GOLD BY THE RIVER

I saw her by the river, back and forth one a narrow stepping stone, bending herself here and there for the water that rushed below. Way below.

But I was with 12 lbs of steamed tuna, a box full of various vegetables, my own groceries, one hand with large amount of eggs and the other had my hand.

We were riding a motorcycle on a two way road that fits only for two adults standing side by side.

Not too far away, lay an open box, and a street urchin with piles of folded boxes on the other side. He was looking into the box seemingly in deep thought.

Based on what pops in my mind given a situation, I am called a helpless pessimist, but ten years a lone rescuer in a breeder capital town without any drip of compassion, what popped into my mind was that the street urchin stumbled upon that box on his way found out that the box contained discarded mother and kittens, and was wondering if he should leave that box alone, or as most commonly done, move all the babies outside in the open and leave the helpless little family with the box for another few cents that made the meal of his survival.

Heck with the survival of the cats. They are animals and human is hungry.

And then there is the outdated cliche that we are overcrowded et cetera, donation is not as much as before et cetera and whatever in between.

She is an adult cat, or at least, no longer an innocent kitten unaware of any danger. She can fathom the distance of the river that runs far below, and her instinct will tell her to hold herself together and find some other source of water.

Not sure about her thirst. She was so skinny her bones were about to stick out of under her skin.

At lunch when the lightning start blasting the thunders blows the sky, I am shaking my cold shoulder like the wind shook the wind chime into loud clings and bangs.

I told Sheilla what I saw, and without any words we both stuffed what was left in our bowls into our mouths, chewed as we scrambled off to change our clothing, and ride off to the river.

We still remember our tight finances, we still remember there is no more space in our home, we still remember all the threats that comes with stuffing more cats than we should. We still remember that nowadays, we already work from seven am to two am the next morning and left something to be done.

It’s just that, somehow, the ensuing lightning blasts and all the thunders behind us sounds more intimidating. The cold, damp wind feels more urging.

But there were none near that stepping stone but empty box littered with dry food. I am afraid of heights, yet if I am to find where the little lady is, I should look there the first.

I crossed the decaying bridge to the other side and called, though no one answered but the wheezing wind among wild bamboos that blow the smell of garbage to the sky.

I ran back across the bridge and saw two teens ridinga  motorcycle turning to the other alley, and a speck of teeny weeny kitten clumping in the middle of that alley; the woman who stood gossiping about their neighbor just two steps away didn’t care.

I scooped her up just in time and two seconds later the giggling boys passed unconcerned.

It seemed like the baby did not belong to that cat, but somehow dumped by the rushing deep river together.

Sheilla showed me a pile of very bad cat diarrhea a little bit further away.

It means she was there indeed, for quite a while.

But then it started to rain.

And when we braced ourselves, saying that the cat might go elsewhere in the hours before we came as she finally embraced the bitter fate that befall her, I saw a discarded cart a yet few meters further, and something at the back of my mind told me I will find her there.

She took shelter in a small space under the cart, with the saddest, most broken-hearted expression I had ever seen in my life.

We rode back home as if a legion of demons were biting our backs.

She still has intestinal infection, one week later today. She still has bad diarrhea. She has patches of ulcers all over her body, eaten by bacteria and fungus. She still cannot eat properly, hence has not yet gained weight.

She never left the mat in front of our bedroom door, except for litter box or a sip of water that she never have to ponder how to get.

She likes donut (we remove all the sugar), and we break the rules as long as she eats; besides, she eats tuna and chicken too.

She has no name.

But when we bent ourselves with open arms she will be there with eye glistening like amber.

Hopefully, the next will be her happily ever after.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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Creme

Four years ago, we had this privilege to rescue Creme and her six babies. Creme (because she likes cream) was put inside a small egg crate which later was nailed shut on six of its sides and thrown to the middle of the street. Caring people in the market where it happened collectively dragged the crate and smashed it open. Some other scrambled to find a box while the ladies were trying to calm the panicking mother and babies.

In horrifying moments, though as brief as it can be, mind can be lost and everybody trampled over each other. All of the cats sustained injuries and some of the babies could not survive.

Creme lives with us until today, though unlike other cats, she is afraid of boxes of any kind.

Her story generated widespread sympathy and many donations came in to help them restart their lives, but less than three of those who supported her in her story remains until today.

Although Creme is no longer in ordeal, and perhaps no one remembered her story, we still strive to provide her the best life she deserve.

May she be granted long life and prosperity with all of our support.

Josie
paypal.me/whsikerssyndicate

From 3 March 2015

Though mom had to give up on them because she ran out of milk, crate kitties are holding strong. I am happy to do whatever I can to help them thrive in the challenge of a tough world. I am happy to know that I made positive difference, and I am humbled to know that I have friends and families around the world 🌍 having my back to make it happen. Thank you 

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BARTHOLOMEW

The appearance of the saint is described in detail in the Golden Legend: “His hair is black and crisped, his skin fair, his eyes wide, his nose even and straight, his beard thick and with few grey hairs; he is of medium stature…”

What fitting description. With a little poking of pun, so are the three last letters of his name.

He does nothing but lay down on his side the whole day, mostly in front of our bedroom door; moving only to eat and to drink. His middle name is “lazy”

But there’s not much he can do being kept in a cage on that road in the market; his neighbor a brown and white rabbit. It’s too small for him to move, and if there is enough space, he’s never fed, never cleaned, never given water, and stayed there from day break to mid day, hot under the sun; wet under the rain. There is only rotting vegetables or grass spread over the floor of his small cage, where he sat on his own urine and ugly feces that stuck on his rear.

There is not much I can do but cry in silence every day as I pass that same market, for tuna or otherwise. There is no animal welfare law in Indonesia. Animals are things, not ones. Hence the ultimate jungle book: founder, keeper.

There is not much I can do about the war in my head. If I buy the cat and the rabbit, I reinforce the perpetuation of the act; if I don’t buy the cat and the rabbit, I let cruelty happen on an animal while I have power and means to prevent it.

Many more aspects, many more perspectives, but I got headache before they are done fighting in my mind.

One day when I was arguing over it, two weeks and more after we first saw him in his ordeal, we passed the empty road where he used to be earlier in the morning until the end of the market, and saw him laying lifeless on the roadside.

I asked to stop and was almost sure he was dead until he opened his eye. I took him in my arms and a woman who sell fruit nearby told me that if I was considering taking him, I should. He was kept by the like of an a hole and people around told him and detest his crazy attitude; but then again: founder, keeper. If we intervene, we are the one who break the law.

We brought him home and clean him and give him medicine. We cared for his parasites, we gave him the best food we can afford and we gave him supplements to help him restart his second chance.

But for days we wake up in the morning thinking he might not make it.

For days we live on hope and prayers for enough funds to send him to the vet and get him thoroughly checked, because as lazy as a cat can be, there is no cat who is only awake for breakfast and dinner.

There is not much the vet can do because he is otherwise healthy.

There is not much we can do but keep providing him with the best support possible, in the hope that one day he will take the chance we given him wholeheartedly. That one day he will once again remember and live the life a cat should be.

~Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

WINA ON THE MEND

Miraculously, Wina did not break her leg during her brief ordeal. She however obtained cuts and punctures during the time she twisted herself around trying to break free from the ramp.

The cost of her X Ray made us cringe because our vet surgeon use digital imaging. It’s three times more expensive than the conventional one but it produce more detail that is necessary for treatment, should she need one. Besides, there is no one else in Bandung who has X Ray facilities so we sort of have no choice.

Although Wina still have to use painkiller for the time being, she is starting her journey to recovery early. She is cleaning herself more vigorously than before, and several times today we found her jumping off her basket and roaming around the house. We are to continue her painkiller for at least two more days and her antibiotics until next week, but we are glad and grateful for her development.

Thank you so much for all of you who send your donation, prayers, and other form of support. Half of Wina’s winning against her misfortune came from you.

Wina’s surprise veterinary requirement was a harsh punch on our faces. I find myself once again using my saving for the shelter’s mortgage and only have seven days to replace it or risk failing our payment. As we can see, our weekly fundraiser has not been a great success either.

I know we are all tight everywhere at this time, and I really hate to ask. Unfortunately since I have to stay home more to care for Wina and other sick cats, I have to cut some of my side jobs and it affected our income greatly.

I humbly ask for your help, if you have any to spare. It’s Thursday and we only raised USD 105 out of USD 600 that we need so we can continue to offer hope and chance for deserving stray and abused cats. I know we don’t have much chance of reaching the goal, but if we all give a little perhaps we can all bring the Whiskers’ Syndicate a bit further.

~Josie
paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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Everything happens at once

My favorite author wrote: Life has a way of testing us; either by nothing happened at all, or everything happen at once.

In my case, it’s often the latter. Cruising the highway to recovery like a rock star, Mr. Jacob suddenly got worse through the weekend. The vet said, it’s a complication from his various illnesses, and that we should expect up and down for the time being. He was given yet another medicine and we are to watch his digestion very closely (among other things)

Diva is postitive FIP. We all knew it before any test result ever come. However, her fluid buildup was so fast we had to go back and forth to remove all her fluid almost every day, that the last vet who had to do it with super extreme caution. Diva is still young, most kittens her age wouldn’t survive past two extraction, and she had about four within one week.

Which put us in precarious situation. If we move forward and have extraction, there was risk that her body cannot make it and she will die.

Just when we thought we’re about to be done and can catch a breath, Wina had a fight with Sports, tried to jump a ramp, got one of her leg stuck on her way down, and for who knows how long, hang in there. In her panic she twisted her leg around.

If you follow us long enough, Diva was an abused kitten who lived orphaned on the street before we found her. She was two months old then, she is two years old now.

Sports is a cat with special marking that makes him look as if he is wearing an exercise jacket. He was victim of ignorant malpractice by vet who was supposed to neuter him and when I rescued him close to five years ago, he was half his size now.

In fear that Wina broke her leg, we rode her through town and all the way to the other end to see our surgeon. His clinic is the only one in the entire Bandung that have X Ray, testing lab, and high technology surgery equipment that Wina might need.

While we are glad that nothing is broken, we spend close to USD 100 for X Ray only, and Wina has to stay put for a few days.

I am not sure we can tell a cat to stay put.

The whole weekend in adrenaline rush had drained us: physically, mentally, and financially. Our mortgage will be due soon so I better start saving, but with all that happened, I had less hours to work and therefore, less income.

I am truly grateful that with all of your help, we raised USD 469 last week. We missed quite a bit, but at least we are not hanging ourselves by the neck.

Hopefully, the new week will bring us better luck. Less cat sickness, less emergencies, calmer days, and smoother finances.

I personally, and on behalf of the whole shelter, extends my utmost gratitude for all your support financially or otherwise, through the time when I cannot be online too much.

I also hope that we still have you beside us and help us with our ultimate mission to give a chance for every cat to live on their own terms, to the best of their capacity.

It is not an easy task, yes indeed, and alone it will be daunting; but together we have turned impossible into I’m possible and saved many lives.

Let’s do it again.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

Sad news

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that we have lost our beautiful Stardust Bowie, carried off by the same virus that stole our darling Hime.

The last few years of his life were wonderful. He was safe, and he was loved, and the end was peaceful. And in Josie’s words,

“He was happy, I know. And we know we will never think it is enough.”

Please join me in sending love, strength, and prayers if they are part of your life, to Josie, Sheilla, and the rest of the Mobsters. Together we all are The Whiskers Syndicate, today not less 💚 Let us take comfort in one another, and let us honour those who wait for us.