Monday, May 09, 2005

Cats and Spiritual Silver Spoons

Some of you may have heard that Wisconsin legislators recently tried to ratify a law that would permit hunters to shoot feral cats. What's interesting about this is . . . well, not much. But ever since I started this blog, I’ve been looking for a way to introduce my cats without sounding like those morons who are incapable of talking about anything but their cats. I don't want to lose my readership, all two of them.

We've had a cat now for about 4 months, and another tiny, scrawny kitty for a couple of weeks. And now I understand why people feel so attached to them. There are times I wish I were one. Before I go on about my animals, I would like to offer an apology to those chatty cat owners of whom I have harbored a low opinion: "Sorry, morons."

The older cat, Mishmish (not my choice for a name), was rescued from the infernal fate of an animal shelter. Relatives threatened to take Mishmish for "a ride" (to get whacked, right?), but we (wife and I) said, No. We'll take him. You've heard of the ethic: he who saves the life of one cat, it is as if he has saved all cats (or, to be formal, Catdom). Then, a few months later, we got a call from a friend who found a kitten in a garbage can near a gas station left there to die. Had it not been for the kitty's big mouth on a small tiny body (from which we now suffer), she would have perished. So we took her also. (Excuse us while we adjust our haloes.)

The kitten is named Sweet Pea because cats respond better to names with an "s" in it, according to my wife, who got the factoid from the venerable source of all information: her friend at work, who apparently knows more than the Internet, my personal argument-stopping citation.

Well, the first thing I want to say is this: Everyone who is seriously concerned about spiritual matters should get a cat. To live with mammals who do not have the kind of sentience as humans do (sapiential facilities) is a mind-opening experience. First, your appreciation for sentience increases exponentially and so does your sense of responsibility. Cats can do no wrong. They are believers whether they crap in the wrong places, bite your hand, scratch the furniture, climb the screens of our windows, run into the garage (and refuse to come back), wake you up in the middle of night (for tahajjud), refuse to be pet, and completely ignore your calls to them. They are sinless. There are differences of opinion on what happens to animals after they die. I would like to think they are rewarded. But just in case their whole existence ends when their organic lives do, I've decided to do something that I hope is not sacrilegious: I will earnestly pray to God that He grant my cats human-like sentience in the Hereafter and that they are rewarded with Heaven.

What's interesting about this is . . . well, not much. Still, I’ll tell you. I have the bizarre audacity to think that I’ll be in a situation in the Hereafter where I'll have the sacred luxury to be concerned about others, even my pets. A person can live with self-righteousness and pretension (true dangers of religion) and not know it. See how beneficial cats can be? Not only that, I now have a greater incentive to live better with God, with humility and the absence of judgmental carriage--two necessary raiments of authentic living.


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