Long before humanity learned to whisper Her name in reverence or cry it in exaltation, my mother walked this earth. Long before humanity crept from its caves to build crude homes with mud and sticks, my mother stalked this earth. Her eyes gleamed yellow in the firelight; Her fangs glowed like twin crescent moons. In ancient Kemet they called Her Bast, Sekhmet, Mafdet, but in the time before language they simply knew Her as a swift and awful death. Long before they understood what She was, they understood what She could do. Humanity has not always worshipped my mother – but they have always feared Her.
Hi! My name is Lorne. I’m three years old and I live with my sister, Willow, and our two moms. Willow and I were born in a crowded place with a lot of other cats. It wasn’t very nice, but then our moms found us and took us home! Now we live in a nice big house with so many good places for napping and playing. We even have a catio so we can go outside and still be safe, but I don’t understand how the door works so I haven’t explored it yet. I do like watching the birds from the window, though, and sleeping in the sunshine.
Our mamas take really good care of us. We get a new box of toys every month in the mail and all the tummy rubs we want. Willow and I have to eat special food so I don’t have trouble peeing, but if I wiggle my butt enough sometimes mama will give me treats. (Mama says I’m not chunky, I’m just big boned!) It’s really nice here. I spend most of my day sleeping on our mamas’ bed or wrestling with Willow. As the man of the house it’s up to me to keep us safe, though, so I also check the cupboards regularly and yell at them if I need to. You can’t be too careful.
I used to think all kitties got to live in nice places like me, with all the toys and sleeping spots they could want, but mama told me that’s not true. She said lots of cats have to live outside where it’s cold and wet and they don’t always get to eat dinner. She also said some humans are really mean to cats, and hurt them for no good reason. This made me really sad! I think every cat deserves a nice home and good humans to take care of them. I’d be really scared if I had to live outside, and I would be lonely if I didn’t have Willow and our mamas.
I asked mama what I could do to help all those other kitties and she said there’s a cat rescue she works with called The Whiskers Syndicate. It’s a shelter run by a really nice lady name Josie who takes care of needy cats in a far away place called Indonesia. The people there aren’t as kind to kitties as people are here in America, so there are lots of cats who need her help. Mama donates money to The Whiskers lady, and she said maybe I should ask everyone she knows if they would want to donate some too. Or if they couldn’t, maybe they could at least share this so others can see it too. What a great idea!
I’m really grateful to have such a good family; thank you for letting me tell you about us! If you liked my story, please consider clicking this link and donating a dollar or two to Josie’s family, or even just sharing this so we reach more people. If you can’t, a prayer is just as good! I know they are very grateful for anything you can spare and you’ll be helping kitties like me have a safe place to sleep and play. That’s what every kitty wants and deserves.
If you’re looking for a charity to support during the winter holidays, please consider the gift of a small donation to The Whiskers Syndicate and their 100+ needy kitties. Every dollar helps put food in tiny tummies!
Among many factors that contribute to the estrus cycle of female cats, light (that affect temperature) is one. Cats need at least 10 hours a day to stay fertile, which is why kitty season happens during spring or summer. Cats also breeds faster in temperate climates, and Indonesia is tropical country. We have kitty season…
So my current DnD PC Selene, the siren trapped in a semi-human body, has broken the curse placed on her by a gross incel wizard and can finally go home. I didn’t write much about her, it’s true, but that’s because all she ended up doing was smashing stuff and eating everything in sight; entertaining for sure, yet not quite worth bragging about. SHE WAS SUPER FUN TO PLAY, though, and I will miss her, but now she has returned to her ocean home and is happily wrecking ships and devouring sailors once more. And no, she didn’t learn any lesson from the experience except maybe that if you’re going to eat someone who has potentially vengeful family members, try to eat them too before they put a fucking curse on you. Failing that, break their legs and see if that helps.
My party members will now be meeting up with my new character Tal’reth (or Giant Cat Dad if you like) and I am super stoked to play him. He’s a good guy trying to make up for a dark past and should be a very frustratingly justice-aligned counterpoint to my wife’s chaotic neutral/evil aasimar warlock. (We didn’t plan it that way but BOY IS IT GONNA BE INTERESTING.) I’m going to keep his one big secret under wraps for now so my party members don’t catch on, so here’s what I’ve got so far:
Paladin Oath: Vengeance; this oath includes the tenets “Fight the Greater Evil”, “No Mercy for the Wicked”, “By Any Means Necessary”, and “Restitution”.
Alignment: Chaotic good
General physical description: Large lion tabaxi with pale fur and blue eyes, approximately 8 feet tall (though the mane probably makes him look taller), bears quite a few scars.
Dress style: Mostly loose breeches and a sleeveless tunic top. He doesn’t wear anything that reveals him to be a paladin as he often travels in places where foreign gods aren’t tolerated. If anyone asks his trade he says he’s a bard and carries a penny whistle to prove it. If anyone questions that (he doesn’t exactly fit the bard stereotype), well… not many do. He’s very intimidating and doesn’t particularly like answering personal questions.
Fighting style: Great weapon fighting, grappling, probably some mauling if necessary
Weapons/armor: Great sword, shield, dagger, being a giant lion
Hobbies: He’s actually pretty good on the penny whistle, and he uses his claws to make wood carvings. In general he doesn’t have a ton of hobbies though, being focused as he is on his mission.
Positive personality traits: He’s very protective of women and children, and very opposed to people in positions of power who use their authority to take advantage of others (like corrupt officials, priests, royalty, etc).
Negative personality traits: He might mean well, but his methods can be quite brutal. Also, for much of his life he was a not-so-very-good person. He’s making up for that now, though.
Sense of humor: Dry sarcasm (and maybe puns if I can pull it off).
How other people see him: “Big motherfucker” is the usual descriptive phrase used. He’s very obviously someone you don’t want to mess with. Children, however, may feel instinctively safe with him.
Religion: Tal’reth is sworn to Kodkod, a chaotic good deity whose domains include life, innocence, and childhood. She may or may not have cursed him after he killed a young girl in service to his last mercenary patron, and after this he became devoted to Kodkod and ridding the world of evil. He’s not like most of Kodkod’s paladins, though, as she tends to attract lighthearted types who retain the wonder and innocence of childhood. Tal’reth is a tough guy all the way through, but he does important work for Kodkod that her other paladins might find… too gruesome.
Background: For most of his life Tal’reth has been a mercenary, most recently aligned with a powerful warlord who desired control over neighboring lands. After the incident with Kodkod (which involves the secret I’ll probably spill before I mean to), he had a change of heart and has become a champion for good. Chaotic good, though; he’s retained his brutal ways, he just uses them against bad guys now instead of just against whomever couldn’t pay him enough to leave them alone.
Reason for adventuring: Restitution for his past sins.
Philosophy of life: Those who can fight should fight for those who cannot.
Most important thing to know about this character: He takes the tenets of his oath very seriously and will not hesitate to do what he thinks is right, regardless of whether this is seen as “right” in the eyes of others or the law. He isn’t a religious zealot by any means but he is driven by the need to make things right and to protect the innocent.
Other random facts: He’s immune to disease; he can detect the presence of undead, celestial, and fiendish creatures within 60 feet; and he can summon a spirit steed (warhorse) with which he is bonded. This creature can understand him and fight with him. Considering how big he is, it’s probably one big motherfucker too.
The world feels like an especially dark place right now and like there’s nothing we can do on an individual level to make any appreciable difference. I definitely drown in that feeling of helplessness sometimes and I know others do too. I therefore try to take great comfort in my work with The Whiskers Syndicate, knowing that even just a dollar or two can mean the difference between starvation and survival for a needy cat. A few seconds on PayPal ensures I can do something this very day, this very moment, for a creature who actively suffers. Against all of the world’s ills this may seem like a minuscule drop of good, but in a world where the most vulnerable among us cannot speak their needs it is imperative we speak for them. There are countless charities doing amazing and extremely difficult work every day… but not many for whom just a single dollar can make such a difference. It’s a can of tuna, a hot bath, a drop of flea medication. It’s an oasis of safety and warmth in a land where Bast’s divine children are treated like vermin. It’s a chance to get to tomorrow – how can I deny any living creature that right?
How do I talk to all of you? Near or far, small or big, once or often, financially – most of all – and by shares, comments, love, prayers, encouragements, all of you have relentlessly lent your hand and folded up your sleeve to stand with us through the depth of the battle that swamped…
There’s a lot of discussion these days about privilege – about what it means to be to be born into a certain place and time, into a certain gender, into a certain race or orientation. For most humans our whole lives depend on that tiny bit of chance and the luck of our circumstances can mean the difference between a long, happy life and a short, painful one. I therefore try to remain aware of my own privilege and use it to helps others who aren’t as blessed as I am – yet not until discovering The Whiskers Syndicate did I ever truly consider that the luck which makes such a difference for humans does the same for animals.
What I have learned from The Whiskers Syndicate is that the place where an animal is born makes just as big of a difference in their lives as it does for us humans. Even though my current cats were unfortunate enough to be born into a hoarding situation, they were also lucky enough to be born into a liberal American state where animal welfare is bolstered by laws, hundreds of local organizations, and a community of hardworking people who give their time, money, and love to the animals who share their space. There are of course countless animal rights issues in the United States (factory farming, environmental degradation, and backyard breeding to name a few) but at least here there is an ongoing discourse about the harm these practices cause. Many people speak out in the defense of those who cannot speak for themselves, and even if we’re a minority we’re at least a vocal one.
The cats born in Bandung, Indonesia lack even these seemingly basic privileges. There are no humane societies waiting to give them a chance at a new life, no laws protecting them from human cruelty, not even a veterinary community robust enough to diagnose and handle complex health issues. The people there who love and care for cats have no 24-hour vet hospitals, no PetCos, no free spay/neuter clinics, none of the things I take for granted every day. My cats have a good chance of living to be 15 or even 20 years old; street cats in Bandung last maybe 5 years if they’re lucky.
The disparity is so shocking I can hardly wrap my mind around it, and it highlights the stark need for an organization like The Whiskers Syndicate. Without Josie’s selfless dedication and her local and international network of supporters, the cats of Bandung would have nothing. A few kind hearts in the crowd, a few food scraps, but nothing so concrete. Knowing this, it makes me doubly grateful for the cats I’ve known and the ones I currently share my life with. Much like myself, they will never know what it’s like to live somewhere where you have no support, no safety, and only the smallest chance at happiness. I can’t tell my cats to appreciate how good they have it (though I try!), so instead I put my time and money where my mouth is. It feels like the least I can do when I, and they, have been so blessed.
I have never felt closer to divinity than sitting in a stuffy little room which smells of cat litter while singing a lullaby Bast helped me write to three nearly feral kittens. They fled at my approach, five days of safety and good food not yet enough to win them over, and stared at me with wide, reproachful eyes as I sat down just inside the door. Then I started to sing – the lullaby first, my voice a little weak from the last traces of a cold. Glancing inconspicuously, I found at least one little face turned my way, though two still hid. I moved on to the songs that have brought me peace over the years, old hymns and spirituals and various songs collected from choir and pop culture. I had two sets of eyes watching me, then, and a still resolute back turned my way. I kept singing; songs that remind me of Bast, of home, of the undeniable divine spark in music from other religions, other cultures, other times. I peeked again and saw all three kittens facing me now, the bravest with drooping eyes and the wariest with unwilling curiosity. My voice could take no more so I started humming whatever gentle tunes came to mind the way a mother might idly hum to her crying babe. When I looked next I could see two little white bodies stretched out in their hiding place, no longer bunched up with the need to fight or flee but relaxed in weary sleep. Even the third had succumbed to so drowsy a state that when I slowly, so very slowly rose to my feet my movement woke, yet startled, no one. I whispered my goodbyes to three little watchful faces that seemed, at least to me, slightly less wary and took my leave for the night, praising Bast for the gift of music as I closed the door.