There is a particular tiny cat that has, every day, for the last 3 weeks, showed up at my doorstep.
She cries and begs, and attempts to sneak inside (occasionally successful), and finds all sorts of ways to wedge herself into the routine of this household. She has a name, but we’ll call her Tiny Intruder.
Currently, I’m housesitting, which also means I’ve inherited a cat and a dog that I am fond of.
This black and white patchy-patterned kitten is not part of the deal, and she seems to have been abandoned. Since this household doesn’t wish to have more pets, and I am not a cat person, I’ve limited my interactions with Tiny Intruder.
Every morning, as she attempts to dart through the front screen, I scold her, feed her, and tell her to shoo.
She mews, she eats. She never shoos.
Occasionally, I’ll scratch her head briefly while walking past her on my way out.
This is my relationship with the kitten. The insistent invasion of my peace by a species I’ve never been fond of irks me.
But today I was asked to escort Tiny Intruder to a vet, where she was spayed and vaccinated. She was returned to me hours later, a pitiful thing, barely mewing, limp and confused and small in her cat carrier.
Now fully in my care post-surgery, here she is. And oh, man. What a sorry sight. She couldn’t even hold her little head up.
I organized a soft bed in my bathroom and placed a bowl of food and water inside. The air seemed too stuffy, so I kept the door open and checked on her every 30 minutes.
I have completely 180-ed and will do anything for her while she’s recovering, I feel so bad for how she must be feeling.
Tiny Intruder is now perched on a pillow in my room. A pillow she somehow found on her own and dragged herself upon it, lethargic and loopy. Even in this drugged state, she is as persistent and demanding as ever that she be treated to a certain standard.
She seems quite confident of her rightful place as a cuddly, pampered house cat, and the pillows inside are for her perching pleasure. She’ll mew every damn day until she gets in. And now she’s here.
Have you ever experienced this? Feelings of dislike towards someone (or something) until they befell a casualty that then transformed your annoyance into genuine pity and concern?
The real question is, why didn’t I start from that point in the first place? The point of reacting to a person/animal with love and friendliness, instead of responding as if they were one-more-thing to deal with.
That is, until the “dealing with” began to require more of my time and energy in all the ways that triggered compassion and worry.
Compassion feels so much better on my shoulders than does annoyance.
But also, now that Tiny Intruder has found a bed in this home, I sit here and wonder: What am I supposed to learn from her and all of this?
Tiny Intruder is actually quite sweet. Perhaps she mews so damn loudly every morning because she realizes she’s meant for bigger things.
Maybe she knows she has a best life to live, and that outside in the Nicaraguan jungle with the other strays is not at all the life her little kitten mind dreamt of living.
What would I do in this scenario? What should we all do?
If we look around at our current situation and think, “Well. This sucks. I want so much more and I can do better.”
I bet I would mew pretty damn loudly too. I’d pursue relentlessly until I was living the life I knew I deserved.
And there, friends, is the transformation I didn’t know was happening.
Irritability with Tiny Intruder quickly morphed into compassion and affection when she underwent surgery, followed by self-reflection.
From Tiny Intruder, we can learn at least two life lessons:
1) Be kind. You’ll be a better person for it.
2) Mew loudly. You’ll eventually live the life you know you deserve.
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