One mother, three kittens; hungry, cold, and sick. Though living at the curb of a traditional market, people who dump them there just repeat the gazilion others who think the same when they dump their own things. There is food at a traditional market, there are shops, and stalls, and garbage, and rats. They will live.

Maybe; but who cares if they don’t. God loves His creatures, and mother nature will take care of her kin.

We had to stop then because the mother was dragging herself from one stall to the next, begging, while all those people sitting there, cooking and eating and merry making are too busy minding their own chit chat and whatever shit of the world they are having.

She’d come back to her three babies, every few minutes. Grooming them while asking her questioning kittens for a little bit more patience.

Sheilla sat next to our motorbike with strip of steamed fish we procured across the street, and while she keeps them busy, I ran to the closest mini market buying a large shopping bag because we have bulk of things to carry, orders to drop at the post office, and keeping three restless baby and a mother is out of our acrobatic driving skill.

I thought it was unusual for Sheilla to look upset when I ran back with a large bag and went ahead with one kitten; but when I finished bagging all of them she whispered about how the girls who sell meatballs, where I picked those kittens, were laughing and making faces behind me, calling me a nutcase and a moron.

I took it as a complement. Three women were showing off their ugly rearing and I don’t even need to shed a single bead of sweat being a better person. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind, and the cats are more important than three little bitches.

All of these cats have a nasty virus. The whole galaxy of parasites inside and out, and we haven’t even started with malnourishment. We did our best with nutrition, with medicine, with a good, clean, warm home, even as we wonder where would we get extra four bowl of food and the next day for them to live.

First the weakest and the smallest passed over; then the other kitten, a little bit bigger. The mother was declining steadily, and whatever we do with whatever we have was not enough.

The shyest of them all has the worst of everything: the worse cold, the worse sinus, the worse parasite infestation, the worse malnourishment.

Yet she is the one who fights the hardest. She is the one who lives.

So we will fight our hardest too, by her side. We helped her take care of her fleas, we helped her with the worms. We helped restore her insides from a terrible gastrointestinal infection, we helped her cleared her sinus.

We couldn’t help her eyes, though. Infection went too far and too fast for our human powers. We can gamble with ointments and other eye medicines, but our best bet, according to the vet, is for them to remove that bulging eye.

Surgery for a kitten her age carries its own set of additional risks, and obviously its own extra charges; but our girl wouldn’t give up. Her spirit shines through even on the darkest days, when her head hurt so much she couldn’t stand. Her will is so great she keeps on living, keeps on eating, keeps on drinking, even though the pain will shoot at point blank she’d jump off from her sleep, crying and screaming.

Shall we not fight alongside her? Shall we surrender to our limitation and tell her she’d better off with her mother on the other side, instead of the new family she made in our home she now call hers?

Our choice then, is not whether we will get a surgery for her or not. Our choices will be paying our shelter’s mortgage due next week and risk her life, or pay her surgery and risk losing our home.

~ Josie

Small kitten with a very bad eye.

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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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