If someone paid arms and legs for Milo, it’s Milo. She took a sachet of Milo energy drink from a stall and the owner of the stall beat her up. One of her front leg was torn, some ligaments were broken, one finger dislocated, and she was left there crawling for her life, trying to go home to her two babies. All she wanted was food for her starving two kittens, whom she hid at the corner of a slum alley.
A young student (elementary grade student) who often drops by to play with our cats, told us in tears about how she failed to protect “her stray cat” because the cat was injured when she was at school and how her parents were scraping money to bring the cat to the vet, so I stepped in. I took Milo to the vet for treatments while doing my best to help her malnourished and parasite infested two babies back to health.
Milo cannot be operated. Her ligaments were completely cut off, though luckily it’s not an important ligament that incapacitated her walk. The flesh that was torn was so wide, we can see her bone and poke it freely with our thumb, so what is there to be sewn? The only way is to bandage that hole in her leg and have her body renew the ligament and flesh.
It took Milo months to be able to sit again. It took Milo even longer to stand. She hops like a rabbit from one place to the other: for litter box, for food, for drink, for help with anything.
As hard as it is, though, she always come home to her kittens. Sometimes after asking for a long strip of fish, sometimes she braves herself enough to snatch a piece of chicken fillet.
Very slowly, her torn ligaments are mending. That gaping hole on her leg is filled, but we must be a bit more patient until she can learn to walk like a cat again.
The dislocated finger cannot be healed, so she will walk with one finger twisted.
Every day, our young carer would come after school to ask how Milo is going. Whether she eats, whether she drinks, whether she walks, whether her babies are all right.
Every day, she sat by Milo to give her a back rub, soft and gentle. Every day, she took time to lift Milo’s baby, one after another, cradled them in her arms, and whispers her best of wishes that they grow healthy and happy.
Every day, she would tell us how Milo had changed. How Milo darkened from a cheerful kitty to a gloomy mother. How Milo stop chirping and telling her stories, how Milo would now prefer to stay away from others. She knows Milo is all right. She knows Milo has good food, warm blanket, fresh water, but the Milo she knows, is no longer the same cat she used to know.
When exam days finally come, the girl stops coming. She has her whole life before her, and she has to fight to keep it. She has to graduate with good marks from elementary school, so she can go to a good Junior High School.
Milo would wait for her by the window, though obviously, she wouldn’t tell anyone. When the day comes to end, and the sun sets in the red dusk, she would hop back to a shelves just next to the pen where her children rest. She will still be looking to the door, or the window.
When she can no longer sit straight, she’d go and back to her babies, and curls up around them to the end of the night.
I’d come with a plate of kitty milk, and I told her stories of other cats in the sanctuary, how they come to live with us. I’d talk about my dreams, my sorrows, disappointment at the life’s unfairness.
I’d told Milo about the slums where I lived, years before I came to settle upon this place, and the years her guardian must live in if she did not fight to get out of the slums.
Milo will look at me. Milo understands. Sometimes, she’d put her paw above my hand.
And one day we’ll be Saturday night.
Help Milo survive, so her kittens may thrive