Although maybe no one is waiting for me to write another post on this blog, but still I feel bad for not posting in such quite a long time. I am sorry for that. When Steve was gone to Medan, I’ve been so busy and it take long time for me to adapt with the new activity and schedules. Not to mention that many things happened that’s making me stressful. Even after Steve has came back to Bandung, we’re even got busier because Steve has to work Monday to Friday and I’m in charge of taking care of all of our cats (including the cats at his place) and with other activities that I have, we have to get adapted again with this new lifestyle. But I made this post not to grumble about how tired we are. This are just a glimpse of an answer of why it take me so long until I can post on this blog again.
One of the major loss and the main cause of my breakdown in these past months is that Lilo has passed away.
I never thought I would make a post dedicated for Lilo this soon. Never.
I was going to tell about the whole situation on Instagram but then I think let’s just share it in detail as a tribute for Lilo on this blog so she’d had a special post here just like Kitto and Ori.
Lilo was rescued by Steve, my partner, on 7th of October 2015. Maybe some of you have remember about this since I may have posted about this on social media. We were just got back home after work out of town for 5 days. Life then decided to give us a surprise by showing us little Lilo. A very heavy rain with thunder was happening that day, almost like a storm. It was finally calm at night then Steve came back to his place without any expectation. Until he suddenly heard a crying kitten screaming her lungs out. He was searching for the voice on top of the roof thinking there might be a cat stuck up there and can’t go down. He sees nothing but the crying hasn’t stop. So he looked down and then there she was. Hiding behind a small plant on top of the pot. Wet. Scared. And fragile. Our Lilo.
Steve took him to his room. At that time, Steve was renting a room at the place where no pets are allowed. So, Steve has to sneaked her in. Steve sent me her picture and told me about her. He immediately decided that he’s going to keep her. At that time I only have Jelly and Kitto as my adopted cat so I thought,”Yeah, why not?”
But Steve did not have cat food at his place. Thankfuly he got food inside a box that he just got from an event that he just joined before he went back home. And turns out there was a chicken on the menu that night. So he scrapped the chicken meat so it become very small with his hand and gave it to little Lilo. She ate it with gusto although she did not understand yet how to chew so she sucked the meat like a kitten suckling milk. You can imagine how small she was at that time. The next day Steve brought her to my home and that’s the first time I met Lilo.
We fell in love with her and I remember every great moment that we have spent with her like it was yesterday. Lilo was our first adopted cat that we trained to put on leash. And she loves it. Lilo is also our first adopted cats that we can take almost everywhere. We take her when we work, we take her when we take an afternoon walk, and we take her to the park to do a photoshoot. It was great and she behave really well. People love her and even one of our regular vet like her so much she always asked about Lilo when we came to the clinic.
So, it’s such a shame that she have to gone so soon like this.
I will keep the good stuff for the social media and maybe only for ourselves (me and Steve) since I know I can’t write every single details of the good memories that we have spent with her.
On February 19th 2018, I came to Steve’s place like usual to clean up and to take care of the cats here (both the stray ones and the adopted ones). At that time, our adopted cats that stay with Steve was Lilo, Miu, KK, and Bubba. Ori used to stay here too, but most of you have known that he went missing since the last November. There were also some stray cats that we feed everyday that lives around his place. And there was also Junior. Junior is now one of our foster kitten. But at that time, I let Junior stay at the warehouse on the rooftop of the building where Steve’s rent his place to live.
Junior was sick since a week before and I got stressed out because of it. I was tired so I got easily stressed and sometimes I got a panic attack too. On 19th of February I did what I usually do at Steve’s place. Opened the door and let Lilo, Miu, KK, and Bubba came out to play outside while I’m cleaning up. Many people asked me why I let our adopted cats roam around outside even after a few incidents happened to the cats under our care. My short answer is because although there were few incidents happened, most of the cats under our care is still perfectly fine. As human we tend to focus on the negative side rather than the positive so I understand. And I know myself eventhough the numbers are small, the pain and sadness are never healed. I have to admit I really do feel traumatized. But I have to choose. That’s why I will explain to you my long answer here. I still live with my parents and 2 of my older siblings at home. My mother does not allow the cats to be inside the house 24/7. And no one in the house care enough to check their surroundings before they open the door. So most of the times these cats sneaked out by themselves. If I want them to be a full indoor cats at my parent’s house, that means I have to stay at that house 24/7 and do nothing except taking care of these cats. I’ve tried this before and I was depressed and I was unhappy. I learned that to help others, I should helped myself first. So, I stopped hurting myself in order to love them. I can love myself while still loving them. In the end, for all of my adopted cats at home, I teach them to be streetwise. It takes more time and effort and energy but it was worth it. All of my adopted cats has been fixed too so I guess it’s a win-win since they won’t came home bringing a big belly with litters inside. I got my sanity back and my cats are happy too. The second of the long explanation about why I let my own cats roaming around outside of the house is for their health and happiness. I have wrote about animal hoarding before and it’s quite related to that topic.
I admit that I adopted more cats than I can handle that’s why I always forced myself to stop taking more cats although I really want to help them. On average, the maximum number of cats that one house can adopt should be 6 (reasoning about their each attitude and behavior too because some cats can only live alone inside a home with human, etc). Not only concerning about money and time, but also about their well-being. All I can say is, although you have money and time to take care of as many cats as you want, the main question is: Are these cats healthy physically and psychologically to stay with you? If you have a shelter or an animal clinic or a pet hotel, that’s a different case. Cats are an individual species, just like tiger. They like to be alone. For one single cat they need a quite big personal space. They claimed their territory which they don’t want other cats or other people invade. When they got their personal space and personal time for being alone, they will be happy and their health will also increase. This is why most of the times they don’t want a cuddle but then once every blue moon they came up to us asking for sweet cuddles. Well, just thinking of them like an introvert person.
Steve live in a space with only one room for all of his activity and also one bathroom. He should’ve only live with 2 cats, in my opinion. When he had only Lilo and Miu, everything was still under control. With his activity, with the space that he had, and with the money that we had at that time, having 2 cats at his place was perfect. But since we keep meeting kittens on the street and we have faced many traumatic incidents regarding kittens on the street, well long story short, Steve’s place got full with 5 cats. At this point, we remind ourselves NOT to add more cats (we are afraid that by keep adding more cats, sooner or later a plague would happen). Well as you know, Ori caught epilepsy and Miu caught panleukopenia after there were 5 cats in Steve’s place. I don’t know if it’s really the cause. But I’m quite sure it was too crowded for them. Thankfuly, Miu survived. Then last year I finally decided to teach cats at Steve’s place to be streetwise too. It was great and all of them love this new habbit. Ori got healthier too although his sickness can’t be healed and he’s still struggling but he showed a great improvement. Sadly, he suddenly went missing on November. I have wrote a post about it before on this blog too (click here if you want to read).
My point of view is I don’t want us to be the cause of their death and suffering. All I know when we decided to take them in is that we have to provide them anything that can make them happy and healthy until destiny calling them. We treat them with care when they need us, we provide them house with a food bowl that’s always full and also a fresh water, we make sure our place is clean so they won’t get easily sick, and we have to make sure that they’re not stressed out. That’s my reason about why we let our cats roaming around outside as a semi-indoor cat. Even one of the founder of a dogs and cats shelter in Jakarta said that cats are happier when they can roam around outside freely or having a big space for them to walk around.
Some of us might think dogs need bigger room looking by their body size. But cats also need such a spacious space for them so they could feel comfortable. Regarding to this long explanation, I encourage you to also read my post about animal hoarding (I wrote it in Bahasa, for English version you can just click the links that I put on that post).
Let’s go back to that day on 19th of February. So I was cleaning up and I noticed something different from Lilo. Usually from the moment I open the door to let them go play outside, Lilo usually be the one to run outside to play. Followed by KK the round tofu. That day, Lilo went outside for a minute then back to the room and stay with me. I was cleaning and she’s always around. Looking at me and even asking for cuddles many times. Lilo has a very fierce attitude where she act like she don’t need love or cuddles from anyone. Even to her savior, Steve, she treated him like he was a slave. LOL. But that’s why we love Lilo. So for Lilo to asked a cuddle was like a jackpot to me. I even took a video and sent it to Steve. Steve was loving it. I asked Lilo that day what’s happening, but I don’t understand cats’ language (even I want to) so I did not know her answer. I posted that video of me cuddling with Lilo on Instagram too. Later after that, I need to mop the floor in the room. So I let Lilo and Miu, who was inside at that time, to go out so they won’t make the wet floor dirty again. I mopped the floor and wait for a good few minutes until the floor finally dry and all clean. After all set up, I went out to call these cats back home. But only Miu, KK, and Bubba went back home. I went back and forth outside screaming Lilo’s name and searched for her. She did not come. I waited until in the middle of the night before I went back home. I thought Lilo maybe played a little to fun outside and she will come back the next morning when I came again.
Steve was worried, I can’t even sleep that night. The next morning, I woke up and get ready, finished all the tasks that I have to finished then go back to his place. Lilo was not around. At that moment I realized something’s wrong is happening. And that time when I was started to get all panicked, someone’s also just dumped Cashew in front of my partner’s place. I saw the whole act from the CCTV. You can tell that it was one of the worst day of my life. I was filled with many negative emotions. Rage. Disappointed. Worried. Scared. Panic. Lonely.
Long story short I found a recording from the CCTV around 1 PM from a day before that was very suspicious. A car passing by but then the car stopped, the car behind it drove passed him but very slow. The car that stopped have a lady on the passenger seat came out. One of the man that was walking saw the whole thing and walk to this lady. They have a talked, then the lady came back to the car and left. The man who was walking also left to different direction. After a few minutes he came back with another man with a motorcycle. They looked like they bring some kind of sack. This when it started to get intensed. I saw these two men stop from where the car stopped before. Then they took something quite huge from the ditch on the side of the street and put it inside the sack. Then they left. Something hit me at that time. That could be Lilo.
So with a little sanity that I still had at that time, I asked for a help from the man who’s taking care of the building where my partner rent a room to live. We call him by Mas Maman. I asked him if he know these men. He helped me a lot. Long story short, we found those two men. Their names is Kang Udin and Kang Ujang. Kang Udin was the one who saw the whole thing.
So Lilo was outside. When the car passing by, Lilo suddenly ran to cross the street. She got run over. She fell into the ditch. Kang Ujang told me she was already dead when he checked. Lilo had a sudden dead, maybe she got run over right on her chest or neck. When he confirmed to me that it was really Lilo (I showed him a picture of Lilo from a day before, and he said yes). I was crying. It’s like the world’s just crumbling apart in front of me and nothing that I could do to make everything’s back to the way it is.
Kang Ujang was the one who took the lifeless body of Lilo and buried her. I visited her burial. He even offered to open up the grave again in case I wanted to see by myself if it’s really Lilo or not. I told him I’m never ready to see her dead body, so I just let it be. I went back to Steve’s room crying and crying. I called him to told about this news. He was crying too. Lilo had always been his baby. I feel like a failure at that time. Everything seems so wrong, even my own existence.
After that incident, I’m still doing what I have to do since I know these cats needs me. But when I was alone in my room or when I was taking a shower, I couldn’t stop these tears. Lilo must be in pain. Why she had to go like this? I keep crying and crying. Even when I’m typing these words here, I am crying right now. This pain, this guilt, and feeling of longing of her will never be gone. I loved her. We love her. I have started to write all of these since last February. It took me a good 3 months to finished since I couldn’t face this whole feeling again.
But maybe time heals. Or it’s just me getting stronger. I can finally finish this post for all of you. But even if this post bore you to death, it’s all right. At least this the last thing I can do for Lilo. We love her no matter what. We’re still talking about her and how we always proud of her. We have visited her burial ground together while bringing a bunch of flower petals for her (some of them were pink, Lilo’s favourite color).
She still lives in our hearts. And if heaven does exist, I am sure hoping it fills with animals, so Lilo (and other of the animals that has left us) will stay there playing around being all happy.