Loving a Cat

by Michael

The love that I have for my cats is a very pure love. It is unencumbered by human silliness. It is unconditional. Do you have the same sort of love for your cat?

You can find out how much you love your cat by the impact she has on you when she dies.

There is a beauty in loving your cat that you don’t get when loving a person.

Perhaps it is because of the simplicity of it. Loving a person can be agony. Loving a cat is ecstasy. It is a smooth journey, untroubled by extraneous complexities that shouldn’t interfere.

Of course one wonders if people use cats as a receptacle for love that cannot be directed at a person. That may be the case sometimes. But for me, it isn’t.

We should not fool ourselves, though. There are moments when it can be frustrating living with a cat. They have their ways. If we respect those ways and adjust around them they no longer become irritants.

We don’t know if cats reciprocate our love. It actually doesn’t matter. That is what unconditional love is all about.

To give one’s love without expecting anything back is a true love. It is far better than the conditional, mixed up version that often troubles people.

I have always thought that our love for our cat is heightened by a small amount when the beginning of the relationship is the rescue of the cat by the person.

That first moment of rescue is an instantaneous expression of unconditional love that is burnished over the life of the relationship.

Our love for a cat will usually end in tears for us as the cat’s lifespan is much shorter than ours. Is this sadness the other side of the scale to all the happiness that the relationship brought to us?

Michael

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Loving a Cat

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Oct 21, 2011
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How I imagine it
by: Ruth

I imagine to an old cat preparing to die it feels like we do when we are ill in bed, but the feeling in them is much much stronger of course.
You probably know the feeling, it’s sort of being removed from daily life. You hear the household sounds and know there are people and pets around and you love them but you feel removed from it all and content to lie unmoving and drowsing.
I like to think old dying people and animals feel that way.
Sorry I can’t explain it better, I imagine it’s like peace coming down and only the moment matters.
I only know that the old cats we have had who have died naturally have ‘switched off’ this way.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 20, 2011
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I hope Ruth is right
by: Leah

Michael, I’m still thinking of you and Binnie.

I hope Ruth is right and she just slips easily away.

I’m so sorry that she wants to be out even when its so very cold.

My heart goes out to you because you can do nothing except wait with her and be there when that time comes.


Oct 20, 2011
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Heartbreaking for you
by: Ruth

Yes it was very cold last night and our instinct is to keep an old ill cat safe and warm but if Binnie is getting distressed she obviously doesn’t want to be safe and warm.
Ebony didn’t sleep well towards the end and she was meowing to be outside at 5am the last few mornings but it was May and the weather not too bad.
She just wanted to lie in the grass.
It’s so very difficult, it must be heart rending for you. Cats near the end of their life seem to feel the need to be at one with Nature.
I think you are right to let her do what she wants, she will probably ‘switch off’ and slip peacefully away.
It’s a terrible feeling, you don’t want to say goodbye yet you don’t like to have the power to stop a cat doing what she feels she needs to when she has decided she’s had enough.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 20, 2011
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Update
by: Michael

Binnie is still alive. She is on permanent antibiotics. I have got very good at administering them! The whole process takes 30 seconds.

She is more frail, more dementia and I have more stress.

Last night was cold – 4 degrees centigrade. I kept her in. She complained all night and kept me awake most of the night. I am exhausted.

Tonight will be cold too. I will let her go out. She has gone back to nature to die, I believe. I must accept that no matter how hard it is.


Oct 19, 2011
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How is Binnie ?
by: Ruth

Michael, just thinking about you and wondering how Binnie is now ?

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 12, 2011
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My thoughts
by: Ruth

Michael, it it was me and the vet agreed, I’d keep Binnie on the antibiotics as long as they keep the infection away and her quality of life remains.
They can’t harm her now with long term effects and she is obviously happy just to ‘be’ quietly with Nature.
Now and again, take a chair out, sit near her and talk quietly to her, but not too close to crowd her. She may not acknowledge you but she will know you are there.
This is your quality time together and may help you feel a bit more at peace.
Thinking of you both.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 12, 2011
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further comments in re Michael’s musings on human self-loathing
by: Grahame

Michael, I have been disturbed for a very long time with the problem of mankind’s vast capacity for evil and stupidity. Most of all, and like you, I am concerned at the very evident self-loathing of humankind.

I have long thought that in the acute anxiety induced in humanity by all the forceful negative messages about its inherent sinfulness and corrupt natures, messages they have disastrously *introjected*, such that they no longer need recourse to others telling them how evil and horrible *ab initio* they are–they now, by a sort of automatic process, tell themselves these things with no respite.

No healthy animal plays with toys which threaten to annihilate not only its own kind, but ALL life.

One of the chief preoccupations of mankind, perhaps THE chief preoccupation, is with destructive means such as hydrogen bombs and warfare. Again: no healthy animal entertains such preoccupations.

Michael, you know how children, frustrated when play becomes awkward, prefer to destroy their sand castles and block forts rather than suffer the frustratioon of things not going as they might wish. Well, this is mankind altogether , not just little children. Somehow we do have examples of mature humans, rising to the responsibilities of their humanness, but these examples are, alas, vanishingly rare.

A friend of mine often declares that it is not the idiotic destructiveness of humanity that vexes her half so much as that they are going to destroy her into their bargain!

Some seek comfort and evasion in notions of reincarnation and saviours. I feel that these evasions only perpetuate the problems and mitigate against wakefulness. The hour is late. No help is to hand. It is altogether too late for self-deception. And it is terrible that we are inflicting this dead end upon the innocent moggies and others with whom we share the planet, the only home we shall ever have. There is no heaven, and hell is other people.


Oct 12, 2011
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Love the comments
by: Michael

Great comments. Comforting comments.

Grahame, I agree with all you say in your excellent comment. You know, I read somewhere that the human race dislikes itself and the evidence is in the way we are gradually destroying ourselves through the destruction of the planet. It is a sort of poison that leaks out of us. We can’t stop it. Something went wrong.

Leah, thank you so much for you supportive comment. It really helps.

Everyday, twice a day, I give Binnie antibiotics to control her infection. She is OK. The question is how long do we give them to her. When we stop the infection comes back.

She is outside all the time about 20-30 feet from the patio door and she eats better outside. I hope she comes in soon when it gets colder.


Oct 11, 2011
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Sensitivity
by: Leah England

I’ve always felt very strongly that to fully appreciate, understand and love a cat you have to have compassion and sensitivity within your soul.

Michael this is you and because you are compassionate and feel empathy you are torn apart because you know what’s to come however please know you won’t be alone in your grief. We are all true cat lovers on PoC and we have all been through this. Sometimes its so easy to say ‘I know how you feel’ when actually they don’t have a clue about how you feel.

But please believe us when we say we share your sadness, your anxious days and your longing when you look into Binnie’s pretty face and wish she could be well for just a little while longer.

We never want them to leave us and as much as we prepare ourselves for that time its never ever anywhere near enough because grief is what it is and it hurts like hell but we will be here with you albeit silently at times but your sadness will affect all of us very acutely.


Oct 11, 2011
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Part 2 0f 2–Dunkel Ist Das Leben, Und Der Tod
by: Grahame

I do not think that I am a misanthrope at all, but I have experienced more authentic and simpler love with my cats, not with humans. It is true that I cast a cold eye on very many of the doings of mankind, but I am myself a human being. I think it indicative of the characteriological sickness of *homo sapiens* that we can, justifiably, bemoan humanity, bemoan our species, even despise it. A healthy animal does not reflectively despise his own sort. Mankind is not healthy, not at all.

You mention an ersatz sort of love which uses the cats as receptacles for frustrated human love.
I appreciate that this can often be the case. But love is an *active* thing, and the object of genuine love is never a passive receptacle. My love affairs with my various cats down the years are, and have been, a very active and fully reciprocal thing. I receive it as a love I can understand in my human terms. This makes me bold to assert that yes, indeed, cats love us in terms meaningful to us as humans. I love my cats in ways that it is abundantly evident are meaningful to my cats. And, of course, it entails a very great deal more than that I am a reliable source of food and petting. Whilst we may understand their love further by sympathetic and empathetic extensions, I assert that their love is unmistakable and understandable just as it is, in all its profound simplicity. Edna Millay: ‘Love in the open hand/no thing but that/ungemmed, unhidden, wishing not to hurt…’ Love, it seems to me, is a great mystery, as are the most important aspects of our lives.

The great Henry Beston, in his incomparable _The Outermost House_ showed great sensitivity towards our mutual lives with other animals, writing:
‘We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.’ This magnificent book is in print; I urge readers of POC to obtain and ponder it. It recounts Beston’s year living out at the very tip of Cape Cod (USA).
——————————————
©2011 W G H Bartholomew


Oct 11, 2011
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Dunkel ist das Leben und der Tod, Part 1 of 2
by: Grahame

POC will not take my entire post in one part, so I am dividing it into two parts. Please do read the second part–and after Part 1.

Michael;

What a wonderful post! I am living that of which you have written. From my previous posts, you know that I think that cats are superior beings, far superior to humans, both behaviourally and neurologically.

I am in little if any doubt that my intense love for my cats is reciprocated *in kind*. Like you, I too have a very intensive relationship with my cats and I accord them total respect.

My dear Sasha, a moggie who adopted me, died in February 2011 at 17 years of age, and I still sing to his picture on my computer desktop; I still “see” him in all his wonted places about the house doing his precious things, even the quotidian ones. And he was a most kindly nurse to me, too.

The Vienese composer Gustav Mahler set some poems of LiPo in a magnificent lieder cycle called ‘Das Lied Von Der Erde/The Song Of The Earth’. Emblematic of the entire cycle is the refrain ‘Dunkel ist das Leben und der Tod/Dark is life, and also death.’ To me, this is emblematic of our lives, and our loves. The price of love is great pain. I have cherished the lives of all of my cats, and their deaths have been all-but unbearable. Time DOES NOT heal the pain of these losses, much less diminish it. I carry all of my deceased pet loves in my heart. Being now 70 years of age, I must have a capacious heart!

Please go to Part 2


Oct 10, 2011
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I lost my Roxanne
by: Alex Hamilton

She was only 5, a dilute calico, who didn’t like my other cats, and especially not my dogs. But she loved us. She obviously had some trauma in her kittenhood before we got her as a 10-month-old stray from our humane society, as you couldn’t pick her up; she would thrash around in your arms. But it took her all this time to come around and be a lap cat to us. A week ago, she was on my lap, sitting on our patio, watching the sun set with me. And we went in for dinner, and that’s the last we saw of her. She was never one to roam, as she had her own chair on the patio, and was quite content there. (All my cats can come and go in the heated barn or garage via a kitty door, and they all come inside, when they can get along.) But this time, she did. It took me a week, but I found her today, on the side of the road across the street from our house, obviously hit by a car. Of all my 7 cats, she’s the one I figured would never go far (we live almost 1/8 mile from the road, which isn’t busy at all). She’s the one I knew the least, and now I’ll never know more. RIP, my little sweetheart.


Oct 10, 2011
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pure and easy love
by: Gwen

I do feel this way about my cats!they are easy tolove,there is never anything that can trouble this love!It is unconditional indeed!
The first cat I ever had,past away a year ago,she was almost 20 years old,I had had her for almost 19.It still hurts writing this.She was the one who made me fall in love with cats.Her name was Honi,a lovely ginger-and-white classic tabby,the sweetest ever…
I think they bring out the best in us,catpeople…


Oct 10, 2011
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loving cats!
by: “crazy” Cat Lady B

What a beautiful post, Michael and Ruth. There are so many of us in this world that share this sentiment. Cats are such wonderful creatures and I am proud to be a Crazy Cat Lady!
AS Gandi stated………THE GREATNESS OF A NATION AND IT’S MORAL PROGRESS CAN BE DETERMINED BY HOW IT TREATS, IT’S ANIMALS! Keep up the great work , Michael and all my FB friends who are “legion” fighting against animal abuse in this world.
I love LIFE in it’s diverse and many forms. Cats are pure love!


Oct 10, 2011
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Pure love
by: Ruth

Yes I have the same sort of pure love for our cats as you do Michael and I have had it for all the cats over the 37 years we’ve shared our lives.
It is a very protective love, I think I would kill anyone who hurt one of our cats !
Although I have loved every single cat and treated them all equally, some have been my special feline soul mates and I think that Binnie may be yours.
Their lives are very short in comparison to ours and seeing them grow old and knowing nothing can stop time is very hard. I try to appreciate every single moment of our cats and not to think of the future too much.
I look at the photos of the cats we have had and wish I had even just one more day with them.
Losing a pet is a bereavement exactly the same as losing a human family member.
At each loss of both I have thought I can not go on any longer, that it’s too hard, but I have no choice.
Nothing anyone says can help …only time.
You have to experience loss if you want to experience love and with your own loss you have empathy for others grieving too.
I will grieve with you for Binnie when the time comes as I’m sure will all your friends who come to PoC as we understand exactly what you are going through.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth



Comments

Loving a Cat — 2 Comments

  1. Beautifully written. When our beloved cat died a few months ago, there is no other word to describe our feelings other than devastated. We loved him so purely and he us. We have since got two kittens, who are pure joy to have around, but there will forever be the hole in my heart left by our lost cat. I like to imagine that when I die, he’ll be there.

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