Think bright sparklers, beautiful fireworks, and shiny tinsel garlands. Think flashing lights, gold hats, and silver sequins. Whenever we celebrate the New Year, we always think, “Out with the old and in with the new!”

We want to forget past mistakes and shed our old skin. We want to set new resolutions and turn a new leaf. As long as it’s for a new beginning, then we’re all for it. However, when something is old and broken, rarely do we give it another thought.

Perhaps that’s what makes Emboy’s story all the more special. In a society that readily discards last year’s still-functional smartphone, it’s reassuring to know that not everybody is quick to abandon what isn’t shiny and sparkly on the outside.

Dressed as paraplegic “Apawlinario Meowbini”, Emboy helped bag the Best Cat Costume in Group award for their all-puspin (pusang Pinoy) group entry, cunningly dubbed Heneral Tuna, during the 2015 PAWS Scaredy Cats and Dogs costume competition. (Photo by Gia Lara of Petograpiya)

We are proud fur-moms of this handsome baby,” Karyn Silva says of Emboy, a sweet feline whom she considers the love of her life. Both of Emboy’s hind legs were paralyzed after his pelvis was fractured.

SECOND CHANCES – Emboy is a happy poster child of second chances. Even after both his hind legs lost their function, he was welcomed warmly into a loving fur-ever home.

In May 2014, he lost the ability to walk normally when a closing gate crushed his pelvis.

“My best friend [and housemate], Sarah Cayetuna, rescued him. Others suggested that we put him to sleep but we refused. [Now], I cannot imagine my life without him.

“We brought Emboy to the vet’s clinic first thing in the morning. They suggested that we put Emboy to sleep,” Karyn recalls. He would live a painful life – and not a very long one, or so they said.

Karyn and Sarah refused to believe that Emboy was doomed to a grim fate. They held on to hope as they fought for Emboy’s right to live and be loved.

“Malakas naman siyang kumain at wala siyang sakit. Bakit niyo siya papatayin? (He eats well and has no illness. Why kill him?)”

OVERCOMING HURDLES – Emboy’s inability to walk normally played second fiddle to a more urgent problem: His inability to empty both bladder and bowel.

“The vet said Emboy would just suffer. [At the time], he could neither poop nor pee on his own and we were told the damage was permanent.”

Undeterred, Karyn and Sarah asked the vet how they could help Emboy. They committed themselves to serving him and giving him what he needed.

Their love for Emboy was greater than the uncertainty of his future. “We prayed hard. We asked for miracles.”

After five days, Emboy left Sarah and Karyn an unorthodox surprise: his poop and pee on the floor!

NEW CHALLENGES – Emboy was out of the woods but there were more challenges to come. Sarah and Karyn remained unwavering in their commitment to give him the home he needed.

The two best friends had to learn everything from scratch. “Since it was our first time to rescue a differently-abled cat, we knew nothing.”

On his second week living with the two, Emboy started roaming the house.

To ambulate, Emboy uses both his perfectly-functional forelegs, dragging his hind legs behind him in the process. To ensure that he does not get abrasions when moving about, Karyn and Sarah decided to take out their carpet.

They did not give up on the possibility that Emboy could use his hind legs again. “Fellow members at Cat Care Philippines recommended a clinic where Emboy could undergo therapy sessions.”

Even with therapy, there was no assurance that he would walk normally again, but it was worth a try.

Six months after starting therapy, Emboy proved that the damage to his pelvis was not permanent: “He can now move his tail, bend both his hind legs, and climb as well!”

BRAND NEW LIFE, SAME OLD EMBOY – Despite the many challenges Emboy had to face, he remains his old self: a charming feline who can’t have enough hugs.

“Emboy is a very sweet baby. He knows if we are sick or having a stressful day,” Karyn shares. “He always asks for hugs and kisses and is very talkative. He loves to hang out by our kili-kili (underarms)!” Karyn laughs.

After fracturing his pelvis due to a crushing injury, Emboy now drags his hind legs while walking. (Photo by Janice Edilo Timoteo)

It pains her to recall that Emboy’s life would have ended so easily if they hadn’t insisted on fighting for him.

“At times, we are broke but we are very happy. Emboy is a blessing. He will always be a perfect gift from the Lord. We love him dearly.”

GREAT EXPECTATIONS, MET – They say love makes the world go round. They say it can move mountains. They say love knows no bounds.

Wow. What great expectations from a single emotion.

But just when you’re starting to think that they’re all just cliché – that they are merely creative ways of putting into words how a sentiment overwhelms – it turns out that the decision to love unconditionally is all it’s cracked up to be.

Emboy, a kitten thought to be doomed for either death or a life of suffering, is now a healthy cat living a happy life. His two doting hoomans couldn’t help but spoil him with all they’ve got. “Sleepless nights with him were nothing [compared to the joy Emboy brought us]!”

To many, Karyn and Sarah are heroes – and they truly are. But to them, it was Emboy who brought out the champions in them. In their story, he is the star: “This lovely boy changed our lives and made us better people.”

To many, Emboy will always be the sweet, paraplegic cat who touched the lives of two best friends. But to Karyn, he is so much more: “Emboy will always be perfect in my eyes.”

About the cat slave:
Stef dela Cruz, M.D. is a bloggercolumnist. She was conferred the 2013 Health Media Recognition by the Department of Health. She is the proud human of a cat and a dog, both of whom she treats not as pets, but as family. Connect with her on www.stefdelacruz. com or via Twitter and Instagram (@ StefdelaCruzMD).

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s January 2016 issue.