Human beings do not have five senses.
We have many, many more — including proprioception.
But just when we think we might be pretty amazing, cats remind us what sense and sensibility are all about.Today, we have the pleasure of a postcard from Sirius and his extraordinary Mama:
“I walk into the bedroom and an adorable scene sits before me: Sirius, curled up on his side, asleep on my bed. This is a common sight, one that I love. His serenity becomes my serenity. As I move about, changing clothes and tidying up my dresser, he sleeps on. The sound of drawers opening and shutting, the squeaky wheels of the closet door – none of this bothers him. It’s only when I sit on the side of the bed that he awakes and makes a sweet vocalization of surprise that sounds like a cross between a soft meow and a purr.
“Sirius is deaf; this reaction is normal. Even entering the room with a running vacuum does not awaken or bother him – it’s the sight of the vacuum or the feel of someone bumping the bed that will cause him to stir.
“I began to suspect that Sirius was losing his hearing a year or so ago. I would call him and he would not come, or he would have to be very close to me to realize I was trying to get his attention. It became increasingly easy to startle him, and increasingly difficult to wake him. When he began howling at night, I brought him to my veterinarian to have a check-up and confirm that the only issue was his hearing and nothing more sinister.
“Sirius had always had excess wax production in his ears. My veterinarian cleaned them out for me, though he scratched and shook his head. Repeated examinations showed Sirius did not have ear mites, and that his wears were just waxy. Whether it was the long-term effect of the wax or old age, we can’t be sure. Nevertheless, my veterinarian confirmed: he can’t hear any more.
“In addition, Sirius has been losing his vision. He always had a cloudy eye – a flaw in his appearance that caused other potential adopters to move on without giving him consideration – and his good eye is becoming grey. At best, his vision is blurred. I know he can still see: he recognizes me when he catches sight of my face. His reaction is always one that strikes me with glee right down to the core of my soul, as it’s always one of utter delight.
“I came to realize that having a deaf cat with partial vision impairment is really quite similar to having a cat – any cat. He eats like a champ. He uses his litterbox without fail. He plays with his toys. He purrs and kneads and delights in my company as much as I delight in his. We nap together regularly, and he hangs out on my desk while I’m working or just sitting online.
“Cats don’t despair when it comes to disabilities of any kind. Deaf cats drum on, though they can’t hear their drumming. Blind cats drum on, though they can’t see their drums. Cats missing limbs drum on, though they drum with fewer paws. Their music is as healing to the soul as any other cat’s song. Tabby’s Place has had their share of cats like these and then some, from paraplegic kitties like Dot to kitties missing limbs like Knox to kitties with neither sight nor hearing, like Levi.
“Levi stole everyone’s hearts in seconds, if not faster. He was calm, sweet, and adored people. He was everything we love about cats, wrapped up in an elderly tuxedo package with every marker of ‘unadoptable’ on him. He WAS adopted, and his time with his wonderful family was amazing – Levi visited nursing homes and brought comfort and joy to senior citizens.
“What a magnificent gift it is to have a cat with what humans consider to be disabilities! My own Sirius, despite losing his hearing and the sharpness of his sight, is as happy and content as ever. I would not have him any other way.”
This powerful love is no surprise, coming as it does from the human who’s also fostering Patches.
I’m sensing the most powerful soul truths here. Thank you, Sirius and Carrie.