Friday, January 23, 2015

Feral Cats and the Meaning of Life.

Another Art Card

It is now official:  at least two of the Ferals are now coming and going into my house as they please. I am happy about that, but also a little concerned.  Noddy and Blinken are the brave ones.  As I watched last night, They pushed their way into the cat door and headed straight for the food bowl.

You have to understand, I have one doggie door down on the floor level which opens into my room and one cat door up higher, through a window.  The cat door is right over a high table where I feed my indoor cats.

Last night I fed all the Ferals and then put fresh dry cat food into the bowl on the indoor cat feeding area. This morning, that bowl was picked clean.  That has never happened before.  The indoor cats don't eat that much that fast.  But this morning, Noddy looked very well fed.  He still ate a good breakfast, though.

As of now, all but 6 of the Ferals let me pet them.  Several of them let me pick them up and move them to another pile of food (sometimes they get a tad irritable with each other.  I like to prevent fights when I can).  And I am not sure at this point just how many Ferals I feed.  It varies, from 18 to 27.   Eighteen I can afford to feed, twenty-seven I cannot.  And I still have not been able to catch Lil'Mama.  I am concerned that she may have another litter so I'll be spending a good part of today calling various authorities to see if anyone can help me catch her to get her spayed.

Warning:  Cat stuff is done, Philosophy follows.  If you are not interested, just skip it.  There will be more stories in the future, so do come back.

I have to admit, most of my friends think I am crazy to be taking on this responsibility.  I am very poor by American standards and feeding the cats comes out of my personal food allowance.  But there are measures of wealth other than money.

My human family is gone and because of my illness, I don't have many friends (except for the internet and phone friends).   I think it is important that we have connections.  Humans are not meant to live totally alone or isolated.  We need someone to love, and hopefully, someone to love us back.   We need to feel that our lives matter, that we make a difference.

For a long time when I first became ill, it was hard.  I could go for weeks without seeing another live human face.  Sadly that is not uncommon.  On the internet I have made connections with several groups of folks that are in this position.  Chronic illness scares people and they stay away in droves.  

But then I decided to change the way I think about things.

In the past I worked with others to try to make a difference in the world.  I worked for Peace and Civil Rights.  I had Foster Children.  I taught Art as a volunteer in several places.  I had so many people to love, it was wonderful.  I even taught a couple of collage courses -- which was more fun than I care to admit.
But then I became ill and the world changed for me.  I now have to spend most of my time in bed and there is no one who visits.   Like I said, for along time, this was difficult and I felt very sorry for myself.

But what is life for?  Why are we here?

Obviously I could no longer do the work I was doing.   So where was my reason for being?  What meaning could I have in my life?  I don't want to be a drag on society.  I need a purpose.   Even being mostly bed-bound, I need to contribute.

So I thought long and hard.  What can I do?  How can I make a difference?  I have no money to give to causes I support.  I cannot go out and do work anymore.   What can I contribute?

I thought about what I would say to someone who came to me with this problem, what would I tell them?

I would ask them, "What do you love?  And what do you love to do?  What do you want out of Life?"  

As for me, well, I want to take Delight in Life.  There is too much sorrow in the world.  It needs to be balanced out with people who take joy in life whenever they can.

So I  choose to be happy,  choose to see the beauty around me, choose to laugh and appreciate joy, choose to make connections.  This is why I feed the Ferals.  This is why I do art, even though no one may ever see most of it until after I am gone.  This is why I blog.  I do these things because it makes me happy and hopefully, makes connections.

You see, I believe in Connections.  I believe that humans need each other and that is a Good Thing.  I believe that it is wonderful that we have so many different cultures, so many different and interesting ways of Being Human.  I am so grateful for the Internet which allows so many of us to make connections in other parts of the world.  I wish it were there for even more folks, folks in war-torn countries, folks in difficult situations, folks who may long for a better, healthier life where all are cherished and encouraged to foster their gifts.  I wish the world was a safer place for all of us.  I think it would be -- if more of us could connect with each other

But that valid and healthy connection needs to extend into all forms of life, not just human. We need to connect with all of life, and these connections are Healing, more than medicine, more than money, more than politics.  And it heals the planet as well as healing us.
We all need to make what connections we can, wherever we are.

As I blog, I do wonder about you, out there.  I wonder who reads these posts.  What is your life comprised of?  What makes you happy?  What connections have you chosen to make?  (I hope that some of you will choose to reach out connect with me.)

I have three things which bring Great Joy to my life:  Art, the Internet and Animals.  That is what I have to share with you.

Oh, and  when I go outside, there are all these bright, beautiful faces that look up at me. Trusting, wonderful cats, each with their own personality and ways of being.

I am fortunate to have so much to love.


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