The Dhamma of Cats: Cats are a great indicator of various aspects of the Dhamma. Don’t get me wrong, dogs are just as good,; I just happen to own cats.
There are various indicators of the human predicament that are shown by cats. Craving/desire/need for certain things are many of them. Cats crave attention. They demand affection. Now most of us will probably deny that need at our age; but remember back to your teenage years… how demanding of affection were you then? Cats slink around your legs, paw at your knees, wake you in the middle of the night, all for a small show of love. Humans crave love, whether they be 1 or 100. Craving love is a natural condition of the human existence, but one that must be overcome, if we are to reach Nibbana. We have to realise this task, so that we are no longer attached to the love of others, before we can move forward.
Cats also demand/crave a regular supply of food, as do we all. Now food is a necessity for surviving on this plain of existence so craving food in a wise manner is not bad. Being a glutton is. Eat what you need to eat to maintain your body in a healthy condition and you do no wrong. Eat for the sake of eating and you are on the wrong side of Kamma; it will lead to Samsara… suffering.
Cats also need clearing up after. They deficate, urinate, vomit… as do we all. These are the necessary duties of a cat owner to maintain a healthy living environment for a cat. So… if you ‘own’ a cat, then you can expect to have to deal with these unpleasant duties; just as you have to deal with your own bodily needs. Samsara is an enherent part of daily life, but it is our attachment to it that causes suffering, discomfort or sadness. Dealing with cat faeces is not pleasant but it is necessary if you wish to ‘own’ a cat.
Cats also demand treatment for disease, flea infections, etc… Again, we all need treatment for disease, infection and infestation at times. Medical treatment is a necessary requirement of survivial in this plain of existence, and thankfully we have plenty of experienced practitioners who can administer to our bodily or mental needs. Vets are the animal equivolent of our GP’s, passing out treatments for various ailments, but those treatments do not progress us, or them, toward Nibbana. Nibanna is beyond the reach of most of us in this lifetime, yet the pursuit of it is necessary if we are to attain it in a future lifetime.
Cats also show aggression; hissing and spitting, when they feel threatened. That is exactly how we react when threatened. Yet, is that reaction neccessary? Maybe a calmer approach would defuse the situation. Acting with aggression is the instinctive approach… the base animal approach, but reacting with wise compassion may well defuse the entire situation, instead of getting you a night in the police cells!
Cats also demand or require recreation time. A chance to play with their ‘owner’, or a ball, a plush mouse, even just a piece of cardboard. We all need recreation time, a chance to relax and enjoy the company of a loved one, but, again, craving that state leads to suffering… to Samsara.
So, cats can be an educator of what Samsara demands of us all. Samsara demands craving, desire, pain, discomfort and suffering; at the very least. Yet we have all craved to come back here for the sake of sensual pleasure. We are all here because we chose to be here through previous action. I know many of you will deny this, that is natural, but at the end of the day, you are here because that was your choice. There is no getting away from it. So… choose wisely this time… maybe your next adventure will be in the God realms!!!