Kittens, they are fragile little things, especially when they are one to two weeks young. Their meow is not a meow but a squeak. Their movement is limited by their own selves – blind, and deaf from just being born. And they smell too, like mother’s milk with a note of pungency when they are not taken care of well. For most of the time, they would sleep, and you would sometimes sleep with them until you are awakened from the squeaking, hungry for their mother’s nourishing teats.
But sometimes, these little fellas can be quite unfortunate, their mother might go missing, and then they are ridden with fleas and worms and not to mention infections on their vulnerable little body. Alone, or maybe not quite alone if they were abandoned in groups, they keep on squeaking for a familiar smell and for most of the time, not found.
I was tasked by some forces of the universe to take care of two little kittens. Supposedly three, but one of them passed away before I could have the chance to hear its squeaking. Of course, they are not large, both of them could barely fit in the palms of my hand and they weigh lesser than a breath of an air. One of them is black with white underbelly and the other one is white with a little black spot behind its folded ears. The black one’s behind is red and sore and bloody, maybe an infection had gotten to it. It worries me, to think that one of them might join their sibling in kitty heaven soon. But, as I’m writing this, I can hear their wispy sleepy moan and occasionally a strong meow of survival, and I sigh in gladness that they are still alive.
I would have never imagined myself having to take care of new-born kittens. I already have a cat on my own, Kanin, a quirky lady who cherish herself in slumber and pensive brooding at daytime and becomes a hyperactive she-devil in the night-time. She was found in a parking lot of my college by my friends and was christened Kanin, Tagalog for rice by them. When she was only a few weeks old, ringworm was her close companion. Her whole body was scabby with patches of baldness from the ringworm. But as she got older, her fur started to grow heavily, and she became a full-blown white elegance with black spots and tiger-like stripes on her legs. Having to take care of Kanin is a blessing, and I have scratch marks and scars to prove how much she loves me. But those two still unnamed newcomers, they might be a whole different dimension of a task.
And I wonder whether I am up for the task. When I was told of new-born kittens in need of urgent care, there was an enthusiasm behind my wanting of them. But now that I have them, having to hold them in my palms, as I wipe bloody faecal matter from the little black one’s behind, suddenly I have this realisation that I might not be ready to face whatever it is that these two little ones will be throwing at me.
I know I have depression for quite some time but only getting treatment a little while back. I would go on my day with heaviness in my steps and lightness in my head. My mind would be hazy for most of the time as I struggle to come up with a thought. Sleep is what I do for most of my days, unable to push myself to do anything because everything seems like heaviest burden to take.
In a way, I do see myself in those little kittens – my future is carved in reflection to the little black and little white. One of them is fighting to survive, and one of them is trying to survive a fight.
By the time I’m nearing the end of this writing, little black one had died. I buried him and laid a stone above the burial ground to mark the grave of an unnamed little kitten that died without him knowing much more about the world. For the white one, he is asleep for most of the time, unaware that his sibling had died, or perhaps he is aware of it, and acknowledging it by sleeping endlessly. His future is still uncertain, just like how I see mine.
And for many other people, that is how life is unfolding for them. Like a little fragile kitten, uncertain of the future for their present is afflicted with distraught and plights. Their past played a role too, traumas and burden carried inherently, those become a baggage that one will be forced to take as they take on the world. And for some people, they could barely survive, and for people giving up on a fight they could no longer battle with, they were punished. Past, present and future for the afflicted seems to be doomed inevitably, but I do hope that everyone afflicted will grow up to be a Kanin, strong, mischievous, and enthusiastic for the upcoming battle.
Ahmad Yasin is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
Register at headliner.newswav.com to become one of our content writers now!
*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.