“Wait!, I am here, wait a minute, wait for me!”
I cannot hear it, nor can I see who said it, but I can feel it.
“Wait, don’t leave yet, please wait”
I turn around to browse my surrounding. Nothing, no one. Just me, the sun, the morning wind, and four cats in the colony, each of whom just takes their share of steamed fish.
He was down there. Trying to run, trying to speed, trying to reach us, from the other side of that large SOHO complex.
And he ran with only three legs.
I took my fish bag and met him half way, He didn’t wait. He crashed onto the fish as soon as I put my bag down, and bit as much fish as he could.
He was new in the area; he cannot hunt, he cannot scavenge, he doesn’t know anyone that he can beg from.
Hence, he’s starving.
I let him finish one strip of fish, lifted him up and put him in my backpack. He squirms and he struggles; he is heavy and he is strong, but with one leg gone he is no longer so much to handle.
At home, he stayed at the corner. He made no sound, he made no moves. He peed on his spot and he pooped on the same spot. He waited patiently for a plate to come when it’s time to eat, he wouldn’t drink unless a bowl was served beside him.
He meows, a few days later. A kitten had taken his share of food and with a body his size it doesn’t take long before he succumbed to hunger. I put another bowl of fish and chicken, a little bit further than usual.
The next day it’s just a tiny bit further. The day after that a little bit further. Then I put his bowl on the floor, and he didn’t eat. The next day I put the bowl on the floor, and he didn’t eat. The third day I put the bowl on the floor and he walked down to eat.
Since then, it’s always an inch or two further from his corner and closer to everyone else. When he finally ate with the others, I pretended I didn’t see him until he meowed.
The week after comes the physiotherapy and acupuncture. To help him walk instead of hop, and to reduce stress and muscle sores to the other front leg and his shoulder. He is a healthy and heavy cat, so he might have lost his leg only recently, though no one knows how he ended up losing that leg.
He learned to balance, so he started using the litter box. He feels better on his other legs and shoulders, so he learns to jump. He learns to climb. He learns to groom.
He learns that kittens are not an army of Lilliputians. They are just attracted to his fuzzy, bear-like, soft hair. He learns that other cats care enough to give him rubs and to groom him once in a while and if anything, at least they don’t care.
He blends into the sanctuary like a bag of tea steeping into water.
He was disabled, he was dumped, but now he can see that his life turns for the better.
There are more cats like Leon in the sanctuary. One who lost a leg, one who has her leg bent permanently after being crushed as a kitten, one who lost one eye, one who cannot hear, one who cannot see. Even with their disabilities they try to live. Even with less hope, they do their best. Please tell them there is still good in this world, and that having fewer limbs doesn’t mean they deserve life any less: