Brand New Breeze

original version of a feature on EFA/Etsy For Animal’s Blog

Dec 31,2013

 

As days became weeks, and advanced us towards the end of the month and year… we’d like to say that we’ve been carried away by the rush of the festive season, and especially for us, for me, this one Christmas had brought us to a higher plane.

We are so grateful to have been nominated, and chosen as EFA’s December Charity Of The Month, during which we were given the chance to experience a higher level of the Spirit of the Season.

In such a drive to raise the urgent fund for our sanctuary, which was damaged by recent storm, EFA also started a separate emergency fund raiser (for two more holding cages) which reached its goal in just one day, and continued to grow… the excess funds were transferred over to the general repair PitchIn fund raiser – thank you so much !

In the other side, our sister Lori work endlessly to reach out through our Facebook page; that a place usually as quiet as grave, now so bright and bustling, though probably not as hectic as the shopping malls at the end of the year.

Another sister, Ekeim, silently put her charms to work and get us a chance for an online auction to benefit The Whiskers’ Syndicate starting January 2014.

I am sure none of our blog post missed Care2News because another angel: Christine Steward, never forget to share each and every one of our adventures in Care2.

All of those will not be successful without you: our blog readers, our FB fans, our Google circle, and a few good men who share our story.

The magic is: all of those happened when I sustain wrist injury that render me unable to write properly and have to struggle even to finish one order from our Etsy shop.

Never in our lives we saw a response so quick, and with such compassion that our friends and family literally shifted from their currents and rushed to our aid. Never in our lives we experience such bond in which the whole team is no longer individuals that move toward the same goal, or people that share common love toward cats, but as a band of brothers and sisters, that stand and fall together, as one. It is at that moment that we can feel how powerful, united, and grand we all if each of us is willing to spend a little, even if it’s only sharing our story.

And so at the end of this season, as we embrace the New Year with the hope of better fares in our lives… as a person, as a member of our community, and overall as part of society, please allow us to humbly bow our gratitude to all of you. Each of the donations that were Pitched In are golden rays of the newly born sun to us as we too continue our journey.

The path we have to take is still long. Our fund raise is still far from done… and even today, stray, feral, abused and neglected cats (and several other animals) that called our sanctuary home are still seeking heaven’s approval for a better place to stay. While we will no longer have the privilege of being EFA’s COTM, we invite you to share the remaining of this journey together.

We have an online auction to benefit Whiskers’ Syndicate, courtesy of Auction for small rescues worldwide in facebook. If you have something new, or nearly new, that you would like to send away, you are invited to donate it for auction on our behalf. If you are on facebook just go to the link above and register yourself, and post the picture of your item(s) along with a clear description and price. Tell your friends and family about this great thing you do, and ask them to share your story so that people can join the auction and bid on your item. Kindly remember to mention that your item is to benefit The Whiskers’ Syndicate.

If you need something to buy and want it cheap and in good condition, you are also welcome to go to the link above and see if you are interested in something. Charity auctions usually sell good things in great price.

If you are not on Facebook but would like to donate items to the auctions, just contact us and we will come to you with all the requirements and post on your behalf.

We hope that the spirit with which we are showered this month can be carried over to the new Charity of The Month, and that every laughter, tears, loss, and gains during this magical season stays in all our hearts for a long long time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. This year, the star of Bethlehem is you.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

I’ve got a little angel falling from the sky last October, when I did some errands and was waiting for the next bus to come.

A man was strutting his brand new 250cc sports motorcycle (seriously, a racer motorbike to use in congested streets in Bandung?) and has been blowing the gas over and over to draw attention.

Eventually, on certain blow, the corner of my eyes caught a glimpse of a ball shaped shadow falling from the sky, right in front of the incoming bus, and catch it in reflex.

In my arms, a startled kittens stared blankly at me as the motorcycle continue to show off and while trying to make his way through the traffic jam. When the kitten finally realize that he landed on a wrong place, he tried frantically to get off my hand, and his unpredictable jerks gave me such trouble that I ended up twisted my right wrist trying to hold him from being crushed by the bus.

I pushed him into my bag because the sprain weaken my hold, and go away from the terminal as far as I can, then after he calmed down a little, I re-open my bag and try to dig for some pocket cat food, only to find out that I ran out of it already, and left with one bottle of Kewpie baby food that I just bought to feed sick kittens at home.

CODFISH TUNA AND VEGETABLE RISOTTO 1

I was kind of worried that he didn’t like it, but my laugh breaks loose when, out if his impatience, the tiny kitten didn’t wait until I come up with a small spoon, and instead tried to drill his head into the bottle for an immediate hunger relief, and as he did so, drill his cave into my heart.

Kewpiekewpie gendong

and Kewpie is his name

Kewpie did well as soon as he gets into the Whiskers’ Syndicate, although the vets told me that he got a terrible state of gastrointestinal condition, probably because he was separated from his mother too early and too long.

Unfortunately, Bandung still doesn’t have enough technology to address his problem and bring him back to health. Severe malnourishment had damaged Kewpie’s fragile system and that it’s possible that his days is not very much left because as healthy as he is, he is never as vibrant and lively as other kittens. I almost always find him sitting on the sideline watching, and he is tired so easily he slept away most of his days, unlike other kittens.

Still, I was so glad of the chance given to spend my life with such an angelic creature, that I didn’t pay too much attention on my hurting wrist then. I just want to shower him with every attention, give him good food, plenty of toys, nice beds, everything he probably can’t even dream of when he still live on the streets. At those time, my wrist is second to the last priority. I put ointments on my twisted wrist and ignore it, thinking that it’s just a small accident, and that it will heal as time pass by.

kewpie with martha

fast friends with Martha

He falls in love to a pet bed that I was making for sale, so I just let him have it and made a new one to be sent to Australia.

KewpieBed

Kewpie’s chosen home. He spent most of his life rolling all over inside the cave if not sleeping

kewpie in squid bed looking side

A kitten his age supposed to still be nursing instead of eating garbage

The cat bed followed Kewpie to his grave when monsoon came and a virus attacked his weak digestive system, and he left a big hole that he drilled into my heart during his short stay on earth.

I know it’s meant to be. Kewpie is still very young, he is still so small, and it is unfair for him to have to live less-than-perfect life without access to proper medication. I know it is best for him to leave soon, so he can go back to heaven and reborn as something better, but there’s still this gaping hole that he drilled into my heart.

Like the pain he left, the ache on my wrist lingers, and was growing worse. Every time I try to lift something, it stings right through my upper arms. Despite, I continue to use my wrist as if as nothing happened.

Or else, no one will keep the Whiskers’ Syndicate clean, alive, and running.

Quite a few friends and family know what happened to my wrist, but no one know about how it continue to worsen because I keep lying to everyone while trying hard to convince myself that it’s going to be OK, and it only take longer because instead of resting it, I continue to use it.

Soon enough it become too painful for me to type, and I am falling behind on answering emails and sending thank you note to supporters.

Then it becomes painful to click mouse so I skip resizing pictures for facebook or google+ and instead upload them as they are. Some seems to be OK, the other ones are just weird and I am obviously not satisfied with my work, but it’s the best thing I can do.

Last week I can’t even click a pen to use it to write without cringing in pain. It took me hours just to finish one post card that I sent along with every order, and I need the bus driver and post office staffs to help me carry items to be shipped even though they are less than 2 kilograms.

It is when my close friend Kay Meow remind me to seek help before it’s too late and my wrist turned into a bad arthritis. It’s a good advice and I intended to follow it, but The Whiskers’ Syndicate is at critical moment right now and I don’t feel like abandoning it even for a while to take care of myself, even if I want to.

I feel like I was pushed around trying to hold the momentum and fund raise for our defunct roof before the cats all died out of sickness or brawls. There is no way forty something adult cats stays together in less than 36 square meters (about 380 square feet) without at least clawing at each other.

IMG_20131223_093416

When our “Achoo” boy cleared up …

IMG_20131223_100312

another one gone worse.

The fund raising has been in itself, a roller coaster adventure. We have hope when we are referred to an online auctioneer that benefit animals, but there is no further contact from the auction house and our messages went unanswered. We are very happy that we are appointed as charity of the month by Etsy For Animals Team, in which portion of their sales in December 2013 will benefit our repair fund, but there is not much sales to hope for, until the team launched an emergency fund raising that ended up well enough to buy two extra large to contain the cats when it’s time to repair.

With new flourishing hope from the emergency fund raising, we are trying to knock more door to be included into other auctions that benefit animals, but we have little luck and the donation meter stuck for about a week, until a kind friend posted our story in a celebrity’s facebook page and people come to help, among which is our friend Nikki Prindle who set out in her personal campaign to collect donated items for the Whiskers’ Syndicate.

The last best news is that we will be included in an online auction that benefit our rescue in January and April 2014.

In the middle of all the uncertainty, I called my doctor, made an appointment, and listening to my story, he touched my wrist and move it around, a gesture so gentle yet left me shouting in sheer pain. It seems like, in the doctor’s world, even an idiot can easily ruled out that my wrist has gone bad enough, and in his own words: going to be a bad arthritis if I came see him a few days late.

And I planned to visit him a few days late if Kay Meow didn’t urge me to find help immediately.

He looked at my face as he ruled his judgement, and made a challenge:

He will overturn my arthritis, and completely heal them, but I have to:

1. Stop taking more jobs and stay with whatever I have now.

2. See and work with physiotherapist he recommends for the whole week.

3. Take heaps of medication that, like life, is sugar coated, but left a bad after taste.

When I got out of the hospital, my heart can’t sink any deeper. I really need to repair the cattery. I really need to help the cats, I really need to make it now, because once the year turned into a new one, we will be drowned in the merciless rainy season, and seriously, I need to keep everyone alive because I don’t know if my heart can take another ache if someone die out of pneumonia or Chlamydia and I can’t help it because the mobsters don’t have proper place to stay.

But I also need this hand. I am a rescuer, a seamstress, crafter, cook, cleaner, translator, blogger, and at the very bottom line I am right handed. I am ambidextrous and I have no trouble using my left hand, but I was born right handed so it’s still my dominant hand.

So here is my choice: I continue to do what I am doing now, and lost my hand (hence the cats will die because I cannot work with one hand) or step back and fail the fund raising effort and the cats will die from the harsh season.

I talked about this to my captain, and as I lamented about my failed efforts, she wrote:

 Maybe the Universe (God) is saying – look here are people to help you and I make them succeed. You need to take care of yourself and the kitties and slow down. You keep trying to NOT do that so God makes you not succeed to teach you lesson.

I was actually  startled long enough reading that, that she has to ping on me and ask “Are you listening?”

It seems like in my frantic rush, I forgot to stop, take a breath, and look around, and I did it long enough to missed the one door that God had left open.

We have people cancel their promise to us, we have people backed out from donating items to auction, we have people forgetting their pledge to donate citing various reasons to justify their spending (which is actually their right, so we’re not complaining, though disappointed), we have people moving away from us and care for his and her own joyful Christmas tirade.

But we also have those who dropped by and stay to lend their hand without having to be asked to do that. We have friends who take their own initiative and cover the holes that we have not yet touch, and we have those who try to share our story online and offline whether or not the seed they sow will grow, let alone bare fruit.

Most of all we have our faith that if God put us here, He will lead us through it, one way or another. We gone too far to turn back now, even if we can turn back. Whiskers’ Syndicate is the only animal sanctuary in Bandung, breeder capital of Indonesia, a country without animal welfare. Our house is the only place they can turn to, if they live long enough to get to us, so we can’t afford to just break down and cry and return all our rescues to the street and refuse all others who come.

PC150021

a street cat like this one is coming everyday and beg in front of our door since the flood

We can, actually. No one will blame us, but we won’t do it because we have one more thing that might work: YOU.

Animals have no one else to turn to but us, and we do not have anyone else to turn to but you.

1. We tell you once and we will tell you again: 1 USD equals more than 10 thousand Rupiah. You got your eyes right, which is why we always say a little bit bring huge help.

We need USD 5,600 to repair our sanctuary and we only have USD 1,000 as of today. Would you chip in just USD 1 to help our Christmas dream come true? Spare your change, throw us your coins here.

2. EFA/ Etsy For Animals team with members all over the world is on sale to benefit our cause during December 2013 only.

3. Join Lori Skaggs on our Quest2Canaan in Facebook. If you like animals, and especially cats, chances are there will be something that catch your heart off guard.

Help Lori share our stories. Sharing is free, and yet it saves lives.

4. Don’t feel like donating money? Our friend Nikki Prindle is helping us collecting items that are not available in Indonesia but is crucial for the cats. You can find what we need here (scroll to the bottom for a complete list)

We only do this because we believe that there is still good in people. We only do this because we believe that there’s still kindness left in every heart, we believe that if every small things that we are band together, we are strong. We believe in you, and at this moment, you should see that we stretch our hands and paws for our life and you can make it happen.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

We believe that you are our Christmas miracle, and so all we need for Christmas is you.

You Better Watch Out, Santa Claus Is Moving Out Of Town!

as appeared in a feature in EFA/Etsy For Animals’ blog
by Nicole Planchon of Brizel4Animals

Goodday EFA peeps and cat supporters worldwide.

I have a special announcement and mission relating to an *emergency* fund raiser that I’d like to put forward today. It relates to an expense for a much needed item that our COTM recipient, The Whiskers’ Syndicate is in need of rather urgently.

If you havent already had a chance to familiarize yourself with our Charity of the Month and the challenges that they are facing at the moment… you can view our second COTM blog feature outlining their specific difficulties in detail.

The short of it is… that the residuals of the typhoon that hit the Philippines last month caused excessive rain storms in Bandung, Indonesia where The Whiskers’ Syndicate is located and as a consequence- the roof to their cattery was damaged. Estimated costs of repairs on fixing that and getting this unique cat sanctuary back on their feet is $5600. As of today, the PitchIn for this specific fund raising event is at $890- so they are only 15% there with 85% yet to be donated.

 

I’m sure you will all agree that Christmas Miracles are much needed at this time.

Apart from the roof repairs, part of this $5600 budget is/was to purchase four large cages to help keep safe those felines that have fallen ill with all the original flooding and from further recurring flooding issues since the roof remains un-repaired. The grounds are so saturated- drainage is slow, if at all existent and all new incoming rain compounds the problem further.

new cages

The Whiskers’ Syndicate is home to forty felines and with a very small sized main house- all forty of them are having to seek shelter in it. Due to these stressful conditions- some of the cats are having behavioral issues so a time-out space is also needed. There’s half a dozen reasons I can give you why having these cages are essential right now: sick cats, pregnant strays, misbehavin’, healing from injuries, shy newcomers, safe haven from roofers are six good reasons right there.

Samson on top

The EXCiTiNG news is that Ace Hardware is having an end of year sale and two cages have already been acquired at a 15% discount. Another two are on order and should be arriving within the next 24hrs. So in spite of only having 15% of the fundraiser in, so far, the four cages that were on the budget list will have been purchased at a discount and their benefits put into action right away.

Trying the hammock

Here’s the rub: the truth is… four cages aren’t enough but funds cannot be diverted for another two needed cages since they are not on the budget. That doesn’t mean they are not essential- it just means that saving for the roof work must come first despite the compromised day to day situation.

Ace Hardware will only be receiving 6 cages THIS weekend- & two of those have already sold to The Whiskers’ Syndicate. I would like to propose a separate fundraiser to purchase two more cages *within the next few days*. Their cost is an approximate $250 but only if we can urgently snag two more up at the discount *right away*. This is not a pressure tactic- this is simply the reality check on achieving our goal this weekend.

The emergency situation at this sanctuary makes everything a ‘make it or break it’ deal. You simply cannot imagine what its like to do rescue work in Bandung, Indonesia. Many would have given up by now, but not Josie, so please – can you spare some of your dollars for this ? or if you prefer, donate to the bigger goal of getting the roof repairs done ! It looks so bleak at the moment… but if everyone puts in a little- it would help a lot.

For this cage fundraiser… Click on the PitchIn above to make a donation… 50 people donating $5 each would make another two cages a much needed reality… or 25 with $10 to spare would be just grand too. less or more ? Great- whatever works for you… we can’t do this without you.

For this cage fundraiser… Click on the PitchIn above to make a donation… 50 people donating $5 each would make another two cages a much needed reality… or 25 with $10 to spare would be just grand too. less or more ? Great- whatever works for you… we can’t do this without you.

Once we’ve reached our goal with this specific cage fundraiser… overages will go towards roof repair- you can click below to donate to this BiGGER endeavor…

  Thank you SO much !
whiskers fb cover christmas 2013

 

Thank you for your consideration

your time and help are truly appreciated !

 

The Whiskers’ Syndicate is a private animal/cat sanctuary, they are the first, and only one operating in the breeder capital of Indonesia… a country without animal welfare, where even vets are backyard breeders.

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Away With A Stranger

as appeared in a feature in EFA/Etsy For Animals’ blog
by josie t liem

home alone

One of the perks of having a cat is that they require less daily “maintenance” than dogs. They don’t have to be walked two or three times a day. If you have cats and you are running late at work, you don’t have to worry about being late for their walk. You know the cats will be fine. This is NOT to say that cats should be ignored or “left” for long amounts of time.

During my recent visits to the vet, which always seem to turn into an impromptu vet tech job, I saw the vet treat a terribly ill cat who, as it turns out, was left home alone for two weeks.

Basically she was left with a huge bowl of food and water. However, the water somehow spilled and ruined all the food. Vets believe this happened on day 1 or 2 so the cat had no food to eat for 2 weeks and no water. We worked on that cat from 10 am in the morning to 2 am the next morning and successfully treated the cat, but it now suffers permanent damage & the vet bills cost a pretty penny to the owner. Luckily, the owner’s mother loves the cat enough that she kept the cat for herself after that, otherwise the vet and I were sure that the cat would either be sold off or worse, thrown to the street.

The vets said that the longest someone should leave their cats is about 24 hours. Maybe 36 hours. In extreme circumstances 48 hours, but honestly, my preference is no longer than 24 hours. Cats can get sick and no one is there to give attention, and it can be a long, agonizing death. There are more than one occasion where I heard crying patients in the lobby with stories of how they come home from a vacation to a dead cat.

I’m sure lots of cats are successfully left for periods of time without incident; but because cats (and other animals) are “some one” not “some thing” expendable, I would prefer that their human check on them every day to make sure the cats have proper food and water, clean environment, and to check if the cats are safe and healthy.

Ideally, I prefer my “pet sitter” (can be anyone actually) to also spend a little time playing with them or sitting around – even if that means watching a movie, reading comic books, or just being “around”. If I come home to a dead cat – I’d have serious issues with that !

Boarding vs Pet Sitter

There’s also the option of boarding your cats. The pros are that you don’t have to let a stranger into your house, and if the boarding house knows what they are doing, they’d be taking care of your cats well enough.

The cons are that, you’d never know… One thing for sure, is that cats easily stress out because they dont adapt easily to new environments. And it’s not easy to find trust-able boarding. I also get a lot of clients complaining about their cats getting fleas from boarding… worms, scabies, even fatal sickness like upper respiratory infections or other viruses. Boarding house is not the owner of your pet, so they don’t always care about ‘maintenance’ issues. Your pets can be given different food or miss out on their vitamins or medications.

If you hire a pet sitter, however, you have someone checking your house, getting your mail and making your home looked “lived in” whilst you are away. If you are lucky, you can sometimes find someone who is willing to stay at your home. A pet sitter that stays at your home can give your pets plenty of attention. However, you have to find the right person. Office and staffs at veterinary clinics can make good candidates for this job. They are animal-people and are trained to detect medical problems should they arise. Your cat is in his own environment which is generally less stressful and most importantly, your cat will eat his own food and have his own routine. I am sure we all know that a change of food or an addition of treats can sometimes induce gastrointestinal upset, or hard-to-handle allergies. Unfortunately if you hire a wrong person, they can invite unwanted people or event into your house when you are not around. Plenty to worry about !

Whether you choose a kennel or pet sitter – make sure to provide clear instruction on what food your cat should be fed and any required medications. A good kennel or pet sitter will often play or sit with the cats several times a day. Give clear instructions on what you expect of his activity, playtime and interaction to be. Also, ensure that you provide good contact information in both instances in the case of an emergency.

If you are not planning to go away this holiday? That’s great, just make sure your pets stay safely inside the house.

Happy Holidays!

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Oh Little Town of Mayhem

As appeared on EFA/ Etsy For Animal blog

Had I come home ten minutes later that evening, there would be no story to share today.

I was out running errands shipping out some Etsy orders and it was already chaotic when I got home. The feline ‘refugees’ were on top of anything and everything high and those who had not managed this feat called frantically, demanding me to open the front door right away. When I did, there was a strong current of panicked cats rushing inside the house, like a tsunami, and with them came along much mud and dirt.

looking for high place

Running away from chasing water

Even when we started The Whiskers Syndicate, our property was ‘primitive’. What we call a ‘cattery’ is simply a part of the backyard that has roof, and the rest of it is green grass.

empty

Can you count how many cats are in the photo?

This is how the backyard looked like when we first moved in…

from the other side

under the sun

Nothing fancy, but better than bracing the cold winds of the highlands on a merciless city street without proper food or shelter !

After our typhoon inspired rain storm… the backyard had turned into a mess…

day after flood

puddle on corroded soil

The bamboos all bent over from harsh wind

and blocked the path:

bamboo

And we can only look while hoping the sky won’t fall upon us.

gazing at the flood while wet

checking out

Due to roof damages, in the days that followed… even with the slightest rain we experienced multiple water leaks and sometimes it felt like we had no roof at all.

wet inside out

Under such condition plenty of cats, especially small kittens, became sick and needed intensive vet care and it became a dilemma. Its impossible to be in two places at the same time… when I am at the vet downtown, I am worried about rain flooding the cattery and when I am home, I feel guilty because some of the cats should be going to the vet. We do not have vehicle so all this takes much time.

Restoration is imminent. With my experiences in the past year and the support of generous supporters who donate or send medications and supplies… everyone has pulled through and we intend to do whatever we can to get through these trials.

Peta is one of our world famous cats. He voluntarily share his fatherly love to every kitten that comes into the sanctuary. He lost his favourite tree but is still taking time to comfort others…

eroded playground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

peta Peta and his favourite palm tree  

peta - its going to be ok

Comforting Twinkle Magic, who got wet because he’s too small to climb washing machine   

And life goes on, regardless..

life goes on

enjoying first breakfast after the flood receded

whiskers av

Whiskers’ Syndicate is a private sanctuary, we are the first, and only one operating in this breeder capital of Indonesia, a country without animal welfare, where even vets are backyard breeders.

Team EFA is partnering up with friends of Whiskers’ Syndicate to help fundraise $5500, the estimated cost to repair damages from this typhoon inspired rain storm. Won’t you lend your hand to help our cats get their home repaired ?

 

Josie, did you know?

for a feature on Charity of The Month

Being born into a family of animal lovers, rescue work was a natural part of life for me at a young age; but in the spring of May 2008 when I relocated to Bandung for work, I had no idea just how much of my life would become dedicated to saving animals.

You see, I got used to being at the top in my hometown. I was a straight ‘A’ student with lines of scholarships and titles behind my name. Granted I started as a school teacher (part time work before I graduated) but once I made the jump I kept climbing the corporate ladder. Until one day I asked myself: “Now what?”

When a former client of my workplace called me with an offer, I just packed up and left everything to start all over. Everyone said I was crazy, but I would have been if I didn’t find something to keep my brain and passion moving. So, I got a brand new job, in a brand new holding company (of one of the largest textile machinery company in South East Asia), as an assistant to the brand new CEO, and then received my first promotion within 3 months! Fabulous? Not really. I just ran fast because I wanted to move out already.

This town appalled me from every side, especially with the way people treated each other, and more to the point the way they treated animals. The ignorance, the arrogance, the hypocrisy, the holier-than-thou attitude which are official character traits in this area.

n this small city, animals are ‘things’, not beings nor ‘someones’. No one wants to give way when someone else crosses the street… no one wants to stand in line… no one listens to the police when they are managing the street… no one gives regards to the rules… everyone is throwing garbage into the river, and in every nook and sewer of this “Paris Van Java”, you can find road-kills or decomposing carcasses of all kinds of animals, and in every flea market wildlife cramped into matchboxes to spend the rest of their existence in filth, for a dime.

The force that changed my life came about two weeks before Christmas… at the peak of my disgust and in the shape of a tiny B/W kitten who cried day and night for 3 days on a scorching pavement near the office and when it finally found shelter under my boss’ car, no one cared to get it out. It was the first time that my co-worker saw ‘the personal assistant of the CEO’ crawl under his Mercedes Benz wearing her expensive suit, high heels, make up… in order to pick up a half baked dirty kitten.

 

Kaitou - founding cat of The Whiskers' Syndicate
Kaitou – founding cat of The Whiskers’ Syndicate

At my boarding house, I saw the landlord’s 2 years old toddler kick their pet, a pregnant female cat that they never fed, whom despite the abuse, remained loyal to them. I lost myself when I saw that little boy heading for the cat again so I quickly picked her up and went to my room. I gave her a box, my blanket and no matter how many times I put her in that box she came back to me on the bed and then gave birth to five kittens right beside me!

An unforgettable event which compelled me to name her: “Amazing Grace”. She is a graceful cat, an amazing mother, and a stranger who trusted me enough to give birth in my arms… like a touch of heaven that turned me around and opened my eyes to a whole new world I had never seen before… a road less traveled which I was ready to take.

Grace and kids

I shared Grace and Kaitou’s story, through private messages to friends on Care2 and via emails. A few months later, I found two kittens injured by motorcycle and rescued them. But for the first time in my life, I was running short of money and was struggling to pay vet bills. I wrote about that too. I was told, given the idea, to start a blog, establish a Paypal account, and without knowing what the heck I was really doing… I started to receive donations to pay for the vet and even help raise these two kittens into adulthood.

Picassa

Picassa – named after the abstract pattern above her right eye

Renoir

Renoir, with hernia and a lot of parasites

Through the course of time our blog developed, and it recounted the otherwise untold stories of forsaken animals in our corrupted paradise.

The Whiskers’ Syndicate was founded and became the only hope, both for the animals, and for me… reaching out to those who cared and were willing to help. We were aliens to our own countrymen, but friends to Good Samaritans.

I started a side job as an online translator, as a storyboard writer, as a part time journalist, even as an athlete… all to keep food on the table for the growing numbers of cats under my care.

Renoir 1yo

Renoir 1 year later – a big brother to the new comers

Kaitou 1 yr

Kaitou – 1 year old with his favourite Starbucks bear

Every year, I faced eviction from landlords because of the cats… so we were forced to live in uncanny environments: an attic (hence cats living on the roof)… in 2010, we lived in a rental near a swamp… in 2011, no one would take us except for an old lady who liked cats and offered us a 6×8 square meter (516 square feet) area for me and at that point, 30 cats.

In 2012, The Whiskers’ Syndicate once again stood on the head of a pin when all of a sudden our rental could not be renewed and about to be left without roof nor room… our fate challenged my faith for longer than a moment… when out of nowhere we found our permanent home – an unsold property in a residential cluster that had a fair amount of land at its back and was surrounded by tall 2 story houses on both sides providing the cats with safety from traffic and human harm. So with what was left of my money, and hearty donations from friends around the world, I took a 19 year mortgage on the property… something that I will fight to keep with all my heart and soul !

artist exposed catnip mouse

One of my side job is selling handmade gifts for pets and pets lover. The catnip mice I promoted in this picture is featured internationally via Vicki Diane.

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One of our most sought-after items for sale

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Get one of this in your room and we guarantee you won’t slip when you wake up from your bed in the morning.

That August of 2012, with the support of our loyal friends, The Whiskers’ Syndicate was chosen as Shelter Of The Month by SPCA International. Alongside recommedations from our supporters, SPCAI knew about us from their “Operation Baghdad Pups” a campaign we helped, which assisted dogs and cats adopted by soldiers assigned in Iraq to fly safely to their new homes abroad.

To date, we have saved close to 400 cats and TNR around 248 of them, all with our own money and donations. Unfortunately only 5 of those were adopted out, due to the prevailing belief that domestic cats have no economic value (long haired or exotic purebred or mixed bred can be sold and bred without regulation).

The government does nothing to help us and have even tried to strangle us with non existent rules about animals which allows them to cull cats. Five is a small number, I know, but for a little town where 98% of its residents are backyard breeders (some of those are vets), we try not to discourage ourselves with the math, nor to have grandiose dreams of changing the world.

Our story is told through our blog, ‘Quest 2 Canaan’, which represents our earnest dream of peaceful co-existence between man and beast. Through Quest2Canaan we have met some of the most wonderful persons in the world, and with all their comments, writings, motivations… these became the source of our strength.

When I look back at all of the events that lead me to where I am now, it’s hard to believe how far I have come, and the unlikely “job training” that God gave me during my corporate years which prepared me for this role. I no longer have expensive suits, nor wear high heels, nor put on cosmetics… I no longer have corporate job that fills my wallet with lots of money to spend in the fanciest malls… and even if I was given the chance to change anything… I would do it the same all over again.

With this humble life, I am willing to die for this work of passion… a job which makes me feel like I am ten feet tall without wearing stilettos. I am happy to shake your hand with pride and say: I am an animal rescuer – I save lives everyday !

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate