Monday, November 9, 2009

Definitions of Love

Some say that Love and 'Being Needed' are two different matters entirely and that there is something wrong fundamentally with a person who equates the two. Even so, part of a Mother's Love is the knowledge that she is needed to keep her child alive, and this is the case whether the 'child' is human or belongs to a different species.

There are those who make spurious arguments to the effect that a person who herself needs aid in some matters or who has very little money has no right to take on the responsibility of caring for another creature but often that kind of responsibility is the very cornerstone of strength and hope for the poor and the disabled. A cat or dog can be a great source of strength and in caring for another, a person who may feel impotent or helpless because of society's judgements may become empowered.

In any event, for whatever reason, part of my 'raison d'etre' is caring for my Cats. When the physical pain in which I live becomes almost intolerable, the necessity to care for my Cats actually spurs me on and makes me determined to continue to withstand pain and its servant, Despair.

Although I adore kittens, I have discovered that a more profound relationship exists with older Cats, those who have been your Companions since they were kittens. A Kitten needs care and can amuse his/her caretaker vastly, but Cats never lose their kittenish mischief and curiosity.

Of my two Cats, Beauty is the most vocal and the most demanding but it is as an inseparable pair that they turn their world upside down on occasion. I've had trouble with them in terms of their food since their infancy. As soon as they had the physical strength to do so, they began to turn their food dishese upside down, dumping the contents on the floor. A good friend solved the problem by sending me a very sturdy and rather wonderful wooden 'feeding station' in which two dishes would be set. Rather than giving a dish to each Cat (as the two names on the front of the wooden station indicated, I chose to designate one for food and one for water.

A year later, I have come to the realisation finally that they do not like bowls for whatever reason. What I construed as mischief was their desire to eat from a flat surface. These two were not born in my care. They came to me at three months of age, with many habits formed. Whatever the reason, they do not like to eat or drink from a bowl. I daresay they would prefer to drink their water from a flat surface, although that would create a mess akin to the Great Flood.

Humans, for all of our delusions of intellectual superiority, can be dense. Why did it take me a year to decipher their actions??? Anyway, I now give them the wet food on a plate. Even with that compromise, they tend to push it off the plate onto the floor every day. I do give it to them in small enough quantitites that they usually polish it off the floor as well as the plate within a half an hour. I have to keep the floor spotless, obviously... Next, I am going to try a larger platter, but I expect that what will occur is that the food in the centre of the platter will be ignored, making that change counterproductive.

For dry food and water, I still use the wonderful wooden feeding station. I had no trouble with that until this morning.

The cooler weather evidently has increased their energy and potential for mischief. Each morning, I find their bedding all over the place and half of their toys in the litter boxes. What was new this morning was the disappearance of the water bowl from the feeding station!

Amazingly, one or both of them had removed it from the rather high wooden setting and absconded with it. I found it finally on the other side of the room. I expect that they took it from its place after drinking all the water. It was dry and empty and I found no pools of water anywhere.

What does this have to do with Love? Only the incredible sense of warmth in my breast when I think about them, whether it is their faithful morning ritual of washing MY face and hands or their antics. My Life would be insufferable without a Cat.

When I was a child, I never was allowed to keep a Cat. To me, given that deprivation, it is amazing that I learned how to love at all or how to take responsibility for the welfare of any other being. Children usually beg for pets, then break every promise to their parents that deals with care and responsibility. I daresay that is why my Mum never allowed me to keep a Cat, but I firmly believe that she was wrong to do so. Even when the parent is forced to shoulder the burden of caring for the child's pet, it teaches the child HOW to care for another and widens that child's universe immensely. Children who never had pets easily fall into subscription to the erroneous philosophy that human beings are the only creatures who matter on this planet. Any Child who has loved a pet knows the truth, that our 'superiority' exists only in certain areas and that we definitely are inferior in others.

Religions often declare that human beings were designated as 'Lords of the Earth', but to me, that is no more than an attempt at self-justification for the exploitation of others. If, however, we are the 'Lords of our Earth', then we have the duty to care for and protect other species. An axiom of ancient common law:
'Qui sentit commodum, debet et sentire onus.' Translation: Who knows a benefit should know a burden as well. If we are Lords of our planet, then we are its Guardians and a Guardian has the burden of acting in the best interests of all. In fact, a Guardian is NOT an Owner. He/she is merely a caretaker. It is the ultimate 'sacred Trust'.

Even in the Islamic Qur'an, there is a verse that refers to humanity as 'lords of the Earth' but makes it clear that we have only guardianship over all living things.

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