Life with a cat in Lethbridge
– Respect all life forms –
People who rescue abandoned pets and pay for the vet’s bills so that they can be adopted, are heroes in my book. We adopted a stray male cat from such an animal rescue group in Lethbridge three years ago, 2007. He had apparently been horribly abused. He has a broken chest bone and F.I.V. (feline version of H.I.V.) His ears are deformed probably from frostbite. But we love him dearly. According to a vet, a cat normally falls on four paws and seldom breaks a chest bone unless it is thrown from a fast moving vehicle or kicked hard. Every time I look at our poor cat, I wonder how could any human be so cruel to a small helpless animal.
Albert Sweitzer, a physician, a theologian, a scholar of Bach, and a renown organ virtuoso, who ran a leprosarium in Gabon, said, “respect for life” is the highest form of ethics. True, we have to kill other lives in order for us to live. I hear that the First Nations people treat the animals they kill for food with gratitude and respect. We should do the same: respect for life.
A century ago, a famous Japanese humorist and a writer Soseki Natsume wrote a hilarious satire titled “I am a Cat.” (Available in English from Tuttle Publishing.) It is a life of an academic in a story told from a point of view of a cat. It exposes a life full of hubris and of vanity in academia. Natsume was a professor of Literature at the prestigious Tokyo Imperial University. Hence it is a self-mocking fiction. In it, every time the cat suffers cruelties done to him by humans, our hero, the cat, mumbles, “Just wait till the Day of the Cats.”
Considering the way humans are driving many species into extinction because of our insatiable greed for wealth and comfort, the day of judgement may come not only to evil people, but to all humanity. Many religions have a concept of the ultimate event. Buddhists wait for Nirvana, Jews wait for the Messiah, Christians for the Second Coming, etc. But judging from the way humans trample on other life forms without respect, it’s easier to imagine the “Day of the Cats.”
Respect for animals is not a luxury afforded to the middle class, it’s a harbinger of love and respect. More importantly, it could be the only way for our survival. We live in a world of interdependence. The life of a cat matters.