Love is not a function of time, a friend used to tell me. I believed him, but too bad we had to experience that too soon.
Little train was our cat, or more precisely, our cute sweet little kitten. She came into our lives in the most unexpected time, during Jeff & Abe’s wedding which we attended and shot.
We arrived at Hotel de Intramuros early in the afternoon so we could shoot the preparations without getting in the way of the main photographers and videographers. When I went back to the car to get some things, I saw a man alternately crouching and kneeling down, seemingly looking for something under our vehicle. I was hesitant to talk to him, worried that it might be a ploy to distract me while someone else steals valuables through the unlocked doors on the other side. But it felt different, so I approached him to ask about it, but not without arming the car alarm beforehand anyway.
To my surprise, he was actually hearing a little kitten crying from somewhere under the vehicle. I tried to help, but couldn’t find the exact spot of the sound’s origin. At this point, I even wondered if it was a recording meant to distract me. Parked just in front of the hotel entrance with guards nearby and knowing the doors were already locked, I stopped worrying about the car and focused on the kitten instead. The cries sounded real and urgent, but unfortunately we just couldn’t find it. I gave up. I told the man that maybe later, after we walk away and let it be, somehow the kitten will find its way out and be free.
I headed back up to continue shooting, and I was soon absorbed in the day’s events. The wedding ceremony was in the evening so we only got back in the car around 9 PM. We had to move to the reception venue just nearby, and I told Hana about the kitten I heard a few hours earlier. Suddenly, we heard it again just as we were about to park! I listened a bit to find it, but gave up quickly. I was already starving and proceeded to the dinner, and it was very dark anyway.
(This is the part where Hana makes her first ever onsite slideshow, a rocking one at that!)
By the time the reception program was over, it was already a few minutes past eleven. On the drive home, we noticed the kitten’s cries again, this time louder and more desperate. We dropped off Brymac & Dulce and got to Hana’s probably just before 1 AM. By then, the little kitten was severely crying, surely hungry and terrified.
All spent, very tired and sleepy, we still tried to find her. I took out a floor mat from inside the car and started crawling and tapping areas in the vehicle’s underchassis, hoping to get a clue as to where the kitten was. With just a flashlight, we tried to look for possible entry points where a cat could enter or fall into. Several minutes later, my drowsiness was gone and I was getting desperate. I took out my swiss knife to pry open some joints and covers, even considering breaking some of them just to find the poor kitten.
As I pulled on an inner mud guard under one of the front fenders, a tiny little paw miraculously appeared! But the flap was screwed shut and I could barely insert a finger even if I pulled hard. I unscrewed one lock and pried it open again and this time, we could see her! I was afraid she’d bite me, but since Hana’s really comfortable with cats, she grabbed the helpless thing out of her little hell.
It was then that I noticed how tiny she still was. Hana thinks she was just a few weeks old then, maybe younger. Still in awe how amazing our day has been, we quickly thought of a name for our little kitten girl. Since we used Train’s “If It’s Love” for the wedding slideshow, we christened her as simply, “Train.”
Hana took care of Train like it was her baby. Her mom, who’s also fond of cats and dogs, also willingly nursed her. Though they have other cats in the house, unfortunately none of them were female so they were not suitable surrogates. So they did what they could.
Do you know that finding a substitute for a mommy cat’s milk is so hard? We’ve tried formulas suggested online but not all of them were acceptable. It was only after about a month when Hana started to try feeding Train some solid food.
I’m not exactly a cat person, though I’ve had personal favorites before in some of Hana’s cats. But little Train was certainly different, perhaps because she was learning from humans and not a cat for a mother. She never failed to make us smile when we saw her, or when she’d insist to be held in our hands when she catches us peeking into her little box. She was happiness.
Every time she’s out of the box, she plays like there’s no tomorrow, tucking herself in places and things.
At this point, if I tell you some good things do have an end, you’ll probably hate me. But I have to.
A week before she was a month with us, Train got so sick. Suddenly, she was dehydrated yet she refused to take in any food or fluids. And then just at the break of dawn, as if written like a tragic novel, the sun rose to the heavens and took our little Train with her. It was heart–breaking—she died in Hana’s hands as Hana held her through her last breath.
We only had her for a while, but we’ll remember her always. And because of her, I think life will never be the same again.