Ugly, the tomcat

I have often believed we can learn lessons from animals. The story I want to pass on to you is just an example of what we can learn.  For many months now, I’ve been debating telling it, but it keeps popping up in my mind as something, you, my readers, as well as myself can appreciate.  It is a sad story about a cat; I know some people don’t like cats, but if you will look beyond that, the message is quite clear…………

Everyone in the apartment complex knew who “Ugly” was.  Ugly was the resident tomcat.  Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and for lack of a better term, love.  The combination of these things together with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly.  To begin with, he had only one eye and where the other one should have been, there was a hole.  He was also missing an ear on the same side and his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning a corner.

Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby, striped type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, and even his shoulders.  Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction –  “That’s one ugly cat!”

All the children were warned not to touch him.  The adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down and squirted him when he tried to come in their home, shut his paws in the door when he wouldn’t leave.  If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit.  If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness.

Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for love.  If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, or whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor’s dogs.  They didn’t respond kindly and he was badly mauled.  A young woman tried to rush to his aid, but by the time she got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly’s sad life was almost at an end.  As she picked him up and started home, she could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling.  It must be hurting him terribly, she thought.

Then she felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on her ear.  Ugly, in so much pain, suffering, and obviously dying, was trying to suckle her ear.  She pulled him closer to her, and he bumped the palm of her hand with his head.  Then he turned his one golden eye towards her and she could hear the distinct sound of purring.  Even in the greatest pain, that ugly cat was asking only for a little affection, and perhaps some compassion.  At that moment she decided Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature she had ever seen.  Never once did he try to bite or scratch her, nor did he struggle and try to get away.  Ugly just looked up at her completely trusting in her to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in her arms before she could get him to her apartment, but she sat and held him for a long time afterwards, wondering about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter her opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love totally and truly.

Later she went on to say, “Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials, ever could, and for that I will always be thankful.  He was scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to learn to love totally and deeply; to give my total for those I cared for.”

I have known people who strive for riches, power, beauty, and other selfish things.  But few take the time to look beneath the surface of the people around them.

Many of us fail to see our own internal scars and so we seek status, wealth, or other worldly desires.  So on we go, ignoring the qualities that could make us far richer.

Ugly showed the true meaning of being able to “forgive and forget.”  It’s too bad we all can’t be like Ugly, the tomcat.

Sincerely, Scotty