Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leonard Cohen Chants a Cat Back to Health

One of the funniest parts of the recent excellent biography:

      Dixon was actually phoning Leonard about a cat. Her roommate had gone back to Texas, leaving her with Hank, a long-haired cat of indeterminate ago, which was now very sick. The vets could not figure out what was wrong with it. The enema and IV fluids they had given him on the previous two visits had not helped. Hank had crawled under the Murphy bed in her small apartment. Dixon thought the cat was dying. The next morning she went to take him back to the vet, but her car was gone; it had been stolen. She says, “I pleaded with Leonard, “Can’t you please just come and look at him? I don’t know what to do.’”
    Leonard drove over and Dixon pulled the cat out from under the bed. “He looked horrible, he was covered with all this medicine he had spit up and he hadn’t groomed in days. But right away Leonard said, ‘Oh, I don’t think this is a dying animal.’ He said, ‘I’m going to chant to him.” I though, ‘Oh my God, Leonard is such a freak,’ but he was, ‘No, really, it vibrates all the internal organs, it’s a really good thing.’ I was desperate so I said, ‘Okay, fine, you do whatever you want to do.’ So he put Hank on the bed.
    “There was a chair at the end of the bed, right up against the bed, and Leonard sat and leaned over, put his mouth right up against Hank’s forehead, and he just chanted like they chant at the monastery, ‘Ooooooooooooooooom,’ very, very, deeply, way lower than he sings, like a rumble. He did that for ten minutes—and he’s allergic to cats so his nose was running and his eyes were running and he was getting stuffed up, but he just kept doing it. And Hank just sat there, didn’t try to get away or scratch him or anything. Then finally Leonard stopped and said, ‘That’s it, darling, that’ll fix him up,’ with total confidence.” He gave her $1,000, insisting that she use it to get another car, and left. Hank slunk back under the bed. “But in the middle of the night I heard him get up and wander into the kitchen and I heard a lot of strangled sounds coming from the cat box. The next thing I heard in the morning was Hank crunching away on his food. I couldn’t believe he was eating, he hadn’t eaten in days. Then I looked at the cat box, expecting to see something really horrible, but the weird thing was there wasn’t anything—the miracle of the cat box. And the cat was fine. Apart from the odd hairball he was never sick again.”
From Sylvie Simmons, I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen (2012), pp372-373.

1 comment:

DrHGuy said...

For the slightly longer, earlier version of this story, including photos of Leonard Cohen re-enacting the event, see Leonard Cohen, The Cat Whisperer. (Originally posted Jan 9, 2010)