About three years ago, we had trouble with the runny mouth lady who lives across the street from us. She has nothing better to do; she sits outside the whole day and gossips all the way.

Our house is on the hillside. I love the sun and the wind, the cats love the view toward the valley and the town beneath us, so I left the windows open.

It’s like a reality show for her. She watches us every minute and broadcast whatever she sees, so that people from the foot of the mountain to the top of it know what I do in every detail.

Most of the time, it’s just her assumption, so different person has different story and none of them the truth. I am fine being a living urban legend, but I am not fine with people dumping cats daily into my ground or getting stopped here and there to be offered to buy a cat or whatnot.

On one tuna day like today, I bought a curtain. A cheap one, because the cats will climb and shred it in no time. I put a cat carrier underneath so the cats can still slip, and sit to enjoy the view.

The kittens love it. Curtain is the new black. Curtain is “da bomb” those days.
But we lost the wind, and with the wind, went the fresh air.

Soon, Upper Respiratory Infection went crazy. One after another. Some live, many died and the kittens suffered the most. We have outbreak every single week. One sneeze and it spread like wildfire.

I have no shoulder to cry on but Facebook, so I lamented on Facebook, among already many sad stories of our lives.

With generous help from our friend Jennifer Shalen Callahan, we bought an air purifier. It has been running almost 24/7 since. Every day, different room, going round the house.

Three years later, it is no longer white. The swing function had broken, the remote stopped working, and the label start to peel off; but it’s still running. It squeaks every so often, but it still purifies air for us, though we can no longer turn it on for hours on end, or it will overheat.

To say that it’s time to put it down to sleep is appropriate, but spending USD 350 now is twice harder than then if not more, raising that much on top of everything? Impossible.

I have to come up with something before it broke down for good and illness is back in rampant. We have FIP cats now. We have Artemis who is now positive leukemia, we have immune deficient kittens, we have the old and the sinew, we have Isaac Newton with his Chronic Calicivirus.

We’re sitting on a time bomb.

I went to the customs one day, and instead of going the usual way, my rider went through the other end of the road, and we paseds a large wholesale building materials shop.

I am still early, and that huge sign board said “8 billion Rupiah giveaway” so I asked to stop.

I saw there three rows of exhaust fans. Each type for different purposes. They even have pretty ones.

At the end of the aisle, each and everyone of them mounted on a makeshift wall for demonstration, and I spend an hour there switching each one on and off, learning as much as I can about how it works, what difference is each model to the other, what is the size, the sound, the power consumption, country of origin…

“Can I help you mam?”, the shop assistant, like usual, is late, but that’s fine.

“What is the difference between this type and that type? Both the same brand, the same size the same type, the same function, but different in price.

“This one has thermal protection, meaning it can be turned on 24/7”

“And why is every model has specific size of room? What if I install bigger one or smaller one than suggested room size?”

“If you install bigger exhaust fan for smaller room, the room will be cooler”

Some lightbulb goes off.

“So if I install exhaust fan for five square meters room in three meters room, the room will be cooler?”

“Yes mam”

“How much is the largest”

“USD 28 per unit, suitable for twenty five square meters (269.098 sqft) room”

“But why is the price printed on here different?”

“If you buy five, it’s USD 26 each”

I say thank you, I went to customs, I went home, and asked my cleaner guy.

“Can your electrician friend install an exhaust?”

“Yes mam, he can”

“Can you call him this weekend to install?”

“I will mam. He doesn’t work on weekends so he can do it”

I went to work asking my manager how much my salary will be this month, and if it doesn’t reach USD 200, I want overtime (again).

On Thursday when the cleaner guy is off, I went back to that wholesale and bought five exhaust.

The shop attendant asked me how big is my room.

The largest room in my house is only 3 x 3 square meters, but I asked for the largest size.

She looked at me from top to bottom. Girl with freckles, no make up, plain T-shirt, fading jacket, semi dirty jeans, flip flops and a large bag full of cat food from Rubio (not the senator. Supermarket in California). Hey, at least the bag is imported.

Electrician came last weekend with my cleaning guy and both gaped at piles of boxes of exhaust fans, with three kittens yawning on top.

“One for every room, mam?” asked the electrician.

“One for every room, sir”

And with exhaust fan went fresh air and cool room.

The (still ugly) Prince of Persia stops sneezing in two days; and so are Big Sister and Malaya’s baby. Ursula’s eyes stop running, Isaac Newton is getting better. After the one in my (damp and moldy) room starts running, my asthma went south. Spots sleeps better.

I, ladies and gentlemen, sleep better. I mean, USD 350 for one air purifier vs USD 140 (10 for the electrician) for five over sized exhaust fan?

But it’s not just about the price. It’s about lives. It’s about th chance for kittens to grow into healthy adults; it’s about a chance for the sick to be healthy. It’s about putting kitties first.

It’s about rescue.

It’s about Whiskers’ Syndicate.

~ Josie

If any of you wondering, your donation does not pay me; it doesn’t pay for my car, I don’t have car. It doesn’t pay for my clothing or rings or necklaces or fancy clothes. It pays for the lives of these cats, who otherwise does not stand a breath.

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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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