When we are confronted with that which is amazing and wonderous and profound, too often our first response is to reduce that experience with mundane explanations, even if in doing so, we are compelled to distort and forget that which we knew, if even for a brief moment, to be true.

These are the wonderous stories of the Heart Family.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What is a cat?

What is a cat? Or, better asked, who are these cats that live with me?

Naturalists speak of the cat in the context of domestication, and remind us they are far less domestic than our canine friends. Certainly when I watch movies of wild cats, or observe large wild cats in zoos, I see much of my cats' behaviors in them.

Are these cats that live with me little lions, little cheetahs? Do they hear the echos of their wild cousins? Certainly cats become "feral" in one generation. They must remember, they must feel the call to hunt. They certainly are always alert and aware of their environment, as their wild cousins must be to survive.

I have heard many people speak of cats as "aloof" and "not needing human companionship." I wonder who these people are and if they have ever actually lived with a cat. My clan is ever present, involved in all that I do, inspecting my activities, joining in, voicing their opinions. Even as I type this, one is standing on my shoulders (ouch). I am always amused at the number of cat beds spread throughout our rooms that go unused at night (they are used in the daytime when I am not home) as the entire clan decides to pile in bed with us instead, and I usually end up struggling to negotiate enough real estate to just roll over.

They are wild and yet they are not wild. They have bridged the gap to live with us. Is it a compromise they have chosen freely or are they just amazingly adaptable?

And the bigger question, what of their spirit? What of my spirit? I am a biological being with a genetic heritage. So are they. How does our biology contribute to our essence? How much of our spirit is tied to our biology and how much of us is greater than that which we were born into?

Little did I know, I was on the path to beginning to find the answers to these questions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Finding Home

One thing I have learned over the years is that the animals know where they are supposed to be, they know where their home is and usually come into this life already focused on the intention of getting to their home and family, when the time is right. When friends tell me that they are thinking about acquiring a companion animal and wonder where to go to find them, I smile and tell them to just announce their intention to the universe, and the animal(s) will find them.

My family found their way home in their own unique ways. What I was unaware of at the time, was that a family member had made his way to his family (our home) and I had adopted him out to another family. The foster kitten who had left to live with the young couple then had to double his efforts to get back home to me. He did this by destroying everything he could in the home he was in, including destroying books, creating serious deep scratches into wooden bookcases, scratches I would not believe a cat could make, and by incessantly harassing the other cat in the home. After five months of tornadic activity, the nice young couple felt they had no choice and returned him to me.

He was bigger now, quiet a handsome fellow, full of more energy than any other cat I had met. I had always liked him and had kept tabs on him after he was adopted away. Now that he had returned again, I felt quite bad that in his first nine months of life, he had changed homes five time. Clearly we hadn't done right by this guy and my heart went out to him, trying to image the world from his point of view.

He spent his evening chasing my two boys (he didn't bother my girl) but when the chaos finally did end, he would not sleep with the rest of us, choosing instead to find a place alone in another room. Like a child in foster care, he didn't have the feeling of belonging.

Sitting with the desperate feeling that we needed to do better than we had done for this young guy, I dug up the name and phone number of the communicator given to me many months earlier, to consider a consultation - something I still had great doubts about. I read again the name and thought it seemed familiar.

It suddenly dawned on me - I had just read her book on animal communication.