Last night, around 9.30 pm, I was sitting at the computer table updating my Facebook status when someone knocked furiously at my door. I quickly got up and rushed out to see who it was.
I saw a shirtless young man with a cat struggling in his hand. “Hello, is this cat yours?” he asked shyly. It was quite dark outside my door but I could still recognized Marble’s familiar face. My heart leaped with joy and all I could mumbled was, “Yes, yes, oh thank goodness, Marble, you’re still around!”
I immediately took the cat back and thanked the man profusely before he disappeared into the dark stairs. My children who were in their study rooms rushed out when they heard the commotion. They too, were very excited to see Marble again.
Marble dashed happily into the house and she was greeted by her three brothers (Puss, Kid and Blondy) who took turns to smell her face and rub their heads against hers. This is the first time I saw with my own eyes how animals missed each other and how happy they were at being reunited again. The sight brought a lump to my throat.
“Quick, call your Daddy, he is still around the neighborhood looking for Marble. Get him to come home at once and give Marble a bath!” I instructed my daughter but to our dismay, Marcus did not bring along his hand-phone. It had run out of battery and was left lying on the table.
“Never mind, wait for him to come home then,” I said.
Alexandra, ever the witty one, suggested mischievously, “Let’s give Daddy a surprise when he got home. Let’s hide Marble somewhere!”
I smiled at my daughter and told her, “Do whatever you like. Your Daddy won’t mind.”
An hour later, while I was brushing my teeth and washing my face, Marcus came home.
“Daddy, did you find Marble?” Alexandra asked him playfully.
Marcus’ face looked sad and he shook his head, “Sorry, I still couldn’t find her but I won’t give up yet.”
“Daddy, close your eyes please,” our daughter pleaded laughingly. He obeyed.
“Now, open your eyes,” Again, he obeyed.
In front of his eyes were Marble, the cat he was so desperately looking around the whole neighborhood since Sunday morning when he could not eat or sleep after learning the disappearance of his ” little daughter.”
Can you imagine how happy my husband was that moment?
“Oh Marble, Marble, you know how hard I’ve been looking for you? Oh, Daddy is so happy to have you back, little darling girl!” He said before breaking into laughter. “This is better than striking a lottery! I made a good sale today and having Marble back means I have two reasons to celebrate!”
Marcus then pressed some money into my hands and said happily, “Go buy supper to celebrate, Mommy!”
Half an hour later, on my way back with the packed supper, I mounted the staircase and saw a female cat nursing her babies inside a storeroom next to the staircase. They have been there for the last two months. We used to call her “Mommy Cat.” We always feed her whenever she mewed at our door for food although we did not take her and her babies into our house. We thought they could manage on their own. Anyway, we already have four cats at home now.
This morning, on our way down, the children and I saw “Mommy Cat” lying motionless inside the storeroom. Beside her stiffed body was a pool of her vomit. Her babies were hiding behind some planks piled at a corner. They looked lost and fearful.
I rushed up to inform Marcus who quickly ran down to see what had happened.
He shook his head and slapped his forehead crying, “Oh no, how can she died now when her babies were still so young?”
After sending the children to school, Marcus and I conducted a simple funeral for poor “Mommy Cat.” We recited prayers for her before burying her under a tree near the bridge behind our house. Tears flowed. We worried for the babies she left behind.
“Mommy, I think we cannot leave them on their own – they are so defenseless and fragile. They might get knocked by passing cars. I can’t bear to give them up for adoption as this means they will be separated. I wish to see them grow up together as brothers and sisters even though their mommy has died. The only way we can cherished Mommy Cat’s memory is to take good care of her babies for her. What do you think?”
I understand Marcus’ sentiments. To us, each life is precious, even though they were mere little animals.
“We just have to work harder, I know it is going to be okay!” I told him and gave him a pat on his shoulder.
We already have three cats and a kitten waiting for us at home….. and now, we are going to be adoptive parents to another four kittens who have lost their mother this morning – which means, there will be eight felines altogether!
There will be a lot of hard work but a lot of joy too waiting for us both….
Marble (Lost and Found)
Blondy (little naughty, sofa destroyer)
Kiddy (the third brother, homely cat)
Puss (the big brother)
Nelson (the second brother, friendly and soft, still missing since 2 months ago)
May you be reborn in the Blissful Pure Land of Buddha Amitabha.
Namo Ratna Trayaya Namo Bhagawate Amitabhaya Tathagataya
Arahate Samyaksam Buddhaya Tayata Om Amite Amitobhawe Amita Sambhawe Amitabitrente Amita Gamini gaganakirti kare sarva kaleshaksha yam kari svaha
” Om Ami De Wa Hri x 108 “
Grant blessing to accomplish this mantra without interruption.
“TADYA THA PENTSA DRI YA AH WA BHO DHA NI SVAHA”
May I send forth manifestations to guide beings without exception.
May all Beings benefit
Mommy Cat when she had just given birth to four kittens…
Mommy Cat was found dead in the storeroom next to the staircase but the good mother looked peaceful in her death.
Mommy Cat was buried under a shady tree next to the bridge behind our house… Farewell, you have been a good mother to your babies.
Dedication of merits ~ May the merits and virtues accrued from this work, adorn the Buddha’s Pure Land, repay the Four Kindness above, and relieve the sufferings of those in the Three Realms below. May those who see or hear of this, bring forth the Bodhi mind, and live the teachings for the rest of this life, then be born together in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.