WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY

We spent the whole day weaving our way through the increasing madness of Bandung traffic; creeping inch by inch, slipping here and there, so long as we can gain advantage a wee bit more.

In my hand I have a white envelope and a vial of blood. Under normal circumstances, that one vial will only take fifteen minutes to arrive at the lab, two hours processing, and result immediately by email. In the days of Ramadhan; the largest Muslim festival, of which community our country host the largest, that fifteen minutes become one hour.

I rub that long bump in that white envelope with my thumb; just once. That vial contains one and a half cc that will determine the life and death of our Julius, and that is why at all cost I will deliver it myself, when no one cares enough to do it knowing the full challenge of the traffic.

For three days no, Julius refused to drink; refused to eat. All the muscle that build his handsomeness is now gone, though his voice is still loud, piercing even deep at night.

He sounded just like a cat in heat, so we thought, it was the remnant of his hormone leaking out one last time after his neutering. That was what our vet said as well.

As plausible as it is, it doesn’t sit well with us. Something is wrong, so we took him early morning before the road went mad. In the initial checking, our vet found many little bumps in his kidney.

We want to be sure, so she ordered a blood test, but by then the roads had become complicated. Since no one want to go take the blood to the lab, we will do it ourselves.

Julius has kidney failure. He is only two years young; but the earliest days he spent on the road until I picked him up, emaciated, from the pile of garbage, nobody knows.
The earliest days that rendered his tiny body so weak he can barely stand, nobody knows.

I regret that all the best that I have been giving him cannot undo the damage; but although I cannot catch the cloud, nor prevent it to pour down rain, I can hold the silver lining.

It’s the chance that he can still be alive with proper medication, with tailor made diet, with love and care, just the same and even more. It’s the opportunity to up my game, and help one more. It’s the clarity above others, that Julius himself keeps on fighting.

It’s the truth that if there is a will, there is a way.

With less advanced veterinary technology, the road is longer and narrower: meticulous food intake, supplements, detox, subcu everyday, and frequent vet visit.

But Julius has the will, so we will find a way.

The journey to his recovery will be costly; and cost is not my close friend, nor my talent, and even less so my privilege. Funding is luxurious, tiny, and far between. It’s a rare species and very hard to get.

But Julius has the will, so we will find a way.

~ Josie

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RIGHT LOVE AT THE WRONG TIME

His message was short and straightforward: “I picked up a kitten off the street on my way to the factory; she has no mother, can you pick her up?”

I wasn’t expecting any of that. My hand was glued to my cellphone waiting for an update about Miko, and here comes another trouble.

I was about to say no. I have five cats at the vet right now: Rexie has Megacolon and requiring surgery, Miss Kitty has a lot of blood work and X Ray to do (turned out she has Toxoplasmosis, and so needs medical treatment for at least three months), Sassy had a sudden fluid built up, requiring emergency treatment, and Ginger needs a check-up as she has FIP. I have 90 cats shelter to run, a colony to care for, mortgage and bills to pay, and three jobs to keep.

He told me the cat is a baby. He cannot bring her to the factory, he cannot drive back home because it’s in the next town, and he will definitely not be leaving the baby in the car while he is working.

When I finally meet him a few hours later, somewhere in the other end of town, he told me he saw a guy with a motorcycle throw her to the roadside, and the kitten had run to the middle of the street in panic. Another motorcycle rider swept her off, but threw her back to the roadside, so she will not be killed, but obviously, the kitten ran back crying to the middle of that busy road. First for her mother, second for her life, as stupid as it might seem.

In all  the mess we’re stirred into, we brought her home. She is only four weeks of age and she came with a hope for salvation, so we had to give her a chance.

Even when we don’t know how much of a chance we can give, with our grave financial challenges at this moment.

Even when we don’t know how to keep her, when we can barely keep ourselves alive through the week.

Even when all I have left is faith and hope, neither of the two will feed the empty tummy of a four weeks old baby, and ninety more at the other side of the window.

Even when all that is left to do is trying my best.

~ Josie

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Please help with our mounting vet bills

This is Christine posting. Josie and Sheilla are, I hope, getting a desperately needed rest.

There will be a more comprehensive update in the next few days, but for now I will share what I know, along with some of Josie’s own words:

This baby girl was picked up by a local dog rescuer; he took her away from the middle of the street on his way to work in a factory. He didn’t have time to take her to his home, couldn’t bring her to work, and wouldn’t leave her in the car, so Josie and Sheilla picked her up. I hope to receive more photos of her shortly.

There are several cats under veterinary care right now, and of course this means there will be bills to pay. Both our rescuers are working hard to make ends meet, look after all the shelter cats and the street cats, and pay the normal monthly shelter bills on top of that. It’s a bit overwhelming, to say the least, and Josie and I were having a conversation about it earlier. In her words:

“I am still here. I will always be. It is harder to do so at times and even more so now than ever, but I have walked too far to turn back now, and I have so much, not just many, at a stake.

“The most important is, I am no longer alone. I might be the rest of my life so far, but that has changed and for the better. I try not to think how long, as I used to. I try not to think so much. I will just keep thinking that I am here and now, and this is what I’ve got so I will do my best with all that.

“I need funds desperately, my vet bill is crazy and there are still regular bills to pay, but it’s darkest before dawn. I will keep remembering that.”

You all help us so much, all the time, and we are so grateful.

If it’s possible to reach out a little more at this time, by sharing this post, by donating, or by continuing to keep us in your hearts and thoughts, it would be a huge help and gift to us.

We’re going to do everything we can to keep going and helping the cats of Bandung. We would be honoured if you would share this journey with us.

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Miko – an update

For two days, I have been trying to post an update on Miko, our latest fighter.
In both those days, instead I found myself falling asleep on my keyboard.

There has not been a single day we did not wake up every now and then throughout the night just to tiptoe a bit and see if Miko needs anything beyond all that we give, that we already give.

There has not been a single day, since he joined our pilgrimage and stole our heart with his heroic conquest to recovery, that we do not stumble on our path, rushing through the door with phone slipped between our cheek and our helmet, calling the vet with yet another emergency.

The last one was a rather severe septic shock at dawn that made us call every single vet we know. No one picked up the phone until eight in the morning. We almost lost him when he finally received the treatment we desperately sought on his behalf, and it took two expert vets nine hours to stabilize him.

Though Miko’s infected leg is no longer swollen; only in a glance he looks promising. In poring over the gazillion tests and reports that we obtain every single trip we made, I saw that his actual condition is gradually declining. There are signs of necrosis growing on his toes, so we do not have much time.

It was Saturday when he got his last septic shock. Nobody will be open on Sunday and especially so because Sunday will be the beginning of Muslim’s fasting month.

I took the decision to call our kitty ambulance vet to ask that Miko stays with her. First because she is native to Bandung, so she won’t be going anywhere for the beginning of the religious festival. Second, she has her own blood testing equipment now, and a new X Ray. Third, because she loves cats above all else, and she was a rescue herself before settling down to a clinic after she got married, and has a baby daughter she always takes with her and who often sleep in the ambulance when her mother is working late. Last but not least, her husband is a vet himself, though he more often handles large animals’ cases.

At least, if something happened (again) on Sunday, or any day, Miko has a vet nearby to help.

Then, my big bet.

Despite the standard veterinary treatment for an abscess, that consists of rigorous cleaning, pain killer and antibiotics (and leave the rest to the animal’s system), I choose for amputation, if the necessity arrives, and whenever Miko’s condition allowed.

Miko’s condition is volatile and he has septic shock, minor or more, almost every day despite our meticulous care. Each time, he fought valiantly and pulled through; therefore I will not take our little champion for granted. I would rather err on the side of life, and let him live with three legs, than hang on to let him have all four but dead.

Miko is still a baby; and each of us knows in our heart that he has his life ahead of him. Each of us puts our faith and prayers upon him, and he turn all our support into the inspiring strength with which he challenges his doom.

I already take three jobs, aside from managing the shelter, but if I can walk yet another extra mile, I will walk it through if it is to give Miko his chance.

I know you are already at your limit, we all have our burdens and liabilities; but if you can still find another dime under the cushion of your recliner, I hope you find it in your heart to give Miko his chance.

~ Josie

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DESPITE

Despite treatments from three specialist veterinarians, our boy did not make it another day. Despite our best efforts, his condition declined suddenly; despite consolation from all over the world, he turned his face up, and ran to the bosom of his creator.

Despite his early passing, our baby left us with a reminder that humanity survives, and hope exists. Despite his short struggle, he won his fight for a second chance, he won his fight to receive love, and love he got in plenty during his little time in life.

Despite the loss, our baby’s departure opens the way for another kitten to have a second chance in life. On our way home with our baby, we found two kittens crumpling on each other under a fence; the bigger one protected the smaller. The smaller baby has a swollen leg. Greenish, smelly pus oozing from what we thought was a bite wound.

It turned out, he has multiple puncture wounds, two of those severed his muscle and made him crippled.

He could do nothing but cry when we stopped by the roadside, and I ran back to pick him up. He cannot move his leg and it seemed as if it was broken.

We rode all the way back to the vet office we just left minutes ago and spent what was left of all your donations for his treatment, including a set of X Rays.

Despite all the fear, no bone was broken, but he has to have a surgery to repair his severed muscles.

It will be a long journey toward his recovery. He is underweight, malnourished, dehydrated and weakened; but despite the pain he has to endure each waking minute, he never complained. He drags himself to the water bowl, he drags himself to our food container. He stays still and never meows unless he soiled himself, and despite all the foul odour and bad produce, he deserves nothing but the best.

Despite our financial limitations, time constraints, and lack of technology, we shall go to the end of the world, if it means letting him keep the place our baby left for him.

Despite all the loss and heartbreak, we will try one more time, and we are calling you one more time to stand by the least of our brethren, that he too might live through, with hope, and faith, into the long life and prosperity that is rightfully his.

~ Josie

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Update on the recently-rescued kitten

(This report follows on from this recent rescue story)

After two days, our baby boy starts to find peace. His breathing is more stable, he eats more, and he mingles more with other kittens. We still find ourselves relying on pain killer to help him, but hopefully not for much longer.

We will be going to the next town tomorrow to get him his X Ray, in the hope that more advanced technology will give him a better chance to recover. I understand it will be a stressful long travel for a baby as young and as small as he is, but as much as he stands tall fighting, I will fight alongside him.

My heart melted in humility at the face of the outpouring love for our baby. I am so glad that despite ignorance, which seems to plague the world, there are so many people keeping their humanity and uphold it tall and shining.

Allow me to extend my gratitude for all the prayers and support you all have showered this boy with. I am sure he knows that all over the world, people are holding him close to their heart and lift him high in their prayers, most probably for the first time in his very young life.

May your grace and support continue to come to his aid, and may all of them be returned to you abundantly.

~ Josie

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