Here is the story, as told by our grade school boy hero:

Hello, Whisker’s Syndicate.. I found a sick cat.. (Setrasari Mall area) I wonder if you can take her in.. I do not know what illness she is suffering from… a resident said it is a tumor; the face is damaged, open wound, no nose…

He is in boarding school, he is only home on weekends, but he told the story of her mother, who comes every day to feed the stray cats in the area.

That area, the back of a supermarket called Griya (the sanskrit of “house” or “home”) is literally a few steps away from our surgeon’s office.

Exactly, the one at the other end of town that takes us about one and a half hour on motorcycle back and forth.

We are not into going back there, just a few days after an uptown girl pull a stupid prank on us, but the sincerity in his tone, the concise yet courteous manner with which he eloquently told his story, and the curiosity that kills both Sheilla and I in regards of the location, and especially the way the cat would approach people, took us one more time from one end of town to the other, against the traffic, against the wind, and this time too, against the crazy rainstorm that seems to take so much pleasure testing our faith.

His kind and gentle mother led us to the cat, a monstrous being too gruesome to look, crouching under the nose of parking car; a stark contrast to the elite buildings where the richest of Bandung resides among marbles and fine gourmet.

It was almost anti climax. It was so easy, there was no story. No thriller telltale of two wet rescuers rolling on the street chasing stray cats, no horror story of bloodbath, or fangs and claws.

Even when we crossed one block away and brought her right into our surgeon’s practice, his son, a practising vet just like his surgeon father, peeked through my carrier and smiled, “You again?”

So here comes the story, as told by our young veterinarian:

That the cat has been living behind the supermarket for quite a while; a stray. That people around felt sorry for her and try to give her food, regardless of the type of food and how, that one person, one day in distant past, had managed to capture her and take her to that vet practice; and that the vet explained what happened to her.

A few weeks later, another person found her in the same spot behind the supermarket. Thinner, sitting under the burning bright sun and the cold pouring rain, hungry, thirsty, homeless.

An intern of the vet clinic heard the news and went to fetch her, she was given the same explanation.

We are the third, and since we got the cat from behind the supermarket, it means the second person too, return her to her parking lot.

The surgeon gave us the same explanation:

The cat has Squamous Cell Carcinoma; a malignant cancer that usually grows inside the mouth, and therefore is difficult to be found until it reach the advanced stage; when it’s too late to be treated.

Less than 10% of cats with SCC survived, and radiology or chemotherapy, even if it is available here, are very rarely successful.

In most cases, the cats will be put to sleep; but our surgeon did not do so because the cat is otherwise healthy, and she is still eating, she still drinking, she walks, she jumps, she runs.

She lives.

Like one of our readers said it so well: Every cat has the right to take their lives in their own terms.

“There is nothing to be done”, said our surgeon. “Let her live the remaining of her life until she decides otherwise”

“But what are you going to do, now that you know her story?”, asked the young vet.

He only meet my smile.

His dad word it for me. “She is a rescuer, but one like no other”

We brought her home, and the moment she peeked out of her basket, I told my devoted house mate:

Her name is Gia.

After the supermarket where she met her lethal fate, the supermarket where she was taken and returned twice.

But also the place where she met her young guardian angel and his mother who lead her to the most resilient cat loving people.


~ Josie

Since joining us, Gia has steamed chicken breast (finely chopped), supplements, manuka honey, and strong antioxidants which she enthusiastically enjoy. Since she cannot wash herself, her coat is sticky and oily, so she has waterless bath and wet wipes every day. However, after a week with us, Sheilla found her grooming herself.

While we are overjoyed at the good sign, it burns into us greater inspiration to give Gia a chance and hope to hold her head high and take her life in her own term as best as she can get.

Gia’s preserverance took her to places she probably can only imagine; even though it’s a little bit late. This week we are trying to raise more money than our weekly need to help Gia reclaim her life. She will eventually die, but as long as she is living, I will be fighting right by her side.

I hope you will too.

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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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