Some cats will go straight home when I call them, some have to be picked up. Some cats just won’t go out even when the door is wide opened, some wasted no time and explore the universe.

Some cats turns up home after a little journey, some took longer to enjoy their adventure. Some, like Tao, touched the spirit of wilderness and rekindle the fire that burned within. The fire that made her ancestors kings of the jungle, ruler of the Savannah.

So when the builders again did not close the door behind them, Tao followed the sound of music by the hills, and walk into the unknown.

For her, yes; but it’s never the unknown to me. I have walked every inches of the surrounding hillside over and again; although I do not know every square like my own palm of hand, I know its people; cold hearted and ignorant. I know it’s season, cold, windy, rain and sun. I know its mischievous children, who, due to the lack of their livelihood, has nothing to play with but nature, and its domesticated flora and fauna. They are the next chain link that will grow just like their parents: cold and ignorant, with no regards nor respect for others.

Still a man made worry is no match of heaven made instinct. I can’t find Tao even after looking for her high and low, further and further, day and night.

Until one day, a cloudy morning after the storm, when I walked out for items to fix my sink, I saw her sitting by a deep sewer, looking to the streaming water below.

She was unrecognizable; almost. She was four kilograms of chubby beauty, now she is barely half her size. Our extreme weather is too much of a challenge for her. She can’t find food, she can’t hunt (under the storm) she had Upper Respiratory Infection.

I brought her home and Susan did not need to say anything; she probably can’t. I gave Tao fluid, and booster, and antibiotics. I gave her liquid food, I did as much as I can without overwhelming her system.

I set her up in the laundry room for fresh air.

She can barely walk, she can’t even stand without wobbling down. I did what I can, so the next best thing is give her some time; give her system some time to take all my offering and turn the tide to her favor.

There was not much hope, she was in a horrible state. We were almost sure she won’t make it, but we are giving our best, we are trying to the end.

The end needs time, still.

So, meanwhile, Susan and I went out to see available options on flooring the cattery.

Aside from getting a high pressure cleaner in good price, the floor hunting was total mess. Tricky calculation, unclear pricing, incompetent young men crumbling down on the face of two woman with intact logic, and a little bit of math.

We wasted the whole day, and try to get home in a bad traffic. So instead of going back home I drove Susan back to the hotel, visit the colony, and go back home.

But there was no Tao.

I look everywhere. Under the sink, behind the dryer, the washer, around the house.


The only way out of the laundry room is climbing three meters (10 feet) tall metal mesh and onto the slippery, fiberglass roof.

She can barely stand, she cannot walk. How can she climb?
How can she climb, if not with sheer will power?

I texted Susan and she told me the same thing.

I texted Christine Alice and she told me the same thing.

We all thought it’s impossible, but it won’t discredit the fact that Tao did get out of the laundry room.

And it was me who put her there so she can have fresh air which will help her lungs.

Both ladies told me it’s beyond my control, because, who would have known?

The rain start falling; bigger and bigger. Everyone slammed the door, closed the window, draw the curtain.

I put my jacket back and donned my raincoat.

I can race the rain. I can beat the storm, and thunder, and lighting. I know so because every time I call, some people will peek from behind their safe home, and their faces were loud enough to tell me they think I am crazy.

But there was no Tao,

Even when I lost my voice there was no Tao.

Even when the storm slapped my face there was no Tao

Even when my tears turned the rain salty, there was no Tao.

Even when I beg for another chance, the storm is too loud; my God can’t hear me. My God had stopped listening long ago.

Look, here are all the miracles. Here is the miracle of healing, and what I got is a miracle, in which Tao somehow, magically, climb ten feet tall mesh and onto the roof and probably fell to her death.

Still I blame no one but myself. I had this second chance to make her life right, and I blew it.

I will make this third chance with my own hand if I have to, but what did I get? crazier rain, bad visibility, thinning air.

And still no Tao.

Even today

Even when I never stop looking.

Even when I know I will never see her again.

Even when all the time I need, is a few minutes to say good bye.

~ Josie





At roughly the same time on Monday, two weeks ago, I stood by the arrival gate in Bandung’s tiny airport.

Whenever the glass door slid open, people on my left and right will be lifting their sign up high, each with different names on it. Some wore a well tailored suit from star hotels, some just plain working attire, and others just casual tour guide waiting for their customers.

From that same glass door I will be welcoming Susan Yuen, flying from Perth, Australia, to stay with us for ten days and help me run The Whiskers’ Syndicate.
I drove her to the hotel, tell each other’s story, and have dinner.

The next day, we go to war.

We dragged all the rusty and nasty cages from the cattery, tied them up, and left them for the garbage truck. We sweep and scrub the walls and the floor and flush the rest to the drain.

We dragged the now broken old washer, and I will try to sell it for as much as it is worth as is. I had the option to have it repaired, but we all know I have hard luck with local tradesmen. I still have 12 years worth of mortgage to pay, so I am not keen of having a washer blew up on my face or electrocute anyone.

We went out and bought new crates for the manic panic; four ladies who screamed and freaked and slammed themselves like ping pong ball on anything. I mean anything. Susan once asked me in worry when Sandy was screeching like a banshee. She was just freaked because Stubby perched on top of her crate.

We need three big crates, so the ladies can have some space, instead of cramping in one, and I wrote about that a while back, to see if someone or some group can sponsor one crate and other people sponsor another, but no one responded. No one except Sheila Thomas. So instead of three, we only have one big crate now, with Sandy, Sassy and Abby cramming inside. If Blossom come back from her stay with the vet, however, we will have trouble.

We put a table together, that we can use for eating. I had wanted it to be in the kitchen, but it’s tight in there, so we move it to the laundry room. Sometimes, we have to take turns. While humans usually watch animals eat in their enclosure at zoos, in my house all the animals watch us eat in our enclosure.

While Susan painted the half done door left by the builders, I scrubbed the tiles; filled with cement and grout and spatter of everything. See how dirty my mop become? That was after mopping and scrubbing about gazillionth time.

I called the welder brothers back, and showed them a roll of metal mesh I have left from the laundry room project. I asked them to make a new trellis for the cattery window while I took down the old one that has glass on it.

They finished in a few hours, and the cats are happier with their new window. They climbed up, jumped down, chased each other, turn around, climb upside down (butt first), sideways, half way and swings, pretzel with two front legs…

Good thing Spiderman is in America. He will be humiliated.

The next day, I fix the plumbing and the sink, rendered unusable after the builders fix the drain and broke another pipe, just when I have to go to the airport. I had a total meltdown over it because I have to break the wall once again, find another leak, found out that they repaired it poorly, change the whole pipe, buy another flexible pipe to connect the plumbing to the sink, replace the valve, and even changed the tap. The sink is only two days old, and the builders made me replace everything, and replacing everything cost me more than buying the whole new sink.

Amazing isn’t it?

We went out and purchased tarps that will replace the worn out horizontal blinds to break the wind and prevent rain from blowing into the cattery’s hallway.

And while we are buzzing in and out like crazy bees, hauling rubbish and fixing stuffs, where are the cats?

At first, they watch us in bewilderment.

Then, they cope with us running around everywhere for a while and keep themselves to the sides.

Since we’re not relenting,

they moved into my newly renovated kitchen.

~ Josie



Since our laundry room airy partition and sun lit roof were done in one day (instead of three), I started hunting for tiles. The door was no issue. I have a carpenter shop just a few hundred meters down the hill. They are not great, and a little bit overpriced, but my finances is not great either, so I will just go with available option instead of buying $200 set of mahogany door and a pair of window in the cattery (which withstand scratching and shredding by hundreds of cats even after 4 years). They deliver within two days.

I have mortar left over by the previous builders, and the floor is already contoured for water to flow down the drain. So I thought I just check this online apps for builders to help me install pumps, lay tiles, and fix doors.

Reviews really didn’t speak for actual quality. The one I ended up hiring has five stars and have best reviews of all (and acceptable price) but he took the whole 8 work hours to install just a single booster pump and by the end of the day it’s still leaking.

Booster pump push water, and it use electricity to run though; so I told him there is no need to come back the next day despite his assurances that it will be okay. He gave me reasons of why he failed even in the easiest job, and pleaded for his income. I told him I will wait for two days, click ‘job done, release pay’ but I will not leave a review, or even leave a bad review if he will not return my money in cash. He understood my grace saving decision and asked for my bank account.

And I ended up sitting on the roof fixing pipes at 8 pm under drizzling rain, when the young owner of the pet shop who sent me Happy Cat’s sponsored spay send me text. We talked about an opportunity for me to dropship from his store and he was wondering because it’s not like me who leave unfinished business for a long time.

I told him what happened with the online builders and asked him if he knows someone who can finish the job by Saturday. My guest will land from Australia on Monday.

He told me to sit back, and wait for his men to come by my door the next morning.

He sent three men, who walked into my house and spent only two seconds before start commenting about how smelly my house is, how stinky the cats are, and how dirty they are, once they learned that all of my cats were ex-street roamer. I hold myself together despite my itching throat to spat back that they should not complain about smelly litter boxes (which I was in the middle of cleaning) while I have to bare with the sickening smell of their cigarette and sweat.

They brought no tools, they use mine. So one guy (supervisor) said he will go and fetch their tools while the other two work on the door and the prep the tiles.

He came back about half hour later and when he exasperatingly open my front door (and some cats slipped to the road) he told me how surprised he was because my house is now clean and fragrant.

I still hold myself together despite my itching throat wanting to spat that their smell hasn’t changed.

But there was no tools still. However, since the door was fixed and the tiles and floor were prepped, I did, once again, hold myself together despite their continuous insults toward the cats.

Maybe one of these cats eat their dicks, so they have vengeance against all of them.

They come the next day with tools, and same amount of insults and they keep forgetting to close the door behind him so instead of posting and working I ended up chasing various cats and kittens and shouting to passing cars to hold off before someone got squashed.

And they casually say with a smile that it is my fault because I didn’t “stash them away”

Yes, I hold myself together.

Then they said they want to smoke because despite the house is clean and spotless (and smells like citronella, pine and lavender) they still can’t bare the smell and sight of village cats staring at them from behind their enclosure.

I still hold myself together but I say no. So they use it as an excuse to stop working every half an hour to go out and smoke.

They are acting like I torture them and they look at me as if I am good for nothing woman who spend money and whatever riches they think I have and wasting my life cleaning litter boxes.

I still hold myself together.

Then start the tricks,

They confirmed that I was alone, so they send me out to buy things and when I come back, one part is fixed so take it or leave it (woman).

I did it better. I put a deposit to the building materials store across the street (who adopted Nekomi) and tell them what the builders are doing. The wife of the owner came from my hometown as well. Whenever they said they want this or that, I just told them “Go get it yourself. The guys knows what you are doing and we have each other’s back”

On Saturday I went downhill to buy waterproof paint that the building materials not have. The owner of the shop is a distributor of a tile manufacturer where I once worked for before going to Bandung, and he told me the differences between one line and the other, and point out all the misleading parts the builders have told me.

I bought $98 pail of good quality of non VOC, pet safe Dulux Aquashield and the shop owner actually have one of his employees to drive me home.

When I got home all of my cats scattered all over the street and the two guys were sitting on the front porch of that big mouth lady across the street chatting and smoking, waving their hands and smile their victory smile.

I hold myself together, smile back, called all my cats home, chased the rest, and accidentally dropped their prized their (faux) leather jacket into cement mix. Males here all want to look like Lorenzo Lamas in Renegade, or Mika Hakkinen, or Batman Forever, or Marlboro Man, but real leather is too expensive for them, so they use faux leather that is still pricey.

Then they walked in and said they need wall putty.

“Waterproof paint does not need wall putty” I said, You only need to scrape all these orange, chalky, cheap paint, sand them off, wash them, have the wall dry and paint fresh layer”

They were not happy a poop scooping woman told them what to do.

I called their supervisor and as soon as he looked at my supposedly finished laundry room, and asked why there is three inches gap between the door and the last tile full of cement. Why is the tile did not reach the mesh, why…

Cocky builders 5, Poop scooping woman 2.

They scrambled to finish their work and I told the supervisor that they connected the piping for the sink the wrong way and I want those fixed before they are out again for lunch because they already spend too much time chatting and smoking with and like an old hag across the street.

Supervisor stare at them, they scrambled down to work.

Cocky builders 5, Poop scooping idiot 3.

Then they asked me for wall putty again, for the newly laid mortar on top of the fixed plumbing.

Fine, this one they have the point, so I went down.

When I come back with wall putty, they already painted the whole laundry room and spent a quarter of that huge $98 paint.

I can see how satisfied their face are when I realized I was tricked again and they win.

Dickhead builders 6, poop scooping idiot 3.

“What did you put the coat for?”

“For trial, we will see which part is not good and then we will scrape it off and re-prep the wall and lay another layer”

I looked at the supervisor “That is $98 paint they are playing with like kindergarten watercolor, but that’s fine. I haven’t pay you so I can always count that in” Their pay is $170.

Everyone went pale.

Jackass builders 6, smelly poop girl 4.

Bring it on.

As they mix the wall putty, I spotted bubbles under one side of the wall, took a scraper, and peel the wall off.

I can hear a gasp from behind me.

Supervisor said (with embarrassed voice) “That’s ok, that was not prepped properly, it’s our fault”

In the next two hours, I scraped 90 percent of the two a holes paint job off. Developers of this house used cheap, chalky paint, and our notorious rain and humidity ruined it spectacularly. It has to be scraped off completely or the new, high quality paint will not stick.

They think I will feel too much of a pity to scrape that expensive paint off, or maybe I am just too dumb to know they don’t do their job properly.

The trickster went mad. I can see it in his face, though he hold himself together or risk not being paid. His tone completely changed, and his face showed murder intent. All his hard work painting, reaching all the high places, and I scrape it off with one hand.

How many point should I tally to my side of the game?

They have to re-paint it, and this time they better do it right.

The end of the day the room looks magnificent, and they all rushed out the house as I gave the supervisor their money.

“If anything, we will not be coming on Sunday” he said, “We have life to catch up to, but we will be happy to come for minor fixing if you find something wrong”

I smiled.

I went inside my citronella, pine and lavender smelling house, now marred with the smell of their sweat and cigarette, and detailed every single mistake.
I was particularly keen on the water drain because the trickster builders seems to have that winning face left when he drove off and found out that the strainer was placed in the middle of the drain pipe and the house’s foundation.

There was this gap between the canopy’s leg and the door. The tile grout was falling apart, the door was painted only halfway and another drain for the washer was filled with cement.

I sent photos to supervisor’s whatsapp and I noticed that he blocked me.

Never mind. I have been holding myself together, and I can hold myself together one more time.

I forwarded all my messages and photos to the friend who sent them.

“Josie!, that was horrible” he said when he called me seconds after he read my message. “Why didn’t you told me, why did you stay silent?”

“Out of respect for you, Sam”, I replied, “You sent me people within one hour and they did finish by Saturday. I think I can finish everything on Sunday because I don’t think I can handle yet another slur or insult toward my womanhood, toward me caring for street cats, toward the number of cats in my house, et cetera, but never mind, really. My house is an animal shelter after all, so it is natural that they think very lowly about it because people here don’t understand what animal shelter is”

“They said what? A Holes!, they will hear from me! If they don’t fix it, I will tell my dad to fire them! You are, first and foremost, friend of my dad! That’s how I know you!”

His dad is (human) surgeon and dog lover. He adopted several dogs from me (while I was helping dog rescues in Jakarta) and every single one of them were treated the same way his purebred dogs.

He hung up the phone, I took a deep breath, and start cleaning. It’s going to be a long Sunday.

In Sunday afternoon the supervisor magically called me, apologized, and said that he will fix everything on Monday afternoon.

I told him to forget it because I am picking my friend at the airport.

He showed up anyway very early on Monday with one of the guy and start fixing things when his men hit the wrong place on the wall and crack the pipe. Water sprayed all over the place I spent the whole night cleaning upon.

I hold myself together and told them I am not spending anything for things I do not break. I want them to finish everything by half an hour because I am leaving and I am not letting them stay in my house despite their pleas.

I told them I had enough of being sent away to go home to a seemingly completed job that hide shit.

I told them to be grateful that I don’t demand my money back, even though I can do so and they will still lose their job because they are being a prick to a wrong woman.

Supervisor tried to argue, but I reminded him that he told me straightforwardly that he didn’t want me to bargain his $170 offer in front of his smug looking lackeyes, and I didn’t, so he shouldn’t try to bargain me after all the barrage of insults, demeaning, and all other harassment I have to endure on top of his crappy job because a lawsuit will cost him more than ten times $170.

By the time I left for the airport minor part of the room has not yet finished, and I refuse him to come back on Tuesday and that if he heard more from Sam, he should just be a man and eat his own shit.

I sent them off, and wait for my own ride.

Two hundred meters down I heard one of his smug lackeye complained about the smell of his shoes.

It’s a little parting souvenir from me and Kaka. Just small sausages, but our gift is sincere.

Just to remind him that what goes around, comes around.

~ Josie



Where did I stand again?

I stood there, stunned like never before. It’s 10 at night, and I have just closed that fence behind me. From that time on, for the next ten hours, it will be me and my world.

It should be a little heaven for the neglected, the abused, the suffering. It supposed to be a refuge. It should have been a tiny piece from this Jurassic wasteland my heart returns to, a place called “home”

And yet it looked one and the same with the surrounding now. Unkept, unattended. Piles of debris, rock, sand, with stinky treasures buried underneath. Spatters of paint, heaps of garbage, bags upon bags of rubbish waiting to go to oblivion, or to the recycle centers where it will be destroyed to be born new.

In the inside it’s not quite different, and so is the bag. It all looked like a roofed landfill down to the smell of it.

I thought, that’s OK. I am trying my best to clean up and have been progressing quite a bit, spending one night after the other as much as I can hold my eyes open. Besides, it will just be me. I am no longer expecting anyone, so I can bare with it. The growing worry is that the longer it took me to clean things up, the more hazard the cats will be to sickness left deep in unseen corners by those before them.

Just one sentence in a casual chat one day brought it to the next level. One of our supporters will come and visit at the dawn of March. The dates just keep changing, because it was supposed to be two of them, but when it was fixed, I only have two weeks to change this sow’s ear into silk purse.

I know she will understand. My guest is coming to help after all. She volunteered for rescues in her homeland so she should know, she must have seen the bad.

Just not this bad.

I took my deep breath and throw my backpack to my downtrodden studio. Things thrown inside in a rush just so it’s out of the way when the renovation started, and it piles into mountains of who knows what on top of the other, because the more I try to re-arrange, the more things I found broken by the jerks who smeared crap into their own trade by their work ethic.

The cats have been waiting too long for me to get home, and they honestly told me it’s been like forever while they wait for their supper.

I gave them what they want, changed my clothes, and start cleaning up, bagging more rubbish, wiping off wee wee on the floor, or drops of guano that missed the intended target, intentionally or not. I only have two weeks and I wasted half of it attending to what was called “young and have heart as big as mine” I honestly think her ego is way bigger.

I stood there, stunned like never before. It’s 11 at night then, and I just closed my kitchen door behind me. A few steps ahead the cheap tiles laid as my footing came to end, and a swath of cheaply laid concrete led me to the water tank tower.

A welder that once made a fence for the community garden texted me then, asking if I have another job so he can keep the plates full for his family.

He probably was desperate, otherwise he won’t be texting random customers near midnight.

I turned off the light on that back porch – which shelters my now broken washer; it is now rusty at the bottom from too many cat sprays – but as I walked back to my human size garbage bag, another light came on.

“Come in the morning” I replied to the welder, “I need you to make a canopy, and move my water tank”

He came in the morning, exactly seven hours later, and I led him to the back porch. I no longer cared whether he can stand the cats or not. I no longer care whether there is stray poop there or not. I just apologized because I haven’t finished cleaning, and told him that I want to make a conservatory roof in extension to the back porch, all the way to the water tank, I want the water tank to be moved to the top of that conservatory roof because it stood in the middle of everything, and I told him that instead of glass or fiberglass, I want metal mesh installed from the underside of the roof to the floor.

We agreed on a price, which sucked out the rest of my savings, and when I asked him when he can start, he said four.

“Four days?”

“Four hours”, he said.

He left with his custom made motorbike, and returned with a small truck in tow about three hours and forty five minutes later with metal bars and everything else.

His brother joined him exactly fifteen minutes later and they started measuring, and cutting metals, and hauled them back and forth.

They moved the water tank, cut down the tower, and instead of asking me for more metal like any other repairman I have ever know, they asked if they can just use the good part of the tower and save me money.


By five in the afternoon, I have a new laundry room; where the cats won’t come and spray on things. I told everyone I don’t want to buy a new washer every two years and pester my donors for it.

They said they will come back early in the morning to paint and clean things up.

I was stunned that they work with speed, efficiency, and more effectiveness any other, that I didn’t think of asking them to get overtime and complete the work.

From behind the front door, I heard them giggling. I went back out and saw Sierra sleeping on their motorbike.

She sleeps so soundly, I was sure she won’t wake up even if a mountain blew right next to her.

“She looks like a baby”, the younger welder said.

They look at each other.

“What about we get back to work and leave her a little while longer”

They looked at me, and marched back inside.

I turned on the light and they painted the whole thing and finished two hours after the day turns dark.

So, I stood there, stunned like never before. It’s 8 at night, and I have just closed that fence behind me. From that time on, for the next ten hours, it will be me and my world.

In all ten years wading through these guys who claimed their trade to be best with double digit years of experience (and still deliver sloppy job) two young men in their twenties beat them in five hours of professional extravaganza, and a kind gesture to a sleeping cat.

I have extra garbage to clean but for that night, I cleaned up with lighter heart.
I will go order a door the next day and while the carpenters put it on, I can go ahead and install the sink so I don’t have to wash the dishes under the rain and neither would my guest.

One more thing to do.

I picked up my phone to ask my manager for some overtime work. It will be even crazier the next few days when I have the new room done and the place cleaned up, so my guest won’t pass out on first sight of seeing the house. I probably will not have much time sitting and posting. I know people will stop reading and donation will stop coming if I don’t come even for one day, as usually happens, but I will take my chances. It will be the first time I will have a volunteer in the sanctuary and probably be the only time in my life history, so I better not blow it. It should never go out that my place looks more like a hoarder’s den than a shelter or we’ll be doomed forever.

This one visit will determine if Whiskers’ Syndicate is going to live on in good name or die in the middle of scorn and fire.

And all I can do is giving my best.

~ Josie


1001 NIGHTS (4)

As soon as I opened the fence that rainy Wednesday afternoon, I flew through the stairs to the front porch. It’s just been perhaps only 45 minutes ago when I left Brigitta and her back whatever, and there she was ringing again.

Still it wasn’t her that made me ignore the calls. My mother educate me enough to be a decent human being and attend to anyone no matter how much I would rather choke them to oblivion.

It was the worn out, battered white cat trying to eat Hanshin’s leftover food; the tiny bits by the corner of the bowl that was kept moist only by the dampness of the rain.

My white knight.

The white knight who has FCV yet refused to surrender and choose to stay on the street.

My white knight who comes every night for food and enough time for me to medicate him.

And then disappear into the night.

I was standing there, the last time he visited. watching his glistening white fur, cleaned and warm, walking away. There was this desperation seeping in my heart that moved my hand to reach out to his tail up high; like a damsel forlornly looking at the hero who carry her away from distress, and stole her heart.

Those eyes now, that looked at me, was not those of a valiant hero. Those eyes now, that looked at me, was handsome, and brilliant, mesmerizing, but tired, old, and suffered.

I didn’t care about the rain that drips on my back when I bent my knee to touch his swollen back, his watery potbelly.

I didn’t care about the other damsel with such exquisite degree from famous university trying to impose her algorithm. I wrapped him in my jacket, lift him up, and walked inside.

I didn’t care about his protests as he struggled even to wiggle out of my arm, though I do had the bliss that he would stay on my lap instead of running away.

There was that constant beep to notify me that someone else is calling when I was talking to my kitty ambulance vet, but I know who it was. I know where I want to be, and that would not be her.

He stays with the vet for two days, and came back with the same big belly I found him with.

The vet told me that she drained about two liters of FIP fluid from his body cavities, but looking at his condition, she put in natural saline in replacement so that his body won’t be shocked by the sudden drainage. If I handled him as good as I did Tito, the natural saline will come out with urine, and when he is on normal cat shape, we will have to start new regime for him.

He got twice as much medicine as Tito, and he stays inside since. He got his cat bed back, he got his blanket back, he likes the cave of the beacon tower I bought the cats for Christmas.

He never climbed the kitchen counter. He never tried to get into the freezer, he was a total gentleman I had hoped the other cats would become.

And every day, despite all the messages and demands and the bratitude down the other rescue he would sat by me and look into my eyes.

And all the minutes he finishes his special bowl of organic home made food he endures all sort of injection, and vitamins, and supplements, and pokes on his belly.

And all the time his urine is like flooding river. First brownish yellow and smells so sickening, then clearer, and less smelly, and clearer, and less smelly.

And three days later he lift his front legs and lean on me with that brilliant, yellow eyes as I opened my bedroom in the morning.

And all the tears that I shed every time I saw him, turned from all the sad tears to all of the happy ones, and hope, and prayers, and silent whispers.

He is home, he is where I belong. He is just as stranger to me as the other woman, but she has everything and me, he has no one but me.

He was fixed, de-wormed, de-ticked. He has warm bath once again, and hair dryer, and new sheets and new towel. He glistened like the moon, his white fur is more beautiful than the strings of pearl.

He has new medicines, he has new regime.

He can run now, he can jump. He is friends with Turner the one eyed kitty from the restaurant.

He is my white knight.

And beside my guest I worked every single minute of my waking hour to have my house done for his comfort and secure his healing.

That night my vet brought him back home after his regular checkout with the other FIP cats.

“He is amazing, he gains weight. He is almost normal”

We looked at each other’s eyes with smile, the vet and I. We hoped that he will be like Tito and Ginger’s mama. Their FIP slowed down so much they haven’t got any fluid build up for the whole year.

That night he insisted to follow me into my room, and perhaps, for the first time in his life, slept on a soft bed with thick duvet.

That night he disappeared into the darkness of the night, and become one with the skylight.

~ Josie



1001 NIGHTS (3)

Let me introduce you to Brigitta”, that whatsapp text read; “She is young and energetic, and have a heart as big as you are”

I wonder.

“And she also lives in Bandung, I think you will be great friends”

I haven’t really started to reply, because I was standing under bus shelter with the whole bags of minced meat for the cats.

Anyway, the contact number was sent in the next few seconds.

I left it as it was. I have guest coming in the next two weeks and my house looks more like a hoarder’s den than a house. It’s not arrogance, it’s urgency.

The same evening, that SJ dropout I came to know while helping our suffering tribes wrote again “She will have her back surgery tomorrow. I am sure she will appreciate if someone send well wishes”

We don’t know each other at all. Maybe he will be happy about it, but everyone is different. I, for one, won’t be all so happy if any stranger pop their smiley face on mine even though it’s just for well wishing. They will have my gratitude, but further step needs time.

The next day, another whatsapp message “Josie. please be sure to message Brigitta. She needs a lift”

Oh jeez, I am a blogger, not socialite, but if it will really make someone’s day, fine.

I sent a message to the supplied number, tell Brigitta who I am, and how I come to get her number, wish her well, and go on flushing cat craps down the drain.

The minute I myself got flushed down by the storm and ran to the next available lodging, I got a phone call from unknown number.

Not quite; it’s Brigitta.

She said she was having an issue with her private nurse, and that the nurse ran away, and that she will have surgery the next day and she has no one. She lives alone and her family members are all far away.

She was embarrassed to call just anyone she knows asking for help, but she desperately need to have a new nurse by the time she is strolled out of the surgery room.

That’s why I was up the whole night trying to help this stranger, otherwise I won’t hear the mama cat crying for shelter in the middle of the storm, nor would I had that chance to climb the roof and blew my adrenaline off to the moon to help a little kitten whose both eyes glued shut by pus.

Through the night she just called me over and over, apparently because no one else responded to her mayday. Throughout the night she tried to give me a crash course on how to be her nurse, although I told her over and over to just leave it to me, concentrate on getting herself some rest and be fit enough for surgery. I don’t feel like bragging about who I am, but I did send her in one of our chats that I am a psychologist and a paramedic (hence please know that I know what I am doing)

Instead of just going on with my heaps of things and bad weather and cats getting sick and need to be fed, I took some time to come to the hospital and meet her. I thought it will be a small gesture to make her feel better.

She asked me to do this and that, each one with an apology because we just knew each other and she already treat me like her nurse.

I told her it’s OK.

Then somewhere around afternoon she told me I can go home for about 3 hours, and then come back to the hospital to help her.


I told her I have work to do and that I will do my best.

I went home, which took about 2 hours drive (traffic), get myself something to eat, and take care of the cats. I went to the colony, and straight back home because the little kitten is getting worse and I want to be by his side.

The next day she whatsapp me, but I was scrubbing litter boxes and left my cellphone on the table.

I found gazillion of miss calls when I picked it up.

I called Brigitta and asked her what she needs.

She asked about the nurse and I told her I already made an appointment with several providers to meet at the hospital in the afternoon when I can spend a little time there but she can choose one that suit her needs herself.

She asked if I am going to go there in the morning and I told her I have jobs and chores and if she needs anything, she can just call for hospital nurse.

She insisted that I would stay by her side because she cannot move so much and it hurts et cetera and that she needs someone to help her.

I said I would when I am done and hung up.

I need to go to the other side of town to pick up medicine and supplies before the rain fall so I did just that.

I showed up in designated time for her nurse interview and she was not so happy about it.

I know that back surgery (lumbar) not suppose to move that much but that doesn’t mean she has to stay still like a mannequin. That’s OK though, I understand. It must be excruciating to be all of a sudden tied to the bed, with pain, and no one around and all the people you can call is just teen nurses who are more busy with their own cellphone than attending to the patients who pays their salary.

She interviewed a bit and rejected everyone.

And then with a soft warning tone, “Josie, all the nurses you call were professional with experience. That’s good, but I don’t want too professional nurse because professional nurse means they will be boss. No, I hire them, the algorithm is with me and what I want them to do or not do is up to me”

I start to have a feeling that she really needs a maid, not nurse. I shrugged.

She told me to do this and that for a bit, then I noticed it’s 5 pm, so I’d better go home and prepare dinner for the cats.

She told me not to because she wants me to call several more people, but I smiled, apologized, and walked out.

She sent me messages about this provider and that provider while I was on my way home, with motorcycle, under the rain.

When I unlocked my front door she called. I picked up.

“Can’t you hear my message? Can’t you reply? Answer me when I call!”


“I don’t have car, lady. I took motorcycle, it’s raining, and I will reply to your message when I am free to do so. What do you want?”

“There are these providers I sent you messages, and I already called, but I want you to call them again and re-confirm because I want them to come tomorrow and they all said they will work on it but most likely Monday. I want them to come tomorrow”

Of course not.

“Tomorrow is Sunday, Brigitta”

But I just keep stretching my patience and run two rescues at one time. One at home, the others are at hospital.

Every single time she is stressing about “The algorithm is with me”

Why don’t she go and ask Facebook already then? Or Google? They are expert in algorithm.

The next Wednesday I stood by her bed, watching her rejecting all other dozen of candidates, and when she looked at me I said “You need a maid, not nurse. You don’t talk to nurses like that, they have degrees like you and I, they have education, they have profession, and they have oath to stand by”

Her face changed. She opened her mouth, but mine was faster.

“I have spent half week with you and nothing is done. It is apparent to me that you just want to run people around despite me telling you that I have schedules, jobs, chores, and businesses that I want to attend. I allow you to intrude to the middle of it all, and cause me stress, and I have been stretching my patience with you because I am trying to be kind”

“We are strangers, technically and practically, and despite your thank yous and apologizes you just come right back again two minutes later with your orders and I have been kind enough to be your maid free of charge just because I happen to understand perfectly what you want and what you need and give it to you before you ask for it. I want to end it before I gained confidence that you are actually trying to just keep me by your side because you can command me around without pay”

“I am not saying this because I want money, I say this so you understand that it is inappropriate and impudent to abuse the kindness and generosity of others”

“I have life to keep running, Brigitta; MY life.The “algorithm” of that life is not and will never be yours under any circumstances”

If she does not have that pride she’d cry. I know it from the look on her face.

“I have time for one more interview, and then I will hands off”

She interviewed three more and pick one.

She still messaged me wanting to change my transport and my food and whatever bread and diapers and vitamins she asked me to buy, but I never replied. She called me but I never picked it up. I have sick kittens, the weather is getting worse, my house needs to be done, and I only have literally 5 days 17 hours to do so.

For a moment I was a celebrity. Everyone was fighting to have Josie including Josie.

I know it then why celebrities, despite the fame, and all the money, and the glitter, and all, still hang themselves out of depression.

And I haven’t been posting for days because I just keep running and trying to get everything done before that plane landed Monday afternoon and my life would probably never be the same.

Nellie slipped into the bathroom when I was doing a little business and sat beside me.

She used to have my shoulder. She used to have my hi-s and pats. She used to tap my arms and get a lift. For a few days she has been trying to do just that but I just run past her with apologies with food, or whiskas, or garbage, or mop, or working bag, or talking on the phone.

When she followed me out of that bathroom she has my shoulder and I was never happier. When I scooped that litter box Sam keeps bumping on me and I was never more glad.

When I lift those little snorting and coughing babies and when they peed or diarrhea at me I have never felt more at home.

I fit in that hospital, by the bed, understanding, listening, helping.

But here is where I belong: around the litter boxes, hauling smelly poos, and runny noses, and hungry meows.

We don’t need algorithm.

We have each other.

~ Josie