Firstly, we are utterly thrilled with how Maccies’ GO FUND ME page is going. It has really been more of a sensation than we expected and we now have just over 50% of the required funds to get Maccie to the UK.
If you haven’t yet seen the page and wish to donate, you can use this link: https://www.gofundme.com/getmaccietotheuk.
Maccie gets stronger every day and with this, comes new sides of her fabulous personality. She now has her tiger moments where her ears go flat back and she gets her little ‘boxing glove’ hands out ready to fight, our hands or a screwed up piece of paper being her opponent. The thought of leaving her little face behind is so sad!
Giving her input whilst we were packing for Palawan.
Unfortunately, we encountered a situation a few days ago where we were a little more helpless than when we found Maccie and it’s a story I feel emphasises the need for funding in rescue centres such as AARRC.
We were on our way home when I thought I heard a kitten crying. On our quiet street, that noise is quite distinctive but I wasn’t 100% sure so we went up to our flat and I didn’t think about it again. We were a few days from leaving for Palawan and it was proving hard enough to find someone to look after Maccie, let alone something else!
The next day, on my way to run errands, I walked past the little Italian where we have made friends with a girl called Eanna and a little boy called Ethan. Eanna is looking after Ethan while his parents are on holiday. He is half Italian and half Filipino and is in the same year as the children I used to teach at Knightsbridge. I really enjoy chatting to him and getting to know him, it gives me a little nostalgia to be honest. I miss the daily conversations with all my little charges. Anyway, these were the two kind humans who moved Maccie off the road to prevent her from getting squashed. Ethan ran up to me struggling to spit out his words. He was excited to tell me something. He eventually explained that him and Eanna had found a very tiny cream kitten behind a wall.
This kitten hadn’t had its eyes open for long, so it was probably 2 weeks old. It was obviously incredibly hungry because it was so noisy! It must have been what I had heard the night before.
I asked Eanna to show me where she found her. The wall was much taller than me but it had a small ledge, just enough for me to stand on and peer over. As I did, the cream kitten continued to cry and suddenly two more kittens appeared, a beautiful tabby and a little ginger. They had been hiding in a box amongst the rubbish, reeds and old materials that get chucked over the wall.
I couldn’t reach them and I couldn’t climb over the wall. So I decided to use their sibling to encourage them to climb up over the rubbish around them so I could grab them.
It was only once we had all three kittens together that Ethan and Eanna remembered something. Something, that to me, is completely unfathomable. Ethan ran to get his iPad! These kittens were born to the cat ‘owned’, in the loosest sense of the term, by someone who lived only a few doors away from where they were dumped. Ethan took a picture of the kittens and their mum the week before and now their future is very bleak indeed. After allowing them to live for 2 weeks, the people decided they didn’t want them anymore so they chucked them over the wall. Discarded like rubbish, these helpless things cried all night not more than 20 feet from where they were born and where their mother lived. I shouldn’t think this behaviour is uncommon. It’s incredibly frustrating because the same cat will probably get pregnant again in a few months and the same thing will happen again and again, as it will do all over the island. This is perhaps what also happened to Maccie, although at least Maccie was less vulnerable at 3.5/4 weeks old. We know she survived for at least 4 days before we found her.
Luckily, because we found the kittens within probably 36 hours of them being dumped, they looked in very good condition. They had little round bellies and they were not dirty with crusty eyes, just hungry. I was going into town anyway so I left the kittens with Eanna and Ethan and I dropped into the vets and bought some replacement milk formula. Neither Eanna or I were in a position to hand rear such young kittens. They need to be fed every 2 hours so I dropped Michel from the Aklan Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre a message. I have been conversing with him regarding Maccie and her transportation to the UK. He suggested I bring them to the rescue centre where they can be properly looked after.
That evening we went back to feed the kittens.
The next day, we got up early, collected the kittens from Eanna, who had fed them overnight and headed to the jetty.
I knew there was a reason we packed duck-tape!
Once we had made the 10 minute crossing, we got into a very uncomfortable van for an hour and a bit that took us to the airport where we were collected by the people from AARRC.
We took the kittens back to the centre and quickly mixed them up some formula.
Whilst we were there we got to meet some of the dogs and cats. They specialise in disabled dogs, so most of the dogs are hit and run victims who use little wheelchairs to move around. Thankfully they all seemed like happy little dogs, except perhaps one who only very recently went through surgery. He looked a bit sad and in need of lots of TLC.
The most pleasing news was that AARRC informed us that early next year they plan to visit Boracay and complete a ‘Tag, Neuter, Release’ programme to slow down breeding on the island. At the end of the day, that is the main problem here. Cats and dogs breed all the time and then all their puppies and kittens that survive to adulthood also breed and so on. Even if the dog or cat is ‘owned’, this breeding is never controlled. They run free without being spayed or neutered, most of the dogs ridden with mange. To spay a cat on the island it costs around £60 which is a lot of money for Filipino families where 60% of the population are on under $2 a day. This makes this initiative by AARRC a very much needed and hopefully welcomed effort.
We took another long and hot journey back to the jetty and got back to Boracay where we feasted on 30 Peso burgers as our daily allowance was spent travelling to Kalibo. I am totally aware that I can’t save them all but I like making the small difference that I can here. I am just not the type of person who can ‘turn a blind eye’ when I know for not much money and just a little of my time I could save something or help something on its way. I believe in fate and it was fate that I walked past Eanna and that we found those particular kittens. There will be many many more who are not found, but for these ones it will supposed to be I guess.
The kittens will now stay at the centre until they are adopted, which could be never. Although I am sure they will receive lots of love and affection, there is something wild and free about cats. They need to roam and explore. They are reasonably independent animals, not as needy as dogs, so it’s sad people won’t adopt them. They are much more easy to look after in my opinion. Perhaps we can raise enough money to bring 2 home or perhaps someone reading this might consider giving one of them a home. AARRC rely on donations to help them raise the animals in their care and don’t get anywhere near enough to support themselves, yet they continue to not think twice about helping an animal in need. If you would like to donate directly to them, please click here: http://animals.tukcedo.nl
That evening, we whizzed down to the beach for sunset.
We ordered a coconut and a beer at the bar and were quickly joined by a little black bitch laden with milk. Max spotted two of the largest ticks on her and, like the necessity to squeeze a spot, he couldn’t resist removing them. All caught on camera.
What a day!
So my next post will be from Palawan, and then from somewhere incredibly special which I will keep as a surprise! Maccie will go to the vet in town who helped me with her medication when I found her. She will be in a cage all week, a little shock to the system for her but there room for her to sunbathe and lots of other cats to watch.
*** UPDATE Dec 2015 – unfortunately, despite everyones best efforts, all 3 of these beautiful kittens died ***
*** UPDATE June 2016 – Maccie now back in the UK and settling into her new home with my parents, thanks to everyone who made this possible! ***