A girl named Susu

Well, we tried. We bounced dozens of names off the kitten — names of friends, singers, movie stars and writers. We actually decided to call her Etti, after a medal-winning Indonesian speed climber (because our kitten has proved quite adept at climbing up the furniture). But sometimes names stick, and that’s what happened with Susu.

I like Susu because it has soft consonants and round vowels. It sounds like a cat — especially a small, vulnerable cat. It also reminds me of an Indonesian saying about how a drop of indigo, i.e. ink, spoils a whole barrel of milk. Her fur kind of has an ink-and-milk color scheme.

Chad always liked Susu, but for whatever reason he usually calls her something like Monkeyfish instead.

Anyway, it was clear that a visit to the vet was even more important than finding the right name. So I canvassed all my cat-owning friends, and everybody recommended a place called My Vets in South Jakarta. We set out by taxi on Saturday. We don’t have a cat carrier so I just punched some holes in a box. Susu was remarkably pragmatic about the car ride and, after crying for a few minutes, resigned herself to her fate and fell asleep.

The vet really was awesome. She scrubbed Susu from head to toe and even had the assistants blow-dry her. Our tiny cat turned out to have quite a mountain of afflictions: fleas, worms, mites, diarrhea, open sores and anal prolapse (I’ll spare you the details on that last one).

We have to wash her frequently to keep the sores clean, and put drops in her ears for the mites. Needless to say, these things do not go over well with the cat.

Still, with each passing day she gets a little more playful. The sores are healing, and she seems to be bent on eating her own weight in kibble. She’s still very people-oriented and likes to snuggle up to anyone who sits on the couch. We haven’t really seen her whole personality yet, but the early signs are promising.

Author: Trish Anderton

I am a nonprofit communicator, Red Sox fan and amateur streetfoodologist. Once upon a time I worked for the Jakarta Globe & Jakarta Post.

5 thoughts on “A girl named Susu”

  1. Oh wow, thanks alot for the update on that precious little trooper. Sounds like she’s really coming together, which is so awesome. Now all you need to do is find a dark brownish little kitten, name him Kopi, and you’d have a real life, walking, talking and purring Kopi Susu in your own home!

  2. poor kitty with all the afflictions – she’s sure to heal up with all the care you’re giving her. does she have food restrictions? a while back, my vet had mentioned wet food (vs. dry) as the best thing for gaining weight/recovering from illness.she looks so darn cute playing with that bottle top. funny that chad calls her monkeyfish. I’m convinced my cats probably never knew their true names (their “Christian names”, as my friend kathy would say) because I called them about a million other nicknames that changed all the time.

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