Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Inner Lion

As Cameron's nose starts to twitch, his sleepy eyes open, and he lifts his head to further investigate the smells drifting with the breeze. Unconcerned, he falls back to sleep. Observing Cameron sleeping, I can't help but think of his ancestors walking the plains of Africa as fierce predators and as prey. Knowing animals reflect the human condition, I wonder how to cultivate the strength of my "inner lion" without letting it wreck havoc in my life.

Humans are omnivores and have characteristics of both predator and prey. Our society has reinforced and rewarded predatory behavior in school and business. If we don't claw our way to the top, it's a challenge to imagine an alternative because the wisdom of the prey has been suppressed within us. And yet for change to occur, the human psyche has to accept another matrix of wisdom capable of balancing the violent nature of the predator inside.

Bringing our predatory nature back into balance is the challenge of a lifetime. However, when we develop the wisdom of predator and prey, the lion transforms from aggressor to protector, from the murderer of sensitivity to its champion, helping us access the courage to feel and the willingness to act. Cameron is assisting us in reawakening the wisdom of the prey, while demanding that we own our inner lion and putting it to good use because true empowerment depends on finding a balance between the two.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Power of Man

As Matthew Scully quotes on page 9 in his book, "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy," Such terrifying powers we possess, but what a sorry lot of gods some men are. And the worst of it is not the cruelty but the arrogance, the sheer hubris of those who bring only violence and fear into the animal world, as if it needed any more of either. Their lives entail enough frights and tribulations without the modern fire-makers, now armed with perfected, inescapable weapons, traipsing along for more fun and thrills at their expense even as so many of them die away. It is our fellow creatures' lot in the universe, the place assigned them in creation, to be completely at our mercy, the fiercest wolf or tiger defenseless against the most cowardly man. And to me it has always seemed not only ungenerous and shabby but a kind of supreme snobbery to deal cavalierly with them, as if their little share of the earth's happiness and grief were inconsequential, meaningless, beneath a man's attention, trumped by any and all designs he might have on them, however base, irrational, or wicked."

The cats ask we remember the words Matthew has spoken as we prepare for new leadership in this country. Animals matter, and we need people who understand what it means to be humane.

Friday, September 05, 2008


The cats ask, "WHAT IF........You were aware and remembered that communal interactions among species are more important for evolution than are the contributions of individuals from within a species. How would this change your interaction with us?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Call of the Wild

If you have ever been on a tour at Big Cat Rescue, you will be familiar with an animal who is not really a cat but who calls the sanctuary home. You may have seen a furry hair ball in the tree or a furry hair ball with a big, long tail sweeping the ground as you passed by. A scent of buttered popcorn or doritos always accompanied these fur balls or otherwise known as bear cats or binturongs. Big Cat Rescue had four until last week and now there are only three.

In remembering Mocha, I will never forget how food aggressive she was when she wanted to eat. Notice I said, when SHE wanted to eat. Although she was not a cat, I believe she thought she was because nothing, no thing could get her down from the trees unless she wanted to come down. I had often thought of suggesting having a "Calling Contest" to see which volunteer could perfect the art of calling her to come eat her food. We couldn't leave her variety of fruits on her plate because of the rats that would wait until she had eaten her fill and then rush in to grab the leftovers. So, it was very important that we made sure she ate when dinner was being served.

In trying to get Mocha to come and eat, I heard some very interesting calls. "Here, kitty, kitty or Moooooocha." "Where's Mocha," someone would ask as they carried her dish around spying into the bushes. Mocha would lay waiting, watching and probably laughing as the volunteers would try to perfect the call of the wild, trying to seduce Mocha out of her treehouse. I have seen pieces of bananas tossed in the air so Mocha could catch the hint of dinner. I have waited in the hot sun patiently waiting for Mocha to make a decision. If it has been thought of, it was tried and yet at the end of the day, the volunteers never gave up trying new techniques and calls as Mocha very seldom answered any attempt to lure her to dinner. Thank you Mocha for stirring our creative spirits and allowing us the opportunity to be crazy for just a moment.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cat-ching Up

I have been out of town for a while and have just returned. "Cat-ching" up with the cats has been fun. So many things have changed in a month that I wanted to know how everyone was adjusting. I couldn't hardly wait to talk with Snorkel, who had recently been moved to a different location. If you have a cat, you know most of them don't like change. However, there is always an exception.

I had so many questions and was curious to hear how Snorkel liked being on the tour path. As I started talking with him, he was unusually quiet. I asked him if he was having a hard time adjusting; if he liked being close to the other tigers; was he enjoying his water view; was he coming out to see all of the people when they came by; did he like all of the activity and on and on. I was so busy asking him questions, I almost didn't notice he hadn't said anything at all. Not one purr.

I hushed up, sat and listened to what he was going to share with me. Finally, I asked him if he was okay. He gave me such a warm and wonderful feeling, almost as if he was overwhelmed with everything but in a good way. At last, he spoke with such emotion, tears filled my eyes. "It's ONEderful. Just ONEderful." Yes, feeling the unity and BEING a part of everything around him made my heart laugh. At that moment, I realized how much I had missed my training sessions from Snorkel, who has the ears of an angel. It's great to be back!