Sunday, July 26, 2009

Extraordinary Cats & Silly Wabbits

We went to the MSCPA's Adoption Center over the weekend because visiting with the cats always cheers us up. Most of them seem very content to be there, especially in the multi-cat rooms with their giant windows, climbing furniture, and cozy beds. Many of the cats welcome being petted and spoken to. We hope to eventually discover the next member of our household. But we are very particular; it could take years of visits before I see the right cat and I just "know." I have an instinct for finding extraordinary cats. I knew that Bunny had to be our cat when I had only seen her sleeping for a few seconds, with her back to me in her cage. I had taken the adoption papers off her door before even she woke up and blinked at me. And she is an extraordinary cat.

I believe there is a Taoist art to selecting a cat. In J.D. Salinger's Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters, Zooey Glass recounts a story his brother Seymour read to their infant sister Franny:

Duke Mu of Chin said to Po Lo: ‘You are now advanced in years. Is there any member of your family whom I could employ to look for horses in your stead?’ Po Lo replied: ‘A good horse can be picked out by its general build and appearance. But the superlative horse — one that raises no dust and leaves no tracks — is something evanescent and fleeting, elusive as thin air. The talents of my sons lie on a lower plane altogether; they call tell a good horse when they see one, but they cannot tell a superlative horse. I have a friend, however, one Chin-fang Kao, a hawker of fuel and vegetables, who in things appertaining to horses is nowise my inferior. Pray see him.’

Duke Mu did so, and subsequently dispatched him on the quest for a steed. Three months later, he returned with the news that he had found one. ‘It is now in Shach’iu,’ he added. ‘What kind of a horse is it?’ asked the Duke. ‘Oh, it is a dun-colored mare,’ was the reply. However, someone being sent to fetch it, the animal turned out to be a coal-black stallion! Much displeased, the Duke sent for Po Lo. ‘That friend of yours,’ he said, ‘whom I commissioned to look for a horse, has made a fine mess of it. Why, he cannot even distinguish a beast’s color or sex! What on earth can he know about horses?’ Po Lo heaved a sigh of satisfaction. ‘Has he really got as far as that?’ he cried. ‘Ah, then he is worth ten thousand of me put together. There is no comparison between us. What Kao keeps in view is the spiritual mechanism. In making sure of the essential, he forgets the homely details; intent on the inward qualities, he loses sight of the external. He sees what he wants to see, and not what he does not want to see. He looks at the things he ought to look at, and neglects those that need not be looked at. So clever a judge of horses is Kao, that he has it in him to judge something better than horses.’

When the horse arrived, it turned out indeed to be a superlative animal.

I haven't found a superlative cat yet. My cats raise dust and leave tracks — and worse — sometimes. But I am amazed and delighted every day by three extraordinary ones I've found. My cats are way beyond "good."

At the MSPCA, my husband always drags me to see the rabbits. I don't relate to them as well as he does, which is a little weird considering that my cat is named Bunny. But we were both taken with this little guy, who seemed very personable under his long, frilly ears. I had never seen rabbit plumage before:

Then we saw this refugee from a Star Wars movie sitting quietly by the window. The Cousin It of the rabbit kingdom. I don't know if he's superlative or extraordinary, but he's going to need a lot of grooming:

1 comment:

Spam goes right into the trash but I appreciate relevant comments from non-spammers (and I can always tell the difference). I do my best to follow up if you have a question. ALL spam, attempts to market other websites, and anything nasty or unintelligible gets deleted instantly. The cats and I thank you for reading — and please feel free to comment on what you read.