So we have this appointment, and we ‘d better be downtown by 3 pm.

Thirty minutes left, then, and random roadblocks and detours put by township doesn’t help, but make people who had to find their living grit their teeth more than less a little bit.

Sure, we get it. Limiting people movement and making the road difficult discourages people to go out, hence help contain the virus; but here, we don’t have social security. Meaning during lockdown, everyone lost their income and is forced to eat from whatever is left in their homes. Now that we have this new life adaptation (wearing mask everywhere, washing our hands), people bear with Covid and go back to their job, if they still have one.

I’m lucky to have the best motorbike rider in the world. Even in a jammed packed road we slip between the cars, left and right like water flows through the rocks in the river.

Except when we swivel into that small alley to cut the way. We stopped almost abruptly at the roadside and suddenly forget about meetings.

Smart thinking people go to that alley. Bicycles, motorbikes, taxis, large cars, trucks, even, to cut a mere 15 minutes off their journey, that might mean the whole life for them.

The whole life for me is that cat. Crumpling under a parking car, like a thrown away rag and tatters. Bloody face, hole on the nose, filthy, fur covered with motor oil, bad eyes, waiting to die.

And it’s God damned difficult to cross the road a few steps wide, because everyone is in the rush, and no one gives way.

A parking lot guy blew his whistle and someone made way, eventually. I jumped twice and reached the other side of the road while Sheilla turned around with the motorcycle in a suddenly hectic alley.

I lay down on the road and start crawling under that car.

She peered and shifted further. I tried to catch up and she shifted further. If I keep trying, though, she will end up on the road.

So I backed off, ran back to the motorcycle, got myself some cat food and poured down what must be the only food she ever gets in who knows how long.

I waited long enough until she was completely absorbed by her food, grabbed her, and ran back to the motorcycle before her tantrums went out of control

Sheilla had emptied our backpack and there she went, angry and tossing.

We got to the meeting site half an hour late and my attire was nothing but dust and dirt, but I walked into the room with full confidence and extended my hand.

“Hi, we had a little bit of an accident so I am wearing the latest Prada instead of a plain old jacket and blouse, because I am Josie. How are you?”

And there she was, suddenly quiet, all the way through the meeting; all the way back home; all the way when we set her up to a comfortable corner, all the way when we clean her eyes, clean her bloody face, though we were still not allowed to touch that hole on her nose; though she still runs away and hides under the chair when we try to clean her.

Like life, things take time, I guess. Just like her taking her time trying her best to stay alive, even if it means walking though the sewer to avoid traffic, rummaging though small piles of garbage for a tidbit of food, and let bacteria eat her nose. She took time to hide as long as she needs, and even if that was not enough to avoid a broomstick hitting her back or kicking shoes into her face, she takes time to just sit in the corner, waiting for life to pass her by.

At least, after two days she let me call her name. There used to be a DA’s office there, so we call her Dea.
At least, after four days I can lift her swiftly and move her without incident when I clean her bed.
At least, by now she would sit near my feet when one of us prepared food.

At least she is home.

~ Josie

Do you see Dea’s eyes?
Help me light her stunning eyes with joy and love:


I know someone’s waiting
Years of dreams just can’t be wrong!
Arms will open wide.
I’ll be safe and wanted
Fin’lly home where I belong.
Well, starting now, I’m learning fast
On this journey to the past Home, Love, Family.
There was once a time
I must have had them, too.
Home, Love, Family,
I will never be complete
Until I find you…

One step at a time,
One hope, then another,
Who knows where this road may go
Back to who I was,
On to find my future.
Things my heart still needs to know.
Yes, let this be a sign!
Let this road be mine!
Let it lead me to my past
And bring me home…
At last!

Oh yes, at last. There came the day when she woke up from a long slumber, on a soft blanket, in a warm home, around friends, among family.

That look in her eyes when she looked at me, early in the morning, when I first opened the door, just like her, starting a new day of a journey to the future. The better days, the hopeful quests, the many challenges. Prayers unsaid, but kept in the depth in our hearts: that from today forward, there will be joy for us, and many more just like us.

I am down on one knee to touch her balding head. She is still so skinny, dirty, smelly; but she is Carina. The name has sound and meaning made just for her: “dear, beloved”

There is still pain that stings when she moves, there is lingering illness that prevents her to run full force to the second chance in life she finally seized. Parasites that slow her down from her most anticipated recovery.

But when our eyes meet anytime throughout the day, hers will be twinkling. When I call her name and pat her back, she will be smiling. With that dangling leg that she can barely move, Carina walks one step at a time to her water bowl, gingerly approaching full plates of warm food, and returns to the two mothers, three even, who will embrace her with grooming and kisses.

She will bask under the sun, surrounded by kittens running around. She will listen to the wind whispering stories to her ears. And when the spoon tinkles, she will rush out of her slumber, and run. Left behind, the other, but never miss a full plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Gingerly she will move, when others are sleeping, so she can sit by the dry food container, and choose kibbles of her own liking.

With force and sheer will we try. The best food we can provide, all the medication the vets prescribed, supplements suggested to aid her healing. The most comfortable beds, the cleanest floor, the freshest water, heater at cold night, fan and exhausts through the scorching day, and gentle wipes every now and then. We cannot bathe her still, she is too thin and too weak. She has cold and sinus even during the hottest days. We are fighting endless enemies from worms to fleas, to ear mites, eye infection, gum infection, upper respiratory infection, gastrointestinal problems, severe malnutrition, broken hip, dislocated joints, hypothermia, but with force and sheer will we swing our swords and win, one battle at a time. Slow and painful, but one at a time.

If there is one race we couldn’t win, it’s with time. The time that stole the start, when she lay down on the road, left to die. The time that rushed forward right in front of us, and spray dust and dirt to hinder us from closing in.

Though we gained and gained, last evening Carina sat by our feet.
She looked at us, and snuggled on our toes. She is all the same, yet so very different.

We knew the journey is ending. We knew it then, that winning the war will not be watching her walk again, run again, grow older with her peers.

Her journey is about finding home, finding love, finding family, finding her.

Her war is not about diseases, it’s about beating ignorance with care, and replacing a broken heart with new one made with love, filled with joy, and made that heart beating again with hope.

So we took her and wrap her in her blanket. We sat on the stairs watching the stars. Which one of those, all brilliant, will you choose, Carina. Would it be the one on the left, Aquarius, belongs to Sheilla or that one straight ahead, Scorpio, that is mine? Maybe it should be Orion, so you can lead us the way? Or that little Southern cub on the other side, so you can watch over us?

Carina only smiles. She kept her choice a secret. Mystery is what makes a cat, cat.

Whichever it is, Carina, beloved, you have place in our hearts just like your name. The place where you can sneak in and whisper your messages of grace, of preserverance, of inspiration.

And until we meet again please be good in that golden field: happy, healthy, chubby and clean. Your eyes twinkling, and your meows loud and clear.

We probably wouldn’t know it’s you because you are all perfect, so sit on our feet and snuggle on our toes. That would be our secret code.

Arrivederci Carina, let the brilliant road of stars ahead be yours.

~ Josie

We did not have the means to pay the service rendered when we took Carina to the vets, but we promised we will do what we can to pay our vets as soon as possible. We owe our vets USD 320 for their loving treatment and we would truly be grateful if any of you can help us by giving in Carina’s memory.


I can see the sparkles on her eyes returning, brighter and brighter, like the sun rise. Those jade coloured eyes that used to look down, no meet me eye to eye.

She meows to her name. She answered yes or no. Sounds the same, but feel different.

We only have one message: that the vets spend the whole eight working hours struggling to remove her tail that started to rot even before her inflamed spine went down, and so we hope she will be merciful be leaving the stitches alone until it heals.

She looked at us and back to her leisurely grooming, but we know we can trust her.

It is me that she cannot trust.
Many, many times she meows and turned around, hiding her butt when I tried to take pictures. Each and every time she told me, in all gestures she knows, that she doesn’t want that area for public consumption, because like Sheilla said “It looks like a chicken butt”

“But it is the public that contribute to your surgery!” I squealed. “I need to be responsible and people will be happy to see you are OK!”

So she gave me two not so great pictures. In one of them you can see her killer peer as I snap on and off.

So comes the end of a chapter, and the beginning of a new one.

A new chapter where Patti can start again, brand new like dawn. A new chapter where Patti has chance; a new chapter where Patti has hope.

A new chapter we both owe it to all of you, nine lives and beyond.

Thank you, everybody.

Thank you.

~ Josie

More traffic injuries.

If God was a regular person in management, I’ll punch Him in the face.
He’d just shrug it off, I know, most probably just laugh. He knows he has a bad taste for humor.

In few hours time, we will be at the vet with Patti, and a kitten we found curling at the roadside of super busy intersection. On the other side of that intersection, just across the street of where the kitten was curling, is the entrance of Bandung’s busiest bus terminal.

The kitten was crushed on the hip, dragged to the roadside and left there in the open on her own. She was scorched by the hot paving by the day and frozen by the cold of the night. She is helpless against the creeping hunger and thirst as she endures the pain. She is defenseless against flu and pneumonia that rode along the dooms of her fate.

Her only escape to the slow painful death, was sleep.

I woke her up. I dropped my groceries with abandon and woke her up, craddled her in my arms, and let Sheilla deal with the rest. I only know I want to bring her home. I only know I want to charge forward, plunge into the battle for her life head first.

It must be long agonizing days that she spent on that pavement, because all the blood over her wound had dried out and start to crust.

But it must be heavenly bliss that her eyes suddenly turned bright when we lay her on a fluffy mat and bring her soft, warm food and fresh water.

It must be the call of hope that she cried when she saw Nightingale, calling for a mother.

It must be love when Nightingale, herself currently fighting cold, came and laid around her.

Look around the world. There is fear, and there is frustration. There are desperate people and some of them desolate enough to think the unthinkable; and I am no different. We are all no different. We feel the pain, we feel the fear, we have worries.

But then look around her. That tiny little stranger, unworthy next to nonexistence, keep one tiny hope and her prayers for pain relief was heard.
At least there is roof, at least there is food. And even though it’s not her own, at least she has the love of a mother.

And who am I again, blessed with so much power, so great strength, many devices, working brain and complete limbs adorned with health, dare to whine at life’s bad joke and cruel twists, while this speck of life holds herself with courage to the very last of her might, still vying for second chance?

I, like all human kind, have many prayers, and various needs, and endless demands for all the vanity in life and if any one of those is not granted I’d throw a tantrum like a two years old.

She has only one.
Only one: a chance for life; her birth right, that until now had been denied by us humans, who think we are important and grand enough to play God, and she doesn’t even throw half a fit.

Shame on me.
I will stop throwing tantrums and be silent.
Then one more time, I will pick her up, and be sure that her one prayer will be heard, and answered.

~ Josie


Day after day, Patti takes her time, putting one paw in front of the other, toward the good old days.
Though it’s living on the dusty road and scavenge rubbish, foul and rotten, it’s the world she knows.

She has the same sun above, she looks at the same moon. If she knows how, just like us, she would whisper to the same stars.

What remains of that fateful day, when traces of what should be “advanced civilization” robbed her of her already uncertain future, was her sheer will; sheer hope.

Hope that brings her the power to her efforts, will that moves her to her food bowl, no matter how many times she ended up diving into her food; no matter how many times she plunged into her water bowl. Humiliation only polished that hope, brighter and brighter.

It was also that hope that shines in her eyes so much, that it transcends the language barrier. One glint in the eye and we relate to her. That she feels comfortable, that she is hungry, that she was in pain even though we tried our best to be gentle as we move her around for the X Rays.

My vet very kindly used a container cover, so she can lay comfortably as we carry her into the exam room, like the ladies and princesses in the stories of Scheherazade. She inflates a special pillow so Patti does not have to the endure cold, hard table during radiology. My vet tech even carried her back, like queen of the queen on her palanquin.

Patti’s eyes glimmer with amusement and gladness; we all need the laugh.

The car that crushed her broke her spine in two places. It must be her virtues that she was lucky enough, because the broken spine only calls for her long, beautifully ombre tail to be removed.

The unfortunate part is that one bone segment, where the spine had been crushed, is now swollen. We have procured a prescription to help her handle the swelling, so her spine surgery can be done as soon as possible.

That her injury is no longer life threatening, is like watching the rising sun. Bright, and hopeful.

That we have not yet secured the means to ensure her treatment until the surgery can be done, brought that rising sun far away to the horizon.

Giving Patti back her life is so close yet so far, and though we know she will be there, we cannot be sure whether we will be there in time or how.

That hope, those gleaming eyes, that sheer will to live, is now in our hands. Patti had entrusted her only light upon us, and it is up to us whether to carry that dream into the morning sky she used to enjoy, or ignore her stretched out paw and leave her in the dark until her life whither.

I rest my prayers where I kneel, now I will embrace that stretched out paws and lift her up with all I have.

What is your call?

~ Josie

Plea for Patti

Working together for over a decade, my vets and I are connected to each other beyond client – patient – doctor formalities. I watched the whole clinic taken over, after the passing of the clinic’s founder – dearly remembered by people everywhere as Dr. Doolitle of Bandung – to carry his legacy and love for all animals there is. I have watched them grow from two vets in a tiny clinic in the living room of their mentors, to five vets and two vet techs, in a strong clinic whose business never goes down.

They have watched me grow from one rescuer girl with her bike and old bag, six cats strong, to a fully operating shelter and now a “business partner”.

There are things we know without the need to ask, and things we can freely discuss without fear of judgement.

When I fell silent with Patti in my arms, that afternoon on September 9 at the behest of an X Ray, my vets knew that I was not ready for the cost. I am not as strong as I was financially after Covid, if I cannot say miserable.

She told me that Patti certainly has broken her tail, and that it needs to be removed, there is no other way. However, we can wait for three days to see whether Patti learned to stand. If she stand on her own, there is no need to have at least three pieces of $40 X-Ray.

Unfortunately, Patti has not yet stood until today, though she is a lot better. She is more alert, she cleans herself, she can eat, she can drink, her faeces is good, there was no parasite except for some fleas.

She can even sit like a Sphinx statue in Egypt.

Since none of those can be called “standing” however, I still have to bring her in for an X Ray to see other damages, and I made an appointment tomorrow.

But I haven’t go the money.

We raised USD 150 for Patti through the weekend, but it will just be enough for 3 sets of X Rays (she needs approximately four). We have not yet raised enough for the surgery to remove her tail before it starts to rot and give her blood poisoning (resulting in slow painful death), we have not yet raised anything for another surgery if the X Ray show other damages, and certainly we have not yet raised for her post surgery treatments and medicine; without those all the effort done prior will be useless.

I know I am not alone. Everyone is on very tight financial situation at this moment and we all live with a lot less. Should that mean that Patti’s effort to stay alive and fight for her better chance in life will go down the drain? Should her hopeful progress mean nothing?

You know I never ask. If we do not raise enough, I went out of my way and make up for the rest; but this time, I am asking, because there shouldn’t be moment when I look into that beautiful jade eye and said “Sorry Patti, you have done a great job holding on to life, but it doesn’t matter, you just have to die anyway”

We did this before, the magic of Whiskers’ Syndicate’s collectivity. We lift many lives from hell and into happily ever after, $10 at a time. USD 600 calls for 60 persons to donate USD 10 each, and we have over 10,000 supporters.

Can we do it one more time, and give hope to Patti, even though just once?

~ Josie

If you really cannot donate even one Dollar, please donate one share.