I am on my way to ER with this little girl, whose half of her mouth was rotten. She also has an upper respiratory infection and gastrointestinal disease. Other tests are most likely necessary as she smells like a carcass already.
I doubt whatever treatment necessary will only cost USD 100 (that’s all I have in my wallet right now), but her life is definitely worth fighting beyond money can buy, so if you have a little bit left in your weekly allowance; if you find a dime or two between your sofa pillow or under your car seat, please help. Please donate, and also share and urge your friends or family to help as well.
“I’m the logistic driver who often responds to your delivery bookings,” the man said. “It appeared to me that you genuinely love animals. I love picking up your goods and deliver them to your customers. Not all of them are nice, but you are always nice to people like us.” The man in that logistic uniform went on to tell me that his family loves cats and that they have two. A few days ago, one of their two cats suddenly had seizures. Nobody knew what to do; they can only hold each other and cry in horror as their little kitty slammed and threw himself on the ground. Blood and foamy saliva streamed on the floor when the little cat bit his tongue.
When the same terrifying event repeated throughout the next few days, he drove as fast as he could to my shop for help. I suggested he brought his cat to a vet clinic downtown, knowing he won’t have much. I called my vets to explain what’s happening and hope they can help a struggling blue-collar man keep his family cat. He came back with his cat in his arm that evening, telling me that after all those seizures at the vet, despite all help given, Soyo was paralyzed.
I agreed to keep Soyo on his behalf, and I promised him he can come and visit anytime. The man is the sole breadwinner of the family. His job was devastated by COVID, and he has two children and another cat who count on them to survive. That night I found out that Soyo has otitis. The next day I found that he lost half of his teeth. Soyo’s back was hard as iron. He can’t bend his body.
Still another day after, I found a large abscess on his abdomen. That afternoon I went to the clinic myself and spoke to a senior veterinarian. It appeared that Soyo has either been kicked, hit with a heavy item, or run over by a vehicle. He managed to run back home, but since everyone in the house was busy with chores, jobs, or school, nobody realized what was happening. An X-ray showed that a disk in his vertebrae was dislocated. It was that trauma that gave him his seizures, and the nerve damage eventually paralyzed him.
The only thing that stays alive in that four-month-old baby is his indomitable spirit and curiosity that beats hurdles. Soyo drags himself with his front legs to a pee pad nearby to relieve himself when I am too far away to hear him calling. He leans on other cats so he can bend as much as he can to groom himself. If one of our mama cats is near, he’ll crawl to her for a mother-kitten moment. Soyo eats everything. From supplements to medicine, he takes them without complaint.
I started to give Soyo epilepsy medication at the urging of my vet but, after two days, Soyo the energetic kitten became vegetables. Soyo eats less and sleeps more. He became so lethargic he discharges where he lays and gets himself dirty all the time. He was less and less responsive.
I stopped his regimen despite my vet’s objections the day he stopped calling me and just stared blankly at the ceiling the whole day. I was confident that Soyo did not suffer from epilepsy. It was the result of the damage caused by the dislocated disk. It was the trauma he suffered as a result of whatever evil he encountered that destroyed his life. It made a stupid decision, and it almost cost Soyo the life he was fighting for.
Crying over spilled milk won’t give us another glass, so we started over. Good quality protein, Omega, Taurine, nerve strengthening supplements, probiotic, immune booster. One day at a time, one foot after another. I got Soyo’s voice back. I see him grooming. Soon Soyo is strong enough to lift his head. Then he tries to move his limbs, then he tries to sit on his tummy. He still stares blankly at times, but he responds to most of my gestures. Next, we went to see the vet last Friday to try acupuncture. He seemed to feel better right away, so I plan for more sessions. His second session gave Soyo enough to swat some flies, and for the first time after three weeks as stiff as a rock, he can curl himself to sleep.
I don’t know how much acupuncture will help Soyo heal; for now, he is getting better. Although I don’t know how far we can go, for now, we have hope. I don’t know where I will find the means to support his treatment, I don’t know where else I should seek to provide for his need. I don’t know who else I should turn to. But for now, we try our best.
It was mid-January when I read about a cat shot and left in a box, with rotten legs and back. It was too late; the vet had to remove her rotting half to keep her alive. I told my long-lost friend I’d take the cat, but it wasn’t until March that I got more news about her. Perhaps the recuperation process takes longer than it should; maybe it’s the whole clinic and their doubt and objection that a cat that costs millions to the rescuer would end up in a shelter.
It’s not the tenth time people look down on me, despite my reputation, yet none of them want to adopt the cat themselves, citing work, lack of funds, lack of time, family, all the cliches.
Then my friend got COVID, so Fortune the cat stayed in a small pen alone in that overfilled, cramped clinic and joined Whiskers’ Syndicate in June.
Though only half of her remains, Fortune the cat keeps all her nine lives. She appointed herself the new boss of my petshop, running across the whole place faster than a speeding bullet and making everyone know she is in charge and giving commands. She shook the world when one day she slipped out of the door to have a picnic on a patch of green grass just by the corner. A woman screamed in horror seeing her, caught in hysteria, while Fortune and I watch the stupidity unfurl with raised eyebrows.
But for the ultimate safety, Fortune is banned from taking a walk even to the front of the house. She has toys, she has food, and she finds a new kind of sport: chasing flies across the shop.
Fortune and I have long arguments about it, but like it or not, she uses diapers so she won’t drag her exposed bottom in the dirt and get an infection, and I don’t need to mop the shop every three minutes because she leaks everywhere, causing the whole shop to reek of urine.
When no one is watching, though, we’re just two girls trying to get by with life. I’d sit on the stairs, and she’d climb over, and we’d talk like best friends. We’d talk about how different we are and how the world outcasts us just because we are different. We also talk about how her devilish, commanding presence draws the strings of many stiffened hearts. The couriers who come and go to pick up and deliver goods would crack open and tell us about their cat(s), guys who got mocked because their inclination toward cats is not macho. Lady drivers told us they always carry a bag of cat food whenever she is on duty (we gave her a free bag of food for our friends out there). Two best friends, both motorbike taxi drivers, hide packets of Whiskas and sneak a minute or two to feed street cats in every parking lot they visit (they also have a few bags for our parking lot cats).
When it’s time to call it a business day, I leave Fortune in the shop. She doesn’t want to get along with others, and others are irritated by her mega ultra brattitude. She chooses a cat carrier as her flat, so I lined the carrier with warm fleece, provide plenty of food and water, and she’d stay in the shop with our outdoor cats, travelling strays, and a few wildlife creatures, spending the night in the warmth of my shop.
Tomorrow is another day. So good night to all, and to all, a good night. ~Josie
There are 160 other cats like Fortune in this little house on the hills, who try to leave their horrific past of abuse, neglect, hunger, and disease. Help me reverse their bad luck and keep them safe, cared and loved. paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate
It seems like I will have to replace the fiberglass roof sooner.
Now chubby and round, Deliso stepped on one of the cracks on the roof and fell right through. Though I am a bit concerned about his bleeding jaw (he slammed his jaw onto a table on his way down), I am glad he is otherwise all right. Tonight we can all see the full moon from our laundry room. We can all feel the fresh, cool breeze and gaze upon the stars all night long. It will be warmer in the morning, though, and cats won’t be able to cozy up under the sun because it will be too bright and hot.
But the best thing is: we matched the challenge because all of us put our efforts together and brought the grassroots magic of The Whiskers’ Syndicate to the cats one more time. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to continue caring for these deserving cats. Thank you for helping me protect them from the elements and the dangers that entails. Thank you for giving them one more chance to have a safe, secure home. Thank you. I am now going to post a vacancy for a repairman, so no more cats should fell down the roof like Santa Claus, much less break their jaw on their way down. Thank you.
If you missed the chance to match the challenge, there is still time to go to paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate to help me bring Deliso to see a vet and make sure he’s all right after 2.5 m (8.2 ft) crash landing (we can replace the broken plates later)
Spending the whole month trying to save a bunch of supermarket cats, it’s time to go back and care for my own.
There is guilt creeping when I open the front door and see them lined up waiting for me to carry them. I used to pet them so often. There is pang of shame when they follow me in droves as I refill their empty bowls. There is anger because by helping others, I neglect my own charges to some extent, but should I pretend not to see the clear and present danger that was about to befall those supermarket cats?
A few month ago, Deliso, our community cat mascot, had intestinal prolapse. There was drama when we tried to catch him. There was saga when he tried to maul everyone at the vet clinic for trying to help him. Long story short, he decided that he doesn’t want to return to his old place, and is now living on my roof. He particularly enjoy watching the world go round down in the house from the fiberglass roof atop the laundry room.
If only he knew, that fiberglass roof is quite old. Some parts are dried out and cracked, and other places have holes as big as a human fist. We tried to fix the roof as much as we can, but sooner rather than later, the roof has to go. We are in Summer now, but when the Monsoon comes in October, the electricity wires below that fiberglass will be rained on, and so will our washer, our laundry dryer, the cats’ heater, and the water pump.
160 cats and kittens are at risk to be popcorn.
Looking at those cracks seeking for hope, or maybe just chance, an old friend came by and, learning the situation, offered to match the next USD 500, Dollar for Dollar, if made by the end of the week.
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.