The song said, everybody needs a little time away from each other. Even lovers need a holiday, far away from each other; but like the song said, it’s hard for me to say “I’m sorry” and walk away, even for one day.

This one in the picture is Rudolf. Someone kicked his face so hard it broke his nose and even put a dent on its bone. He will have a certain extent of difficulty breathing, if he has sinus problems, it will be hard to get it out, and he cannot smell his food. He will be deformed for the rest of his life, while he is only 4 months old. With pain and infection eating his wound and spreading death from the inside, he tried to survive, in a filthy and floody traditional market.

All alone.

He was only one and a half ounces when Sheilla turned back for him, cross the flood, go round people and carts that won’t care to give her way, and picked him up as he left himself to that merciless fate.

It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry, and just turn away.

For years after Trump became president and obliterated his own country, and more so after Covid has come to stay, our donation box has been empty. Trying to raise the same USD 600 per week for over 160 residents cats, and about the same amount fighting for their lives on the streets, parks, parking lots and colonies far away at the perimeter of town, there is only at most USD 60, at the end of the month, when most of our kind donors receive their salary. For the rest of the month, we are grateful for USD 40 and nothing more for the rest of the week.

But it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry.

So we took any job available. Be it on Sundays, dead hours, heavy lifting, anything. Anything that will make up for USD 600 per week plus USD 450 mortgage at the beginning of every month.

After last Christmas, we live off instant food for most of the week, just because USD 600 is further and harder to achieve.

But it’s hard to say I am sorry, and then walk away.

When people told me “You never write anymore!” and “You have to be on Facebook more regularly!”, I’d say, “I can write and hang around Facebook the whole day and nothing is coming, I left my phone in my pocket, go to grocery store or any office with any job openings and ask for a job and they give me salary (as meager as it might be)”. I cannot be at two places in one time.

As harsh and unkind my answer would be, there is the lives of 160 cats and more on my shoulders. There are already over a thousand of our followers saying “I’m sorry” and turning away. They have their own difficulties, their own priorities, so I’d better be tough, because it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry when I look at Rudolf, waiting right behind the door to say welcome home.

I’d rather hit the road and keep on trying than blaming people over lack of donations, because it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry. I’d rather be working and lose followers and friends on Facebook, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. The Whiskers’ Syndicate has a handful of these angels who come to this page and help whether I am there or not, because they share the same feelings. It’s hard for us to say I’m sorry, and then walk away. These individuals are the true Whiskers’ Syndicate, and I am grateful for them with all my heart.

A bunch of teens named themselves “Cute Cruelty” self asserted that they educate people to adopt don’t shop (they call themselves “rescue” group and call themselves Cute Cruelty?) published our names and contacts without permission and suddenly there are thousands of people flooding our messengers looking to dump their cats with whatever (usually ridiculous, ignorant, even downright outrageous) reasons. Some even threatening us to abandon their cats if we don’t take them. They blocked us when I tried to contact them for clarification of WTF is going on, so I wrote them an open letter that went viral on Instagram.

One teenage follower quoted my open letter in her story and said “This is not cute and it’s cruelty, but big sisters, you are doing a good job so keep doing what you are doing”.

A stranger reposted my letter and commented “Don’t give up! we are all choking to live at this time, but take pride in doing what is best”.

A local individual rescuer lost her job during the pandemic. She has a dozen of cats (it’s her Instagram handle) and has to go low selling fish pudding to keep her dozen cats (and two newborn kittens) alive. Though I told people this letter is individual and subjective (based on Whiskers’ Syndicate’s experience only) so we do not need comments, much less arguments, this lady took time to write. “Keep going. There are silver linings on every cloud and we will get there if we keep on trying”.

It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry.

~ Josie

Kitten with a damaged nose

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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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