While I was growing up in South Africa, and experiencing the challenges created by a dysfunctional family, I came to rely heavily on our pet dogs. During the fifteen years I lived in Cape Town, we had had several dogs which became my personal confidants, companions, support mechanism, and best friends. I can honestly say that I would not have survived the rigours of my childhood, had it not been for my canine buddies. My relationship with dogs has always been like this, for they mostly demonstrate authenticity, reliability, and surely the masters of unconditional, non-judgmental love and loyalty.
I have had less exposure to cats and so I am not an authority, but it seems to me, that they demonstrate a remarkable independence when they are required to do so. In this respect, they have been my most avid teachers. I acquired several of these beautiful creatures when I was back in England, and also, when I was in the USA. At one point I had 5 cats and two dogs. In fact, as I develop the ability to observe and be more aware of my surroundings, I found that most animals are great teachers. This understanding was confirmed by what I learned from the Native Americans, when I lived in the USA.
However, while my learning did amply demonstrate that each animal may display their dominant characteristics, each demonstrated love on a universal level. In this respect I acknowledge this quality in both cats and dogs. I have also experienced this with horses, and as I continue to learn, I realize that the animal world reflects back to us what we are projecting. In my case, I respected the vital lessons of being independent, which was a big lesson for me to learn, especially having been emotionally dependent, and later learned how to be emotionally independent, which is an incredible Life Lesson. Learning this, while still being able to love, and be loved. This lesson was afforded to me by each one of the cats who chose to live with me. This reminds me of the time when I was newly married, the second time, and we went to the dog pound and cat home, returning home with two sister puppies and two cats who were brother and sister. They were babies, and all was well with all four of them, however, the puppies played with the cats, Albert and Victoria to the point that Victoria got fed up, and decided to move next door. Such was my first lesson of independence, and not accepting less than what one wants! In the meantime, Albert stayed with me for 20 years, travelling with me all the way to the USA from England, when we moved. We also took Max, the Labrador, another great teacher, for he saw me through the worst time of my life before, during and after my divorce.
If a cat and dog were abandoned in the wild, I feel that the cat would most probably survive such an experience better than a dog. The cat can hunt, whereas many dogs cannot do so, at least not as efficiently as a cat. This is why I see each having a particular strength that afforded me the relevant lessons. I can imagine that a cat and dog team would be formidable. That is a great thought, to be able to adopt the positive qualities of both cat and dog.
My present-day wife, Avigail, reminds me that cats are extremely intelligent and who seem to have an innate ability to survive, by finding someone who will love and care for them. My wife also tells me about her cat, Sam, who brought his friends to her house (before we were married) to eat, drink and be merry. It seems that cats are able to share their good fortune with others, as long as they do not feel threatened. I do know that cats are extremely psychic, which has been demonstrated to me many times, and I have had similar experiences with dogs.
I am of the state of mind and heart that, for me, my home is incomplete without at least two cats, and two dogs. Presently, my wife and I have three cats, or should I say that the cats have decided to live with us? I am revising and editing this book in May, 2019, some years after I wrote this book, and, regrettably, all our cats are now deceased. When I moved into the marital home, there were five cats, Calonit moved to live with neighbours, and my dearest Maynie, with whom I had a very special bond, became ill, and she died in my arms at the veterinary. The remaining three cats took their time before they accepted me, and we eventually became one big happy family. However, the three remaining cats also died, and we feel Sunshine was bitten by a snake, for he was found dead on our porch one morning. Sam, the Ginger, decided not to eat any more, and psychically he told Avigail it was his to move on, and we stayed with him until his last breath, loving him all the way.
Tamarchuk was the last one, and he seemed to be quite happy, and very healthy, until he seemed to make the same decision as Sam. We were quite surprised, because we felt he liked being the only cat and being fed the best cat food we could buy, and he seemed to like sleeping with us, without any other cat to disturb him, and he seemed ecstatic for a while. However, he was older, and because he did appear from nowhere, we did not know his actual age, and so, when his moment came, we were with him. I buried all the cats in the back garden, and for the moment we choose not to have any animals, even though that will change. Avigail and I have a particularly healthy approach to death, because we know there is no such thing. Life does not cease when the body is dropped, for humans or for animals. Sunshine and Sam have come to talk to Avigail every now and then, as Avigail is able to communicate with discarnate beings, and Tamarchuk still visits us in his spirit form. However, such experiences taught me the sanctity of both Life and death of the body.
In the final analysis, for me, dogs have taught me unconditional love, whereas cats have taught me to be independent, both valuable lessons. Even as I mention this, it is also important to say that dogs can also be independent, but in my opinion not as much as a cat can be. Cats also display enormous amounts of love, which has most certainly been my experience, especially with Albert.
This is Lesson of Life 3, an excerpt from my book, Lessons of Life, which will be added to the Bookstore at https://anthonyaltmanbooks.com very soon.
What experiences have you had with cats and dogs? What did you learn from them?
Anthony Altman is an author of books on Self-Empowerment, Self-Help/Improvement and Self-Healing, and also provides lectures, workshops and seminars on these subjects. For further information and contact, please visit his website.