Saturday, August 15, 2020

Cat Chronicles: Spreading a Bit of Kindness and Finding New Life in the Middle of the Pandemic

BonBon sitting on my lap after feeding
Cats, it seems, are everywhere but they seem to be more visible during the lockdown and quarantine.  The few times I venture outside to buy necessities like food and medicine, I spot them congregating (even seemingly anti-social creatures seem to like meeting together and bonding, too) in spots along the way to the supermarket or pharmacy.  I'm a dog person but as a self-confessed empath, I draw other animals into my sphere of influence.

The Yodas of LOA thinking as well as the philosophical types are not averse to admitting that even for pets, humans do not really choose their animal companions.  Rather, animals, especially the street cats, choose their humans.  In the case of my street foster cat, BonBon, she chose me.  Just the other day, she was hiding inside a long fallen pipe/post under the Buendia-South Superhighway flyover, exhausted from giving birth.  But she came out to drink the milk I offered her when I called her.  Today, she's back to her gregarious self, lying on my lap after feeding on Whiskas catfood and drinking milk.

Bibimbap, BonBon's kitten
My friend, Ferdz, suggested I name BonBon's kitten Bibimbap :P

I also feed some half-dozen to a dozen stray cats who regularly congregate near the waiting shed of the San Antonio village tricycle station.  It's a routine I've been having halfway through the current pandemic, an oasis of sanity amidst the problems we are facing now.  I figure this act of kindness can help in a way to, perhaps, alleviate the suffering in the world.  Well, karmic bonuses are welcome but honestly, I can't bear seeing the cats go hungry though there are kindhearted people who routinely leave food for them.  Maybe, I just took it a step or two further by interacting with them instead of just heaping Whiskas or human food leftovers on the planter boxes.

Along the way, I've come to know some of the people who inhabit the world under and around the flyover.   There was a couple with a cute black cat living near the riles (railway) who came to me for help as their beloved cat had an infected eye, most likely scratched by another cat. A dose of Terramycin eye antibiotic ointment did wonders when I passed by today.  His right eye is now open and the red swelling has diminished greatly.  It's something that makes me feel glad and light-hearted -- finding a couple who love their cat so much despite their situation, and being to be of help to them.

Another neighborhood cat who stays near the local hardware
Holding BonBon's kitten is also a life-affirming event especially at this time when it seems that sickness and death are holding sway over the world.  I miss my foster dogs though I also feel called to help out these cats.  Maybe even a bit of kindness can count.

There are also a lot of stories under the flyover, things so easy to miss if I didn't commit to helping the cats.  Just today, I met Jun, a constable who wanted to help someone find shelter after leaving an Indian boyfriend.  Yesterday, I got to talk at length with sampaguita vendors.  Even some of the tricycle drivers and staff of the Public Safety Department know me by sight.  I still get stares (laughter and giggles at times) from passersby but honestly, I don't really mind nor care.  The cats' welfare are what's important. I'm sure they don't mind the stares either so why should I?


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