Truly Empowered

4 March 2020

Ollie, my own cat, approves of my shelter work. I hope many cats at shelters will have access to bigger spaces.

The skinny Girl Cat hurried towards me, pressing her bony face against the wire mesh, seeking comfort.

She’s been on medicines to manage diarrhoea. Meanwhile her beddings were soiled and her fur were unkempt from the runs.

My friend, with clean beddings in hand bravely entered Girl Cat’s enclosure. She had to remove the dirty ones from their aerial bed frames before putting on the fresh ones, while trying not to inhale the smells.

Prayerfully, I wiped down Girl Cat’s body with donated good quality wet wipes and removed as much stains from her fur as possible. Her tail was crusty.

Like all children, Girl Cat received the cleaning of snot and tear stains on her face with a bit of protest, but was generally grateful for the human touch.

Admittedly, the handling of bodily fluids or wastes of another creature is not a task to be taken lightly. So we wear gloves and masks for protection & to create a psychological buffer for peace of mind. But the heart is a store house of emotions.

And even as we flinched at the sight of a sickly cat and her mess, the awareness of how her tummy must have hurt, and how sore her lower body must have felt, gave us the power to overcome our personal misgivings and get on with the cleaning.

Girl Cat would need time to respond to her medications. Till then she would continue to soil herself and her beddings. Till then she would need help in keeping clean. She was hand raised from birth, and now in sickness, continues to be cared for at the shelter, the only home she has ever known.

But in her sickness, Girl Cat has cured us of our fears of bodily wastes & reminded us how wonderful it is to be alive and to be able to offer up our breaths, our strengths and our sensibilities for the mitigation of misery in others.

For my friend who was born and raised in comfort & cleanliness all her life, making her rounds of litter box cleaning and bedding changes for 100 plus cats at the shelter the whole afternoon afternoon had successfully freed her from her scatological anxieties.

Hers was truly an experience of empowerment.

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