Sunday, September 22, 2013

A little less shit happened in the real world today

Synchronicity abounds: last night I was reading Ajahn Amaro on the first Buddhist precept of not taking the life of any living creature. This morning I woke here at our rented property in France to find the apparently lifeless body of a young cat with its head wedged in a square section metal pipe that had been left lying on the ground nearby. Further investigation showed that the cat was still just alive, but very firmly wedged in the pipe – presumably having chased a mouse into the pipe at speed. Trying to pull the poor creature only produced awful cries of pain. I then tried putting water and shampoo onto its fur to help it slip out, but all to no avail. Which left the awful choice of risking breaking its neck trying to pull it out, or letting it die horribly. Two locals who appeared told me to kill it humanely – humane maybe but still taking the life of a living creature.

By now almost two hours had passed. So in one last desperate attempt I cut four splints out of a plastic milk bottle, lubricated them with moisturising cream, and forced them between the head and the sides of the pipe. I then pulled very hard in the knowledge that either the cat would come free or die of strangulation. First an ear appeared, then painfully slowly the whole head came out; the head was unbelievably big, as cats have flexible skulls I assume it had forced its way past a small ridge at the end of the tube and the skull had then expanded, firmly trapping it.

But its ordeal was not over: although there had been squeals of pain during the rescue the little creature was now seemingly lifeless in my wife’s arms. But women are so much better at mettā than men, and soon there were faint signs of life. For two hours the cat lay still on a blanket. When it started to stir we put a little milk in its mouth and moved it in the sun. After sleeping deeply for a while it woke suddenly, looked at me in puzzlement, stood up and walked rather shakily to the edge of the deck. It then jumped to the ground and trotted off into the undergrowth where we know it lives with its feral family.

There are many morals to this tale; these include the foolishness of sticking your head in metal tubes, the truth of the first Buddhist precept, the importance of one last try and the life-saving properties of plastic bottles and cosmetics. My photo of the cat complete with moisturising cream hair style is proof that thanks to Ajahn Amaro, a little less shit happened in the real world today.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Photo is © On An Overgrown Path 2013.

1 comment:

Carol Murchie said...

Thank you for this story, Bob. I can face what's left of the day with a lighter heart.