Sad news about Ditto

It comes as bitter and heartbreaking for us; however, despite much appreciated praises, prayers and well wishes, we were not able to secure sufficient donations to procure necessary medication and treatment for Ditto.

There was anger and there was desperation. After saying “yes” and bring about many miracles to the pleas of needing cats, The Whiskers’ Syndicate had turned their back to Ditto.

Even so, in the strength of my commitment to each and every one of these deserving cats, I have exhausted all available resources, aside from the small amount of donations that did come, to give Ditto initial treatment. In the two days since we brought him home on Saturday night, Ditto’s swollen leg had improved so much, he could walk, jump, and run like a normal cat. His ulcers dried out, and his voice returned, his breath longer. His eyes were much bigger and brighter, and we can see it from those glints that he was truly enjoying the new chapter in his life.

I had hoped that more people will care enough to help as we go, but until the very end, nothing.

Our brave warrior had left us for better place earlier this morning.

Ditto’s passing brought with him the dimming hope that was left for Bumpy, another cancer cat patient, as well as hundreds of others, in the shelter, or on the street. Unless we can secure sufficient funding in the coming days to replace whatever we spent for Ditto, as hard as it is, we have to call it the day, turn off the light, and then, good bye.

If there is anything left that kept me standing, despite my weakening knees, it’s Ditto. Even with painful foot full of tumor he kept on walking. Even with diminishing power he kept on running, even with shortened breath, he keeps on going. That glisten in his eyes even when he looked at me one last time. That courage, that grace, even though he should have known the next should be the end.

I will carry that spirit even though we might be walking to the end, so that when I meet Ditto one more time, I can tell him that although the rest of the world said no, I said yes.

~ Josie


For a while, we were no longer the only cat rescue in Bandung. There was another rescue group that aggressively promoted themselves over social media; but due to what appeared to me as poor management by the shareholders, they closed, and the remaining cats were distributed among shareholders and volunteers.

Last night one of my downtown clinic vets brought to my attention the plight of this cat. His name is Ditto. He is one of those “leftover” from the closed rescue; he was placed in the care of one of the rescue group’s volunteers. He has a tumor on his left front leg and it’s getting out of control. My vet was probing to find out if we can take him in, considering how we brought Bumpy back from the brink of extinction (it’s really is Bumpy, we all just help).

Knowing how the former rescue group handled their cats (the reason I don’t want to have anything to do with them) I know it won’t end well.

Basically, the volunteer won’t do anything beyond keeping him in a bird cage and give him food and water. She won’t spend money for medication, unless someone else provides it for her. When I picked him up, Ditto had a salad bowl as his litter box, filled with non absorbent litter sand, and when I asked what she has been feeding him, she proudly said “tempeh”

Tempeh is a traditional food native to Indonesia made from fermented soybean. Nothing more, maybe less.

When Ditto arrived home, the first thing he did was raid our fridge, literally. We took him out of the carrier, I opened the fridge for some cold water, and he was already on the shelves, trying to drag some chicken. He got one full plate of minced chicken, he finished the kitten’s milk and egg, and just before the dawn broke, I saw him munching on the kitten’s dry food.

He is what I thought should be over 8 months old, but an 8 months old cat does not weigh only 8 ounces.

After he eats so much? He plays. You read it right; he plays. He lets other kittens chase his fur-less tail; he lets other chase him and he chased them back (with difficulties, but well…)

If all these self-called “rescuers” think he cannot be saved, we will save him. If all these self-labelling “humane people” want to get rid of him, we will take him.

The largest picture was from his former place. The tall picture next to that was taken after he finished that big plate of minced chicken on our dining table. The picture in the basket is of him with dripping milk all over his chin.

Go on, tell us, tell us: The Whiskers’ Syndicate, he’s not worth it. Whoever dared to say that has no idea.

Ditto waited forever for his life. He wants only one last chance, his last chance is us, and we are The Whiskers’ Syndicate.

On Monday we will see the TCM practitioner who have been helping us with Bumpy and procure some medicine. We hope this will be the beginning of Ditto’s long awaited life.

Can we do our magic one more time for Ditto?

~ Josie


“What was in that box?” Sheilla asked nervously.
“Cat” I replied, rather cheerfully. “There is a kitten peeking from that box”
“Are you sure?”, Sheilla asked again. There were so many boxes with kittens in all sort of states inside littered all over the roadsides in Bandung that we had paranoia of boxes.
Especially after the last box contained a dead bunch of kittens.

She didn’t say anything else; just stopped her motorcycle and turned back.

When my back arched above the box, the kitten was still peeking; I was still smiling. She had the biggest pair of round eyes I had ever known. She looks like a cute alien in the comics.

I opened the box and picked up the kitten, walked back to where Sheilla waited, and showed her what we’ve got.

Needless to say we turned back home and redid the journey one more time.

She has the commanding air on her that holds the whole house under arrest. She has the charisma of a royal cat.

She has the attitude of a bratty princess, because she knows she is cute, even when she is throwing tantrums over trivial happenings.

She lightens up our gloomy abode as we reel, and slowed down the whack of the recent outbreak.

She makes our days – baked by heatwaves of La Nina – fresh like watermelon on ice.

She makes our nights – frozen by the stormy winds – seeping in warmth of ginger.

She is as grumpy as hell, if not more, and if one does not bow to what she wants: piggy back rides, shoulder perches, fish of her own choosing, eating straight from the pot, nibbling on whichever cat’s tail she likes… we will sure hear the growl of the dragon, coming out from a creature should be called “eye candy”.

Every other day, she will have influenza; bugger on her nose, little crusts on her eyes, or white sores on her tongue; but although we all were annoyed to a large extent by her brattiness, we’d soon miss her grumpy rodeos, and so we went around, seeking vets, asking if we can stop that influenza before one day it will be chronic enough to destroy her future, as it marred her three months long life.

We have to do that with USD 600 a week that she had to share with hundreds of others. USD 600 that every so often escaped us. Dare we hope for extra? The power to grant that USD 600 is not on us.

But even in that rather bleakish outlook, whenever we saw her and her big, round eyes, we know without doubt she is worth every chance.

~ Josie



Need a patch for the tire? In the middle of military compound where people go nowhere but passing by, he is your guy.

You cannot talk to him, he wouldn’t answer. Don’t be offended if all the way, he’ll be staring straight. He’s mute. He stares so intently to read your lips.

He has no access to education. Though our constitution mandates that a person like him be taken care of by the country, his sign is limited to “here”, “there” and “where”

So the story was lost to us, when we dropped by to pick up two dying kittens, lying on top of each other, right in the middle of a small post, where he bid on his life day in, day out as a humble foreman that patched a broken tire. How long have they been there, were they with a mother, or someone just dumped them out of nowhere?

We hold them dear, and turn back home; each with an apology to our employer as we are going to be late. When we passed the post one more time, it was just as quiet as his world like ever before.

We had those with the names of teas, so one of the two with black patches will be Arabica, and the other one with medium roast fur is Robusta.

Whether there be funds, or whether there be not, we have patches in our hands for their tired early life. A little bit of extra tuna, a little bit more of love, a little bit more of all we can give, all we can have.

The biggest hole, though, was that they had panleukemia.

What patch we have to give them the chance in surviving that black hole, we give. The medicines, pile of antibiotics. All the aggressiveness we were told to fight with. All the promise that if we can hold them off for just one minute over six days, they might survive.

On the sixth day today, Arabica said ‘bye’, Robusta said ‘hi’; and they part ways as we take turns holding them in our arms.

Today forward Robusta will walk through a new long journey patching remains of his illness; a journey to recovery; while Arabica will walk beside him with the wings he chose so he can protect his brother.

Today forward, we will walk through a new long journey, paving the way for a kitten, and giving him a chance to live as he should.

Today forward, we hope that you will walk with us one more time, to the day when Robusta will stand on his own and choose his way.

~ Josie

Update to the story “It so happened”

Below is the video of the babies we took in the story “It so happened“. The two babies were fully accepted; but we had worries that if the babies’ blood type is not the same as that of their adoptive mother, they would suffer. However, it seems like everything is going well, and the two babies now have fully adapted to their new family.

As we extend our utmost gratitude to each and every Syndicate’s member whose support has enabled us to give them a chance in life, we are also extending our hand to invite everyone one more time to help them live long and prosper.


It so happened that Mama Pearl ran away when we tried to get her to be spayed.

It so happened that she returned to us pregnant.

But it so happened that, despite her young age, she is a loving and caring mother.

It so happened that one day, Captain Americat’s sponsor dad was asking me whether we have a nursing mother.

One of his wife’s friend’s has three golden retrievers, and it so happened that one of the golden retrievers, for some reason, bit a stray cat.

The stray cat died.

Upon finding out what happened, the friend checked on the cat, and saw that the cat was nursing four babies, barely one week old.

She took all the babies, and while looking for a surrogate mother, took it upon herself to care for the kittens, with the help of the other two dogs.

Two of the kittens went to another rescue, the other two had no one interested in them, and therefore, went to us.

Though the babies came to us with a box, a full set of nursing kit and good wishes, I wrapped them with my clothing, carried them in my bag, and, as soon as we got home, cradled them in my arms until they woke up and asked for milk.

We weren’t sure if we transferred our smell enough; we weren’t sur,e because although their size are the same, the two new babies are about a week older, but in a good faith, and lots of prayers, we gave them to Mama Pearl as she nursed her own kittens.

It so happened that, upon laying the babies next to her, Mama Pearl did not even care to verify. She held them in her arms, and took them closer to nurse.

Unfortunately, it so happened that the babies were the ones refusing her care. Having been nursed with canned formula, they have forgotten how mother’s milk should taste better.

We braced ourselves for one day, trying to keep them away from bottles, and encouraged them over and again to nurse.

Out of hunger, they started to nurse.

While we are overjoyed that they might all live happily ever after, it also happened that, as the babies are getting stronger, bigger and healthier, Mama Pearl is getting smaller and thinner.

So we started our journey to give her additional nutrition, adequate supplements and support, that the new family of seven made through life in one piece; especially since it so happened that we have La Nina over us, and the weather is either scorching hot, or freezing cold – one snapped to the other in a flick of a finger. We just don’t know when the flick would go.

With all our effort, it so happened that they have so far made it through, and we take it upon us, as we ask you to help us give them the chance to grow happy and healthy for years to come.

It so happened so far as if everything is handmade in heaven.

Will it so happen that you will help us make it happen?

~ Josie