The moment I saw her, a song turned on my head.
“She calls out to the man in the street
“Sir, can you help me?
It’s gettin’ cold and there’s nowhere to sleep
Is there somewhere you can tell me?”

We have spent the whole day under scorching sun with bags of steamed tuna and pouches of cat food doling one more hope for cats (and sometimes dogs) stranded without a clue in the closed down town. We were just at the last minute to rush into that minimarket; the last one still open in the whole town. Nothing important, just a few bottles of cold drinks to quench our crispy throats and dehydrated limbs. Well, maybe a little bit of AC to soothe our sun-burned skin.

We have spent all our artilleries, so a can of cat foood, sardines if cat food is not available, for the little lady that turned on the song in my head,

Lining up in distance from everyone I hummed along in my head,
“She calls out to the man in the street
He can see she’s been crying
She’s got blisters on the soles of her feet
She can’t walk, but she’s trying”

I looked at her through the glass wall, watching her hopeful eyes go dim, and her head hung low, every time that one more person she was looking at walked past. Not even a glimpse,  as if she does not even exist. How many times has she mustered the strength and courage to ask one more – eh – human?

“Oh Lord, is there nothing more anybody can do?
Oh lord, there must be something you can say”

She called out to me on the street
I ran to her and lift her, rest her like a baby on my shoulder. 
“I’ve got a can for you, baby”, I whispered,.” I’ve got a can for you”

As I carry her away to a safer place, I can feel mange all over her. I can feel her skin curdled every now and then. I can feel all the scratch and pinch, I can imagine her enduring the torture of the enemy that eats her alive as she ran as fast as she can across that hot asphalt so her paws won’t burn, so her almost hairless skin won’t bake.

I can feel her breaths, I can feel her tummy heavy.

I can feel her muster her last power to jump off my arm, and onto the can of food that must be her first real meal; she almost forgotten as she lives through days and night holding on to rotting rubbish.

I can feel, my partner can feel, that although she looked pregnant, there was something wrong with that pregnancy. One side of her tummy was hard, the other side of that belly was water. Some of her nipples were like rock.

We looked at each other, and I gave my ATM to my partner. She walked to withdraw the last money we have, while I wait for the cat to finish eating.

This morning a thorough testing that took every last dime away told us she has uterine cancer. Our vets immediately moved their appointments to their two juniors, and cut away the monster that would have put her in slow and painful ride all the way to her last breath.

After six hours of veterinary intervention, she slept her day through on our kitty tower.

There was that part of the song that played in my head, when I took her pictures.
“She calls out to the man on the street
“Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep
Is there somewhere you can tell me?”

“He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there”

“Oh think twice, cause it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it’s just another day for you
You and me in paradise”

I took a deep breath and run my finger through her bumpy back.. I heard her purr. She must be sore after all the tests and the surgery and whatever in between, before and after. She must be exhausted travelling across town back and forth.

“Hang in there, lady”
She opened her eyes and squinted at me, still sleepy.

It’ll be another for you and me in paradise.

~ Josie

Post Script:
Song used in this story came from “Another Day In Paradise” , a song recorded by English drummer and singer-songwriter Phil Collins. Produced by Collins along with Hugh Padgham, it was released as the first single from his number-one album …But Seriously (1989)

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

Leave a Reply