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A Heart for the Unloved

my good friend Jessica

What can I do to make you love me? What can I do to make you care?

If an abandoned Russian Blue cat would approach you, ask these questions and beg to be adopted, perhaps many people would stop and willingly take it home and raise it. But if an abandoned, weak and blind kitten would ask this, many might have turned a blind eye. I, myself, don’t feel confident to do so. Even though I like the feeling when I pat their soft fur, adopting them isn’t something I am prepared to do.

According to one proverb, ‘the purity of a person’s heart can be quickly measured by how he regards cats.’ If I were to agree with this saying, then I’d consider a friend of mine, named Jessica, to be heaven-sent to cats. She regards cats and other animals so well that if cats do have guardian angels, she must be one of them disguising herself as a human and living among us. I’m not saying she’s perfect, but her openhandedness towards many of these uncared-for creatures is commendable. So let me tell you a few more things about her, her cats, and her dream.

She’s not just any pretty face and that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Jessica and I have been friends for several years now. She is a beautiful and glamorous woman who enjoys lavish spending on clothes and shoes. If you encounter her the first time, you might mistake her to a villain in a soap opera. Perhaps because of her hostile aura and her unsmiling face, some people kept their distant from her which sometimes lead to people disliking her. If I am to compare her to something, I’d say she’s like a book. For you to fully appreciate and uderstand her, you must spend some time and carefully read each of her pages. Only after then would you realize that underneath her standoffish look is actually a warm person. I know she loves cats, but I didn’t know she’s willing to give them more than what I thought.

As a young girl, Jessica had a peculiar hobby of collecting beetles and cocoons. Every time her class ended, she would excitedly look for these creatures, put them in a small box, and take them home to feed and play with them. Afterwards, she’d put the beetles back in the small box while she’d return the cocoon from twigs where she detached them only to find these poor things swarmed by ants later. When she saw what happened to them, she was heartbroken that she really cried her heart out to mourn for them. After realizing she was the reason why they suffer such a tragic fate, she promised never to keep them again. She had no intention of hurting them but her thoughtless actions resulted to their death. Perhaps this experience led her to give more importance to the lives of helpless animals. From this, she had learned that no matter how good our intention is, we must learn to be sensible to know what’s best for the ones we wanted to extend our hands to. We must ask ourselves if our aid would do them good rather than bad.

As time passed, she has outgrown her interest to beetles and cocoons but had her fondness drawn towards cats. Even though her family raises cats and dogs, she found herself more affectionate to cats. She liked that these fellas were quiet and independent, and since they spent most of their time sleeping, they never bothered her unless they’re hungry or when they wanted to play. She didn’t hate dogs, but she definitely enjoyed having cats around more. And I guessed as years went by, her loved for them got way stronger.

These days, Jessica is taking care of four cats. Two of them, Muymuy and Mingming, she found wandering around the crowded and unclean streets of Quezon City. Mingming was a blind kitten she found desperately looking for food among piles of rubbish while she saved Muymuy from possibilities of getting hit by fast cars along EDSA. They were kittens back then, weak and unaware of their surroundings. For someone having a big heart for cats, she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving them alone to die of hunger or accidents, so she took them home, provided them food and love as well as ensured their wellness just as she felt they deserved.

In the Philippines, it seemed common to throw kittens away because many people feel burdened to take care of them. Whenever Jessica went on her way to work, she would see many of these cats on sidewalks, in piles of garbage and even in abandoned lots. She’d hear their desperate cry for food, shelter, and love, yet she rarely saw people pay attention, a heartbreaking scenario she would witness each passing day. But for her, there’s nothing worst to someone who ignores them than to those who abandon them or have them killed. They might have their reasons for doing so, but she still finds it absurd. Perhaps they thought her most cherished creatures were flexible enough to survive their harsh environment all by themselves which could be true for a few but not for all which makes her even madder to these so-called highest forms of animals. In her mind, perhaps benevolence towards animals is something this planet needs to revive because it seems to have died out.

Mingming and Muymuy were just a few among those who experienced such cold-heartedness from man. But now, these two were both comfortably and safely living with Jessica and her family. In the future, she hopes to be a vet to help many of the likes of Muymuy and Mingming. If she couldn’t, she’ll still continue to aid them in her own little ways because she believes that an act of kindness, big or small, can make a huge difference to their lives and could save, if not all, many of them.

My friend Jessica is just an ordinary person like you and me, but who is extraordinary in her own ways. And I admire her heart for being big enough to share to these unloved ones.

In the future, there are things I would remember from her story. First, I should know that there’s always more to a person than what we see outside. The second thing is cats or not, we should show regards to their lives. Finally, showing even a small act of kindness can make a great difference to someone or something.

So perhaps we could ponder on these things and practice them. These are’t big tasks but it might probably help make this world a better place.

The blind yet lovable cat, Mingming

The blind yet lovable cat, Mingming

our playful Muymuy

our playful Muymuy

Friends at PAWS

Friends at PAWS

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  • Wyn Inocentes-Aiep

    Pets are the companions that will be there to comfort us and not complain to spend time with us.

  • Liz Orale Aiep

    Thanks for sharing, Flei. I personally don’t have pets, because I don’t really have the time for it, or maybe it’s just not part of my interests. I like petting, but I always have something else to tend to. Though, I have lots of friends who have pets, and one of my college friends has 14 cats! Actually, while reading your post, it reminded me of her, because she has a big heart for the ‘unloved’. I think it’s nice to have people like them, as your friend as well. And I totally agree with you, this world might need a little more people like them. Meow! 😉

    • Wyn Inocentes-Aiep

      14 cats? Wow… I guess, cats are not so high maintenance as much as dogs

      • Liz Orale Aiep

        Hahaha! Yup! Stacy (my friend from college) loves cats. Actually I’ve learned more about cats from her than reading about them. I heard that cat-lovers have similarities to cats’ personalities. I’m picky when it comes to cats, that why I know they’re not really for me, regardless I admire how feisty they can be, as well as their cuteness too. 🙂

  • Neysa L Custodio

    We adopted a stray kitten a few weeks ago. We took care of it for about a week and a half before taking it to a vet since it was holy week and no animal clinics were open. My son took it to the UP College of VetMed for a check up since the kitten was not eating anymore. It turned out the kitten was sicker than we realized because the vet said she had too many worms in her tummy to be purged, plus she had feline AIDS. Even if she were given meds for the disease, the doc said she wouldn’t have been able to handle it. The kitten had to be put down which was the best for her given her condition. We miss the little furball a lot.

    • Wyn Inocentes-Aiep

      So sad. I agree with you however that that was the kindest act you did for her.

  • Reggie Meriales Aiep

    When I was young, I’ve always secretly dropped food in front of our house to feed strays that would walk by. Basically I’m the reason why there are so many stray cats that walk through our yard every night. This post makes me want to get a pet of my own. Thanks for posting this! I miss having a companion around.

    • Wyn Inocentes-Aiep

      I used to do this too whenever my family would go to a picnic at the park.

  • Wyn Inocentes-Aiep

    I have never had cats because someone in the family was allergic to them. However, this reminded me of my first adopted street dog. Yes, he was your typical mangy, flee-infested “askal”. My heart sank when I saw him. I took him in, really took care of him, and made him look healthy. He would always greet me when I come home. He would even run to the passenger’s side of the car (where I usually sat), just to greet me. He followed me everywhere that when my mom took a photo of me, he photo bombed it. I was really heart-broken when I came home but he didn’t greet me. I found out that he was hit by a truck. Your article reminds me of how these animals have feelings and gratitude that most people even lack.

  • Al Dane Dumpit

    Honestly, I’m not a cat lover or even a pet lover. But we have dogs at home just to guard our house from bad people. I don’t like the fury hair of a cat, and don’t know where my hate for that came from, or maybe i was influenced by my mother because she hates those fury hair also. hahaha but somehow I found cats cute especially Garfield.

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