When we moved to our house in Setiawangsa, a black cat we would call "Poppy" seemed to be a part of the place. A stray cat, she hung around, very warily, and we fed her. Poppy had kittens, and when she disappeared after a neighbour's wedding, the four offspring stayed. One of them was called Rusty.
When we were back in Leicester 2 years ago, Rusty was taken ill and our niece Maria had to take him to the vet at Wangsa Maju. We were of course dreadfully worried and concerned. And then something very weird happened.
The spouse picked up the phone and dialed the Vet's KL number. Suddenly, through the French window, he caught a fleeting glance of a black cat that looked exactly like Rusty. That was odd - we had never had a cat in the backyard before. Occasionally, at night, a fox. But never a cat.
The spouse called me to look. The black cat gave a piercing and long stare at the both of us as we gasped, "It's Rusty!!" After doing a little 'job' in our back garden plot, Rusty's double climbed the wall and disappeared. And we never saw him again.
The spouse carried on with the call to the Vet. Rusty was fine, she assured us, and was responding to treatment. We didn't tell her, then, that we had already seen Rusty's agent!!
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (from Shakespeare's Hamlet)
Since then poor Rusty has been in and out of the Vet's - taking up medical residence for 1 month, then a few weeks and on our last sojourn in Leicester he was in for 3 months until we got back. This time the Vet suggested that Rusty may require an operation to remove a part of his flabby colon. Since June, we have been carefully tending to Rusty's health and diet and finally today we bit the bullet and decided to take him to Jalan Gasing Veterinary Hospital for the operation.
Two things worried us. Firstly Rusty's operation. Secondly, getting to PJ. During Hari Raya, we had visited some friends in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Kampung Tunku. We got lost before we got to TTDI, and then must have spent forty-five minutes going round and round Kampung Tunku's 'mulberry bush' to look for the address we wanted. To get home our host kindly offered to lead us to DUKE highway in his car and get us back on our way. It was that bad for us!
This time we turned to Google maps for the route to Jalan Gasing.
|From Setiawangsa to Jalan Gasing - The Guide and Map.|
NB - We don't believe in SatNavs.
With our hearts in our mouths, we made the journey to Jalan Gasing and back to Setiawangsa. In the end, it was fairly straightforward.
But most thankful of all, the Specialist Vet did not think an operation was necessary. He had seen far worse cases, and Rusty, he said, could be managed with a proper diet and plenty of liquid.
And here's Rusty melepak-ing in the garden after the trauma of the car ride.
|He has to be kept on a harness and leash to stop him scavenging for food around the neighbourhood. Rusty has a stomach like a bottomless pit - that's why his colon is in the state it's in.|
Here are a couple of snaps to show where Rusty used to look for snacks.
|This is a frequent scene in our neighbourhood - rubbish which are chucked and tucked away from the houses with the Mercedes, BMWs, Hondas and Toyotas. And it's just beside our fence! Nimbys - a proud aspect of this Malay middle-class suburbia!|
|Aisha chatting with her favourite stray cat next to a pile of leaves that she had just swept together.|
So Rusty's days of rummaging and snacking on rubbish are over.
We also notice the population of stray cats in our neighbourhood is growing. (They are being fed by some of us and by Osman and Aisha - our road sweepers - who between them earn just about MYR 2,000 per month ).There's one particular one, ridden with mange. It took the spouse two months to coax it into a cage (on the first try, it actually picked up the saucer of food with its teeth and carried it out of the cage!) so that it could be treated at the vet's to rid it of its miserable discomfort and before it could infect the other cats in the vicinity.
The two geriatrics too had a fair share of falls this time. Ash had it on the first of Ramadan and the spouse said he had never seen such a graceful fall. Six weeks later it was his turn. After a lovely dinner of ikan tiga rasa we discovered the car's battery had given up the ghost (because we forgot to turn off the lights). So we walked in the semi- dark, for about one km along Jalan Setiawangsa to get the mechanic. Iain tripped and fell, grazing the knee and elbow, ruining a pair of trousers. But he fell like a pro, making sure his bionic hip was not affected.
So that's the Story of Ash for the last few months - a bit woeful but we're luckier than most.