In the middle of smoldering heat, amidst down pouring rain, hidden by nasty wind; the human race had gone heckin go, high and low.

By the rivers and under the sidewalk, hidden in bushes, or down the parks; the kitty season had silently crept in. New mothers, seasoned, feral, dumped, stray, lost.

And all the innocent lives brought into the ignorant, merciless world to experience pain, hunger, fear; life that sent them whips after whips until they fell and break into pieces.

Most before they had the chance, some while they fight, leaving only little of them winning the hunger game that will deliver another blow, and another, and another, until the end of their long, miserable lives.

For those, death comes earlier; deep in the inside; when they look up to the eyes of man, but the beholder does not return the love, or the seemingly realistic, yet murderous mumbles.

We can’t save them all.

I have heard that gazillion of times. It becomes easier to say if one said it more to many; though I am sure they have never have to look in the eye of those little eyes.

Try it. Look at those cats in their eyes and say “I can’t save you all”
Or do it better way. “I can’t save you all, I need my coffee”; “I can’t save you all, I have iPhone”, “I can’t save you all, I have this dinner in this restaurant by the weekend”

“I can’t save you all, life is hard so I deserve to have some fun in that bar, drinking to drunk with friends”

I don’t have friends. I don’t have cars. Alcohol is expensive and strictly regulated, I don’t like people banging music and damaged my ears, I don’t like to be packed like sardines with crazy smelling others or those who waved their hairy, sweaty armpits like it’s sexy while swinging their head off and swipe their hair on my face. People in Bandung still have hair mite.

So I turned back.

I turned back and get the first one. A 7 weeks old calico who curl by the road under the rain and wind with green snot dangling from her nostril because it doesn’t have enough liquidity to drip down to the ground. She gave me a glimpse, but she knew it’s going to be “I can’t save you all, I have life”, so she closed her eyes and sigh.

She was mistaken.

I put her in my bag, and walk home.

A few feet away, another kitten squatted on the ground, under the car, crying. It must be painful to have tummy so empty one side stuck to the other with only his spine in the middle.

I pick him up too, and he cry to me.

My bag is full and he was dripping diarrhea so I can’t cram him into the bag. I wrapped him in my jacket and we can both brace the wind. I brace the wind with old cotton T shirt.

I went home; but along the way I saw a wisp of white and gray in the pile of garbage by small river.

I can’t save them all, I have hands full.

A little bit further another 7 weeks old white and ginger curl up in the middle of the swirling wind on the parking lot.

I can’t save them all, I have full house.

I can’t save them all there are ninety three in my house waiting for this tuna I am hauling seven kilometers long.

I can’t save them all, but I lock the tuna in the box, ignore the calling of all these cats in my backyard, and run back to the street, hitch a ride and come back to the parking lot.

That seven months old kitty woke up from a milk seller riding close by. He tidied up his dirty and filthy fur and sat the most graceful way, and he looked up.

But the eye of the beholder did not return his love.

I stood by the milk drum left by the merchant who was busy marketing his produce to the store owner, and look at him in the eye as he returned to his motorcycle.

“I want to buy five packets of your milk”

He packed his milk, I show him my money, and then I pick the kitten up and put him in my bag.

Milkman had some idea that his milk will pour down the ground for filthy kitten, but he wants money. He has life, he don’t save at all.

I kept walking.

I kept walking to the end. For the first time since the new year begin I finally reach the fundraising goal. I have enough for everyone, and then there are three.

I am an idiot. I can’t save them all.

But then I got to the place where I saw the white and gray wisp, blown by the wind.

It was no longer on the broken couch, thrown to the river. It was by the slanted curb trying to get some drink, but his tongue are so full of sore, he can only stare.

He can only stare to the blackened river from pollution and the mud of the rain the night before.

I held on the bars of the fence and jumped in. What am I thinking?

I jumped in, and I picked him up.

I jumped back out and wrap him in my jacket, and then I walked home because no one gave a ride to a girl with old T shirt half dipped in the smelly mud of polluted sewer. People shit in there!

I can’t save them all.

One of them who cried about his flattened tummy died even after I tried the whole night. He has panleukopenia and he was already covered in his own blood smelling diarrhea.

I walked with my body limp out of tiredness and regret, but three others look at me in the eye, just as the sun rise above our roof.

I didn’t say anything.

I can’t save them all, and life is hard; but I don’t have friends. I don’t have cars, I don’t do my nails. I don’t drink coffee and alcohol is expensive.

I don’t like to be with people who spent hours and hours in beauty salon for perfect curl, only to dunk their heads and messied their hair and sweep them on my face. I don’t like people with hairy and sweaty armpits had their hands up swerving and twerking.

So I turned back. I look at them in the eye, and say

I’d die trying.

~ Josie


Published by

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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