Good Day Whiskers’ Syndicate,

Please accept my extended apologies for interrupting your fun quiz. I promise I will take no more than ten minutes.

It’s not only love that starts from the eye. A certain type of illness in cats also starts from the eye. Infected cats first have watery eyes, usually mistaken as common eye irritation, then the eye becomes red, and then swollen. If untreated for a long time, it will become cloudy (which means the cat is partially blind), and even permanently damaged.

Indy was already sick at the time she joined Whiskers’ Syndicate. It really didn’t help that she was emaciated, hence, her immune system was overwhelmed. Our best effort: our energy and your support saved her life. She recovers from her Upper Respiratory Infection, gained weight, and is now a happy, fun loving cat that delights each room she goes into.

Her eyes, however, is not so fortunate. Her third eyelid continued to swell, irritated, and sometimes bleeding. She cannot open her eye and was gloomy and hurt most of the time. With limited technology, we give the best medicine we can afford, and with the help of our vet friend Dr. L. Stewart (yes, we made long distance consultation all the way to America), managed to reduce the swelling so that Indy can open her eyes and she can live pain free like a normal cat (with peculiar eye).

Belle has another story. Her story started with a white dot on her right eye, which we thought was common due to her prolonged upper respiratory infection she contracted in the days leading to her rescue. Most of the time, that white dot will heal by itself.

That white dot started to disturb me the next day because it spread. Common URI residue does not spread; it shrink.

Since our downtown clinic vet visit did not produce meaningful improvement nor advice, I decided to take both Indy and Belle to the only vet surgeon all the way across town. It will take one and a half hour by taxi, so we decided to ride on Sheilla’s motorcycle. We can take small alleys and alternative roads to reduce travel stress, considering Belle’s asthma (she got worse if she is stressed).

We had to ride back and forth to the other town every day, which is why I disappeared once again. It worn us out to have to ride so long while avoiding year-end horrible traffic, but we all go to great lengths to save our cats.

Indy is now healthy enough and is on her peak condition to have her eye removed. The vet surgeon gave us lecture-length suggestions and a litany of things to give, but it bounced Belle and Indy almost literally overnight.

Belle can have her eye back; the vet surgeon told us that he can formulate an eye drop made of blood plasma. Ideally, it should be from her own blood, but although Belle’s treatment and special food that we give have managed to bounced her from 800 grams (28 ounces) to 1,7 kg (3.7 lbs) in the course of two months, she has to be at least 3 kgs (6 lbs) to have the procedure done without jeopardizing her condition. Her asthma is a lot better now, and we don’t want to have to send her back to square one if we force the eye procedure.

One of our other rescues, Sam, is a sturdy, steady 4.65 kgs (10 pounds) cat who seems to be immune from stress, so she stepped forward and donated her blood. I thought the procedure will take a long time, but Sam was so easy and steady, it took only 10 seconds to produce 5 cc of fresh blood.

The total cost of these two treatments is USD 350. USD 100 for Belle and USD 250 for Indy. I have one more loan that I have to pay by the end of the week, so it’s very tight on my belt at this moment.

I do not have a heart to ask you all once again. I know there must be things you want to buy for your loved one for this holiday season, and as a Catholic, I am sure there are many stockings that you need to fill.

However, this Christmas will be the first Christmas for Belle and Indy that they will spend at home, instead of the cold and wet street. Even if they can speak, I am sure they will not say anything, they will not ask for anything, but you and I know what would be the perfect Christmas gift for them: their eye, and chance in life.

May we all give them this gift?

Please say yes:


In a perfect world

In a perfect world, there will be no suffering. There will be no sickness; no death, maybe, no pain, all the gain.

In a perfect world, there will be no injustice, there will only be peace, and happily ever after.

In a perfect world, Shota and his three siblings, mere days old, will not be dumped in a cardboard box and cast into a burning pile of rubbish.

But in this world, a woman who cared for too many cats in her home, defied helplessness, and picked the box of kittens off the fire. She cannot bring them home, but she nursed them in her office, and hid the kittens behind the security post, while she looked for help.

In this world, there are two little rescue girl, willing to take the bet, and give the babies a fair chance.

In this world, there are only a small number of people who truly care, but as minuscule as they are, as limited as they might be, they each do what they can, and they make Whiskers’ Syndicate stronger every day.

In this world, our world, there is no guarantee that they will all survive, but for each of them, we give them the best care regardless.

In this world, let’s help each other. Let’s continue to give them the best care that they would never have, the hope that they lost, the chance that they were denied.

Please keep giving, because in this world, it is only by us, that Shota will continue to live, and the ones who come after, can follow his lead.

~ Josie


The choice to go on


There is no greater thanks in my heart than to all of you, who keep us alive this past two weeks. All the admins who works round the clock to keep the whole page (and its extensions) going, all our supporters who keeps coming, commenting, sharing, and especially to all of you who keeps donating, even though I am not posting.

Although I have many valid reasons for my absence, from two outbreaks, cold waves, series of rainstorm that flooded our houses, to my brief encounter with police and court of law (as eye witness and first responder to drunk driving, substance abuse and drug possession traffic accident); there is no greatest apologies that I can offer, than to all of you. For the lack of gratitude despite all your kindness and generosity, for the lack of mention despite all your activity.

When I am sitting here in calm and peace (at last), it is easy to think “What is so difficult? All I need to do is take out my phone, type some words, and be done with it. It won’t take ten minutes!” And yet when there was this little kitten gasping for its last breath after a car ran over it, and the little sibling cried in horror bathed with its sibling’s blood, ten minutes was a blink of an eye. When there were three or four kittens crying over their hurting tummies, while their rear dripping foul, ten hours will not be enough to stop worrying and start typing. When two community garbage keep racing criss cross through the road with their motorcycle, slammed and dragged an innocent, hard working young woman at the cusp of her career, there is not too much of a time to think about cell phone. Her bleeding mouth when I ran to the middle of the street, her frantic arms holding me, her tears and sob asking “Don’t leave me!, please don’t leave me!” She didn’t even remember her own name for the first few hours. She refused the ambulance. She only know one thing: she holds me, and never let me go until her family come to ride with her to the hospital.

It crushed my heart because at home, I know my kitties were the same; and it broke me into pieces knowing that I cannot be at two places in one time.

But all that happened did bring me to one thought: about how I always felt taken hostage by my job, how I resent that people stop coming to the page as soon as I stopped posting. All that happened bring me to the realization, and at last, acceptance, that no matter how great my role, my power, my authorities, especially for The Whiskers’ Syndicate and its cats, there are many more than those that I cannot control. There is not always time for cellphone, but even if it’s only one nano second, there is always time to choose.

Most of all, all that happened only make my appreciation, gratitude, and admiration grow. Your faithfulness, your grace, your understanding, your patience, your undying support, your hard work, efforts.

Knowing so gives me strength, hope, faith. Especially at this time. Every month, in the first two weeks I am wrung to the bone chasing mortgage, loans, credits. Currently as I wrote this post, there is only USD 20 in my bank account after paying for two days of cat food, and USD 350 liabilities due this weekend, or we lost everything. I cannot withdraw from PayPal until the balance reach at least USD 150, or they will charge me USD 30 out of the remaining balance.

There are so little choice, so small chance, so much to do, so little time.
But even if it’s only one nano second, there is always time to choose.

And you, my friends, with all my gratitude entails, give me the power to make this choice.

The choice to go on.

~ Josie T Liem


There’s no gray in him, not even his name, but all about Holstein is in the gray.

He is not a feral, he is not a stray, but he is not a house cat, nor a pet.

He roamed around the residential compound behind our cluster, long before we came to know the mountain, and even after we dwelt in it for a while, the years that passed did not meet us eye to eye.

The wife of our community leader is a cat loving woman, and once upon a time, when I visited her residence for an errand, she told me about a black and white cat whose rear was bulging out and red as raw.

That black and white cat came to join us after her tumor surgery. She is a sweet cat, she very seldom meow, she mind her own business, she enjoys the day inside the cattery, even though I offer her the same freedom she used to have roaming around the compound, alongside the new health that she just regained. Her name is Chubby Face.

Throughout her ordeal, was this big, muscly guy who always come every morning and once more in the evening; sitting silently on the top of the stairway until I came out with a plate of cat food, and back again with a bowl of water. He would stay for a while, and then, when I next looked out, disappeared.

One day he saw Chubby Face wandering around the kitchen from the crack of the front door, and took the liberty of coming in, then, settled down.

He never let me touch him, except now and then, in his term and only his.

The rest of the time, he sleeps behind things, or watches his sister enjoy her new life as a house cat.

He saw how I cradle her around, he saw when I play. He saw when I pet her, he saw when I pour down love, but he would rather stay in the gray.

Not a feral, he is not a stray, but he is not a house cat, nor a pet.

Just his sister’s keeper.

Sometimes, they fight too. When she wants something he disapproves, when she plays he thought shouldn’t be, when she goes where he thought was dangerous; for example, the roof, the stove, the vet? of course.

Chubby Face will brush him off and he would insist the big brother way. Sometimes he wins; most of the time, she wins.

Still, he takes care of her, she takes care of him; year after year.

But like everything that comes close will drift apart, they grow distant. Her with her merry business, him with his all his seriousness. They are much older now, and although Chubby Face still runs around sometimes, he would rather sit in the shade, sleeps more, eat less. Tired more, play less. Sick more, healthy less.

It comes with age. One day, I will come to that state too, whether I like it or not.

They said, old soldiers never die, they just fade away.

I don’t know if it also pertains to a faithful brother who also served as a lifetime bodyguard.

He is not a feral, he is not a stray, but he is not a house cat, nor a pet.

He is nobody’s cat, he is his own man, he is Holstein. He knows his name, but he give his head for a pat when he wants it, as long as he wants it.

Most of the time, he was there under the shade, watching his sister play, like a soldier and their own military way.

Three days ago, he fell asleep, and faded away.

~ Josie


Read how he came to the sanctuary here.


All of you have no idea how much USD 500 means to us.

I was very deeply disappointed knowing that I had failed to secure USD 1,000 matching donor as I did last year. I was green with envy reading all the waves of emails from larger organizations about their (at least) ten thousand US Dollars matching challenge, each claiming that their matching challenge was worth more than any other.

Really? talking about hyperbolic; or humble bragging?

I don’t dwell in it. By the end of each email, I remember each of you, and my heart swell with joy and red with gratitude.

We do not have celebrities sponsors. We do not have thousands of Dollars matching challenge. We do not have hundreds of staffs, or acres upon acres of land. We do not have fancy facilities. Even now, our cats plays on concrete floor. We haven’t painted our walls since we rebuilt our sanctuary from the devastation by Typhoon Haiyan four years ago.

All of us, work without pay. We do not pay you to share, and yet you share. We do not call you every day to visit our site, but you commented. Every other day, every week, every month, big or small, average USD 10 – USD 25 per donation, you keep us alive. We do not give commission, but you sell for us, auction for us, created art for us, and bid for us. Every single penny, goes to the cats. We can live with less, the cats has to have more.

If you somehow doubt, look at the kitten in the picture below. Okime (Oh-kee-may) is one of the six kittens who lost their mother and clung desperately to life on top of a waste treatment facility of a pulmonary clinic. There was chemical waste, there were contaminated garbage, there was potentially contagious disease, the smell was so unbearable Sheilla had to run in and out. They are only eight weeks young.

None of us had hope.

Regardless, you give him a chance, and if all of the others said the matching challenge that pays their CEO’s car and house worth more than this little baby, they should look again.

This is your magic. This is our magic.

For Okime and his siblings, it worth more than any other.

For me, you worth more than any other.

For the lack of better words: Thank you.

~ Josie

Keep the magic alive:


Two weeks.

And we lay here, flat on our back against our bed, two a.m. in the morning. Our minds were burned, our bodies were beaten, but our eyes were open.

Just a few steps away behind that broken door, the dust of our war had started to settle. Every morning break to the next dawn we had wielded our swords and rolled up our heart up our sleeves.

Some of the cheerful calls we heard every morning, had turned silent. A part of the merry making that made our day had moved on. Those that stayed in our journey to Canaan, had long called it a day. Their fight is almost over, but a thousand miles walked one step after another takes a little bit of time.

We wouldn’t call it a victory, so we won’t feast over our winnings and got lost even in one day we were told we deserve.

We wouldn’t call it a loss either; and the war is even still far from over, so we wouldn’t call our retirement, and break down over memories on the lane.

Our next battle, starts with this little kitten. Eight weeks old.

Born sightless, among other deformities, she can only rely on fate when she was dumped motherless by the bin on the open, right next to a quiet road, on which any car wouldn’t slow down.

A young woman contacted us on her behalf. Though her stories were all inconsistent, we went still to the other end of town, because she is the reason of our existence, and the purpose of our lives.

Most of all, because she is worth it.

So even comes the day when we thought all hope were gone, we look at her, who followed us all her best through her ears, though tripped over her uneven length legs, and our faith will born anew.

So even comes the day when we are just about to call it quits, when we thought there were nothing left of us, we look at her, who hunt for food we put on the floor through her tiny nose, though bumped and rolled on terrain unknown, and full of alien.

So even comes the day when we thought we failed, we called upon her name: Florence. Beautiful inside and out as the Nightingale.

Then, our spirit burned anew.

And our journey of a thousand miles continue.

~ Josie

We are small and insignificant. We do not have fancy facilities, we do not have admins or customer service. We have not been in shows. There are only two of us caring for ninety cats, and many more we keep on the street. Every dime of your contributions goes to their care.

Of all who comes to our care, we have lost many; but we do our best to give them a chance.

If you find it in your heart to help us help them, join us. We appreciate all your donations and shares.