I was on my way to my sister's apartment when I heard a loud "meowing". I reckoned it came from somewhere quite far from where I still was. The author of the sound must be in desperate need of help for it to meow as loud as that, I thought. As I neared my sister's place, I saw a little boy squatting. He seemed to be busy with something, unmindful of the scorching heat of the sun. Curious, I went to where he was and saw that he was bullying a little gray kitty. He was hitting her on the head and pulling her tail. (I have no idea what else he did to the poor thing.) The PETA in me roared like a fierce lion and prompted me to bite him on the neck. Alright, not really. But I did give him a good dose of scolding and told him to leave the poor thing alone. As he left, the kitty continued meowing loudly. She pleadingly looked at me in the eyes. Her huge dark blue gray eyes seemed to tell me, "Please take me home with you. Please." And so I did.
When I got to my sister's apartment, we talked about what to do with her. She was too young, we could readily tell she was still being nursed by her mother. "We have to find her mother. We have to return her home."
In the meantime, we placed her on the doormat outside the apartment so she could get some sleep. She looked really weary from all the bullying.
Several hours later, I checked on her. She was still there, sleeping unperturbedly. My heart melted at the sight of her. I thought she was going to go out of the apartment and search for her mother. I mean, that's the most natural thing that a stray kitty would do, right? But no, she was different. She decided to stay. I'd like to think she chose us to be her family. And so I took her in.
|This was how she looked at me after I told the kid to stay away from her. You would be a heartless monster if you would not be moved by her pleading eyes.|
|November 30, 2010--that's when I found her. She has been with us for almost two months now. She is such a joy to have around, even if she playfully bites and scratches us all the time!|
My younger sister and I called her "Tylong", after the villainous character in the animated film "Kung Fu Panda." Why would you name such a cute creature after a greedy, megalomaniac, ungrateful, evil character?, you ask. Uhm, I don't know either but the name fits her for some reason.
Taking care of her, especially when she was younger, was not easy. It was similar to having a baby because she had to be fed every 3-4 hours. So that meant we had to wake up in the middle of the night to feed her. I'm grateful that I was not alone in complying with my "mommy" duties. My younger sister and I took turns. She slept early in the night while I stayed up until 3 AM. By the time I would go to bed, my sister would be up to do her graveyard shift. Hehe.
|She can consume about 30ml of milk in one feeding session. That's a lot for her size and age. :)|
One of the things I love about her is that she doesn't make it difficult bringing her along in our (my younger sister and I) many out-of-town travels. She's very playful and energetic when she's in a familiar territory (like my ate's apartment) but when we are on a road trip, she sleeps the whole time and never attempts to break free from my hands (I hold her against my chest like a baby). We were even able to ride a Victory Liner bus with her by placing her inside my sister's huge bag! (Victory Liner has this policy of not allowing animals in its buses. We were so worried during the entire trip that the bus driver or conductor might find out about our little companion inside the bag! But Tylong was so cooperative. She rarely attempted to get out of the bag. She barely meowed too.)
|This was taken during one of our trips to the North. We took a Victory Liner bus. Yes, that's her sleeping inside the bag. :)|
|Her first out-of-town trip. She's very well-behaved. She didn't pee on me too. :)|
|Sightseeing on the way to Baguio (Christmas 2010). This is my favorite photo of her. She's very human-like here, amazed by what seemed to be a never-ending view of greenery. :)|
|She would reach out for the speeding cars that would pass by us. Perhaps she thought they were toys. :)|
|She knows how to pose for the camera too! I love this shot of her! :)|
Tylong is very funny too. Most of the time, she does very human-like things, such as sleeping on her back instead of on her tummy like all cats do. She also never sleeps without positioning herself close to someone. At night, we usually find her sleeping beside us. (When she was younger, we would make her sleep in a shoebox with soft cloth as her mattress. Every time she would finish playing, she would climb in the box herself, without any prodding from us.) She also likes it when there are a lot of people around her. In fact, she only plays when she knows there's someone with her. One time, we left her in the backyard of my best friend's house in the province so she could play. We observed her from afar and noticed that every time we'd leave her alone, she would search for a nook or a corner and stay there until someone would arrive. Whenever she would hear the sound of our footsteps, she would happily run to us, as if to say "There you are! I've been waiting for you! Come, let's play!" It's amazing how such a small creature can bring so much joy to us. :)
|Having been brought up by humans, Tylong is now confused about her identity. Hehe. :)|
|The picture right above this one reminded me of Alicia Keys' (unsuccessful) campaign against AIDS. I just had to do a version featuring Tylong. :)|
|Aren't they adorable? :)|
|She also sleeps with her head resting on one of her little paws. Awww. :)|
|She likes blankets too. :)|
|That's her with my ate. :)|
|During one of our many afternoon naps together. :)|
|Sleeping on my ate's tummy. :)|
|It's play time! :)|
|She has a great taste in music. She "selected" (she randomly pressed the keys of my laptop) Paramore's "Only Exception" to lull her to sleep. :)|
Some of my friends saw her pictures which I posted on Facebook. Seeing that she was a street cat (pusakal, short for pusang kalye), they asked me why I didn't get a pedigreed cat instead. "Well, I do want to have one. I love cats. But I am not really after getting a fancy breed--I am for helping these helpless creatures," was my reply.
It will be great to have a pedigreed feline friend around the house, and for a long time, I have coveted one for myself, I confess. But these street cats (domestic shorthair)--they need our help, love and attention more than their pedigreed kin. I mean, the latter have a greater opportunity to find a home (most likely among the filthy rich, hehe) where they would be taken care of, loved, fed expensive cat food, given unnecessarily lavish toys and pampered. What about street cats? Who would care to shower them with such attention when everyone thinks of them as just that--street cats? WHO WOULD EVEN BOTHER TO GIVE THEM FOOD AND WATER AND SHELTER?
There are very few people who sincerely care about them. For if most of us realize that they too have lives, that they too are God's creatures despite the fact that they are just of ordinary breed, then we wouldn't see them rummaging through piles of garbage for food. We wouldn't see them drinking black water from canals. We wouldn't see them being run over in the streets. We wouldn't see them seeking refuge from the heat or the cold under parked cars. We wouldn't see them being violently kicked by some heartless, psychopath people. It breaks my heart every time I see them in such miserable state. :(
That's the reason why I made the choice to adopt Tylong, an "ordinary" kitty. She could have been beaten to death by that child had I not arrived in time. Or she could have died of hunger since she was still being breastfed by her mother. Or she could have been run over while seeking shelter under an immobile vehicle.
Yes, she may be classified as belonging to an "ordinary" pedigree. But she is by no means ordinary to me and my sisters. She is smart. She knows how to show her love for us by licking us on the face every time she cleans herself, as if to say, "Here, I'll clean you too." We didn't litter-train her but she knows where she should pee and poop. She makes us smile and entertains us with her acrobatic-like jumps. She keeps me company when I'm alone in the apartment. She inspired me to have a new dream--to establish an animal shelter for street and abandoned cats. Above all, she reminded us of something which we knew all along but momentarily became oblivious of--that street cats or pusakal, no matter how ordinary we view them to be, are nevertheless living creatures who need (and are in more need of) love and care, attention and, most importantly, RESPECT.
Tylong is not a street cat. She's family, our little baby.