Six months ago, in July 2018, I was having lunch with some close friends, Jackie, Sharon and Shirley, who are all avid animal lovers. I did not have any pets at the time, and had no intention of getting any, and was not completely tuned into the conversation, but I remember becoming more attentive when I heard Sharon talking about the local cat whisperer who was such a wonderful vet. Sharon said she was going to miss having this special person caring for her animals when the family moved down to Cape Town in October.
A few weeks after this lunch, I went overseas for 2 months. During my time away, my mother expressed a desire to my sister to get a cat as a companion. My sister is a big cat lover and encouraged my mum to go for it.
Mum also told my friend Jackie, her hairdresser, that she might want to get a cat. Jackie offered to put mum in touch with some friends of hers whose cat was pregnant. The cat duly had kittens and one by one they were given away to new homes. Jackie tried to contact the owners to make an appointment for mum to go over and choose a kitten but the family did not respond to her messages. It was Christmas. It was a busy time. We let it go and thought it was not meant to be. Then, right after the holidays, in early January, Jackie showed up at the front door and said: “Get in my car quick! We are going to see the last two kittens! The family is taking them to the SPCA tomorrow because they cannot keep them all.” We did as we were told and mum chose the smaller kitty with unusual coloring – like an upside down cappuccino. Her name was Snoekie. When we got her home, we realized that she matched all the furniture, the carpets, curtains and even the floor tiles! We called her ‘Sweetie’ – short for ‘Lounge Suite.’ ‘Sweetie’ then got extended to ‘Sweetie Pie.’
We asked the owner if she could recommend a vet so that we could get the kitten spayed. The owner recommended the vet in Eastleigh and gave us the number. Then I suddenly remembered that conversation with Sharon about the Cat Whisperer. I contacted Sharon to get the details. It turned out that the vet was in Eastleigh – the very same surgery that the cat owner had recommended! The surgery had a male and a female vet. The female was called Marguerite. She was the Cat Whisperer.
Both vets were working when we arrived. Mum and I prayed that we would be next in line for Marguerite while Sweetie Pie yowled in her cage, having been totally traumatised by the journey to the vet’s. In fact, she had yowled for the first half hour in the waiting area until, Oliver, one of the staff members, had talked to her and calmed her down. Oliver was clearly so gifted with animals that I asked him if he had ever considered becoming a vet himself. He said his specialty was making friends with the animals but he did not have the gift of listening to the animal and hearing the animal tell him what was wrong medically. Ah, so that is how vets operate – or animal whisperers anyway.
Marguerite came out into the waiting area dressed in dingy grey overalls and called us in using our cat’s name, Sweetie Pie. She was a woman of about 50 who had let her short hair go grey. She wore no make up. But she was dressed very practically for any animal eventuality…. She did not seem to care what she looked like. She only cared about the animals.
As soon as Marguerite held our kitten, Sweetie Pie started to purr happily despite her recent trauma and being in the hands of a stranger in a strange place. The vet held her and stroked her and kissed her back and muttered to her in a language that mum and I barely understood although it was definitely English. Then she turned her head and listened in to the cat with her ear on the cat’s back. What did the cat need to tell her? I hardly dared speak while the vet was communing with kitty. It would have been like interrupting someone in prayer. I wanted to take a photo but I stopped myself. It would have been trespassing on that sacred space of communion.
In the process of examining our kitten, Marguerite informed us that Sweetie Pie was a boy and not a girl as we had been told by the first owner. We joked about it with the receptionist as we were leaving and the receptionist commented that so many animals came in a girls and left as boys or vice versa!
While we had been waiting to see the vet, another pet owner sitting next to my mum said that she would only ever bring her animals to this particular surgery because the place had ‘soul.’ How true. We left there uplifted and expanded in our appreciation of the divine connection between animals and humans, and feeling blessed that our new kitten had received such loving care and attention and had his sexuality confirmed into the bargain! 🙂
Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.
“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter