The night before I went to pick up our crushed little girl, about 10 pm, a teenager sent a message to Whiskers’ Syndicate page.

She wrote in proper English, save for abundant of emojis all over her messages.

She was the one who asked for Customer Service.

Teens. They think it’s cool, they think it’s fun, the whole world think it’s annoying and impolite, but what do they care?

She has three days old baby cats, four of them, whose mother has not gone home for about three days, so out of mercy she took them in, but three of them did not survive. She feared for her life over the last one, so she wanted help.

The other thing is, she said she doesn’t have money. Typical, but she wants me to pick the kitten up immediately, or she can ask her dad to drive her over. It was 10 pm.

I have crazy cough and flu and the only reason I asked the finder of the kitten to wait overnight is so that I can rest and be well enough for a tough and long day; but who am I to ask for leniency?

She wanted me to give her a map, she wanted me to… whatever.

Her dad drove her to my place at 10 pm at night in a USD 20K white sedan. She jumped out of the car after I waited a little while, hand me over this tiny baby she kept in an online shop box with nothing but two scraps of styrofoam and a saturated kitchen towel, one hundred thousand Rupiah (about USD 10) and a plastic bag containing human baby soy milk, and a bottle.

I took them all and said thank you, then went rushing back to the house because the baby was cold. Dead cold. She was still there, but barely.

You guessed I skip the night instead of resting for the next big day? You are right.

I put the baby on heating pad, I warm up my hands and gave her a massage, I checked her nose, and I found that her tongue was turning blue.

First of all, this girl gave the baby soy milk. SOY milk. The bottle and the nipple is cheaply made and the hole is too big. She fed her too much, and too fast, you know where I am going. Soy milk went into her nose, soy milk went into her lung.

The baby’s suffering is real. Fluid in the lungs is like having a boulder crushing its chest. And this is soy milk. Every minute it stays in there it will rot and it will poison its immature, helpless system.

And nothing we can do about it. It’s a painful, slow death, and we can only hope the baby cough it out, or watch it suffocate to death.

I gave her warmed subcu, so I won’t add any burden to that suffering lungs. When she will not stop screaming and hacking and cackling and wiggling, I wrapped her in a sheet of linen, and hold her close to my heart, hoping that my constant heartbeat will calm her down. Eventually, when I was too tired to stand or sit, I put her down on the bed, and put her close to my neck, right by the vein. Then she sleeps.

I have no choice but left her in a bundle of blanket the next day, especially because the crushed kitty situation is far more complex than expected, but as soon as I come home, I lift her up again and put her close to me, and she calmed down.

Every single night, when my kitty ambulance vet came, we tried what we could. I even bought oxygen for her, and I keep praying that she will cough all the soy milk out. We read everything, asked everyone, the answer is the same: pray.

Two days and the teen wrote me again, in such cheerful note – based on her emojis – asking about the baby.

I told her the baby was still with the vet. It was.

I tried to ignore those cheeky, annoying emojis and be appreciative for her attempt to help the baby. I don’t want to discourage her from helping animals in the future. I want to help her help me rescue many more animals. I know this is probably the first time she ever do this in her life, and like many nowadays, they spend more time browsing the fifty shade of internet than go straight to the vet which might cost less than their time and data charges they spent browsing. I tried to be respectful and patient, and wise. It’s hard because the suffering baby is in front of me fighting for her life, but I am older, I am wiser.

With as neutral tone as possible, I told her the baby shouldn’t have been given soy milk, just because cats are lactose intolerant. If kitty milk cannot be found, it should be low lactose newborn baby milk. I told her not to feed the baby too much and too often, I told her the nipples of the bottle is too big. I don’t want to even get started on the mixture of the milk and the temperature et cetera. She is a teen, she won’t get it.

Her answer:
Oh, sorry! I didn’t know any of those. I only follow what pet store waiter told me and the internet 

I know it’s hard to read someone’s tone on the internet, so I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, but what’s with that  ?

Did she think this is a joke? Is this funny at all? Like you messed up with something and oops and laugh? Or was it a mistake? a typo? or?

And then some more lines in which she mixed period, comma and semicolon (so I have no idea what sort of context should I put her lines in), and she closed it down with “Thank you, Aunty   ”

Ah, those never ending, out of place, improper emojis that turn all meanings upside down!

By the end of the the conversation I have nothing left to hold my respect on.

So I told her straight forward:
Usually people do. Thinking that the vet is expensive (and not worth it) and follow the internet. It’s not their cat, so if the baby died, it doesn’t matter, they will just laugh it off. The baby suffers, and it might die, but if it died, it’s not me who kills her.

It took her a little silence, but then she re-wrote her sentences in proper Indonesian without emojis, and she clearly wrote that she wasn’t playing game when she did what she did.

I hope it’s for real, and I hope she really learned.

I don’t want to delve into it. I will stop at the fact that she was trying to help, and that she made mistakes everyone made, and that she was sincere in all her effort, and for that I will give her as much respect as she deserves.

I was standing under the cross that moment. It’s customary to me that every time I walk out of the door I would touch the leg of my Lord on the cross and ask for a blessing for whatever I do next pertaining to rescue, but that night, I look up, and ask:
Lord, if it is just to teach a spunky teen the value of life, why torture four innocent baby cats? and why it is me who has to endure whatever ugly result that it entrails?

But God suffers on the cross because of everybody else’s sin and His mother can only watch in the same agony until the end.

The baby died that night, despite all our effort. I cried, but those are not sadness over the loss of life. Those tears were sadness over the whole thing and friggin emojis, and internet.

Maybe part of it was gladness, relief, that such beautiful, dilute tortie will not have to suffer anymore on her martyrdom.

And that at least one more person will learn to love and to value.

~ 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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