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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Misconception of Felines in our Country Created Cruelty to Cats

LifestyleMisconception of Felines in our Country Created Cruelty to Cats

The most widespread misconception about cats in our country is that they are a conduit of the supernatural and can bring bad omens.

Contrary to popular belief, cats have long been regarded in Hinduism as the embodiment of grace, mystique, and spiritual connection. Cats are regarded as representations of independence, adaptability, and resilience, which impels people to embrace these qualities in their quest for spiritual enlightenment. The felines are one of the most
popular creatures carved on the ancient temple walls where they can be seen accompanying deities, exhibiting their relationship to the divine and their role in the cosmic harmony of nature.

Goddess Shashthi, also known as Shashti or Chhathi, who is a beloved goddess associated with fertility, childbirth, and the well-being of children, has a cat as her vahana (vehicle) and companion. The goddess’s nurturing and benevolent traits are symbolised by the cat, who looks
out for children’s wellbeing and protects them from harm.

Cats are also connected with Durga, the celestial personification of strength, ferocity, and
protection. As an expression of Durga’s fierce and nurturing qualities, cats are depicted alongside her in religious artwork and sculptures. This powerful imagery captures both the aspects of the feline’s element- her gentleness as well as her unbridled power and strength.

Another fascinating symbolism in Hindu tradition is that of the cat and the moon. The cat’s nocturnal nature and affinity are likened to that of the moon, exemplifying its emblematic ties to mysticism and the unseen realm. The cat signifies the search for inner wisdom and the investigation of the subconscious mind with its capacity to maneuver through darkness and hidden truths.

However, there exists a glaring paradox as street cats often experience maltreatment, neglect, and abuse in India. The discrepancy between cats’ significance in a country deeply rooted in Hinduism and the unfortunate reality of their suffering is tragic, to say the least. The lack of knowledge and awareness regarding animal care is a big contributor to the mistreatment of stray cats.

Many people do not understand how important it is to treat animals with kindness and responsibility, which contributes to a culture of neglect and apathy. Stray cats are frequently subjected to brutality, such as physical abuse, poisoning, and neglect. Individuals with malice may cause harm to cats out of rage, irritation, or a lack of empathy, perpetuating a cycle of violence and misery. Inadequate resources and limited governmental support add to the already fragile ecosystem resulting in increased adversity.

So for a nation that takes great pride in its religious tradition, can we remain hypocritical to the very basic tenets of its faith? Not quite so. By disregarding the genuine spirit of our traditions, we risk reducing ourselves to sanctimoniousness, a perilous pitfall of tokenism.
We must work to create a society that supports the ideals of compassion and respect for all living beings, including cats, rather than labeling them as menace or subjecting them to unfounded superstitions. Only then we can foster a deeper understanding of our spiritual path and partake in a more profound and inclusive experience for all.

The author, Manu Singh, is an environmentalist and a social justice and peace activist.

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