Dr Suzianah Nhazzla Ismail is an animal lover and has been rescuing cats for as long as she can remember.
However, on March 1 this year, on a bitterly cold evening, she spotted a sickly, emaciated kitten taking shelter under a big leaf as he shivered in the rain.
“I still remember that day vividly. Onchet was all by himself in a parking lot. He was soaked to the skin and not looking good,” she says, adding that he was likely around five weeks old and had either been separated from his mother or abandoned.
“One look at Onchet, and I knew straight away that he belonged with me.”
Suzianah took him home that very night in a box lined with towels, and gave him a medicated bath. He had ugly, red swollen spots on his skin – scabies – the result of being bitten by mites.
“He looked at me the entire time I was bathing him and didn’t make a single sound, as if he knew I was trying to help.
“I used a hairdryer to dry him off afterwards and applied a skin ointment to soothe the itchy sores on his skin. I also made a sweater for him with one of my husband’s socks to keep him warm,” Suzianah says.
He was placed in a box to rest and soon after, one of Suzianah’s 11 rescued cats came to see who the newcomer was.
“Waibee took one sniff, licked Onchet from head to toe, and the two have been best buddies ever since. Now, Onchet follows Waibee around like a shadow,” Suzianah says, laughing.
Suzianah says she decided to name him Onchet, a Malay word which means big, round belly in English precisely because he sported a big belly.
Onchet gets along well with Suzianah’s other cats too and with coaching from his feline aunty Deeba, can scale great heights effortlessly.
He’s very goofy but smart, Suzianah says.
“Onchet can find treats even if I hide them in the darkest corners of the cupboard. He likes walking between my legs when I’m busy in the kitchen but his funniest trait is climbing up my back all the way to my neck and sitting comfortably on my shoulder as I cook. His playfulness is pure entertainment.”
And although he wasn’t that fond of snuggling in the beginning, he is slowly becoming the most snuggly kitten ever, she says.
Suzianah’s message to all Malaysians is “Don’t buy, rescue.” She says that although one cannot change the world, the world of that one rescued animal is changed forever.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PET: FMT Lifestyle readers are invited to send in pictures (landscape format) and a short video (if any) of their furry, scaly or feathery friends to [email protected]. Don’t forget to include details like your pet’s name, age, breed and a short story about them.