A few weeks ago, our neighbourhood was graced by the arrival of 2 newly-born kittens. Both of them – one black, the other orange – seemed separated from their family and were wandering around the streets. As they were clearly too young to be out on their own, we and a few neighbours took turns to feed them when they were at our compound. Despite being unadopted, they look healthy and are growing up like any regular cat should.
Being stray cats, it was normal for them to disappear into other streets, only to reappear a few days later. Thus, we assumed that the kittens have found new lives when we stopped seeing them for a week. Until one day, I came home from work to find little Orangey sitting in front of our house. I realized something was wrong when I got closer to him. On closer inspection, I noticed his fur has lost the glowing orange colour and his body were sticky as if his body was glazed by some kind of goo. The tail was naked and he has caught an infection on the ear.
Sensing my presence, he got close to me to demand my attention. Hearing his voiceless cries, it’s obvious that he was sick. The difference between his frail self and the one I’ve seen a week earlier couldn’t be any more starker.
Without second thoughts, we brought him into our house. As most vets were closing then, we thought of letting him rest for the night and see if his condition improves. For the rest of the night, he spent his time hiding in our shoe rack and leaving the milk that mom prepared.
The following day, I went to work as usual and before I left home, I checked the shoe rack to make sure he was still there. He was still hiding and refused to come out. I thought he looked ok and went on with daily routine.
Later that evening, I received a phone call from mom,
“He’s looking worse, we need to bring him to the vet,”
Thus, I left my workplace on the dot and rushed home before the vet closes. Upon arriving, mom gave me a pair of handgloves and a large paper bag to put orangey in. Apparently he was covered in some kind of filthy mud. As soon as I placed him unwillingly into the paper bag, the internal walls of the bag were stained with the brown filth. Without wasting a second, I took the bag into the car while my mom drove.
“It’s ok… it’s ok… we are almost there…”
I found myself comforting him with a firm grip on the back of his neck as he was constantly trying to pry his way out of the bag. It took awhile before he calmed down, and I could see him clearly – his eyes could barely open and has lost the glow he had.
“It’s going to be hard to save him, is it?”
I kept quiet to mom’s question. On closer inspection this time, his skin infection on both his tail and ears look worse than it was the previous day. It seems to be spreading to his whole body and with that filthy mud, he looked like he was melting inside out – it could be fatal.
The vet was closing at 7 and we had only 20 minutes or less to make it there. Although it wasn’t a long distance from home, the infamous Malaysian jam didn’t help. As we arrived at a long jam before a u-turn, I took a glance at the car’s digital clock – 6.45. If the vet closes before we got there, I had no backup plan.
My heart starts to pace.
Each precious minute that felt like years slowly went by – 6.46… 6.47… 6.48… the traffic light was still stuck at red.
When it finally turned green, mom stepped on the accelerator, only slow down when cars on the adjacent lane were cutting into our queue. These are typical Malaysian drivers who didn’t want to wait.
*Curse you bastards! May you rot in hell!*
We could only move so much before the lights turned red again. I could see that mom was gripping tightly onto the steering wheel. My palms were getting very sweaty. Clock shows 6.50. You could cut the tension in the car with a knife.
After a few green lights, we finally made the u-turn and mom stepped on the gas. We arrived at the vet at around 10 past 7pm. Thankfully it was still open and the doctor was attending to another patient. We quickly registered (“Name? Ermmm… he doesn’t have a name, it’s a stray cat”) and waited.
“He’s not going to make it, it he?”
Once again, I fell silent. At least we made it to the vet in time.
When the nurse called out our name, we entered the diagnosis room. She peaked into the paper bag, took little orangey out and said, “Hmm he looks bloated…”
Looking at the stains, she asked if he was licking on his own feces. Funnily, he didn’t smell bad but it was a likely possibility.
According to the vet, it seems that he had a diarrhoea and then lost his voice due to extensive crying. Apparently, he needs to be hospitalized for an extensive medical clean up and continuous monitoring on his skin condition.
Hearing the vet’s calm and assuring voice was a point of relief for us. At least we knew he was going to be alright (Although the vet told us much later that she wasn’t sure about saving little orangey, hah!).
A few days later, we visited little orangey and he looked much healthier. His body was spot free although he hasn’t fully recovered from his skin disease on the tail and ears. Still, he was active and wanted to play.
“He’s a feisty little one eh?”
The vet’s comments made me realize that we have not given him a name. Well, we were already looking for an owner to take up the adoption but if we were to keep it, I think ‘Feisty’ would be a nice name. Oh, the vet said he ate a lot too. Or ‘Garfield’.
He wasn’t ‘discharged’ from the vet until 2 weeks later, where he eventually recovered from the skin disease and regained his voice. We brought him back briefly and oh boy, we didn’t realize cats were even more hyperactive than dogs. Once he’s out of your grasp, it was almost impossible to catch him again.
Well, eventually we did and by evening we put him back into his cage and drove him to his new owner. It was sad to part ways to little orangey but as we are unable to invest the time and emotional energy on pets, I’m sure he will find solace with her new owner and home.
And oh, he will have another friend to play with. Be nice orangey, don’t be rough.