Dear Allura,

I am so sorry. Please accept my heartfelt apology. I am trying my best, but it seems I have failed you and your furry cousins yet again.

It’s been a month since you first “knocked” on my door. Topper, our baby dog, had been barking non-stop to alert us to your presence, do you remember? Imagine my surprise seeing you there, a small fluff of dirty fur on our doormat. For a tiny kitten, you made so much noise, as if you had every business to be there!

You had a wound on your back. You were skin and bones. You were so weak, yet you couldn’t quite eat the food I gave you because you wanted so much to befriend me. You even climbed onto my lap when I sat down to look at you.

Of all the apartments in our building, you somehow found mine. How you managed to do so, I’ll never know.

I’m just glad you did.

The Apology

You see, Allura, even after the many years I’ve been advocating for your welfare, I still don’t quite know how to choose and win battles for you.

A few days ago, I asked a friend to reconsider his intention to breed his beloved puppers. It didn’t end well.

I tried to present the facts, reminding him that millions of dogs and cats died in the streets everyday because there were no humans to take care of them. I tried to tell him how spaying could help save the lives of stray animals by upping their chances of finding a home, but my persistence angered him so much that he refused to listen to another word.

I don’t blame him. The truth sometimes hurts. I knew I had to say something but perhaps I didn’t do a good job of speaking up for you.

I am sorry if you’re disappointed in me, Allura. I am doing my best to be a voice for stray animals just like you. But once in a while, my efforts remain futile.

The Reasons

Still, I am hopeful. I know I can’t stop because this is bigger than me and the human conflicts that come with this advocacy. My failures are not a reason for me to stop fighting for you.

I know there’s a reason I became a vegan who fights for the lives of all animals. I know there’s a reason you found me.

Whenever I look at you, my sweet Allura, I see all my reasons.

The Battle

Many people wage war for love, and the irony of this isn’t lost on me. I, for one, would fight battles for you.

I will always think of your sweet purrs. Of your warmth as you nap on my lap. Of the matted fur around your seeping wound. Of what happened to you when you got that injury. Of your sweet little face when you sleep on my skirt.

Of my duty to protect you and your other stray cousins.

Do not worry, little one. I have your back. But I am sorry if I cannot convince everyone to stop breeding irresponsibly so as not to deprive innocent animals like you of the chance to find a forever-home.

I hope you and your cousins could pardon our species. We have done you a disservice. But there will always be many of us trying our best to win wars for you.

Until the war is won, please find it in your heart to forgive me.

The Promise

One day, my Allura, no kitty will ever have to be homeless and hungry. None of your brothers and sisters will ever die alone of hunger, thirst, or illness. None of your siblings will be bred into existence and carelessly given away to humans who will eventually abandon them.

One day, no kitten will have to beg desperately just to be part of a human family. No young cat will ever have to suffer in our hands.

One day, every animal like you will be safe.

Do not worry, Allura. Even if nobody wants you, you will always have me.

Yours for as long as you need me,Your foster mom.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s October 2018 issue.