She called me with tears and sobs. She told me she was a failure.
I put down the cup of baby food I have been holding, and listen.
She was talking about a group of cats she has been caring for across a landfill, just behind the terminal. Seven minutes walk from that hell she lives in personal heaven along the row of the most elite part of town, but she went back and forth three to four times a week every day to care for the cats of all ages and shapes people have been dumping there.
She was sobbing about a calico mother whom she took away from her two and a half months old kittens to be spayed, because even when her babies are still nursing the cat came on heat and she wanted to do her very best to prevent another batch of angels to be born into hell.
Alas, the mother broke out of her crate just as she was about to take the cat back to her kittens, and the cat disappeared in the lush ofa pine forest and the pristine hillside where she currently lives.
I told her she is not a failure, as she condemned herself over and over. I told her she did the right thing, and I told her that instead of sitting there in her car crying and being sorry, she should go and pick up the cat’s kittens, because they have lost their mother for almost two nights straight and they might roam around to look for their mother, even though they already eat by themselves.
She has two cats who will not tolerate any other, so I told her I will be happy to take care of the kittens for her.
Part of her responsibility, mostly her guilt, I think, gave her damaged nerve and backbone the power to build small gates that separate her back yard from the front, and spirit to go back to that military drill of raising feral kittens.
They are the healthiest, active, hopeful, most beautiful kittens. The Breeze: Brian, Brinette, and the smallest and shyest, Brianna. Two and a half months kitten who run around the pine trees like three elves of the Lothlorien. Then three months old kittens who climb every mountain like the Sound of Music. That gleam in their eyes, their shiny fur, their fit and lean bodies, like their gigantic cousins up in Africa.
She had all the intention of letting them grow in the wild, spay and neuter them, and set them free to join their mother who found her freedom in that pine hills before them. There will be mice, squirrels, birds. There won’t be landfill, there won’t be pain.
Whichever the wrong switch: whether she fixed them too soon, whether the vet whom she adores blindly made a glitch, whether the clinic was not properly conditioned, whether it’s mere bad luck.
The Breeze all caught cold. I called a visiting vet for her and off she went to care for them. Then they all had diarrhea. Again I called a visiting vet for her and off she went to care for them. She called me several times every day. What’s the good food? Do you have a syringe? I ran out of antibiotics. Is it better eye salve or eye drop? Is Metronidazole strong antibiotics? Will Homeopathy work? Many, many questions. Fear, anxiety, paranoia.
Then she went completely silent, and two weeks later I went there with a vet. The Breeze had turned into three stick figure cats that no one would believe were ever healthy. Mucus in the nose, phlegm in the throat, slimy green forming crust that shut their eyes. They were salivating out of the pain of millions cold sores that tore their mouth and tongues. They are weightless.
Again she cried condemning herself. She tried everything, but she didn’t know what went wrong. After the spay and neuter things just gone bad and never again turned better. She was exhausted. She was completely out of whack.
The next day I talked to her privately, and she told me she couldn’t do it anymore. With her back pain, with her sprained ankle, her age, with the crazy terrain at the edge of that hillside forest, and her job, her own cats who still cannot tolerate others, twenty other cats at that landfill behind the terminal that she cannot abandon, no one to help, and many other dramas that suddenly beheld her by her neck.
The Breeze came home with me in the middle of January, and their horrible condition dragged me off my me-time, my self-care, my time on the Internet, my time to sleep, my time to eat, and obliterated the sanctuary’s finances I have just managed to get out of hazard.
Still no one knows what’s going on. The vets who did the spay and neutering, whom she adored so much it’s almost blind love. The clinic where they stayed overnight. The visiting vets I have been sending over, the clinic where I always run to and never fails. The only thing is that they got calicivirus, and the calicivirus decided they’d stick like cancer.
But whether there’s answer or more questions, my battle will not cease. My efforts shall not wane. These boys and girls have their lives ahead of them. I will not let those lives be stolen from them, not twice, not if I can help it.
She called me to ask about the Breeze. She told she was haunted. First she lost their mother, now she destroyed her children.
Maybe she went too early. The kitties are too young to be fixed, but she was sixty over, with a dislocated spine disk, sprained ankle, who lives in developing country up in the hills, with not one but two jobs that she took because it paid her enough to feed as many strays, and spay and neuter as many cats, as she can.
I told her the Breeze are still here. They are still alive, they are still fighting.
I told her that I am still here. I am still alive and as long as they fight, I will fight.
I told her that my sword will still swing for their lives.
And even if it took me the rest of mine, I will still do my best to bring them back from the shadows back to the glory of their life.