Close to two years under siege in these endless lockdowns, I decided that I had enough.
I had to throw away a cardboard cat house Sheilla made after its resident kitten died of Panleukopenia, two days after I brought him home.

A girl from the slum nearby ran off and dragged her mother along, asking her to ask me if she can have the house.
In shortage of clear mind, I told her I would make her a new cat house if she would give me time and come back the next day.
When she came the next day, I only have my two hands and hopefully good enough memories of how Sheilla made all our cat houses.
I took her board cutter and started working; while more of her friends came to watch over time. Though these girls come by often to buy cat food and chat, it’s becoming more uncomfortable; I am not quite a people person, but the sooner I finish the labor, the sooner I can return to my comfort zone.

As I keep going, I learned that they had found a stray mother cat who gave birth in one of the girls’ front yards, and they had meant to take that thrown away cat house for the mother. I learned that they have been taking turns using their pocket money to buy food for the mother. When no one has enough, they put together a bit of what they have and buy food together.
Kids are too noisy for me most of the time, but those are the reasons I always open my door whenever they dropped by, no matter how busy or how tired I am. These girls draw courage from I don’t know where, picked up street kittens they found on the street, and see me ask what best to do. They don’t have much, and most of the time, the cats just ended up roaming on the streets around their houses, but they care for them as much as they can, and that’s a lot better than following the example of their ignorant parents whohave done nothing in the face of animal suffering.

Every once in a while, one of their parents can do nothing but comply when their children drag them to my place and ask them to buy cat snacks, food, or medicine. Every time it happened, I’d ask the parents to help their kids become the better generation, give them my number, and ask them to call me when the cat is ready for spay or neuter.
With one last breath, however, I showed them the house, asked them if they want an extra window (they said, “No, because it’s cold at night”), and ask them if they are willing to pose for a picture with their new cat house.
Kids are too noisy for me most of the time, but just that time, I found the peace I have lost somewhere during the strenuous lockdown. Just that time, I found hope knowing that, when I am gone, there will be others who take care of the animals.
They treated the cat house like treasure. The quiet and empty street suddenly turned merry and bright with their cheers and goodbyes and thank-yous.

Back alone, cleaning up, I heard my door opened.
The youngest girl, the one with curly hair in the red shirt, stood alone.
I thought I’d ask her if she needed something else, but she beat me into it.
“Big sister, thank you for the cat house. May God bless you abundantly, and may lots of people come and buy from your shop”
Then she closed the door behind her to catch up with her friends.

~ Josie T Liem

These girls (and boys) do not have much. Most of the time they only have enough to buy one pouch of cat food (the cheapest one is 50 cents for a saucer of wet food), but they happily share with the many street cats roaming around their slums.
I don’t have much. Most of the time I have to beg for donations before I have enough to buy cat food for the sanctuary residence. Unlike US, or England, or Europe, my government does not hand out cheques to put us into lockdown. We have to figure out our own survival, which is why many of us, including me, choose to keep working, or we won’t stay alive.
Though I have such a wonderful time with these kids, it breaks my heart because I, an animal rescuer, cannot help them more than making them cat houses.

If you can, please help me help them care for stray, neglected, abused, sick cats on the streets.



She is the oldest, sickliest, most vulnerable, yet the most elusive. I mean, one minute she was by my side, I turned around for a little bit for another cat, and the next minute, she was not there.
So when the supermarket finally closed permanently on July 21st, she was among a few I haven’t been able to trap, spay and relocate.

If God ever listened to prayers, though, a neighbor gave me a flyer that said the campus next to the supermarket would be turned into a vaccine center starting July 23rd.
So there will be people; when there are people, there will be food. When there is food, there is life. I was not fond of the idea, but Covid, one weird way or another, is buying me some time.

I come there still, at noon when even my shadow is afraid of me. I bring the best tasting food I can afford. I bring cooled water to quench the scorching heat that marks the beginning of summer.

Then one of those days, I asked her if she would go to a better place. A quiet park with large trees and grass to roll around. Birds chirping in the morning, gentle wind, maybe some friends.
She looked at me for a second and went back to eating.
Eventually, she entered my backpack and let me transport her to the nearest clinic. After one week, she traveled one more time, to her new paradise.

Slowly, she is getting better. No mites, no fleas, no worms. She gains weight, and her eyes glimmer with many stories.
I’ve watched her playing hide and seek with her imaginary friend. I have watched her climbing trees, something she would never have been be able to do in her old place. I have seen her enjoy the cool breeze on the lush green grass instead of the previous scorching hot pavement.

She is still that same old ninja grandma, but she is no longer a beggar. She is the master of her own life, in full control of her own fate. In a home where she truly belongs.

~ Josie T Liem

Thank you. Without your support this old grandma wouldn’t have found a new home to enjoy proper retirement.
If you think I am doing a good work, please help me keep it up.


We’ve got only two days before the store will close, and it rained all day. All of a sudden, everything becomes irritating. The question remains: whether I just run through the rain and grab anyone I can find; or wait until the rain stops so I can catch and relocate more cats.

Every time I made up my mind and put on my raincoat, something comes up. Baby wants milk; kitten wants chicken. Someone kicks over a dry food jar; telesales made phone calls and sent messages incessantly.

I found myself running through wet roads and jumping over potholes at dusk as soon as the last drop of rain touched the earth. There was no one there but a mother and her three babies. She is friendly to everyone, even though not everyone is friendly to her. She would wait near the entrance with eyes full of hope, though sometimes those hopes turned hopeless.

With three babies, she can’t just pack up and leave, just like other cats. She can only sit in the corner, babies stowed away not far behind, and wait for her only hope.

Her only hope is three pouches of food in my hand. As gratitude, she will allow me to pet her. When I try to go near her children, she will follow me: walking criss-cross and even slipped between my legs.

But I need to get to her babies; I need to pick them up and move this little family to a safer place.

It’s personal. Throughout this second lockdown, people are dumping cats on the streets and parks and markets, and most of them, starting with the most fragile innocent kittens, meet their cruel death – slow or fast – while those who dump them live happily ever after.

I set up my trap. I put a plate of food on the floor, and wait.
When she eats, I throw a blanket over her then get her into the carrier. Her babies are next.

I waited just in case other cats will show up, but there were none for the rest of the evening.
Currently, they live in my storage room. One or two months from now she will start weaning her babies. Then I will have her spayed and released to a nearby park.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring a better result, but for now, I am glad this little family now stands a chance for a better future.

~ Josie

A supermarket near our sanctuary is closing, and over twenty cats will lose their living. To date, I have trapped nine, spay/neuter six, and released everyone to a quiet park accessible from home. Please help me save more lives before the store site becomes off-limit to the public: paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate


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



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



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.