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When a person dies, family members from different parts of the world have different ways to deal with the persons death and to ensure his or her spirit is resting. In Malaysia, it was not the family of the late Ismail Mat but a stray cat that exhibited rather unusual behavior. The white cat sat on his grave and refused to move.
Ismail Mat was a cat lover, so on the morning of his burial when a cat was seen wandering around his grave over his buried body, his family was pleasantly surprised that his love for cats followed him to his death. After funeral proceedings had concluded the family was ready to leave the graveyard, but the white cat was not.
There were plants placed on the side of the grave so the cat decided to play right in the middle of it on the soil over the the buried body. This carried on for a while and while the family had initially found it pleasantly surprising that the cat came, they wanted to go home so it started becoming a nuisance.
Soffuan, the grandson of the late Ismail Mat constantly uses social media and so in this moment recorded a video of the whole ordeal and shared it on Facebook. While he may have thought only his friends will see it this bizarre story he was sharing, it was actually a public post which ended up going viral.
The video is a minute-long recording which shows the cat lying down on the grave and two attempts by two women who wanted to remove the cat from the grave before they all left as a family. The cat begins by inspecting the grave and then after being settled for a while one woman decided to pull it away holding its legs.
They realized then that the cat was not a pet but actually a stray that lives around the mosque in town. The cat clawed the soil and held on to dear life during the first attempt to remove it. In the second attempt by another woman the cat made itself limp and refused to be dragged away.
The cat wanted to stay on the grave and so Ismail Mat’s family could not go home because they have to ensure the spirit of a buried loved one is resting well without any disturbance when they leave the graveyard. Eventually the family decided to leave and the cat went back to the grave. What explains such behavior from a cat?
Anita Kelsey, who is a cat specialist, called the cats behavior on the day of the burial of Ismail rather unusual. She said that it is mostly dogs who are seen to mourn the death of their owner. What is more unusual then is how this cat could have been mourning the death of Ismail, a total stranger.
The story went viral on Facebook with 7 million views in 24 hours and just two months later the views had gone up to 10 million, the video also had 15 000 shares. Different people had different reasons for why the cat wanted to lie on the grave after Ismail’s burial. Some people were meaningful in their explanations while others wrote it off as just another normal incident.
People meaningful in their explanations said that the cat may have had a connection to the man and was mourning his death. This may have been over-reaching since the cat and the man were strangers to each other but it is an explanation nonetheless. Other explanations were even more deeper than this one …
A deeper explanation came from Kate Seagull who wrote, “Spirit. Cat. Leave it alone. It has its reasons and purposes. White cats have a history since the beginning of time to have special powers. Humans do not have. There is a reason white cat wants to stay. Please Don’t interrupt”. There were some heartfelt explanations, but some people were just not having it…
One person wrote, “simple explanation. Cat thinks he owns the graveyard and is looking for a nice place to sh** when he sees newly dug earth. It isn’t rocket science”. While there were others who believed that the cat clawing the ground was it trying to bring Ismail back up, others interpreted it as the cat finding a new litter box.
The video had 41 000 reactions on Facebook which were either the ‘Like’ or the ‘Sad’ icon. It is more popular these days for these reactions to be used on social media than outright rants because they capture people’s immediate reactions. Some people, however, expressed their anger very clearly with words …
One woman wrote, “why did that woman drag the cat by its leg? She had no need to drag it, it was only laying down doing no harm”. People who are passionate about animal rights usually do not take too kindly when it seems a situation is allowing an animal to be hurt.
Whether you draw meaning from this unusual event or interpret it as just another normal cat going about its normal day, one thing we can rest assured with is that the cat lover Ismail Mat had no problem with the white cat spending the day of his burial with him.