The road lamp was dead, the street was empty. Still, it’s a six lane road; if she crosses the street like a drunken cat the way she did then, she’d be dead flat on the road before the end of the night.
We’re glad we saw her just in time to dodge. We’re out of cat food to disburse so we whispered that we’d check back on her.
Our sixth sense disagreed, something at the back of our mind told us she won’t even be alive if we passed her now, so we turned back and found her.
She was wet all over, and her fur was crusty. We’re too familiar with that pungent smell when I covered her with my jacket and picked her up. Sewers in our town smell that way.
We didn’t worry she’d squirm or jump, or bite, or scratch. She can barely hold herself together.
We cleaned various degrees of rotting algae from her when we laid her down on a blanket at home; fermented leaves, rubbish.
She even has snails and leeches on her.
Her nose too runny to breathe, so she catches air with her mouth, even though it must be painful with all the sores that she drooled so much, it dripped all over her chest.
Waterless bath for the night; we set her up on a new, thicker, warmer blanket and promised when morning comes, we’d give her a warm bath and she’ll feel so much better.
Except that the skin on her tummy sloughed off at the run of warm water. Before we finished gaping, the skin on her hind legs fell into the sink.
OK, no bath. We rinsed her right away, dried her up, and call the vet.
She is raw from the belly down, and both her hind legs. She pooped out of stress into the sink and her faeces is full of teeny weeny wiggly rice: tapeworm. We haven’t got the chance to rid her of an entire planet of fleas. We were so horrified for a moment we didn’t know what to do.
At least, while waiting for the vet to come tomorrow, we can try and feed her warm broth. Slowly, she finished two egg yolks. At least, her eyes brightened up a little bit, at least she can stand, though she cannot walk. We set up a heating pad so she can stay warm. We combed her to remove as many fleas as we could. We checked on her every hour, and if she soiled herself, we clean her as gently as we can so that her raw tummy will not get an infection.
It will be a long, rocky road ahead for her. It will be an arduous fight for survival. Overcoming her malnourishment, beating all sorts of parasites, making way for healing.
But after this long journey ends, there will be life.
After the darkness that trapped her, there will be light.
After the despair, there will be hope.
And when she can finally lift her head again to see us straight in the eye.
She will find love.
Within one week we have three urgent and important cases that require surgery. Aside from liability to pay for the service rendered, we have to provide food and post operative treatment so that our new refugees have the chance to live long enough and enjoy the better days they deserve.
I am grateful for a close friend who offered to match USD 500 in donation to pay for the remaining two surgeries. I hope we can all benefit from this matching challenge that gives us a chance to help two cats with half the effort. I hope we can all make the first step toward the two cats’ better life; the life they have been denied simply because they do not belong to anyone.
I hope we can whisper in their ears, that from this moment on, they belong to The Whiskers’ Syndicate.