… cats …

I had various pets I cared for as a child, among them talking parakeets, hedgehogs, crows, snakes, mice, and dogs – but never cats. Actually I wanted a horse, but it never happened.

Cat, Yesh &SuzukiThen came Somerset, and I thought my young son would enjoy a cat. He did.

We called her Suzuki. I must have been into Zen … ‘Enjoy your problems’ – that kind of thing.

Cat, Suzuki with Buddha, bliss - Copy

As you can see, Suzuki had leanings to our stone ‘Budai,’ drawn to its lucky charm and its loving nature, easing her through tough moments … as you can also see.

Cat, Yeshen, Suzuki's lot

To catch mice in the ancient cottage we lived in was beneath her. She gifted us with other creatures. One summer, after returning from a trip, during which time our kind neighbour fed Suzuki, the wool fleece rug in our bedroom looked at first pristine and welcoming, but the moment my bare feet stepped on it my legs were jumped upon by armies of tiny, shiny armoured flees. Par chance I spotted a pack of post-it-notes on a Chester drawer and an ‘aha’ moment occured. I peeled off the pests amass from my skin with the sticky stripes, stomping about for a while, so none should be left out. I recommend sticky stuff for emergencies; it works, among other tricks I soon learned about.

Then came a time when we moved from home to home while in transit towards Surrey. In one such charmed place Suzuki distinguished herself as baby rabbit catcher. Never a killer, she plonked the fluffy bundles on the living room floor, where they sat, stunned and motionless … there you are, a present … We freed the bunny back into the neglected orchard of the property, but it soon returned, carried gently at the scruff of its neck by Suzuki. This happened innumerable times, likely with the same bunny, over and over. I wondered whether it was born into the wrong body, and was truly a cat – or our spayed cat was truly a rabbit in want of babies. We’ll never know. Unsure where we would end up, we left beautiful Suzuki with a woman who adored her. My son was upset, and only partly reconciled by a teddy friend.

Teddy 5

Cat, Amber136Entering a more settled phase in Surrey, we adopted a ginger rescue cat, Caspar, who appeared dour and joyless, most likely due to distressing experiences. My attempts to create rapport were unsuccessful. One day he simply disappeared, and I blame myself to this day. In due time, I searched and found Amber, a gorgeous tabby kitten. Slow in having her spayed, she produced offspring, giving birth in the living room, an unexpected and magical event, while I had friends over. The three in the litter were very different, in looks and temperament. The first and last born kittens found homes. Cat, Jetty and Tulips - lowerMy son thought it best to let the children, accompanied by their parents, choose, so we ended up with the middle born, sleek, black, and with a lovely tranquil nature. We named her Jetty. I linked with her in grief when Amber was sadly run over in the street a few years on.

Jetty lived to be 16. She died on my birthday a few years back. When Katia, a writer friend, posted her experiences with cats  –  it saddened me to hear the story of the sudden demise of her companion. Genie reminded me of Jetty, which sparked this post, in honour of her friendship.

Cat, crop - smaller - CopyHow to describe the deep bond we can form with an animal? Is it our need for acceptance, totally reciprocated from a creature that has all its needs for shelter, food and attention met? I think that’s a flatlander’s view. All meaningful connections happen beyond rational thought, in other spheres. Animals are sensitive to vibrations beyond our clock time awareness, often knowing of events before they happen, which is why they can warn and protect us. And because their senses are wide open to fine energies, as well as vulnerable to harmful ones, we, too, are moved to protect them.

We humans are urged to be clever and become quickly absorbed in the ongoing evolution of the rational mind. Animals can teach us to stay closer to nature, the most powerful text of life. And they maintain a strong link to dimensions we frequently lose, where all experiences mingle in the ever expanding pool of universal consciousness. With all our specialness, nature is indispensable to us. An animal friend whose intelligence detects moods and intentions, cats are particlularly good at this, can show us any moment, as in a mirror, our true state of being.

*      *      *

“That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” – Ray Bradbury – Zen in the Art of Writing

“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” – Jean Cocteau

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “… cats …

  1. A lovely post. It’s always illuminating to see the life behind the ‘author’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, thank you, Ashen! Thank you. I loved reading about your feline companions, and was very touched by the bond between you. “And they maintain a strong link to dimensions we frequently lose, where all experiences mingle in the ever expanding pool of universal consciousness” –Yes, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your story, or I would not have written about the cats in my life. I hope you find the right place to welcome another friend in. I’m hesitant for now, while determining where I should be.

      Like

  3. whenever I read a post about cats I do of course want to share stories of our own who have been gone for some years but who are never far from our thoughts but I will resist and just say Noggin and Squirrel take another bow. Cats – wonderful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always had cats as my parents couldn’t (and still can’t) say no to a stray. It’s wonderful to share our homes with those little lives. Oh, and are you sure your son isn’t Christopher Robin? 🙂

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  5. Jubilate Agno, Fragment B, [For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
    Christopher Smart, 1722 – 1771
    For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
    For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
    For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
    For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
    For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
    For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
    For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
    For this he performs in ten degrees.
    For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
    For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
    For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws
    extended.
    For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
    For fifthly he washes himself.
    For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
    For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be
    interrupted upon the beat.
    For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
    For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
    For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
    For having considered God and himself he will consider
    his neighbor.
    For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
    For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it
    a chance.
    For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
    For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
    For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the
    adversary.
    For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical
    skin and glaring eyes.
    For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking
    about the life.
    For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun
    loves him.
    For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

    For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
    For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself
    neatly.
    For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
    For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
    For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
    For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his
    attention.
    For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
    For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
    For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God
    sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and
    beast.
    For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
    For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
    For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than
    any other quadruped.
    For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
    For he can swim for life.
    For he can creep.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can always count on you, Joe, to dig up some jewels.
      So Jeoffry the most famous cat in the history of English literature. Smart certainly gives great glory to nature.
      I love this line … For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes …
      Here he must refer to Basted … For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services … the idea of signal services cracks me up.
      It’s really quite lovely …
      … For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
      … For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion

      Maybe I’ll attempt a jubilate for Jetty.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ashen Hi!
    I’ve always been aware of the 7th sense animals bring to our lives.
    Strange but true, we humans as the elite of humans to date, somewhat still ignore the subtle wisdom and insights of the animal world.
    Be it cats, dogs, snakes or frogs – they are so much more than sleeping logs.B

    Like

  7. Lovely post Ashen thank you. We’ve inherited 2 cats from my son (ex SPCA) and I don’t know what we’d do without Harry and Angie – both gingers – Angie is a female ginger, small, unusual. Real characters over who we fuss. And when they just lounge around, it’s always a reminder to be still if even for a moment or 3 … and the cat yoga stretch is an excellent one ..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan. That’s the wonderful thing, that cats, well, all animals, have such unique characters. I do a cat yoga stretch before I go to sleep and after I wake. Come to think of it, I must have learned this trick from Jetty.

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  8. My dear friend, Yona, living in Geneva, reading this post, sent me this lovely timeless poem:

    Landlocked in fur

    I was meditating with my cat the other day
    and all of a sudden she shouted,
    “What happened?”

    I knew exactly what she meant, but encouraged
    her to say more –feeling that if she got it all out on the table
    she would sleep better that night.

    So I responded, “Tell me more, dear,”
    and she thoughtfully meowed,

    “Well, I was mingled with the sky. I was comets
    whizzing here and there. I was suns in heat, hell –I was
    galaxies. But now look –I am
    landlocked in fur.”

    To this I said, “I know exactly what
    you mean.”

    What to say about conversation
    between

    mystics?

    Tukaram (c.1608-1649)
    (in Love Poems from God, renderings by D. Ladinsky,
    Penguin Compass, 2002)

    Like

  9. Love cats and love your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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