21 February 2012
For all our involvement, for all the power we try to wield over this planet, mankind is, in many ways, in the minority. We share it all this creation, this never ending motion, with God’s Creatures … the beasts, the animals and the pets.
As I write this letter, my elbow is resting on the haunches of George – a cat, a named pet, a creature on loan to me, a gift from God.
At some point in its evolution, cat-kind left the jungle and became enmeshed in the world of man and womankind. Its descendants pounced on our vermin, kept us company, then shared their fleas and their purrs.
The domesticated cat – a recognisable cousin to its wild counterparts, now resides alongside many of us and for me that particular co-habitation started early on.
I’m told we had a cat when I was a small child, though I have only one hazy memory of this creature, called Corky, curled up on a blanket.
My solid memories start later, with the kitten bought for me when I was 12. That was the year my brother left home … so we substituted him with another boy, my lucky black cat ‘Whiskers’. The love was instant … I met a tiny ball of black fluff who was curled up on my living room chair, who then got up, yawned and stretched luxouriously, found his own way in to the next room for dinner, then availed him self of the litter box. I was amazed at the confident temerity of this little creature: his self assurance, how at home he already was, how he knew what to do, where to go and next I discovered that he loved to play and he loved to give and receive love and from then on I was hooked on feline kind …
This creature immediately became part of the family unit … I discovered, unknowingly that my father had an affinity for the feline; in fact he had a special language, reserved just for the cat, (which he in turn had absorbed from his own father) and he would compliment his companion, in fun of and homage to his own lost dad and the cat received these blandishments with quiet, blinking gratitude.
And when I left home 6 years later again, I packed all my belongings away, dry eyed and finally cried at long last when I had to say good bye to my creature friend; as if he some how represented all that was soft and childish in me and embodied the loss of all that I was now leaving behind me, in order to walk towards my adulthood.
I had to bide my time before I was quite grown up and static enough to have my very own cat creature. And when the time finally came, I chose another black boy, to substitute my child cat, to practise my parenting skills on, to add warmth and dimension to my life; and bought him into my new home, shared with my fiancé – a self confessed cat hater …
Now I did have his permission to bring a cat in, but he was less than impressed at his first meeting with the ‘little rat’. Then without my bidding, the feline magic was worked … he gave the creature a human name (Dougal) and his affection; he realised he had a live toy, a companion, a subject of endless fascination and conversation and so his own love story with cat kind began …
I left the man and he kept the cat and a little later the next creature came in to my life and so on through my time. Then there was one man later on who was made sick by my cat, so the cat went and the man stayed … for a short time … Never again I said. And never again I did.
My next cat – a large ginger tiger tom named Muttley – was a challenge. He was intelligent and self possessed and kept himself to himself. I had adopted him as an abandoned adult, so who knew his story before then? So I learned to love unconditionally, getting little in return for my food and shelter. Instead I made cat-kind an object of study, I read, I revised, I learnt … all about their physiology, psychology and genetics, and I also studied my own boy – his body language, his voice, his ways and I gave him love by food, by shelter and by soft voice. Then over years, he returned the favours and the love and later again, when he was run over and his pelvis was crushed – I sobbed sadly and loudly.
He survived the experience – the treating vet telling me that these creatures of God have the best self healing musclo-skeletal system of all animal kind and though his pelvis formed a new shape, the tiger returned to his habitat, changed but yet intact.
And there have been more and more creature companions, and I have seen the love story happen to others, again and again … and for some it becomes a feline obsession … An endless fascination of conversation and occupation.
For me, the lure is that we are bound by love to these creatures. They come to us for food of course, but then they stay with us for love. They seek our company, they desire our affection and so it is love that ties us together. We receive their company, and are part of a primordial relationship, one that is closer to nature than to man’s machinations. And at times they are domesticated pets and at times they are wild creatures and it is their very differences – between themselves and ourselves – that is part of their inherent allure.
And that for me is love. So I am now sending that love out to you – from me and from George and Taz – two of my favourite gifts and most definitely God’s Creatures.
Yours purringly and adoringly, Sandra x
PS: For all these letters and more, you can buy Peachey Letters as a book – follow the link here to find out more…