CLOSURE – UPDATE

Catching this ginger fellow was no feat. He was too sick even to move around. Taking shelter in one of the crates in the now-abandoned loading dock, he was waiting for life to pass.
He breathed through his mouth because his nostrils were full of crusty mucus, his paws were dirty trying to wipe them off. Eye infection blinded him. He was severely dehydrated.

He went straight to the sink as soon as I got him home. Wiping him with a cool, wet cloth helps him cool down. Half a bottle of subcutaneous fluid, chicken puree, and antibiotics came later throughout the day.

When he can lift his head and drink by himself, I took care of his fleas and worms. As soon as the parasites were gone, his medicine works better, and soon he starts eating by himself.

I can’t neuter him yet, because he was only 1.8 kgs (3.9 lbs), and his sinus has a long way to go. But looking at the way he enjoys my cutting board, here is hoping he will get better soon, just in time to embrace a new, safer, happier life he deserves.
There are many like him still waiting for salvation.

Help me deliver as many as I can into better days and hopeful life.

~ Josie

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CLOSURE

After 19 years, at the end of July 21st, Giant Express will close its doors for the last time.

The vast parking lot will be empty, the quiet loading dock at the back corner of its building, and the stack of crates that formed little pyramids. Two small containers at the front selling donuts and fried chicken.

Over twenty cats who count their lives there will lose their home and their living.

They can move to a college campus next door, but the college campus is now closed. The cafeteria and diners around are closed; their food sources are now gone.

I have relocated a mother and her three babies. I have trapped two seniors, spayed and neutered them, and released them to a nearby park where I will go to feed them. I have to leave three kittens recently dumped there, because I only have my two hands and public transport. I set up a comfortable place in one of the crates hoping they will stay there until I can come back the next day.

One of them was adopted by a merchant who lives nearby. One is sick, so he went home with me. The calico in the picture was missing.

The waterline has been partially disconnected, so the cats now drink from rainwater collected in a broken bucket.

The rest of them have to move to a safer place by dusk of July 21.

I have enough crates to trap at least six of them at a time, but I need the means to spay or neuter them before releasing them to their new environment, and I need the means to drive them around to their new place.

The cost of renting a van for the whole day is USD 120. The cost to spay a female cat is USD 35, and the cost to neuter a male is USD 25. Kittens will stay at the sanctuary until they are old enough to be altered and relocated.

Kittens, pregnant and lactating mothers, and seniors will be my priority. While it will be a lot easier and faster if I have others working with me, people are reluctant to go out of their way in lockdown just for stray, insignificant street cats. So, while hoping for the best, I will not sit and wait for a miracle to happen.

These cats’ fate is in our hands. If you have a dime or two, a dollar or few, it will mean the whole world of difference for them.
Help me deliver them to safety

~ Josie

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GOLIATH

Every morning he would sit at the second window on the left, looking at the road. When he sees someone passing, he’ll squint his eyes to see better. Sometimes, his tail would sweep left and right. Sometimes he will stand up and put one paw on the trellis. When a person of interest moves out of his sight, he’ll run to the other window to get more glimpses.

He annoyed Soda Pop enough to have our bubbly girl bare some fangs and send an intense hiss, but even after screams and scratches, he still followed her around.
I intercepted him before another fight broke out, and asked door to door for his momma. No one lost their child. A Neighbour across the street told me that he might belong to a new resident a few metres away. The new family said they know where he belongs, took him, and put him in a cage, but fifteen minutes later, he was on the street again, chasing our girl.

I brought him back to that same house, but fifteen minutes later, he is back on the street again, chasing our girl. I brought him back the third time and asked the new neighbor where his house is. Everyone seemed to be at work, so I locked him up in an empty cage on the verandah and got my day going.
I found him back on the street at night, and he is still wandering around by the next dawn.

He was hungry and dirty. He was sitting in front of my fence. He stared straight into my eyes with such arrogance, though he tried his best to look pitiful.

A week without luck finding his rightful owner, I neutered him because he sprays all over my house. Two weeks without a clue I offered him for adoption, but with Covid going rampant, no one wants an additional liability.

The following week, I give up looking. Que sera, sera. In no time a perfect purebred Persian like him will have a new home and a family who adores him, unlike his domestic short hair peers, who people deem of no value.

Yet, he refuses every offer. He turns his head away from snacks and treats and runs away from open arms. He rejects every suitor.
By his size and the number of scratches and bites he gives to his wanna-be adopter (and me), his name is Goliath.

Among the brethren of David, he is a giant, but when everyone comes together and helps each other, he is an outcast. He’d hang his head low, then, and silently climb the cat tree by the window, watching the empty street.

Once I saw him mauling a roll of kitchen towel, I snatched the roll away from him. He looked at me, turned his head away, and silently climbed the cat tree by the window, watching the empty street.

I feel like a murderer.
Three nights ago, as I was getting ready to go round street feeding, he slipped out of the door and sat beside me.
The arrogant, selfish, egocentric giant leaned on me.
He took a deep breath and curled by my side.
Goliath, deep within, is only a child.
He knows his family does not want him back.

He knows the other cats fear him or hate him for his size and power. He learned the hard way that he is small and insignificant.
Still, when the morning comes I find him sitting on the cat tree by the window on the left, looking down the street.
Maybe this time, someone who will truly love him will come.
~Josie

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BACK ALLEY

He sent me a blurry selfie holding two bottle babies with a timid note: He saw someone put a small box at the entrance of the back alley where he lived at dawn. He was on his way to work, and that alley only has one way in, one way out.
He wrote he doesn’t have any money to keep the two baby kittens he found in that box. Her mother lost their home, and they now live in a three square metres booth where she sells noodles: him, his mother, and his little brother. He wrote he doesn’t know if a baby formula was good for them, and if it is, he couldn’t find any bottle suitable for their size.

At dusk, when I stood by the entrance of the same back alley, a sheepish mother came from a small booth just a few steps away with a box.
Her son had told her to keep rags around the babies; her son had told her to find a dropper and gave them broth. Her son had told her – before he went to work until the end of the day – that a lady with long hair in jeans and a red jacket will come to give the babies a proper life.
She carefully put the box on the ground, picked up the two kittens, and put them in my arms.
She told me she lived in a slightly better place, selling noodles as a small living for her two sons until Covid left nothing for them except the booth they now call home. There is free internet from the mosque at the other end of the back alley that her youngest son can use for his online schooling, and a bus stop nearby where her older son will go to work from, in the hope he can continue his study when time gets better.

I told her I would love her noodles, as I have none since the beginning of the day.

She told me that when she was in school herself long ago, she learned that people have to help each other when things got hard. But the reality is quite different where she lives now: like those who stand by and do nothing while others struggled, those who took advantage of others and left them in the hard part of life, and people who took babies away from their mother for the feeblest of reasons and throw them to die in a dirty box.

As I felt the warmth of her noodles on my freezing hand, I told her that the saviour of men came from a manger.
When I waved goodbye, I told her that the sun enlightened the earth by crawling from the bottom.

And that humanity has hope because the doors to the underworld take the high street, through the large houses with marble floors, swipe away those in fancy clothing, shiny cars; leaving those surviving in the back alley to renew the earth.

~ Josie

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REDEMPTIONS

As the cost of its complacency, this town was thrown back into lockdown.

So, we are back to being ninjas. Sneaking around distributing food to street cats who once again lost their living. Mothers who waited for us restlessly in her hideout so that she can continue nursing her babies; the sick and the old who would otherwise not stand a chance against Bandung’s week-long raging storm.

A message came at the end of our day, then. A street performer on his way home saw a sack thrown to the middle of the street and found two kittens barely ten weeks old in desperate need of help inside.
He has no money to care for the babies, he has no one telling him what to do, but he has his Facebook, so he came to us.
Two days later, the same street performer, living in a back alley of one of the most elite parts of town, saw four babies barely four weeks old, and again turned to us for help.

We have just taken a deep breath after three surgeries and thought we’d go on autopilot for few days, yet ended up with six babies who know nothing but following us all over the house thinking we must be their mothers. All of them has a severe respiratory infection, bad eye irritation, and parasites inside and out.
How do we care for six challenged babies, and still keep everybody else alive?

Two days ago we were caught up in the storm and were home late. We found everyone under the chairs and tables or had curled themselves in the corners, or under shelves and cupboards.

In a ramen box we left on the floor for the cats to play with, we found Comet nursing the six babies. She groomed them one after another. She put her protective arms around them, she wouldn’t let thunder and lightning scare them. She has no milk in her breasts, but she nursed them anyway. She’d cry and moan whenever the babies bit her now and then, but she lay there anyway.
Three months ago she lost her babies. She was just five months old then, and she loves to play. She has no idea what pregnancy was, so she took her babies for granted: climbing things, running laps across the shelter, chasing butterflies, and delivered two babies who lasted only for a week.

It took us days to console her, but although she is back to her old playful self now, there is always a part of her that seems to be missing.

The babies give her love a channel. The channel to fulfill her calling as a mother.
Comet gives the babies a chance. A chance to fulfill their lives as they were meant to be.
Life had taken their hopes.
Love has given them redemptions.

~ Josie

While I am glad and grateful that I didn’t lose my job in this latest lockdown, more cats need support as the diners, shops, restaurants, and markets, where they get their living, closed down.
Help me help more cats and help me raise USD 600 we need to survive another week, so I can use the remaining of my wage to help other cats. Please use following link to lend your hand.
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

A LIFE BRAND NEW

People, look at what your thousand Dollars have done.

Three days ago this girl was in immeasurable pain. She was alone on the street, without food, without water, without shelter.
She was scared, she was lonely, she was hopeless.

When a lady who lives in the area trapped her, things appeared to start to be better. At least she has food, though it’s a cheap one. At least she has water, at least she has a shelter, though said shelter was a dog pen that must have smelled like hell for her.

Unfortunately, she was brought to see an incompetent vet who made her condition worse.
When I got her, I knew I was racing with time. She spent so much of her life trying to survive with meager resources, and her body was exhausted trying to hold off infection. On the other side, the holiday was coming. Businesses close, and so will vet offices for at least one week.
She didn’t have one week. She didn’t even have one day.

Then came this matching challenge that will save her life, and while we are helping her on-site, you paved the way for us. You made our effort possible, you give this girl the chance to reclaim her life. You give her the means to rebuild her future.
The cost for her surgery is USD 350, and the cost for the scalded cat’s treatment is USD 300. Matching the challenge gives us an extra USD 350 to provide adequate treatment for her post-operation; it also gave us enough to buy food for the shelter. For two months now the cats only have enough to eat once a day, but with the remaining USD 300 from the matching challenge they can then have enough to eat twice a day, at least for this week.

Thank you so much, all of you. Thank you beyond what words can convey. Thank you for giving this little girl her life back. Thank you for giving her the chance she deserves.

~ Josie

We need USD 600 to provide food and amenities for 160 resident cats in our sanctuary; most of them have permanent disabilities or terminal illnesses. We ended last week with USD 300 (out of USD 400 from my salary) We hope you can still be with us this week and help us raise enough to deliver this little girl toward full recovery.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate