Adopting The Moons Posted on Saturday, 13 May 2017
Monsoon and Mooncake are two lucky cats who have two loving moms, one who rescued and fostered them, and one who adopted them. Read more about their story as told by Paula and Lorie.
It was a wet August night in 2013. Habagat had been battering Metro Manila with persistent rains so heavy that even offices were suspended. My housemates and I were taking advantage of a lull in the downpour to buy emergency supplies when we heard him meowing loudly in the gutter across our apartment building. I was hesitant to pick him up at first, having just refused an offer of a purebreed kitten from an officemate for a “rehoming fee” because it didn’t feel right. But I knew this muddy and shivering kitten needed to be taken in because he wouldn’t survive another hour in the rain.
Monsoon, the kitten from the rain
I gave him a warm bath and some milk, and put him among old blankets to sleep. Google search estimated him to be about two months old. He was pure white with a stubby half tail. I was planning on just keeping him until he was old enough to live in the streets on his own, but when several friends told me he will have very slim chance of surviving as a stray cat, I decided to adopt him for good. We named him Monsoon, and his first few weeks indoors were a flurry of Google searches and FB messages to friends who had cats, visits to various pet stores, and a panic-driven trip to the vet when he vomited and seemed lethargic. I learned from the vet that cats, most especially kittens, can have sensitive stomachs, so any new catfood should be introduced gradually. Monsoon was given some medicines and he got better after a day.
Mooncake, rescue #2
I had always loved cats as a child, but was never owned by one. It was Monsoon who started me off to rescue other kittens. A month after I found him, I felt he wanted a companion because he was left alone in the apartment for the most part of the day. So whenever I come home at night, I was on the lookout for a stray kitten that I can take home. I found a calico kitten with her littermates a few blocks away from home. We named her Mooncake because it was Mooncake Festival and her ginger tabby markings reminded us of this Chinese pastry.
The pair that launched a string of rescues and rekindled a friendship
I would later rescue five more kittens in the next several months. Monsoon and Mooncake proved to be generous and affectionate Kuya and Ate to the rest of the clowder. I would often observe them hanging back during mealtimes, letting the younger cats have their share of food first and eating just the leftovers. They have different quirks too. Monsoon was affectionate and had a favorite blanket to knead. Mooncake often snuggled in our necks or hair, and seemed to be pulled outdoors; she often escaped and loved to hang out in the building corridors and windows.
In the middle of 2014, I hit some personal and financial difficulties. I knew I could not properly take care of all of my rescues, so I made the hard decision of putting several of them up for adoption. If there was a silver lining to my troubles though, it was the renewed friendship with Lorie, my best friend from high school. We reconnected through Facebook, and I told her about my rescues.
Out of all the cats that Pau told me about, I was fascinated with Mooncake. She was empathetic, almost like a therapist cat. Since I dream of becoming a therapist myself, I was sold. But later on, she thought I may also be looking for affection in a pet, and suggested I also take Monsoon as Mooncake may seem standoffish. I agreed, and we made arrangements to transport them during Christmas break from Makati to Pau’s hometown Kalibo, Aklan, where I was incidentally based in 2014.
The journey to their forever home
They would be flying in from Manila to Iloilo, then take a van from Iloilo to Kalibo. Months prior to their arrival, I joined the Facebook group Cat Care Philippines to learn more about raising cats. I also asked my then-helper Ate Niña, to cat-proof my house. Both of us were excited, nervously monitoring their travel via SMS and Facebook. My fiancé and I picked up Monsoon and Mooncake, or The Moons as we affectionately call them, from Pau’s place on December 21, 2014. My fiancé used to hate cats, because of the stereotype that cat poop is smelly, but he took to The Moons immediately. He would be the one buying them catfood, and even reminding me of their scheduled vet visits. He decided his favorite is definitely Mooncake. As for me, even if I chose Mooncake first, Monsoon’s attitude and sass caught my heart almost instantly.
Becoming a cat person
The first months were tough though. It seemed that the cats’ personalities have switched, with Monsoon becoming bratty and stubborn, while Mooncake turned out to be submissive and affectionate. I found myself crying because the cats’ stress and adjustment had expressed in a wrecked house, climbing up on areas where I couldn’t reach them, and their escape attempts from my house (both were already neutered when I adopted them). Later, we moved to an apartment they really loved and their stress disappeared.
I’ve gone through highs and lows with these two. I’ve watched how Mooncake comforted not only me, but also my friends as they went through tough moments while they slept over at my place. I’ve experienced being woken up from a diabetic’s sugar low by Mooncake, and Monsoon has also been a help at letting me know that his Dada is already at the door.
Discovering new parts of oneself
It’s been over two years since I’ve had The Moons. I’ve gone from a cat-raising ignoramus to a seeming cat expert, with friends asking me how to make take care of their own cats. Truth be told, I feel I still have a lot to learn about cats. I just have two adorable felines with seemingly opposite personalities. They’ve gone the distance with me, literally, and have grown in girth and familiarity. We now have an established rhythm, and I believe they consider me just as much a part of their clowder, as I have considered them my only babies. I also learned to be a lot more selfless, to prioritize their food and keeping their litter box clean. The journey of being a cat parent stretches your heart’s capacity to love. It lets you discover parts of your heart that you never thought existed. It stretches who you are. It gives new dimensions and facets to your character that you never thought would arise. It is a life-enriching experience that includes a lot of personal growth.
Whenever I remember how serendipitous it was for Pau to have given them to me, my heart bursts in gratitude, and I re-encounter how big it is of a blessing to have The Moons with me. Adopt a cat; it stretches your heart.
Words and images by Paula Sauza and Lorie Locara.
About the contributors: Paula and Lorie have been best friends since childhood. Paula has loved cats ever since she was a child and now has 4 rescued furbabies, while Lorie has embraced her cat ladyhood after having adopted the moons.
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