“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France
I have always been an animal lover. When we were small, we were not allowed to have our own pets because I think our parents didn't think we were responsible enough to take care of them. Our next door neighbour, on the other hand, had a black and white cat called ‘Kunta Kinte'.
Kunta Kinte was a special cat. She was the only cat that was ever allowed to set paw in our house at that time. Every Sunday morning, when my mom opened the back door, Kunta Kinte would dash in and make a bee-line towards our room. She would then wake each of us up by licking our noses. If we refuse to get up, she would sit in front of our faces and purred loudly until we got up. When Kunta Kinte died due to an illness, my sisters and I were devastated.
Now, that I have my own home, I decided to let my kids have a pet, on the condition that they take responsibility over the pet. We adopted Fluffy from the shelter and Sam was a stray that showed up one day.
I have to admit that our cats have taught me a lot. Fluffy actually taught me about forgiveness, patience and acceptance. My little boy is a little terror and he used to torment Fluffy whenever he saw her, when he was 3 years old. But Fluffy, being such a sweet natured diva and a gentle soul, never once retaliated by scratching or hissing at my tiny terror. Instead, she forgave him every time and would still allow him to pat her. If she feels that she's had enough, she would just run away and hide until the coast is clear. Fluffy actually showed me how to deal with certain people in my life.
Sam on the other hand, has a very strong personality. He doesn't accept nonsense from anyone. He came to us as a tiny scrawny kitten. We felt pity for him because he was getting bashed up by the other male cats in the neighborhood so we took him in. Of course, Fluffy was not too happy at that time as she wasn't keen on sharing her food bowl and domain with another cat. That was the only time we ever saw Fluffy's temper and her claws but Sam persevered and was eventually accepted by her. Now, he has quadruple in size and is Fluffy's protector whenever she ventures out. Even the neighbour's dog is afraid of him.
Sam taught me about perseverance, trust and loyalty. No matter how far he ventures out, he always come home to us. He also taught me about being brave and firm. I suspect that some of the neighbours have also adopted him as he is quite fat now and he sometimes comes home clean!
Animals are also God's creation. Like us, they are put on earth for a purpose. We must treat them with compassion and love. We must never be cruel to any animal. Pets can bring out the best in us also.
The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam),was asked if acts of charity even to the animals were rewarded by the Almighty. He replied: "Yes, there is a reward for acts of charity to every beast alive." (Narrated by Abu Huraira, Bukhari)
In fact, sometimes, I find that pets make better friends than human. One thing for sure is, they are not judgemental and they can sometimes give you comfort that fellow human can't.
I know that God has put these two cats in life for me to learn something from them and I have learnt a lot from them. In fact, they are sometimes the best teachers....