A tale of two (stray) kitties | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE AUTHOR (center) and partner Richard pose for a photo tomark Simba’s turnover to the new family that came to adopt him and give hima new home.
THE AUTHOR (center) and partner Richard pose for a photo tomark Simba’s turnover to the new family that came to adopt him and give hima new home.
SIMBA and Kitiket

Is that yours?” I asked the grandmother who lived downstairs from us, pointing to the small cat that sat near us. “No, I thought she was yours. Well, we can just give her to the garbage men tomorrow morning. They’d know what to do with her.”


I gave her a puzzled look and asked what the garbage men would do with her. “Oh, they won’t kill her. They’ll just take her somewhere; maybe drop her in another area.”


I stared at the little creature in front of me. Her fur was dirty and ashen, body as thin as a rod, eyes almost closing, so weak she could barely open her eyes, and her legs giving way. She had to lean on the wall while walking just to move forward a bit. I felt sorry for her, but felt I couldn’t do anything. I never took care of a cat before. So I looked away and went upstairs to our place, thinking I’d just forget what I saw.


The next morning, my partner Richard and I were surprised to see the little kitty sleeping, curled up in the corner of our balcony. We could only imagine the effort she mustered just to be able to go up those stairs. We left her some food and thought maybe she’d leave by the time we came back. But she didn’t.


When we were young kids, my brothers and I had dogs and cats in the house, but we were never fully responsible for their care. As I grew up, I developed asthma and stayed away from furry creatures, no matter how cute they were. I thought having an asthma attack would be enough of a scare.


Nevertheless, we decided to take care of Kitiket, knowing that if we didn’t, she might meet a bad end. It was a good thing that Richard felt the same way, maybe even more than I did. We brought her to a reputable pet hospital and she was diagnosed with, well, almost everything you can imagine a stray cat would have. She had to be hospitalized for almost a week to be able to start a fairly healthy life again with us.


Much better


By the time we got her back, she looked much better; her eyes were more expressive, her fur was white again, and she responded better to us. It was then that I started to understand what others were saying about having pets. Sure, they can be quite demanding of your attention, and caring for them is an extra cost—but the returns are priceless.


Kitiket is the first one we go to in the morning, and the last one we say goodnight to every day. She stays outside on our balcony because of my condition, but she can be considered a cat princess—complete meals, good grooming, a nice view of the neighbor’s garden, a big cage to sleep in, a soft pillow to lay on for her afternoon naps.


I am not able to carry and hold her too much because as it is, just being near her would make me almost instantly sneeze and sniffle. It’s quite frustrating, really. At times I see her wanting to go inside the house and keep me company, but all I can do is talk to her a bit and go back to my housework. After some time, I’d check on her and find that she is in the exact same position, but this time sleeping, maybe even dreaming that she can come inside and stay with us inside the house one of these days.


I usually watch her through the window as she sleeps peacefully, wakes up at the slightest noise or feels of the cold wind. Months have passed and she is now a beautiful sight, with no trace of being a stray. I never thought the time would come that I would learn to love this furry bundle of joy.


Just recently, as we were having our morning coffee, we saw three kittens wandering just across the street. The day had passed and there was no mommy cat in sight. By sunset, all three were still there. We already assumed they had been left there to become strays. Luckily, two were taken in by neighbors. The third one kept hiding in a hole under a tree, but we could hear his soft meows and thought he must be hungry.


My son Joshua was able to trick him into crawling out of the hole. It was only when Joshua placed him inside the box that Richard brought that we saw this little migrant up close. He had a thin, frail body, but his face was the cutest round thing we ever saw. He had blue-gray eyes that stared at you until you melted, and he made squeaking sounds while he ate the cat food we prepared for him.


“What are we going to do with him, mama?” Joshua asked. He was clearly enamored with our new find. “We’ll keep him until we find someone who wants to take care of him. I would want to keep him, but…” Then Joshua finished my sentence, “You have asthma.” He understood.




We temporarily named him Simba, and how he lived up to his name, with so much spirit! He meowed incessantly and was as playful as any little male kitten. I posted photos of him on Facebook with a message, asking if anyone was interested in adopting him. I was a bit pessimistic at first, albeit getting ready just in case no one replied, but after a week, my college friend, Janet, called me to ask about Simba. She wanted to surprise her daughters and thought of adopting Simba, so it would be like hitting two birds with one stone. I was so happy for Simba, and the new family that was ready to love him. We had him checked by a veterinarian, and he was issued a clean bill of health.


The day we handed Simba over to Janet and her daughters was a remarkable one. It was love at first sight for them, and I can never forget the happiness in their eyes the second they saw him. I still shed a tear once in a while because I miss him, but I know too that they’re tears of joy, for I know Simba will grow to be as beautiful as Kitiket one day.


I never thought I would be touched so much by Kitiket and Simba. So to those who have showered their own pets with love, I admire your dedication. Yes, they do make us smile more, and make us learn more about responsibility and love. I hope that next time, if we end up with another stray, more kind hearts will be willing to take the chance to save an animal’s life.


To the Feliciano-Gotladera family, thank you for being a sign of hope for strays, and if possible, an example for other families to follow.


For more information about promoting compassion for animals and responsible pet ownership, visit www.caraphil.org.

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