At this point, I have abandoned all hope. I have ignored faith. Every day, from one sunrise to the next, I see death. Death by the weather, death by vehicle, death by the outbreak, death by hunger.
I don’t care about the human outbreak. People don’t. Though the government cancel our holiday – the first we would have had after being restrained for two years – they are off everywhere strutting their vaccination barcodes everywhere, and more even abandoned their safety protocol. I wear double masks and wash my hands and they look at me funny.
It’s the storm; and then the heat wave from that nasty volcano that keep spewing shit until today. Three deep sea earthquakes with potential tsunami. Oceans are unbearable. We have the news of the first mass death by Calicivirus and it spread like wildfire in such bad weather.
I have seen twenty two of the Whiskers’ Syndicate’s refugees died, and more fell ill every day. Those that sat waiting for death on the roadside because they can no longer fight alone. People who dump cats by my fence and walk away as if it’s no matter. Men and women in the parks and around the colonies I have taken care of came over and said they found this cat or that cat had died. Some told me where they buried them, some did not remember.
Eventually, there is nothing left to pay the bills, so I let them take away my modem, and will let whoever that comes next to take away whichever they need so long as they don’t bother my cats.
I know where I am going. When that 25 liters of cat food buckets no longer spew kibbles, we’ll reach our final destination.
Along came Molly. Another rescue told me about a pregnant cat who lives in a tiny alley near the place of the elites west of town. A pregnant cat who wouldn’t get better no matter what she feeds her; a pregnant cat who wouldn’t come to term even if it past her time.
“Didn’t you say there’s a countryside girl who comes and feeds her every so often, even before you found her? What about you have a little chat with the girl and see if we can be clear about the cat’s situation?”
She can only try. She is an expat who lives here for maybe 15 years but her Indonesian is the likes of those who only know this country for about 15 weeks.
She said, the girl said, the cat is not pregnant. She has FIP wet type. She said the girl took the cat to a vet named Joseph not so far in the past, and this vet Joseph advised against draining the accumulated fluid because the cat will die.
In Bandung, vets can say crazy things. Most of them use their skills and training for personal gain and become backyard breeders themselves. The younger vets are smarter. They give advice, consultations, suggestions, did nothing, and charge the patient.
So Molly came to me with belly three times her size. Molly went to the vet the next day.
But nothing came out when my vets sedated her and put catheter inside. So they tried other techniques.
What came out was not the clear, somewhat sticky fluid that belongs to FIP. What came out was thick, black, tar like slime that smelled like a rotting carcass. Smell so sickening they closed the clinic for an hour and kicked their air purifier to the highest capacity.
We would love to ask how long had she been like that, we would love to know how this vet Joseph didn’t say anything, and even advise against draining that – whatever.
But I cranked the cat’s pen open, while another vet rushed to prepare the surgery. A vet tech came quick with tools, while the other closed the door and disinfected the rest of the place.
Her womb was as big as my arm, and whatever black goo contained inside started seeping out and poisoning her organs.
God, how long have You been torturing this cat before a better God took her over and send her to rescue?
She was two kilos (four pounds) lighter after that bloated womb was taken out, and the surrounding organs was flushed clean.
She has stitches so long it seemed as if she wears a body suit with long zipper. She has cables and pipes everywhere.
Yet Molly woke up as if the whole saga was a relaxing nap under the tree in a cozy afternoon. She responded to us like a house cat that we have for the rest of our lives.
Molly eats. Molly drinks, she uses a litter box, as if she always know where to go, what to do. Molly welcomes me with glimmering round eyes, and wouldn’t let me stop without butting her head, even for me to take picture.
Molly wouldn’t get better, though. She couldn’t spring to her feet or prance like the others when I come with trays of half filled food.
She sat patiently like a lady with eyes as bright as star.
The vet said she will probably just live like that for whatever is left in her life. She wouldn’t have her energy back, she wouldn’t have her thinning fur back, she wouldn’t be young again.
But she will live. She will enjoy life as it comes to her with every sunrise, with every moon, with the twinkling of the stars when she slowly climbed the cat tree by the window and let the wind caresses her face.
Molly will sit by my side when I lock myself out of the house and cry alone on the stairs. I don’t care about my life, I can die right now. I have nothing to lose myself, but I fear and worry about the lives of these cats that I will horribly end when I ran out of everything.
Molly will lay by my side when I took a few minutes for my ankles, swollen for standing all day long, sometimes for few days; but Calicivirus is a racer and if I don’t keep up my pace more lives are going to be lost.
Molly will walk me to my room when I have nothing more.
But Molly will be there again when the day breaks and life renews. Molly will sit patiently at the back of the line watching others prance for their half filled bowls.
Molly no longer has a chance. Molly no longer has hope. Molly does not have faith.
But Molly has life, and therefore she lives.
So should I.