MIRANDA THE MENACE

Who remembers tiny Miranda?

She was crying in terror, stranded by the edge of a drain across the street (from the house) where someone had thrown her off a moving vehicle early in the morning. I was preparing myself for work when I heard her pitiful cries and ran out to check, however, because her colour is the same as the stone wall of the drain, she was difficult to see.

A woman who was trying to get her baby to eat by distracting him with the cats (Malaya and Kaka) had seen what happened and showed me where Miranda was.

Spending the whole morning in the cold had taken a toll, and she developed an upper respiratory infection that turned out to be resistant to antibiotics. We went to many vets but only the one downtown was daring enough to prescribe a combination of antibiotics for long term use.

Her course of treatment and medication spanned 3 months. Without donations and prayers from the whole world of The Whiskers Syndicate she wouldn’t have made it. All the vets said so, so it’s not me exaggerating.

Because of her prolonged sickness Miranda had stopped growing (she is 7 months old but looks like 4); but even though her growth had been suspended, she is healthy and is the now the embodiment of Dennis The Menace of The Whiskers Syndicate!

Her treatment cost close to USD 1,000. Even both of us working 24 hrs a day will not cover that amount. Had it not been for you, our friends, with your patience, persistence and most of all your unwavering support, Miranda wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Today, she is one of many cats who stand as living testimony of how much your donations mean for us. They really are life changing, and you truly are The Whiskers Syndicate.

Thank you 💚

https://www.paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

HIT AND RUN

He is waiting, front and center. Right in the middle of the doorway. No one will miss him, he is fit as a fiddle, ready to go home.

Maybe next week.

Or, maybe the next week his family will come. They have been caring for him for as long as he can remember, and he heard them say they will come back. Perhaps they were just busy.

By the end of the month, he is wiser than ever. Maybe it is because he is blocking the door, nobody can take him out. Isn’t it obvious? He give it a two lap celebration in his cage. Now his family will come. There is no doubt about it.

No doubt about it, right?

“His family came one Sunday, with his eyes severely injured” The vet told us, “Conjunctivitis that preceded Upper Respiratory Infection. They did not care for the eye infection properly and it rotted. There was no other option for me but to remove the damaged eye”

I know how that story ends.

“And his family never returns”

The vet shook her head, with a frown on her face. “If money was the issue, come talk to us. All vets in this town would have given struggling pet parents leniency. You know how many of them pay just a small amount in installments, but we don’t mind. The most important is that they keep their pets and care for them”

Same old story.

“If you have space for one, just one, in your home, I am sure he will be grateful. He has been staying in his cage for months and the endless waiting start to pang the painful reality for him.

“Where is he?”, asked Sheilla.

“In the corner”, my vet answered, “He will tilt his head to you when you call his name, his new name. His former parents did not disclose his name; they said they haven’t decide, but I called him Ali”

A vet tech went into the keeping room and opened a cage in the corner, having a bit of trouble reaching out to its resident cat, curling in the furthest corner, but then still brought us a cream kitten with only one eye.

He sat there in silence. Looking at me, looking at Sheilla, looking at the vet. We are not the ones he expected.

Sheilla took him in her arms, and cuddled him. No response.

He has a long way to go.

He stays in the corner, for the first week at home. Probably seeing all the other cats made him dizzy. He only came out for drinks and food. He was a bit miffed because we always put his plate near the others.

Then he poked his head out when he saw us play with the others. He got the idea that we deliberately do so and refrain his urges.

Really? curiosity kills the cat. We include him in every activity, as if he has been with us for a long time. We call him our baby, we cuddle him and we cradle him, we play with him, we show him nooks and crannies of our home, almost all filled with cats, and remind him there is more to the world than just the corner.

First he plays with kittens, A few weeks passed and he plays with kittens his size.

All of a sudden, he grows. He is as big as other adults now, so we took him for neutering and get into a bit of a saga.

Here is Ali, close to one year later. Hit our legs once in a while, hit a chair’s leg a little bit more often. He’d spin the little ones when he crashes right onto them as he plays, he’d crash our foot if he bolts around.

By the end of the year, Ali is wiser than ever. It’s not him blocking the door, it’s staying still in the corner, as painful as it looks.

Isn’t it obvious? Then pounce when the chance come.

Hit it, and then run. Run for it until he is cat again. Run for it and ride that one chance all the way to the end.

~ Josie
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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Help for a kitten with breathing problems

Whiskers Syndicate, send me your magic, lend me your luck, mount prayers for this unfortunate kitten. She has no one, she only has us.

Three weeks ago, during the worst of weathers in Bandung, I found her crippled by cold and starvation on abandoned land after a textile factory moved out of town. She has horrible pneumonia, her brother not so far away has horrible mange. While her brother coped with medication, she struggled to maintain weight and breathing. We managed to help maintain her temperature and weight for her, but yesterday her breathing started getting worse, We rushed her to the vet; she was stabilized enough for us to bring her home, but she cannot come off oxygen until this moment.

At all times, despite her very young age, she fought really hard to stay alive. She keeps on trying to eat; she keeps on trying to sit; she walks to us as best as she can if she needs our attention.

We have done all we could, and she has not yet give up, but I hate to just sit there and watch her fight alone.

In any God you believe, please send prayers on her behalf. If any best wishes remain, please share your best of thoughts for her recovery. With any bit of hope , please send her your support so that she has all the resources she needs as she fights her way toward the second chance in life she deserves.

https://www.paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

The struggling female kitten:

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Her brother, who has mange:

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HOME FREE

Just like the song, sweet as the poetry. Our short term relationship felt like a decade of long journey.

Every time I see those eyes, every time I hear his footstep. Every morning at dawn, every evening at dusk.

A bedraggled purebred cat, used to be white, fallen from grace, cast away from love. Walking on his hurtful feet, just enough so he can squat to beg under a gawker stall that sell cheap food for the poor, away from his glorious days.

If I could, I would; fly to his side and hold him on my bossom; but I can only run, then, lifting his bones and skin, and nothing more.

Perhaps a little, or a lot. There were countless wounds all over him; the smell of pus was sickening, his fur matted and sticky. Remains of blood, remains of dirt, remains of disease, remains of what he used to be.

I thought it was mange or some sort, but he was not well with normal procedure after a month so the vet sought comprehensive measure and return with a thunder that storm our heart and mind and sunk it asunder.

It was malignant sarcoma; skin cancer, and he was condemned to die.

But whether it would be tomorrow, or whether it will be next year, no one can tell the future.

So ask and we’ll be answered, seek and we shall found. From Europe to States to Asia, we tried it all, and he was nothing but slowly was gone.

And one woman wrote her comment about Bumpy as I tell his journey, that I was holding him hostage and that I should have killed him and free him of his suffering long time ago. She said she would never have the heart to see his “boy” suffer. I was despicable.

She probably met her demise under the wrath of Bumpy’s loyal supporters, my friends, my family, Whiskers’ Syndicate. A woman with pea sized brain like her probably has bean sized heart and wouldn’t even bother to read the other side of the story.

In that darkest before dawn there was that little whisper, that someone’s cat has cancer and was restored by Traditional Chinese medicine.

I was already despicable, I was already an abuser, I was a bad mother. I was bound for hell for taking my boy hostage and let him suffer.

So I took the bottle offered and gave one to Bumpy.

One week, two weeks; all his scabs starts to dry. Third week his wounds start to heal, fourth week he was almost clean.

There were time when he was being stubborn. He stopped taking his medicine and get everything back. I made him swallow all his concoction and he is well. One other time he ran away and we had to chase around the cattery three laps a day, but I summon my help and made him ate his concoction and he is well again.

When Bumpy slept one last time last night, he was clean. His fur white and long, his skin pink. No pus, no smell, no sticky fur, no bloody wounds. Just cat and all his cat-ness.

Now, he is home free.

He walked through the valley of darkness, he ate more than he can chew, he stood head to head with death, and walk in all his glory, in his perfect white fur coat toward the door of heaven.

Now he is home free

He is purring at the bosom of his Creator, flicking his tail at stupid cupid and cherubs and all. His head patted by saints, and he will be cradled by all the angels there are.

What left with me was an old Scot poem,

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.

On old long syne my Jo,
On old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On old long syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;[b]
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

For old time sake, my friend. A life well lived, a game well played.

You are home free.

~ Josie
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

GODDESS IN THE NIGHT

Nobody sees her. She was one with the night; creeping under the closed stalls, going round mud and fermented garbage, probably snickering at the smell.

For many, many centuries, her ancestors have been a blessing to man. People have small brains; they forget and they ignore, and all the blessings that her ancestors have freely shared had gone to the oblivion of selfishness and self-claimed superiority. Like several generations before her that fell off the grace; nowadays and – for many – for the rest of their lives, she was seeking a blessing for herself.

She thought the shadow behind her was her tail, though probably she was uneasy that her shadow grew bigger and bigger, eventually swallowing her in thicker black, darker surrounding.

She stopped, and looked up. Where was the moon that her Deity mother promised her before she was born?
But a little grin she found, carved on the face that was looking at her, a woman.

Which woman? The one who will deal small packets with rice and fish, or the other kind who will deal a blow on her already tiny waist?

The woman squatted; extending a long, white stick with most alluring fragrance. Her hunger knew that fragrance too well, but her instinct knew the risk even more.

Yet the next second she found herself on the drier part of the roadside; chewing, tearing, huffing. A little struggle, really. Little struggle compared to days of starvation behind her, and nights of gameless hunting in front of her, if she lost that chance of the present.

That’s why it’s part regret, part fear, when she let her guard down for a little bit, and the woman lifted her high in the air. She had not noticed that she is so tall.

She must have thought the few minutes that felt like forever was a pathway to her demise. She darted off the darkest corner she found first and stayed there, growling. To heck with starvation, though it really doesn’t matter because she probably will be dead soon anyway.

The next day as she snapped out of the dark side of slumber that caused her to sleep, despite all the warnings in her head, she found that fragrant white stick by her nose, this time, on a plate. She was not sure how that woman fit where she curled up, but she was not around, so she ate while her life lasts.

Eventually, she learns that as full as it can be, she is safer where she is now than on the street. Daunting at times, really. She has never seen so many other cats around before; but they are all look healthy, and they don’t really care to inquire her of her past, nor explain the present. The smaller cats came, once in a while, with their round eyes and fluffy fur. Sometimes they play with her tail, sometimes just look at her. When she falls asleep, on particular days she will wake up with several of them balling themselves in her surrounding.

At long last, she learns that when that woman and the other say “Megami”, it means her. They are being some real nuisance, with pills and injection, and she hates them for that. Funny thing, though, she no longer has smelly diarrhea, no longer has things wiggling inside her, no longer has pain in her ears, no longer has hunger not filled, or thirst unquenched.

Finally, maybe just a few days ago, she learns that Megami (=may-ga-me) means Goddess, after that little stripe of gold on her forehead.

So she always come to that name. The name that she thinks suit her, the name of her own right, by ancestry and by birth.
She always waits for that name to be called, for shortly after there will be many delicacies.

She always come to that name: the name that holds her dignity, and the dignity of her ancestors in a high place, as it should be.

~ Josie
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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… AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR (2): HOPE FOR DELIVERANCE

After that single flash into the dark sky, came that small sparkle, the only one in the vast milky way.

And then, silence.

I stood up and turn my back; the party is over.

There are many that I have lost; gone with the past year that sank with the moon behind me. What is left of them are memories: the guilt because despite our very best efforts, and the support of all that stood beside us, we lost them regardless. If any comfort, there is that sip of gladness that, long or short, we are doing our utmost to give them the chance that is their birth-right, but has been denied them for many ridiculous excuses.

And there is still hope; like Mama Marilyn (see her picture to find out where her name came from). On nights like this she would have been alone in that empty parking lot inside the SOHO complex. Sometimes with the rain, many times with the wind, often just her and the silence of the night.

Just across the street from where she lays to raise her children, stands a veterinary clinic; but her babies, born as she struggle with even keeping herself alive, looked like goblins.

Their bodies were eaten by fungus and parasites. Their fur all gone, their skin hardened, and their muscles ache. They walked like string puppets.

They have many illnesses, as their mother cannot provide adequate protection through her thinning milk; but inside, they are the same.

They play, they chase, they roll. If they saw us alone, they’d climb our leg with their matchstick-sized bald legs, just so we took notice, lift them up, and put them on our chests.

If we gave them a slow dance, they’d fall asleep and purred.

How we would give anything for time long enough until all their medication took effect and let them feel better.

How we would do everything to make them who they should be: handsome, healthy, fluffy, chubby…

But what they should be turned out to be little angels in heaven.

And their mother who stays to tell their stories about little warriors, who wanders but not lost.

“Meow?”

I saw those two round eyes, looking straight at me; her tail bent gently back and forth, left and right.

When she finishes her treatments at the end of this month, Marilyn will be walking through the threshold of a new chapter in her life.

A new chapter that start with her spay, and then is filled with a story of a cat who took her chances, and lives again.

This time, as she should be.

~ Josie
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate