It was the first day of spring. The sun was finally shining after a long spell of cold wather. And both Abraham and Teddy bear were sitting in the front hall windows of the Grey Rocks Cat Sanctuary itching to go outside.
Suddenly Teddy Bear changed his mind.
“There he is again. The neighbor’s big black dog stealing our food. I hate that dog. I just hate him.”
Skye jumped up in the window and saw the dog, too, finishing off what had been a big bowl of cat food. He shook his head and hopped down.
“He sure is stealing it, boys” he told the two young cats. “But don’t say you ‘hate’ him. First off, you don’t know him. But more importantly, maybe they don’t give him enough to eat at home. It’s the way dogs are. They see a bowl of food, they’ll eat it. But don’t say you hate them.”
Abraham was curious. “Why not, Uncle Skye?”
Skye sat down in the middle of the front hall and prepared to deliver a lecture.
“Boys, the Cat Commandments say clearly, ‘you shall not hate.’ It’s as simple as that. Cats just don’t hate. We may not like something or what somebody is doing. But we don’t’ hate. We just usually try to get away. Go somewhere else. But hate is a pretty strong word. Humans shouldn’t use it either.”
Abraham wanted to know about the Cat Commandments.
Sky scratched behind an ear. “Boys a long time ago, the story goes, God and his cat, Talulah, got to talking one day about the Ten Commandments that the humans have that were supposed to guide them as to what to do . How to live their lives. God really wasn’t happy with those commandments because the humans kept arguing about what they meant, and kept breaking them or else didn’t pay any attention to them. “Well, boys, Skye told Abe and Teddy,” Talulah, who was a pretty smart cat, thought there should be a new set of commandments in a very simple form which would apply to both humans and cats.
“Let’s call them the Cat Commandments,” she said, and God agreed. “But they should be worded to cover what the humans do as well as what cats do, and as I recall, Commandment Number 4 is ‘you shall not hate.’”
God thought this was a good idea, and together he and Talulah worked out ten things that would guide both humans and cats as to how to get along in the world.
“Every cat should know these by heart,” Skye declared. “Your mothers probably would have told you about them, but you two weren’t able to spend much time with your mothers. Anyway, here’s what they are:
I. You shall respect and obey the laws of nature.
II. You shall cherish the gift of life above all else and live life fully and joyfully.
III. You shall use wisely and with humility the unique abilities you have been given by the power that created you.
IV. You shall not hate.
V. You shall forgive, knowing that humans are only human and from time to time will make mistakes.
VI. You shall love those who deserve your love and be loyal to them always.
VII. You shall be honest in all undertakings and shall not complain about things that are insignificant.
VIII. You shall maintain an independent spirit and a spirit of freedom, but not let them interfere with the independence and freedom of others.
IX. You shall strive to live in peace with all creatures, humans included.
X. You shall accept with serenity the conclusion of life when it comes and trust in nature and in the power that created you instead of worrying about what may lie ahead.
“So don’t hate that poor old dog,” Skye concluded. Losing a little cat food is no big deal and maybe his owner will do something about it. But don’t say you ‘hate’ him.”
Abraham had a question. “But we sure don’t have to love him, do we Uncle Skye?”
“Not unless he deserves it,” Sky replied. “The commandments cover that, too. Just remember, God doesn’t want cats hating cats any more than he wants humans to hate humans. The Cat Commandments contain some good lessons for everybody.”