You might think with age comes experience and wisdom.. sometimes yes, sometimes no In the case of me and my cat, no. Yes, I grew up with both a dog and a cat, but we had them from the time they were babies. They knew us, they were of us. They never knew a bad day. My current cat chose me seven months ago. Poor baby was locked in a cage in a shelter, having at the age of two been turned in by a couple who ‘found’ her and kept her only for six months. How could they give her up? She is literally the cutest cat on the planet. See for yourself:
She made clear to me from our first meeting that trust was not her middle name. That she did NOT want to play with me, but yet she did NOT like the shelter, no not one bit (though everyone there was ever so nice to her). I met her, I loved her sweet face, but she wanted no part of me. Until at the end of our second visit together, when I just wasn’t sure if she would ever tolerate me, I left my hand in her cat bed and she put her paw on top of it and looked at me as if to say: please don’t leave me here. Then I knew: this is a creature that just needs someone to love her.
And so my baby came home to stay. Ahem, she would like me to tell you that she decided to come home to check out my home, but now it really belongs to her (all true). What I didn’t know was that a relationship with a pet can develop just as a relationship with a person. Trust has to be built over time, especially when one party has been hurt in the past. This is a kitty who did not like being pet and despises being picked up. I count our milestones:
– the day she came out from hiding under the bed (after a week of laying on the bed and trying to play with her via toys)
– the day she ate in front of me, rather than scurrying to the food dish when I was in another room
– the day she came and hung out in the living room
– the day she sat on the left side of the couch, looked around and said: this is where I sit:
– the day she stopped flinching when I tried to pet her (something which made my heart literally hurt and want to curse whoever was mean to her in previous days)
– the day she let me cut her nails without screaming bloody murder
– the day she rubbed against my leg when we returned home from a trip to the vet. A trip where she cried the entire way in the car and the entire way home, terrified. No, no, baby… no one will ever leave you in some strange, scary place again.
– the night she decided: I will sleep in bed with you, now.
– the night she got her moxy to demand the place she wants to sleep in the bed.
– the day she came and curled up at my feet as I was writing
I know we have a long way to go, but I now see that with love and acceptance, you can heel a creatures broken heart. Cats that act out just need love and attention to their needs. Trust me, they will respond. A lesson perhaps we should all learn (adopt your pet!), not only relating to the animals in our lives, but the people as well.