Saturday, April 5, 2008

Zen Kitten

For the past week or so, I've been watching my friend's kitten for her. I've been working with this little kitten, teaching her some different things, my cats have been teaching her different things, and while she's very stubborn, she's picking some things up. The kitten's name is Starr, and she's half Sphinx (hairless) and half domestic short hair. This is the first in a series of posts about the lessons I'm learning from my cats.

What I didn't expect was to learn so much from this kitten. Today, I'm just going to talk a little about Starr's concept of things and ownership. Or, more precisely, her total lack of this concept. My cats understand very little about ownership, but even as adult cats, they have some idea of the concept - they're territorial. At first, the kitten was allowed into the common areas, kitchen, living room and bathroom, but the lanai was off limits with the exception of using the litter box. Same with the bedroom. Those areas "belonged" to my cats. It didn't take long for them to decide that Starr wasn't much of a threat, and allow her access to the entire kingdom (in as much as a 1 bedroom apartment can be considered a "kingdom").

Starr, on the other hand, has no concept of ownership. If she sees something interesting, she goes and plays with it, uses it or investigates it. While she's in control of it, it appears to be "hers". Once she's done with it, she walks away and doesn't have any concern for what happens to that object next - the other cats can have a turn, I might throw it away, it doesn't matter - she's staked no claim on it, and as such it passes out of her awareness as readily as it passed into her awareness.

At first, I felt a little bad, because it seemed like nothing here was hers. But as I watched her, I realized that she didn't feel bad about that at all. She had nothing that needed her time, nothing that needed her attention, nothing that needed to be defended, nothing that owned even a little part of Starr. Yet she was free to use anything she came into contact with. I begin to understand how she is able to maintain her sense of wonder while looking at the world. She is attached to nothing, desires nothing be different, and as a result, she does not suffer. That will change, which bring us to Megan.

Megan, my female cat, on the other hand spent the first few days desiring the kitten not be here lol

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