By Tuah Wajihah Rufaidah
While other parents are playing with their children, Hasnah Mohammad, 57, is playing with her 34 cats that she’s taking care of for the past 16 years with her husband.
For most, cats are their best friend as cats make excellent house pet. Same goes for Hasnah as she has considered her cats as her children. They both need each other because she needs love and the cats needs care.
She had faced sadness when all of her six children died when they were still young. She tested again when she was diagnosed with nerve cancer in her early 40’s. Since then, she began to keep cats at home as her companion to share her love and care.
Hasnah said, “I believe that the cats are the remedy for my illness.”
Hasnah is a noble-hearted woman who has been working in IIUM as a cleaner for about 15 years with Daya Bersih. She lives at Batu 6, Gombak for almost 18 years with her husband and sister, together with the cats that she and her husband have ‘adopted’.
Hasnah never give up on her life. Instead, she works hard for a living, not just for her, but also for her cats despite the illness she has to endure. Luckily, she has a loving husband and sister who are willing to share their daily challenges together. Although their combined monthly incomes are not much, they never thought that keeping the cats as a burden.
“Everything is given by Allah. No matter how much it is, we still can live a happy and comfortable life with our cats until now,” she explained.
For Hasnah, keeping the cats is different from any other pets. “If you keep a fish, it needs to be put inside an aquarium and you cannot hold it, unlike cats. However, when you are taking care of cats, you really need to be patient.”
Hasnah, who is in charge of cleaning level four of the HS building, said that there were many times when she was asked to quit her job, due to her illness, yet she managed to get the job back, with the support of staff in Human Sciences.
“They have helped me a lot, especially Professor Saodah and Fuziah.” she said.
Sharing her experience, she said when she was first diagnosed with the disease she could not walk and was unable to do anything and was bedridden. She has to undergo chemotherapy sessions and gradually recovered.
“I have tried all sorts of medicines, modern and traditional. I have also get help from one of the lecturer in IIUM. He is a very nice person. He always makes prayers and performs Solat Hajat for my health. I have to be strong, even though I am in pain or else who is going to take care of these cats? I cannot live without them,” Hasnah said wrapping up our conversation.
Among the names of the cats are Nina, Bobot, Don, John, Logo, Kakak, Abang, Adik, Acun, Yellow, and Putih Kapas.***