in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident
tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage,
and shall we say, love.
combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their
effect on Ugly.
with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping
hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, 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 the corner.
tail has long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he
would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby
striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders
with thick, yellowing scabs. Every time someone saw Ugly there was the
same reaction. "That's one ugly cat!"
the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him,
hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut
his paws in the door when he would not leave. Ugly always had the same
reaction. 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 their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately
begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.
day Ugly shared his love with the neighbors huskies. They did not respond
kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams,
and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying,
it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.
lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of
shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front.
As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing
and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly
I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear-
Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying was trying to suckle
my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with
his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear
the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred
cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.
moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever
seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away
from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting
in me to relieve his pain.
died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a
long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray
could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of
spirit, to love so totally and truly. 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.
been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was
time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total
to those I cared for.
people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for
me, I will always try to be "Ugly".