By Harold Klemp
My sister wrote that two feral cats had come to their home. They had been just the neighborhood cats for a while, but my sister kept putting out food, and pretty soon the cats decided this was home for them too. Panther is the black one. He’s top cat. And Growler is orange and white.
The two get along fine except at feeding time. Panther has a habit of hogging the food dish. Whenever Growler comes up and wants to get a little bit of food, Panther will ease his body around in such a way that it very nicely pushes Growler away.
This happened day after day. But now, here’s the point: People think animals are not so quick. And some people think so especially of cats. Then the ones who have cats say, Well, you don’t tell cats anything; cats do just as they please. But cats can think. Cats are clever—very clever, once they put their mind to it. But that’s work, so they don’t always do that.
At one mealtime, Panther, as usual, crowded the dish. Growler sat there looking at the food dish. And then Growler’s left paw moved out to the dish and pulled it out from under Panther’s face. Panther just sat there shocked. He couldn’t believe what he had seen. He sat on his haunches and watched as Growler ate the food.
Now Panther was going hungry because this happened again and again. So my sister said, “There’s nothing for it. I’ve got to put out two dishes.” She did, and peace has come back to mealtime. Each cat has his own dish, and they’re very happy.
The point is nothing changed until Growler used his creative ability. He sat there and thought, Yeah, this has gone on long enough. No deus ex machina is coming down from above to change anything. I’m going to take a chance and change it myself. I think he sent a very clear message: He was hungry too.
We grew up on the farm, and as I’ve mentioned many times, my sister and I and our brothers all loved cats. We understood cats. We could meow like cats; we knew the different meows. You’ve got to be young, when your voice is still nice and flexible, to get to the high notes, the trills, and all the other little sounds that cats make when they’re saying one thing or another.
We enjoyed the cats, and they became our friends, very good friends. When sometimes the troubles would get to be too much at home—the usual child-versus-parent type thing—I’d go into the woodshed, sit down, and talk to the cat. And the cat, Zsa Zsa, was very patient. Anyway, she liked the cookies I carried in my pocket for her. So I don’t know if she was really listening or didn’t care.
And the same for our dog too. Lady would listen very patiently. And she knew there was food about too. Animals can smell. Yet on the other hand, they did listen even when there was no food.
Excerpted from The Master’s Talks in The Year of Graceful Living—2011–12.
I live in one of the most undeveloped areas in Nigeria, West Africa, a place called Afikpo in Ebonyi state. Naturally no one in my new home seemed to see anything good in the place. Then I began to notice the most beautiful birds I had ever seen. They always came in pairs to the kitchen window and chat for minutes before going away for the day. They were bright yellow with a touch of black and white, so beautiful. My partner, a non-ECKist always wondered what made me smile and talk with the birds and I’d always reply that they are Souls too. So through the months, I realized they were there to make us happy as we tried to become parents and after the Eck new year, that year, we were shocked to know we were expecting. We were so excited and we needed to share our news with our yellow buddies. We never saw them again. It hit me hard and I tried to remember all the months of love we shared. Our baby is here now and we opened our windows all over the house and all birds of different shades of different colors have made nests around our house. It can be pretty noisy especially when they’re back from the day’s work and all trying to exchange stories about how their day went but we don’t mind. Our home is the only one in the block of apartments that they made their home and we are grateful to them for thinking us worthy hosts. Thank you. From Linda Ezem, Nigeria.
Great story, Linda.
I love your experience. May the blessings be
My wife is always adopting rescue animals because they badly need a place to call home too.
Our last adopted cat, Rooke, is an orange tabby. When we visited the animal shelter he was very quiet so we thought, he’ll blend in nicely with our other cat and two dogs.
But when we got Rooke home, he was terrified of everything, people, animals, other parts of the house. He kept to himself.
It took Rooke several months to figure out what was going on and how he fit into this new life. Its the same way for people in new situations. We’re cautious, often unsure of ourselves but given time and lots of patience, love eventually draws us out of our fears.
It does the heart good to see fearful animals develop courage. Rooke is more and more making himself at home, allowing himself to feel safe and welcomed as a new member of our family.
I live in a senior community and I have been told by management not to feed the strays. I watched out my window at a small very skinny cat for days. In my belief all animals have a spirit and they were created from the same source as us. How could I watch a small creature starve? This small cat was sent here to remind me that we are not alone in this dimension and love fills our hearts with joy even from this small cat, where is the love for one another? He has adopted my home as his. My other cats watch him from the window and are also curious about him. He now has trusted me by letting me pet him and we have long talks on my back porch. He has inspired me to search out for my spiritual home too. I will attend my first ECK meeting tonight. I was guided to ECK by my dog that had been stolen. I had posted it on our social media. Then I received a notice that a special Spiritual exploration fair was being held in my area. I went and met a lot of wonderful people from ECK and realized that my dog had sent me there. The dog has been found and returned home reconfirming my belief that we are all connected and animals too. I thank you for sharing your letter from your sister. Love and Light, Chris Ferreira