I spent my birthday at emergency clinic; mourning two kittens, and worrying about their mother.
Two months ago a man asked me if I can help. He runs a perfume booth at the main road near the sanctuary, and love to feed any cats who come and knock the door.
So I came by and took the young mother. It seemed like she matured too young, and that pregnancy was her first.
She would sit at the back row, waiting for her breakfast, or brunch, or lunch, and dinner. She loves to sit by the window and enjoy the greenery dancing with the wind on our balcony. She would sleep under our bamboo sofa, or if the day is hot, just splay on the cold floor.
Near midnight on the eve of my birthday, I found her rolling on the floor, clearly in pain. She paced back and forth in laps around the living room. She went in and out of the cardboard maternity suite I had prepared a few days ago.
Her first baby was born leg first, and his head was stuck inside his mother. He tried to squirm his way out, but his mother was too much in pain, she kept rolling on the floor and running around the living room with her baby dangling between her legs.
The baby was thrown around, crushed, bitten and kicked as the mother screamed in panic, terror, and pain. We can hear his tiny bones cracking as his body was tortured in her mother’s panic, even after his death.
I tried to calm her down, both my arms were mauled. I tried to call emergency vets everywhere, but some of them wouldn’t answer the phone as they promised in their flyers or website, and some other who answer was in another emergency.
The one who answered my call was Sheilla. She came over, had her arms mauled and shred, while this one heck of a clinic wouldn’t pick up my phone. I know they are open, I just need to be sure there’s a vet in charge. I never trust people here. They all say one thing and do the other.
One minute past midnight, the time I was born fourty six years ago, I grabbed a basket, swept the mother off, and locked her in. I told Sheilla where to go, and she flew close to 100 kmh (62 mph) fourty five minutes to the one clinic I swear I wouldn’t go to because of their bad reputation, but unfortunately they are the only one still open.
The moment I went in with that screaming cat, a vet tech ran to the door and took over. I briefed a young veterinarian who came next.
It took four of them to hold the mother still while the vet pulled the baby out. He never had a chance.
In the middle of the sudden chaos, a clerk came by and asked if our arms were all right, and whether we wanted to go to the hospital just a few metres away. She told us she can handle the administration for us and that we can trust our cat with the clinic.
We never felt the pain. We never felt the running blood, we never felt anything. Our mind and emotions were frozen in the horror of the young street cat who must have felt she was thrown into hell.
Who would know what would happen to her, had she stayed on the street? Who would know what misery she had to endure – alone and clueless by the cold roadside across from the bus terminal – had I not pushed my luck one more time and took her in?
Her third baby was also inverted (born leg first) but the vet managed to keep the baby alive.
The last one was her mini me. She was born leg first, and just like the first one, the mother just wouldn’t stay put.
The little girl too, like the brother before her, didn’t survive.
While it took Peter three crows of a rooster, it took me only one. The sun had risen at the corner of our town, soon the day will be bright, and all the chaos that ensued will be gone with the sinking night.
I had nothing. I had nothing but a white envelope with a blue inscription “Happy Birthday” in my jacket.
I took all the money inside, worth USD 350, and gave it to the clerk.
“This is all I have”
The girl took my money, and returned USD 50.
She said, almost whispering,
Happy Birthday Ma’am.