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OU ANIMALS, OURSELVES: Lamenting my cat, the coyote

June 29, 2017
By ANNOEL KRIDER , Lake Placid News

When I named the new kitty Gideon, after an angel, I should have known that his destiny was already spiraling into another dimension.

His one year and two days of life was full and adventurous, but it was not long enough for me. His character and demeanor were that of an older cat and perhaps it was the realization of this aged wisdom that spoke to me as I opened the door to the outside and let him explore "the jungle" knowing full well its laws.

I heard the familiar sound of a wailing cat, my cat. My instincts reacted, knowing no hesitation as I shot out the door like a bullet, running down the seemingly endless driveway toward the sounds of Gideon. I kept calling his name, praying my screams would illicit release, but when his silence came, I knew what had happened and it would have taken a miracle to know the feel of him in my arms again.

Moments later, far off in the distance, I heard the wails of the coyotes, as if they were rejoicing over their recent conquest.

I circled around the woods looking for, I'm not sure what, and then in a fit of panic I ran back to the house and got my dog Laddie in hopes that he would lead me to Gideon. He immediately picked up the scent and took off in a passionate frenzy, with me following, bushwhacking through the fallen trees with a mad desperation. I felt like an Indian scout, following the trail of the hunted, occasionally seeing the furied tracks of an animal escaping, looking for signs of my injured cat.

At one point, I saw white fur on a low tree limb and after a shallow gasp, I realized it was Laddie's as he tore through the woods after the coyotes. He ran back and forth with me wildly following. Soon, Laddie slowed his pace and I realized I had no idea where we were, so I said to Laddie, "Let's go home." He understood my request, turning around, directing me back home, feeling disheartened, empty and in shock as the reality of Gideon's demise set in.

My other cat Sophie, Gideon's companion, howled that night, like the true Siamese that she is. I never heard those sounds from her before, and haven't since.

As days and weeks passed, I continued to hear the call of the coyotes on a daily basis, often many times in one day. But when I heard gunshots coming from the nearby woods, to my utter amazement, I feared that someone was shooting the coyotes. I didn't want this! It would have been in vain, the death of Gideon! His life was sustenance for these animals, and I didn't want the animals who were nurtured by my cat killed. My cat was now a part of those coyotes. My cat was now a coyote.

It was serendipitous then, when I discovered a book I had been reading last year, but didn't finish, titled "The Seat of the Soul" by Gary Zukav.

Picking up the worn and creased paperback, the page marker fell out and I saw that it was a scrap of paper I used to scratch out possible names for our new cat. There in large letters was the chosen name, Gideon, the angel.

But what was particularly remarkable about this bookmark was that it was in a page that with spooky clarity foretold the destiny of this cat. Did I read that page, before putting in the Gideon bookmarker? I can't remember and even if I did, would I have referenced it to my cat, these words that spoke of the reverence of life.

"Only when we see through eyes that lack reverence, for example, does the feeding of one animal upon another appear to be a cruel system instead of one where species learn to give to each other, where there is a natural give and take and sharing of the energies between kingdoms. This is ecology: the natural redistribution of energy between kingdoms."

As I write these words I can hear the coyotes, the varied pitches of yelps and howls, and know that Gideon's essence is among them. My cat the angel, my cat the coyote.



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