Assisting the Feral Cat:
HELPING vs. INTERFERING
In my years as an animal communicator many people have contacted me for assistance with feral cats that they have trapped and "rescued" from the streets. In communication with these animals I often find that they are anxious, fearful, neurotic, angry and that they suffer greatly from loss of purpose. Contemplating this situation over time I have some ideas I would like to share and some haunting questions that may in fact be unanswerable.
I have lived in a town of three thousand people for twenty years. This beautiful little town nestled at the foot of Mt. Shasta in Northern California has many back alleys and many, many wild cats. Our little house sits on one of these alleys and I can observe the comings and goings of the "ferals" from my back windows. For many years my neighbor and I trapped, neutered and released a goodly number of these "strays." Today, with the kindness of other caring individuals, there seems to be an equilibrium in our neighborhood feral cat population. My own cat Lily, who sits with me as I write my thoughts today, is the only feral in all of these years who willingly came into the house to live. In her wisdom she decided that I needed watching after. She was right, and she has watched me well for twelve years through good times and bad. Lily is tame, social, outgoing and well adjusted. She possesses these qualities not on account of any intervention on my part, but simply through the enactment of her own Divine Plan on her own terms.
Lily will not tolerate the presence of another feral cat. She tells me that they don't belong inside the house, or even too near it. She is not at all a jealous soul, she simply knows in her great wisdom that that the ferals "march to the beat of a different drummer," that their world is separate and apart from ours, and that their job "out there" is as important as ours indoors is. As I look out my window at the ferals who make their daily rounds, I do not pity them their life, I respect and admire it. They are guardians and warriors fulfilling their part in the great scheme of things.
Lily tells me, and feral cats all over the world with whom I connect confirm, that life lived on "the edge" of civilization is just as it should be in most cases. Many feral cats who have been rescued by well intentioned, loving people tell me that they have recently incarnated from more wild lifetimes and that they simply cannot tolerate close confinement with human beings just yet. It seems that they have chosen these very lifetimes as a step towards domestication at a later time in their incarnational cycle. They live on the fringes of human society so that their souls and bodies can slowly acclimate to more intimate contact with human beings. Often when we try and rush the process of socialization it is simply more than the souls and bodies of these creatures can endure and they become sick and die or become increasingly incorrigible despite our best intentions.
Other ferals communicate that they are taking part in a more cosmic portion of The Plan; that they are holding a particular configuration of energy in their spot on Earth and that this energy work is of great importance to the overall balance of the planet. They are sentinels guarding the integrity of the Divine Plan. These cats when trapped and removed to other locations have literally lost their jobs. They have often been deprived of the very purpose for which they have come to Earth in the first place. Some trapped ferals are depressed and anxious, others angry and violent. Most are simply overwhelmed by energies that they have no way of understanding or processing. Only a few are contented with their circumstances once removed from their place of origin.
For those of us who care deeply about the welfare of animals these observations give rise to dilemmas and paradoxes to which I do not presume to have the answer. I do feel however, that we must begin to listen to the animals themselves instead of arbitrarily imposing our will upon them. I will offer here some questions for contemplation; questions that I often ask myself.
What is it within us that feels a need to save any creature from its appointed circumstance? Is it not enough to simply "witness" another's lot without judgment, with just our bare bones presence and our love? Do we somehow fear our own wild nature and project this fear onto those creatures who reflect back to us our distorted view of what "wild" is? Do we, perhaps with best intentions, read something into the other being's expression, body language, or situation that may not in truth be their reality? Does our pity reside within our own fear of lack and deprivation? Have we separated ourselves so completely from wildness that we unconsciously wish to wipe out every last vestige of it in other creatures as well? Might it not be better to simply love, respect and honor the feral creatures on their own terms and in their own places? Should we not care enough to ask them as individuals what their divine purpose is before we unwittingly take it from them?
In our town there is a great tolerance for differences and uniqueness. Their is a woman called Laura. Everyone knows Laura. Depending on who's point of view you listen to Laura is a street person, a bag lady, a character, a manipulator, a psychic, a crazy person. Nothing that comes out of Laura's mouth is censored in any way and this makes people very uncomfortable. She will often make observations about people aloud that are undeniably true although often embarrassing. She has a way of getting right to the core of anyone's uncomfortable issue. Most people don't like Laura; she is too raw. In my view she is an important character in the "play" of the community. She serves as a reminder of the "crazy" person living within each of us. She keeps people on their toes. You never know when she will show up with a pointed message. In some more "primitive" cultures than ours, Laura would not only be tolerated but cared for as well. Not locked away or tamed, but just cared for in her own unique style of being and on her own terms with the knowledge that she was sent by God with her own special gift.
To me the feral cats are like this. Perhaps God purposely populates each town and city with furry little angels who hold the waning image of our own wildness so that our over-tamed natures do not completely obliterate it. These angels also serve as reminders of the uncertainty of life and the exquisite fragility and paradox of each moment. When we walk down a street and unexpectedly a scrawny, gaunt looking feral creature meets our gaze we might simply stop for a moment and read the message in that gaze without the projection of our own fears or insecurities. What if we looked upon the creature as an angelic messenger, an emissary of love and light with a gift for us and we for it. Perhaps we need not interfere. Maybe all that is asked of us is to be receptive to the gift in the moment and to give a gift in return. Worry, projection and interference all serve to take us out of the present moment. The creature's gift to us might be to simply elicit a feeling or a fear within us that needs our attention. Our gift to the creature might simply be an outpouring of love and reverence in that moment; a simple acknowledgment and honoring of its presence in the world and a thankfulness for the gift received. If we entrap the animal, even with the best intentions, we might in fact be robbing another person of their gift from it at a later time.
I have always admired wildness: wild places, untamed animals, unconventional people. There is more aliveness in them; more of God shows through. I myself cannot keep any creature confined indoors that doesn't want to be. To deprive another soul of its ability to feel the warm sun and the energy of healing plants, herbs and other animals by day and the cold air and starry heavens of night doesn't seem my place. Are we fearful of our own aliveness - of the wild man or woman within us? Are we so terrified of loosing "control" that we miss life itself? Do we have a right to project our fears onto other creatures or turn them into carbon copies of ourselves - make them into frightened, tidy, sterile beings like us, doomed to four lonely walls by day and a television set at night? Wouldn't it better serve us both if we joined the cats for a few minutes in the coolness of the alley where the stars twinkle above in God's heaven? We could meet them there with an offering . . . an offering of food, but more importantly the offering of our full, unbiased attention. From this state of unbiased presence we might simply ask them what they have been sent there to do and what they have to teach us.
Perhaps what we will find is that these beings have a more acute sense of their purpose than we do of ours, and that they are in full acceptance of their station in life and are simply awaiting our acknowledgment of their value just where they are. Perhaps any real suffering they endure is a result of human society's robbing them of a rightful place for the manifestation of their specific calling. For each of us, animal or human, are called to perform a task for the betterment of the whole.
If we go to the animals with questions rather than pre-supposed answers, we may be in for a surprise. We will likely not receive the answers we expect, but what we will receive is an experience of wildness, uncertainty and the beauty of the paradox of life on its own terms. In his best selling book The Soul's Code, psychologist James Hillman in describing what he calls his "acorn theory" says: "there is more to life than our theories of it allow . . . we have been robbed of our true biography. . . each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is decided on before the descent into matter . . . an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny." Mr. Hillman says: "we are all cared for by an invisible guardian, but we prefer, or have been conditioned to imagine ourselves thrown naked into the world, vulnerable and fundamentally alone. If we can accept that we are loved by a guiding providence we can also begin to see that we are needed in the world simply for what we bring."
If we examine ourselves as individuals and as a society, and if we see the destructiveness of our fears and our lack of faith in the Infinite Guiding Hand of God and other beneficent unseen beings, we will begin to see the ways in which we project this fear and lack of faith onto other creatures as well. If we can see the error in our perception perhaps we can then restore faith in our own sacred destinies and then honor the sacred destinies of other beings, allowing them their rightful place among us. When that day comes there will be no "feral" or "discardable" animals, no "unwanted" children, no "bag" ladies or vagrants, just unique individual souls - each on a sacred journey of awakening - each a Christ or Buddha in disguise - each gifted with the ability to mirror back to us some unredeemed facet of ourselves. Every person, every animal, every insect, every plant, tree and rock bear within them a message from our home far away.
CARING FOR FERAL ANIMALS AND THEIR CARETAKERS WITH
ANAFLORA FLOWER ESSENCES & FLOWER ESSENCE FORMULAS
At Anaflora our intent in treating feral animals is to assist in returning the animal to a connection with its soul purpose and to assist in alleviating the stress and fear associated with veterinary treatment, spay and neutering procedures and close contact with human beings. This is accomplished by offering the animal any of an array of formulas such as: Feral Cat Comforter Formula, Return to Joy Formula, Recovery Remedy, Spay and Neuter Formula, Christ Consciousness Formula, Captivity Formula or Freedom Formula. Many single essences are also available that may be appropriate such as: Bleeding Heart, Hearts Ease, Wild Rose, Shasta Lily, Pink Milkweed, Cat's Ear, Oregon Grape and many other essences that offer nurturing to distressed animals and humans.
Those caring for feral animals can be assisted toward the understanding of the importance of honoring what is best for the animal in light of Divine Purpose. This can be facilitated with flower essence formulas such as Christ Consciousness Formula, Expanded States Formula, Telepathy Formula and single essences such as Marsh Marigold, Lilac, Lotus, Cosmos, Deer Brush and many others. Essences such as Cosmos and Marsh Marigold address telepathic communication, while Lotus facilitates the awareness of higher purpose and Deer Brush addresses the challenges of unclear or conflicting motives whether conscious or unconscious. See the book: Flower Essences For Animals by Sharon Callahan for detailed descriptions of formulas and individual essences.