Learning Buddha nature from cats

Mr. Darcy on the hill

I was the kind of little girl who was always bringing home stray animals. Then I would cry bitterly when my mother made me give them away, which she nearly always did. It was an early lesson in attachment.

When I became an adult, my lifestyle didn’t leave a lot of room for animals, so for a long time I didn’t have any. Plus, my husband was allergic to cats, so they weren’t an option.

When I left my husband and moved to northern California, I once again opened my home up to strays. But it didn’t take long to realize that living on the edge of a canyon with a forest behind was not a conducive place for cats. The food chain always triumphs.

Shasta, the bathroom diva

So I decided, no more cats.
But the cats came anyway. There must be some pipeline among animals that lets them know where they can find a free meal. One day four half wild kittens showed up in the woodpile. Another time two kittens were foisted on me. If I didn’t take them I was told, they were going to the river. When I came back from India, my son had taken in a small gray cat.

Since the world is not full of eager people to take in stray cats, I keep them and feed them. And, often, they disappear.

I took it hard at first. I still take it hard, but I’m learning to let them go. Cats have their own minds and here on the hill, I can’t really think of them as belonging to me. They stop by and offer company and every day I realize may be the last time I see them.

More importantly, I’ve learned I can’t save them. Whatever fate or karma is theirs’ in this world, all I can do is give them shelter while they’re here and say a prayer for them when they go.

It’s all we can do for anyone.

Emily, my cat in Shillong (India)

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4 thoughts on “Learning Buddha nature from cats

  1. Oh, how lucky, the cats of Jerusalem, that people who do not own them, feel an obligation to feed them and provide for their comfort… I’m happy that you stand ready to provide them with food and shelter when they appeal to you.

  2. Hi Jordan,
    Greetings from Paro! Your post about cats brought a lump to my throat. There is something about cat energy that always soothes and amuses me. I have always loved them too, but Ruth is alergic (so am I to some extent) so, no more cats. Now my energies are focused on a little Bhutanese puppy whom I’ve managed to box up and send to a local American woman who has become the animal lady of Paro Valley, taking in strays. The puppy was very ill. I hope she can save her. Stay well….Gretchen.

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