He lay there like a lion without a mane, still watching people come and go by at the doorstep of that small coffee shop. I can tell he is old, but those squinting eyes do not signify defeat, it roars wisdom.
The next time I am there for the supermarket across the street, I showed my partner about the watch cat of UNKL Tea and Coffee. He was looking great.
Third time I was there, I saw him curling asleep on the doormat, still. I cannot but marvel at him, at the same time gladdened that people who come there for coffee or tea, wouldn’t harm him. If there was any sign of dislike, they just go around him, and leave him in his heavenly peace.
Two days after, I saw him again, still sitting on that same doormat, in front of UNKL Tea and Coffee, looking around. There was something different, if not amiss, but I cannot quite say what.
I put on my helmet, ready to assist my partner parking the motorbike, when my hand moved voluntarily to touch her back. All of a sudden, I wanted to feed that cat. Even though he looks great, even though he doesn’t seem to be close to people, even though he looked sleepy that day. I told the parking lot guy, an old man, roughly 60s, who often helps us distribute cat food to cats around, that I wanted to check on the cat first.
He said, with rather saddened voice, that the cat had just been run over by a car. Two nights before, after the coffee shop closed, and he walked out of his post to find food. It was long weekend, and cars jam-packed the street. A particularly big car with a long nose crushed him.
He said, the cat seemed to be OK, though. He woke up, he walked away, a little bit limp, and he disappeared in the dark of the night.
He said, the cat was there the next morning, so he thought, all is good in this world.
I went across the street with a pack of food, and called him, as friendly as I can be. He doesn’t seem like a people’s cat.
He stood up, and limped with three legs to where I stood in the corner.
There was dry blood on his hind leg, there were traces of wounds that started to scab, there were hints of pain on the face that used to look like a lion.
But a lion is a lion none the less.
He walked as straight as he can, using the leg that hurt as much as he can, looking as good as he can.
When I turned around, my partner was already behind me. Looking at him intently, she said we are going to go back to that supermarket, and find a sturdy canvas bag to carry him.
We already have two cats needing surgery then, and one more would break our back, but it seemed like God want us to go further and shatter our skulls.
So we gave him food, told him to wait, ran away, and he came back with us, powerless in his inability to walk properly, much less run.
At least his situation is not as bad as the other two. His hip was dislocated, his pelvis cracked, but he won’t have to lose his leg. He will need to stay put after our vet puts his hip back and pins his pelvis, but then he’ll be as good as new.
He will still cost us a fortune, though, and we already dig deep for Mr. Grey and Bara. Reaching out a few times in social media didn’t quite see our expectation, and other bills and food need to be paid as well.
Yes, the vet gave us credit. Yes, we are allowed to pay later, and in installments, but yes, should urgencies come, we won’t have any spare left in our tab.
The other choice, however, is to let him go.
We went forward with nothing but hope. Hope that somehow we will find a way out of our seemingly impossible financial noose. Hope that help will come, hope that if we try in earnest, the universe will turn in our favor.
And then, hope that one time after all of these ordeal come to pass, he can go back and be that stature of a lion in front of UNKL Tea and Coffee.
Hope that he will get the life stolen from him back.
Unkl (pronounced “uncle”) is now fighting his upper respiratory infection at the sanctuary and is winning. He has one more week of antibiotics to be sure he is clean and clear, then he will have his leg fixed. The most recent Easter matching challenge paid the bill for Mr. Grey and Bara. If you haven’t already, or if you have spare mercy, help us raise USD 400 to pay for Unkl’s surgery.