Helen Feeney was worried that the kitten had died. In Bukit Lawang, Indonesia, the little mammal rested on a plastic bag of pebbles along a busy thoroughfare. The kitten’s eyes were closed and her body was still.
Feeney inhaled deeply and extended his hand. Feeney made touch with the dirty fur of the cat, and the kitten began to purr. I’m still here!
Feeney picked up the kitty and sat with her in an adjacent café chair. But what options did she have? Feeney was only in Indonesia for a brief visit from the United Kingdom, and she couldn’t bring the kitten with her.
Feeney wanted to feed the kitten despite the fact that the restaurant where he was sitting was closed for Ramadan, an Indonesian Muslim festival. She went to a neighboring store and purchased the finest kitten-appropriate food she could find, which was an egg and a tin of sweetened milk.
She fed the cat on her lap using a dish she took from the restaurant. Feeney tells The Dodo, “She was like a sack of bones, so fragile and helpless.”
Now Feeney had to choose between leaving the cat here and finding a way to help more. This wasn’t the first time she’d seen a suffering animal in Indonesia, and she was conflicted between her want to assist and her constraints.
“There have been numerous occasions in my travels that I’ve had to leave animals in need with a sad heart and frustrated tears because… then what?” asks Feeney.
Feeney now had to decide whether to leave the cat here or find a way to help more. She hadn’t seen a sick animal in Indonesia before, and she was torn between her want to help and her limitations.
“I’ve had to leave animals in need on several times in my travels with a sad heart and frustrated tears because… then what?” Feeney wonders.
Feeney began bringing the kitten (dubbed “Indah” in Indonesian, which means “beautiful”) with her everywhere she went throughout the rest of her journey.
“Indah adores being in the purse!” Feeney exclaims. “She settles in fast and has slept away while we’ve gone for jungle treks, river swims (with her observing), restaurant meals, and long rides to and from Medan to get her checked out by the vet and for worming medicines.”
“She resembles a joey kangaroo in appearance. She seems to like herself in there, and I always hold the bag close to my body, as if it were a baby, rather than allowing it to smash against my side.
I placed a couple of sarongs in there to make it more comfortable for her, and it gives her a little more height, so her head comes out and she rests it in the bag while watching the world go by.”
Indah was too little to thrive on her own, so Feeney realized she’d require constant care. As a result, Feeney altered her trip arrangements. “I had a trip planned to Thailand that I couldn’t reschedule,” she recalls.
“Unfortunately, I lost my money on that and had to face the bullet and buy a new one at a later date.” “I picked this date because a couple is returning to the school, and they are animal lovers, so it seemed like a good moment to ‘give off’ the duty before I go for Sydney.”
Still, Feeney worried about leaving Indah in Indonesia. Would the kitten end up on the streets again? Would she get enough food?
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