Happy Caturday: feeding temple cats and watching the river.

My weekly visit to Yannawa temple to feed stray cats always brought me surprises by these cats. Now I was quite convinced that some cats actually recognised my car engine. I knew that they could recognise the kind biker’s motorbike as soon as he arrived at the temple. These cats would emerge from their hiding places in anticipation of some pieces of fried fish or chicken. That’s probably why five cats kept coming out to greet me even before I finished parking my car properly.

These cats seemed to trust me completely and would come near my legs and follow me everywhere. That gave me only a few minutes to prepare all the dishes and cat food. I tried to feed separate groups of cats so that they wouldn’t fight with cats from other corners if the temple. The trust of these cats made it possible to break up fights and made it easier when I had to give them medicine for cats flu. I was glad several cats had fully recovered from their illness.

It’s sometimes quite a challenge trying to locate cats who had been missing for over a week. I was worried that the cat would be too sick to come out of her hiding place; she wouldn’t have sufficient nourishment for getting well. Walking around the ground with cat food while calling out cats’ named. At first some engineering staff who were stationed there for the construction of the temple weren’t quite happy with me as I scolded their black dog to stay away from stray cats.

Luckily this dog was very afraid of me and could understand my words. I suspected that be did attack one cat last year; that cat disappeared for two weeks as her back leg was severely injured by the dog’s bite. She was very skinny and could hardly walk when she appeared from under a truck to have some food. I found two big holes on her swollen leg. Luckily, no bone was broken!

So, I was glad to see this cat, Samsi, sitting on safe spot in high places in the temple. But I was surprised to see her on top of the electrical junction box. She looked down on me with the message:”Oh! Food has arrived, finally. I have been waiting for two days!” She found her way down onto the roof of the nearest car. Samsi was quite used to eating on the roof of my car so that other cats and the black dog couldn’t get near her.

She’s a very nice gentle cat who always surrendered her food to approaching cat. So, I had to feed her twice, after other cats had enough food. I once thought of bringing her to the countryside but she wouldn’t survive the aggressive stray cats and dogs in the area.

The small among of donation from an old friend made it possible for me to buy cat food in bulk to get good discount. This batch could probably last three months. The cats would also get bigger portions of wet food. They were getting too smart. They knew where I hid the wet food sachets; some young kitten would get inside my bag trying to steal some. The other cat had very sharp eyes; once she saw the sachet in my hand, she would approach me with hopeful eyes for some portion. I had to give her extra wet food as she’s over fifteen years old.

This cat almost died a few times because of cat flu. She used to have a collar but it had disappeared. A delivery man told me that she used to be very fat, fluffy and lovely as a young cat; she belonged to a monk on the other side of the building block. I was sorry for her that he had been neglected in her old age.

As soon as they heard my steps, all the small kittens would be running down stairs towards me. They expected a cat food party of some sort and would be meowing around my legs. So, it’s hard to just leave them all one day. The skinny monk would be feeding these cats but he had limited resources too. It all depended on donations which he received from his acquaintances. But these cats wouldn’t be starving as there’s always leftover food from the alms rounds in the morning. Sometimes people shared their snacks with cats by the river. Luckily, there have been kind people visiting this temple.

After feeding the last batch of cats by the river, I could have quiet moment watching the sunset and river. There’s something magical around that location; the vibes seem always very calm and peaceful. I know the original temple was very old, almost three hundred years old with some old Buddha statues. This temple was under the patronage of King Rama 3 who supervised the building of the Chinese Merchants’ boat model at the temple. There has been lots of sacred prayers and chantings by very strict monks in the old days.

The old good vibes from those years still resonant in the atmosphere around the old and dilapidating temple. I was, in a way, being called to this temple as I had no interest in visiting this temple for years. The past was calling me back to the old ground where I used to work and spend several years there. It was like revisiting my old house or work place so I felt very much at home and had no fear of any authoritative staff who tried to prevent me from feeding these cats during the long lockdown. They were quite amazed by my daring stubbornness.

I just hope that I would still be able to feed these stray cats for a long time. The signs of uncertainty and sudden changes in the near future have caused lots of anxiety for me. Being somewhat psychic had made my life more complicated and exhausting at times. So, I have to remain centered, do more prayers and contemplation.

Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.

Stay strong and cheerful.

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