THIN RED SPINE

The road was jam packed and we could be late; but I pointed my finger to the bottom of a filthy cart by the road side and made Sheilla stop in her speeding tracks and we pulled over.

I knew he was ready to die. I knew he burned all his hope out to dust, and that the fire had died inside, but red ashes that soon will turn cold and grey.

Whether he was born and raised on that very street, or was moved there by his mother so he can find his own future, or thrown away by a human to face his doom, will never be certain. But he tried his best to live, though this increasingly ignorant and merciless world eventually ate him, like the mange that sucks the life out of him slowly and painfully. Chews him alive, like the ear mites, fleas and parasites that plague him, and split him half dead in that dark, wasted corner, with a wound on his back, eaten by infection and an abscess that put a hole large and deep enough that I can see his spine while standing above him.

One life time under extreme weather gave him persistent cold, while severe and prolonged undernourishment killed his immune system; I found it difficult to find the start. Whether it’s the fleas first? parasites? sinus? His system wouldn’t stand another day if I bombed the whole thing all together.

Whenever I was in doubt and came to my late dad for a hint, he’d smile at me, tell me to start with whatever crossed my mind first, or whichever shouted to my gut the loudest.

I started with food. Steamed chicken fillet, blendered into congee. Egg yolk and goat’s milk, stewed chicken liver or white meat tuna. Meticulous shaving around his b(l)ack hole and silver gel before it sucked more of what was left of the shadow of his former self. I cannot bathe him because of that hole, though it annoyed me to see him so dirty, oily, and sandy; his fur is so full of flea poop it turn gray and coarse. I can see fleas wandering around like a walk in the park. He cannot hear properly with the whole colony of ear mites, and he cannot open his eyes because his eyelids are full of mange crusts.

He is only three months old, and he has to endure being eaten alive day in, day out.

The very first time he tried to look my way and meowed, croaky as it was, I did the happy dance. I haven’t rid him of the parasites and that hole in his back is gaping like an ozone hole over Antarctica. That ashes inside got its flame back, so all that mattered the most now is fanning that flame and turn it into fire, fire to bon fire, bon fire to hell; like eating more often, a larger portion, taking his medicine easier, accepting his vitamins, supplements, trusting me enough not to squirm and bite when I clean his wound and change his dressing. Going to the litter box, grooming himself and bite bits of those crusts off; one bit at a time. As long as he has that will, he has won half the battle.

The other half, he can leave it to me.

~ Josie

This little boy is unnamed. I was too busy trying to tackle his next issue whenever it popped up I haven’t had time to think of a proper name, though he is worth the best name ever. But what is the point of having a name, if it only for engraving on his tomb? Now that he has learned that he is not alone, that he can live, that he can love, help me fight his life back on his behalf, that one day he has no flea, no mites, no mange, no worm, and no hole in the back with spine and raw meat exposed. Help me help this boy heal. Help me help him regain his hope.

Help me help him win his war: paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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