Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Losing a dog; losing a cat

A friend told me the story of how her niece quite recently got back her missing dog after several months. One day, her niece's dog was gone from their home in a village. Days and weeks went by, and the dog couldn't be found. Soon after, the niece had to transfer residence to another village. One day, the niece's former neighbor was walking near a small pile of garbage in the old village. The neighbor saw a hungry-looking and dirty dog going through the dump. Despite its pitiful appearance, the dog looked familiar to the neighbor, who promptly called out the name of the niece's missing dog. Upon hearing its name, the dog quickly turned its head and looked to the person. The niece and her dog were reunited.

Now, here's the story of my missing cat. Every November, I can't help
but remember Panching's disappearance because he got lost on November 23, 1997. It was the day after a priest blessed our home to which my family and I transferred a week before. Despite our house being with a screened door and windows, we couldn't fathom how he could have ever gone out without our noticing it. And he rarely left the house that week that we moved in. He was an ordinary-looking brown cat, and he was about three years old when I lost him. I got him from the local SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), while still a teeny weeny kitten (neutered, by the way, by the SPCA when I got him, as it was their regulation for adopted cats). I'd keep him in a small cage overnight near my bed in his growing-up years for fear that our poodles will eat him up during the night, ha! ha! I'd patiently give him milk through a medicine dropper, until he could learn to eat. He was good cat, very obedient and smart. He'd sleep where he was told and motioned to sleep (he slept a lot to the point that you'd mistake him as a figurine on top of the piano or the ref). He'd shake hands if asked to. He was a good mouse-catcher. Later, he was already good friends with our poodles, and, sometimes, would sleep in the same bed with them. But he was also a brave cat. Like one morning, we woke to the sound of fighting cats in our living room, with matching falling objects. Panching was fighting it off with an intruder cat. I instinctively grabbed him to protect him from the bigger, more ferocious cat. But he instinctively turned his fangs to me, too, giving me a big bite on my left leg. Well, I don't know whatever happened to him after he got lost. Some friends told me that perhaps he returned to our old house, which was several miles away in another city. They said that cats and dogs have a good sense of direction and will often find their way back home when lost, especially if they are familiar already with where their homes are. But a check at our old home yielded no Panching. My sister's explanation is that after the priest blessed our renovated home (the priest also fondly petted Panching when he saw the cat sleeping on top of the piano), perhaps the bad spirits, if any, in our home were absorbed by the cat, and he was just zapped out of existence. Here's a picture of Panching, fondly remembered, in one of his sleeping poses. Shy, no?!

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