FOR THE LOVE OF CATS, THEN & NOW

Here’s a perspective about cats in Asian countries. In the past, the 1960s, when I was growing up, cats were not domesticated. Companionship with a cat by humans was rare or non-existent. But there were a lot of wild cats that were freely ranged, roamed the streets and that avoided human contact. I’d see them in the streets most of the time looking for food in the neighborhood. My neighbors were nice and good people who would leave food in a bowl outside their front yard.

These wild cats when in heat mate in the evenings on the roofs of our homes. Veterinary practice was in it’s early beginnings and so I was not acquainted with spaying. The cries, the meows are super loud and they wrestle with each other. The roofs of our house is made of galvanized steel. Galvanized steel is suitable for high temperature applications of up to 200 C, so, it is the best material for roofing in tropical countries (if you’ve been to Hawaii you will notice this type of roofing.) This sheet of steel has ridges so that when it rains the water slides down onto the gutter and to the ground. There are just two seasons, dry and wet. To visualize – it’s like a ridged pringle. The steel is thin, welded together and not sound proof. We barely get enough sleep when they start to mate and it takes a few nights until the male cat gets what it wants. The meows are intense, the pitch is high and the tone is low. You’d hear running, pounding and rolling. Then, peace and kittens.

Another aspect is the myth that “A Cat Has Nine Lives!” It is said that cats give good luck because it often survives dangerous accidents. Falling cats can twist in midair and are able to survive falling from great heights leading people to say that cats have multiple lives.

In my neighborhood, male teenagers, hang around, drink and think of crazy antics. They are bored. Just like in farms across the United States, where cow tipping is a form of entertainment or possibly just an urban legend. But this can’t compare to what the entertainment these boys are up to.

These young boys test the myth. Someone gets a hemp sack and puts a cat inside the sack, ties a knot, then throws it over a bridge. Usually, what’s under the bridge is a stream, not a river or a freeway (no freeways during this time.) You would think that the cat should be dead.

Well, the following day, that cat is back on the street. The teenagers are creeped out. I’m shaken up and ask myself, how? I don’t have an answer but the myth is no longer a myth.

At the start of Generation X (following the baby boomers and preceeding the Millenials), a revolution started continuing until today, cats have had very good years. Cats in the Philippines are loved, have healthcare, groomed, spoiled and cuddled.

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