I am inclined to write something a bit more optimistic to compensate for the last negapost. (BTdubs, I haven't called Starbucks, I think I'm over it) This is going to be a combination post because its subject does make me smile and I've done a painting with one of them in it. I am talking about—
|Ilog Maria. Silang, Cavite, Philippines. April 2011|
I know a lot of people who don't like cats, much less strays—but I am fascinated by them.
To begin with, there's a reason why people who move in a sexy graceful way are described as cat-like or feline. There's an undeniable slinky sexiness to a cat's shoulders when it walks—and those dainty yet deliberate footsteps. Cats possess a dignity, a self-assurance and a regal demeanor no matter what breed—or lack thereof.
I actually have two cats. Here's Tallulah:
|And she has a friend—the Rat King!|
That's one more thing people don't give cats enough credit for—they're excellent hunters. They help keep the rodent population down. If it weren't for Tallulah, that rat could still be spreading germs and bacteria. Tallulah is kept company by her mother, Cleo, who in her day was an impressive huntress as well, able to snatch birds out of midair.
It is no wonder that purebred cats—like Talullah and Cleo who are Ragdolls—have attracted many fans and fanciers. But run-of-the-mill street cats, who I like to call "Muggles", still posses that grace, dignity and understated beauty common to all of their race.
|Park. Magallanes Village, Pasay City, Philippines. July 2011.|
I love seeing street cats. I always wonder what they're up to, what adventure they're about to have. When I encounter a street cat that allows itself to be touched and petted—that pretty much makes my day. Friendly street cats make me especially happy because despite their difficult lives on the streets, they still have the capacity for trust and affection. There is something about cats, and street cats in particular, that speaks to my soul. It inspired me a few years ago to create this painting:
|PUSAKAL. 16 x 20 inches. Acrylic on Canvas. June 2009.|
|I'm not a photographer, so every time I take snapshots of my paintings they always look flat... The gold and play of colors and textures are lost. The painting should shimmer and shine, kinda' like in the picture above.|
Pusakal is a Tagalog potmanteau—pusang kalye (pusa - cat; kalye - street = street cat).
Street cats remind me that there really is beauty all around us—we simply need to take a closer look. A cat's patterned coat is like a fingerprint—no two cats are exactly the same. And they are survivors, each pusakal is weathering the challenges thrown their way, wending through life in the best way they know—just like the rest of us. Street cats remind me of the millions, nay billions, of faceless, nameless people who are marginalized and forgotten.
To me at least, a street cat is not just a street cat. It is a living, breathing, feeling entity that is part, quite cheesily—I admit—but truthfully, of the circle of life. Much in the same way that nobody is just another white guy, or just a tranny, or just a nigger, or a redneck, or just a woman. In the overlooked, in the forgotten and sometimes even painfully persecuted, we will always find beauty and purpose.
We each wish to be seen and understood for who we truly are, or at least who we want people to think we are. It seems only fair to me then, that I extend this courtesy to everyone I meet—friend and stranger alike.
There is so much more to each of us than meets the eye. I hope that one day we will no longer need to look closely to realize that. Because when the time comes, our minds and hearts will be open enough to realize that the beauty, and purpose and light was there all along.