I only have one hour, but the boy stopped me dead in my tracks.

Under the blistering wrath of the sun that noon, he walked past like a zombie in the dusk. His face shriveled, his mouth open. His face darkened unevenly though it glisten with lingering sweat.

He is tired, he is hungry. Every once in a while his head would swing and he’d be looking at the dusty road, maybe looking for bits of reasons, things, any, that will give him some power so he can walk a little bit further. In front of him, his mother walked silently, sight to the ground, with a sack full of rubbish she collected for a wee bit of life.

His cat behind him, however, looked straight to me, at least for a minute; a few seconds with curiosity, maybe a glint of hope, then he turned away. He knew man, woman, girls. Some of them will smile at the sight of him, some with coo, none will change.

I ran back to the bank. I still have 20 Dollars left there. Not enough for anything.
But really?

They are still there, mother and son, sitting on the edge of the pedestrian by the corner. The sun was unforgiving, the trees not much helping, the wind was ignoring. The boy took his kitten off his bag and the mother cradled him like a baby, then put him on her lap.
“Ma’am, do you have a minute?”

They looked up and find my eyes. The rest of my face was hiding behind the blessed mandatory mask.
“There is an empty building, just a few steps away over the corner, if you have a minute I would love to share these with you”.

There was that empty building, the office of a printed newspaper rolled to die by technology. Part of the terrace are covered, but while there is no seat, the sun aren’t that burning.
I laid in front of them, two bags of rice and some dishes. Two bottles of cooled water. A can of biscuit and two more bottles of water I tucked away to their side.
While they eat still with their eyes widened, I feed and play with the kitten.

After Covid, the boy and his mother have become the new normal. People lost their jobs, people lost their homes, people lost their family. Life goes on, but it will never be the same again.
Here and there people are helping, but two years and counting, there are those who went deeper into the crevice, and many more eyes who can only look away, or want only the sight of better days.

While The Whiskers’ Syndicate already has a bag full of things to do helping street cats around town, it has silently put one more in its sack: helping those run over by the wheel of fortune who keep their pets.

Last Christmas a dear friend asked me the best way of helping, and our fellows from Rikki’s Refuge have generously donated USD 1,000 toward the street cats.
With that grant, I have spayed and neutered 25 stray cats, brought previously inaccessible vet treatment for cats whose parents lost their income, medicine, make a safe space for about eight pregnant cats dumped by their owners and keep them safe until their babies can be weaned (and fix the mother), and help buy cat food and supplies for those displaced by the pandemic, like this boy and his mother.

Indeed a thousand Dollars goes a long way, especially in countries like Indonesia, for a town like Bandung, but as far as it may go, it can only do so much. By the beginning of February most of them but USD 15 was gone.

I turned to the boy by my side. That sun-burned face won’t heal that much, but there is a little smile now, on his then pale lips.
His kitten had came back to his big brother.

I gave him two bags of cat food, wet and dry, a bottle of water and two small bowls.
His smile only grew, and he bid me his farewell with footsteps brand new.

We can’t save them all, sadly.
I turned away and go home. I only have one hour, and I am already twenty minutes late.
I can’t save them all.
But I can save one more.

~ Josie

help me help people like this boy and his mother keep their kitten, and help me help other cats like this kitten, who does not even have the boy and his mother.
We cannot save them all, but we can save one more.

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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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