WPC: Past the Delicate Phase – Oliver the CatDecember 15, 2012
Oliver is a stray cat who has been with us for a couple of years now. When it came to our house from nowhere it was neither a kitten nor an adult cat; in its teen years I suppose? Oliver was quite playful and gave added life to our house. I don’t know if you have, or if you do believe in cultural beliefs but in relation to Oliver, I’d admit that I am quite superstitious. The incident didn’t only happen only with Oliver; it happened to my father’s dog as well. And if I dig deeper into my memory, I am sure they will also pop out – all of them involving pet animals.
Once when my son came home with high fever. I was of course anxious since it is always a sad scenario when the usual movements aren’t felt. Oliver was with us then for only a couple of weeks or so. I let my son rest after giving him paracetamol. In the morning, I was surprised to see Oliver sleeping right on my son’s face who was positioned sideways. I couldn’t imagine how long he had been there but when I slowly lifted him up, I felt the high temperature on Oliver’s body. It seemed fever caught on Oliver. I immediately thought that Oliver must have taken the fever away from my son; that he should be okey soon. True enough, my son slowly became better during the next hours and continuously through the day, and was back to his normal activities the following day.
It was Oliver who took the brunt of being ill as I believed it. As you can see in the photos, he became so thin and weak that he wouldn’t play. We were sad of course. With love and care though, he recuperated back to his usual self and has since then remained with us. He leaves once in a while when he looks for a mate, comes home at times bruised, but he always returns, stays and enjoy sleeping on top of my son’s computer while he is online gaming. These days however, he became so mature and serious looking. [See Oliver’s latest photo, after Pitz]
Going back to superstitions and myths perpetrated by traditional and Eastern cultural thinking perhaps — it was the belief of my parents that “pets take our illnesses away” [kinukuha ang sakit in our language]. Now, what made me a strong believer in that belief? When my father was hospitalized for over a week, we had to leave his dog everyday. Once when no one was able to return home, we found our things in the living room in shambles; so it was decided that one should stay at home to be the dog’s companion. One night, I heard loud coughs; it was my father’s. I thought that I was dreaming. I stood up and heard the coughing sound again. I was somewhat shocked: It was my father’s dog that was coughing and sounding very much like my father’s. I then felt happy. Why? I automatically thought that the sickness of my father transferred to the dog. My father would soon be all right, I was so certain about it as I remembered his belief on the matter. Within two to three days, my father was released from the hospital. All of us, especially my father and his dog were so happy. I witnessed it when I was a teen, and it remained in my memory. That superstitious belief was the reason why despite having a small yard, our parents kept not only dogs and cats but parrots, hens, roosters, ducks and a goose that I didn’t like because it was always running after me. There are more poignant moments in the life of my father’s pets that I remember with fondness…