We were chatting about what sort of messy Christmas Tree we would have, with over a hundred cats and kittens stuffing our home. We never have a Christmas Tree. We don’t even have furniture. We do have a dining table with two seats, but most of the time we stand or sit on the porch. Luckily we also have a bed.

We saw her walking alone along that empty sidewalk of the SOHO complex on the other side of the clinic, where we left our chap and picked up mama cat and her goblins. She is so young, so skinny, so lonely. Pushing open the tip of the tall garbage bins, trying to sniff some hope, just enough for her and her incoming baby.

There was a bleeding wound by her back thigh, bright red on her white fur, but she has more important things to think about.

We looked at each other, trying to raise enough denial, or run to the world of reasoning and excuses.

The truth is out there. Right in front of us. It doesn’t speak, but it echoes within, loud and clear.

We didn’t have carrier, bags, anything. If we buy one in the nearest petshop, we’d spend the rest of what little left we have in our account.

I wrapped her with my jacket, and asked her to follow her heart, as I followed mine. She struggled for a bit, but for the rest of our way home, she sat there, letting fate bring her wherever life will follow.

We have no safe place for her in the house. We have cats in every corner and many more are sick, so we lend her a space in our storage room, where we keep the cat food and our tools. Sheilla has an unfinished cat condo, just enough for a single white female.

We ran out of heating pads, so we borrowed our turtle’s basking light, and set it on my desk lamp, to shine warmth when the night turns dark dark and cold.

Last night she delivered two tiny babies. Underweight, but otherwise healthy. Two other mothers who we keep in our storage area, safe from foraging naughty sons and daughters, sat by her box. She growled at them, but looking into each other’s eyes, I think they understand each other. They shared their food, she shared her trust.

We won’t have a Christmas Tree this year, we wouldn’t want one either. There is so much more we can give with what a Christmas Tree will cost.

But come, o ye faithful, this, is our nativity scene. This is our Christmas magic.

The front of her manger is still empty, but instead of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, we’d offer love, hope, and life.

Will you come and join us?

~ Josie


Is life. Maybe a chance, maybe love, a little bit of extra blanket, a roof over their head, warm food, clean drinking water.

For the time being, though – life.

From last Thursday to this Thursday, our lifelines have been filled with grim news, sad stories and bad endings; one cat after another.

We found the kitty miller chap Thursday night, sitting literally in the middle of the road, waiting to die. He didn’t care if moving tires were just millimetres off the tip of his ears, he didn’t care if people kicked him, though with the good intention of getting him off the street, he did not resist when I picked him up from behind, probably thinking I will be the one who will deal him the last blow that will part him from his pain.

He was dehydrated, and he has an Upper Respiratory Infection. We brought him home, hydrated him, gave him the best food we had, and the medicine to the best of our availability.

He got better for one day, ate and drank like mad; we took just one breath, and found out there was hardened faeces stuck inside. Well, he had been dehydrated for so long.

We took him to the vet and did everything by the doctor’s order, but nothing came out. He keeps eating, drinking, but it only make his unfinished business longer, creeping and filling all the way up his intestine.

There is only one way left: surgery, but with his condition at that time, he wouldn’t have survived.

We left him at the vet, so he can have intensive care, which he would not get with us, because as much as we care about him, we have over one hundred others who share only the two of us. Besides, it is safer for him to stay at the clinic, preventing possible infection due to his weakened state.

Bad news: the hardened stool is one thing, his kidney failing is the whole lot of other things.

For the time being, he is making his small steps forward.

As we left the clinic, I brought up about this tiny house (actually it is more of a cube) from a wooden crate left across the street, a cat who often packs herself inside, and as of late, some kittens who did not look so good. I know Sheilla will follow me, so I followed my instinct and cross the street.

At the porch of that SOHO building a young mother was trying to nurse three horrible looking kittens. Two one-month old, bald, crusty with yeast and skin infection, and whatever sickness that turned them into skeletons, and another one, possibly the only survivor of a previous litter.

She was so weak she cannot even lift her head.

There was an empty, dusty, filthy, dry feeding bowl nearby. An empty pouch of Whiskas, a dry, grimy water bowl.

We found another baby, also one month old, stranded on the porch of the next building; seemingly wandering around and got lost.

So, we went to the clinic with a kidney failure cat, and went home with a fainting mother and four goblin-looking kittens.

Friday morning, on my way to buy fish and medicine, I dropped by the ATM and was curious about a bottled water box in the corner

Inside was a mother with four newborn kittens. She was afraid, but she cannot run away. She was determined to attack whoever was trying to harm her little treasures; instead she let me touch her head, rub her cheek, and off I went with another box of cats.

Going back out to get my things done, I passed by a pitiful baby walking alone along the road. She knows this world for just eight weeks, but not enough to find herself a nook where she can make herself a living; so she looked up, and begged to whoever passed her by.

But no one gives a damn.

Another reroute then.

She has some respiratory problem; and her stamina is bad. She is lethargic, she is un-spirited, she sits there all the time watching other kittens, she vomits often; unfortunately it will take a while to find out what is going on in her system,

On Friday night going home from the colony, we found another eight weeks-old kitten, which lay dying out of starvation and respiratory infection under a barbecue burner just by the roadside. It was biting cold and he wouldn’t survive on his own, so we took him in as well.

Saturday morning at the parking lot of the market, she tried to brush away fleas off her tiny figure. Whenever someone passed, she will follow her potential patron telling stories of her short days gone by.

Who will listen to her? Nobody even listens to each other anymore

Well, we do, especially after a passerby kicked her into the underside of a vehicle.

By then I don’t want to go outside anymore. Otherwise I’d probably go home with cats enough to make another shelter; it’s the start of kitty season anyway.

Sunday morning when people go to church, spending time with friends and family, exercise, or have a hangover from last party or bar to quench their thirst, I was browsing job openings for a freelance anything.

These cats; I didn’t know what they do wrong,and they most likely never know what happened either,

I only know that just like me, they just want to mind their own business, living their lives, raising their children,

They do not need a mansion, they do not need fancy clothing, they don’t belong to moving vehicles.

They just want the chance to continue their lives; the lives cut off by the cruelty of men who are supposed to guard and protect them.

In exchange, they will lay their hopes, love, lives, and the future of their family in our hands.

Will we answer their call?

~ Josie

Urgent vet care needed!

This gorgeous chap was found neglected and abandoned on the street. He had been without food for several days when we found him and was very weak.

Josie and Sheilla rushed him to the vet, where he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He is stabilized but still critical and needs urgent intensive care. We are waiting for his condition to improve so the vet can perform surgery to remove hardened stool from his intestine.

We feel it is better for him to stay with the vet so he has somewhere quiet to recover while we get the other new arrivals settled at the shelter. We believe he belonged to a kitty mill/backyard breeder, and want so much to give him a second chance of the life he deserves.

More news coming of the other emergency rescues who have come to us over the past few days, but for the moment, may we please ask, again, if you can spare anything to help us continue helping them, please consider donating.



We found him dragging his tired and beaten self, begging for help from person to person, man to man, on a hot, sunny day; but no one answered his call.

If it was only hunger, we know the cure, and we are willing to share; but he has a hole on his chest and the pain crippled him so, he no longer feared anything, so long as he gets help.

It was October 10th.

Today is December 6th. We saw him jump from the kitchen counter to the chest freezer to the floor and all over the house, thinking we were still asleep. There is no more crippling pain, there is no more hunger, heat, rain, cold. There is no more hole in the chest.

There is only hole in his name: Holeman. A reminder of his beginning, and monument of your love. Your outpouring support gave him the chance denied to him by many. The chance for life, the chance for growth, the chance for love.

Some of the matched fund we are trying to raise (and so close to match) will go for his neutering. Then, he will be the perfect souvenir for the magic brought about by small people around the world who band together and show a pauper boy that him too, is worth it.

May your festive season begin with joy, knowing that you have brought about the miracle no one else in this world can, and are willing to make.

~ Josie





Giving at this festive season

The first day of December already! I had so much planned and so many things I wanted to do, and life just kept getting in the way.

I’m Christine, and I help Josie out on the Facebook page a little bit.

Josie, Sheilla, and the cats are never far from my thoughts, but right now they’re at the forefront.

As I go about my daily routine, I see many people preparing for a joyous time with friends and family; a period of warmth and plenty, with festivities and celebrations, and time to sit back and take a breath.

Life at The Whiskers Syndicate can be like that, but the majority of the time it’s very different. Josie and Sheilla work hard to keep the bills paid, the shelter in good order, and the cats fed and cared for, not to mention doing everything they can for the street cats.

It is rewarding, but also challenging and sometimes heartbreaking.

I have visions of sending over boxes of everything they desperately need; things like blankets and towels, medicines, vitamins, food and toys.

I picture hampers of things for the cats and for the humans, too, to celebrate the season as they deserve, with love, warmth, and maybe to be free of worry for a little while.

If I could, I would send them all this and more. I would love so much to help meet the fundraising goal every week for this month, to help get things on an even keel, and perhaps give a foothold to start next year on solid ground and move forward with some security.

It’s impossible for one person to do this alone, but with help from all of you, we have already done so much, and I know we can do more.

We are so grateful to you, always, and if I can ask again for your help, in whatever way you’re able to give it, we would consider it an incredible gift.

As Josie says, you, WE, are The Whiskers Syndicate 💚



I have just finished the first paragraph. It’s #givingtuesday and it’s a good time to come back online after a forced vacation, when the good elf of Santa repaired my phone.

Talking about the phone, it’s ringing. A small booth by the roadside selling banana fritters and ginger tea for two generations made their first call. It’s not the first time we will meet. I went there every so often with Sheilla when we’re done with the colony and need some peace to just chat or plan the morrow, without cats on our arms and legs.

The current manager, the son of the founder, saw us feeding a pregnant mother cat in one of our visits, and continued caring for her, as she tries to raise her family. We didn’t know where she hid her babies, but we left the matter as is. The less familiar they are with humans, the less chance they got harmed.

The man said, the babies are now out following their mother, and often hang around his booth late at night, where there are fewer customers. He thought, he’d ask his customers if someone would like to adopt the family and give them a better life.

One of his visitors came and upon hearing his request, took the mother. He was trying to prevent it by warning the woman that the cat has very young kittens, but the woman took off with the mother anyway.

He was concerned because the orphaned kittens were running around looking for their mother, and they soon fell ill because it’s terribly cold and wet yesterday. He let the kittens linger by his stove under constant supervision, but is concerned about leaving them alone in his semi-open booth overnight.

What was supposed to be my post, was then gone with the wind. We rode to the booth after we finished caring for the colony, and helped the man looking for the kittens.

We took three home, starving, cold and dirty; we will come back tomorrow for the fourth who we cannot find in the deep dark of this rainy midnight.

We fed them, we cleaned them as much as we can, we gave them a warm bed and heater, but we cannot answer their questioning eyes and little meows about their mother.

We can only tell them we will do our best to give them the chance that was robbed the way they lost their mother.

We can only show them that although it won’t be the same, if they give us a chance, they can still sleep in heavenly peace.

~ Josie