There’s a long and wide sewer line behind our house. One end goes around the end of the block two houses away, and through the empty lot with lots of big trees and tall grasses. Simba always goes there and once he comes in, he forgets to get out. That place is probably a magical jungle. Once he is in there, he is the lion king and the lot is his savanna.
The other end of the sewer goes through the other side; across the back of the houses in our cluster all the way up to the hill and down to bigger sewer line near the food stall where Sassy always ended up showing whenever she slipped out of the house. Maybe that place is like a church to her, or Salvation Army. Once she is done with her adventure she can no longer remember which end to go and I always find her at the stall. If she is just an “ordinary” cat I probably won’t fuss that much. But since she is a blue tortie, which is very rare in Bandung, the breeders would want her for the color of the fur and “cross breed” her with purebred Persian or whatever they fancy. Happened more than once before I took her home permanently.
Between one end and the other, is a gated part of our cluster, and few stray cats, feral or not, live there. There used to be so many of them, but then we had an outbreak, and since then we only have a handful left. One of the community leaders is a psychologist like me, and her husband is the owner of a rafting provider, and since they are the ones who pay the security officers and errand guy, they are somewhat powerful. I approached her first about TNR and though it takes me a bit of time, she finally understand what I am up to and told the hicks and hillbillies who are securities and errands (and their fellows in the rural areas surrounding ours) to leave me and the cats alone.
Occasionally, there will be small strays. Little cats who lost their way and therefore their mom and find themselves at odds with unfriendly surroundings. The smart ones usually grow up to the new big guys and big girls of the crowd; the shy and weaker ones either got adopted if they are sweet and have good color, got dumped somewhere in the market or stalls, or else.
A particular kitten seems to get the idea that our house is a cat house. I first heard her crying on the roof of the house behind ours but she will hide under the roof when I poke my head through that big window at the back (the one which my Australian mummy said it’s ugly ). I can’t do much because that roof is made of asbestos and it won’t hold even the weight of a ten years old.
A few days later I heard her cry closer; and she did not hide when I took a peek. So I changed into shorts and sandals and went round Simba’s savanna, got into the sewer, and crawled my way between our house and the ones behind to offer some food. She was back hiding under the roof then, but she will smell the food and eat it.
For a few days, I would wait until sunrise and sundown to crawl into the sewer and put food, but I know I have to get her out of there as soon as possible before people come home from their vacations, and spot a suspicious girl in and out twice a day. Moreover I don’t want to give the ideas to the thugs and thieves of a convenient and secluded way into our neighborhood.
As promised in my past post, I won’t take her in, even if she is only at best 8 weeks old. However, the kitten grew bold and she jumped that roof to our windowsill and cried there calling for her mom. She is a spectacle to the cats at the back. Since then, every day I hear a kitten cry from morning to morning, and she stays in the window sill even when I put her food on the roof of the other house.
She is getting thinner, and weaker, and thinner and then sick, bracing the heat of our summerly Christmas and the occasional rain.
That windowsill is too high for me to reach from inside the sewer, so I took a wood plank with me the next time I went in there and tried to get her to understand to go down through that wood plank so I can reach her; but she shifted back and forth and even tried to crawl up, and ended up stuck between the two layers of mesh that I put on the window. A part of the outer layer was destroyed by our Wizard when she decided she wanted to go out chasing butterflies.
I removed the wood plank, crawled back out of the sewer, went back home and started cutting the cable ties that bind the two layers together while she kept crying.
I pulled her in and she bit me, then ran and hid under one of the cages. I let her. I was more busy tying back the mesh before some mobster’s light bulb goes bling.
The next day it’s like Grimm’s tale. She went from one cat to another and cry for some love. At one point, she even sat and cried in front of Tabitha, who was nursing her step kittens begging for love, but she is ignorant. Some of the cats give her a lick but majority of them are not interested. I tried to offer her open arms, but she hissed and run away.
I did not have as much breath back then from the smoke so I don’t feel like chasing her all over the cattery. I thought I’d just give her a lot of food and she’ll stay until the vets are back open after the new year.
By night fall she find her way through one of our drain holes (she is very small) and back on the sewer, crying for love.
It rains that night and it was windy. She jumped back to the roof and on to the windowsill in the morning, crying out loud. Seems like she changed her mind overnight.
And I am back into the sewer with the wood plank. She got herself stuck between the mesh again, and I ran back into the house and it’s yesterday once more.
This time, however, she didn’t bite me and I put her in the cage and covered it with a blanket.
She is still crying out loud back there in her cage, though she cries less; but at least I don’t have to be in and out of the sewer line, and she won’t get sick, and she eats a whole lot so yeah, well, let’s hope we won’t grow a second Hissy.
I have a challenge coming from two donors to turn USD 220 into 440 to usher our love seeking baby and the rest of The Whiskers’ Syndicate into the new year. If we are lucky we will have more to cover the ferals who lost their home in the fire and sustain them until they can go back to the forest and make their new living.
We have until New Year’s eve to complete the match and 1000 followers. I know that many of that thousand is out for vacation or prepare for another party in the new year, but if only 20 or so donates 10 Dollars we’ll be match in a jiffy. Please deliver us to the new year with the same magic and generosity you did us through the holidays.
1. Click the donate button on The Whiskers’ Syndicate‘s Facebook page
2. Go to PayPal and send a donation to JBaskia@aol.com (Lori) or email@example.com (Miguel/Josie)