I remember with nostalgia the beautiful cats that abounded, more than half a century ago, in the streets and houses of the good city of Lyon where I was born, and where I grew up.
Rare were the shops where one didn’t see one of these felines sitting at the door, or comfortably stretched out on the counter, or rolled up in a ball in its basket, somewhere in a corner, well-fed, loved, trusting, ready to be caressed by the child that I was. There was rarely a family without one, unless there was a dog in its place, also loved, pampered, happy (usually). Most city dwellers didn’t have holidays then, certainly not paid holidays. And the few who did, perhaps didn’t feel obliged to spend them away from home. Or, if they had to go away, at least one member of the family stayed behind to look after the animals or a neighbour who didn’t leave town, or a complaisant caretaker took care of it.
My parents had a cat since before I was born. And as far back as I can remember, I can see myself running my hand with delight through the warm, purring, silky fur, while a beautiful velvet head rubbed against me, and two half-closed amber eyes looked at me with total abandon.
Today, in the same city and so many others, rarer and rarer are the children who grow up in the daily company of beloved pets, dogs or cats. The question arises: ‘What should we do with them when we go on the necessary holidays? And what would be done with them if we had to move to a new building and weren’t allowed to have pets in the new flat?
It is no longer conceivable to spend a whole life in the same house, without annual holidays, without travel, without changes. One prefers to do without familiar animals rather than car trips. Few people give up all travel for the sake of the animals they have taken under their protection (I know a few who did, however) in case they cannot take them with them and cannot find anyone they can rely on to look after them.
On the other hand, at the time of the annual rush of holidaymakers out of the cities, one meets in the streets, along the roads, and even in the woods, sometimes tied to the trunks of trees, and thus destined to die slowly of thirst and hunger, abandoned animals. (A few years ago, several thousand dogs were discovered abandoned in this way in the forest of Fontainebleau.) They, in their innocence, had trusted men and given them unconditional love. And these same men had, for a time, seemed to love whom they had fed and pampered, and whom they finally kicked out of their carriage, to go away, with a light heart, without responsibilities, without embarrassment, to enjoy their leave; in fact, whom they had never loved.
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I would like to use this entry to reiterate my differences with Savitri regarding the animal kingdom. The best way to do it is to respond not to what Savitri just said, but to what a concerned reader told us yesterday. This was my response in that thread:
Amen, but I would put your #12 as my #1. After all, the first thing the Nazis did when they came to power was to ban cruelty to animals, right?
Regarding your #13, on this point I somewhat disagree with Savitri in that there is a serious conflict of interest between the species. Yesterday I saw a clip of some orange parakeets [only two seconds!: here] that really sublimated my soul when I saw them looking so sweet… If I had the power, I would exterminate those snakes that climb trees to hunt and swallow them.
Neither Savitri nor today’s Gaia fans (remember that old contributor of this site, Manu Rodríguez?) see this conflict of interest. They have idealised the animal kingdom just as Christians and neochristians idealise humans.
The way ‘my Kalki’, so to speak, understands exterminationism is somewhat different from Savitri’s Kalki.