bedroom. For me, yes, because I need to stay healthy to care for the cats, but 99.90% of the reasons are for the cats. I put them in my room to give them ICU: Intensive Care Unit. It will be a waste of life and everyone’s donation if they come out of the room dead or worse because they catch another illness from a bad room.

I was anxious, but I have faith in our friends and family, I have faith in our village, so I started the project far earlier before the matching even reach halfway.

The kitchen is done, and the bathroom will be done by the end of the week.

There has been gain and loss with the workers. Arguments, some spats, a lot of self strains, but it all work out quite a bit.

But what supposed to be a week job, turned out to be two weeks, because we found other broken things in the structure, or some alterations made (while we’re at it) to improve cats’ safety and welfare, like removing the tub and planning water heater (which I have to hold because the money won’t be enough)

And in the middle of it all, Bingbing.

We still don’t know what happened to her, because we don’t have much technology to rely on, but since stress can be a contributing factor, after much thought, I decided to temporarily halt the renovation to give her space, time and chance to heal without additional stress of maneuvering strangers’ feet in a tiny house and piles of containers, boxes, dust, debris and anti fungal, mold killing, insect repelling chemicals.

If she is weakened due to a broken heart, from being discarded by her previous parents, if she broke under intense pressure of having to adapt to many changes that comes hurling at her like tsunami, I hope halting the work will help her.

And then for the moldy room that contribute in the respiratory situation, I probably have to try and do it myself.

That means, I cannot work as much as I want to, even when the lure is strong because holiday season means more money. That means I cannot manage and finish the website as much as I want to. That means I rely only in a paltry income from my shop, for my own food; because I don’t want to eat donations. That means, if donation dropped because everyone thinks we are now USD 4,000 richer, we’re doomed.

The cattery still need to be tiled, so virus and bacteria won’t inhabit its porous surface. The blinds still needs to be replaced so the cats won’t have to endure long nights in freezing winds. That’s where the USD 4,000 will go.

Some of the cages needs to be replaced because rusts and weather had damaged them enough to harm the cats if something broke and someone got stabbed. That is where the USD 4,000 will go

And while I tried to re-establish the peace on earth on this land before all the commotion begin, everyone needs to eat. A part of the USD 4,000 have been sustaining us while we are all eye to the matching challenge.

I have been gambling the big game to chase the matching challenge that today is Friday, and the weekly fundraising was neglected and have only USD 110.

I only have two hands and two feet, and while I want to care for everyone, I cannot be at two places in the same time.

I have to choose between working for money (for everyone) and stay at home and heal. On paper, it is easy. Life over money; family over work; but in practice, you know it isn’t so.

Still again, when all the bad cards were out, there is one left in my hand, and there is one left in yours.

See through the photos. I have been living in that room for five years, and some of the sick and the dying have been staying in that room for a good part of what supposed to be their intensive care unit.

On the last photo is Bingbing today.

Only then, open your hand, and see what is the card that left in your hand.

~ Josie

“Away in a Manger” is a Christmas carol first published in the late nineteenth century and used widely throughout the English-speaking world. Although it was long claimed to be the work of German religious reformer Martin Luther, the carol is now thought to be wholly American in origin.

The two most-common musical settings are by William J. Kirkpatrick (1895) and James Ramsey Murray (1887). Researchers have not yet confirmed the original lyricist(s) due to the many contributions from people across history; among a few are Charles H. Gabriel, Dr. John T. McFarland, and Bishop William F. Anderson.

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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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