Warm and Cozy With My Cats
It’s a wet, rainy night but all the kitties are snug and warm inside, whether that happens to be the house or the garage. Flynn is gone, but other than not needing to do a load of laundry every day, nothing has really changed. Flynn’s sister Tiana is a bit less skittish, though a long way from accepting attention. I talk to her every day, and hold out my hand so she can sniff it and decide whether to run and hide or stay where she is. Each day, she runs away less. A far cry from their other sister, Mulan who is as spoiled a Siamese as ever walked, or perhaps I should say, pranced the earth.
Like Toby before her, she’ll often meow loudly from the other end of the house until I stop what I’m doing to see what she wants. (and yes, I have been known to yell out “what do you want, Mulan?” on more than one occasion). Once she has my attention, she milks it, flinging all 9 pounds of herself against me in her not-so-subtle way of informing me it’s time to drop whatever I’m doing and pay homage to her royal self.
Giving Myself a Day to Disconnect so I Could Reconnect
I had a lovely day at the beach on Monday, sitting in my beach chair with the crashing of waves my only music. Teenagers were playing nearby, but their antics amused me rather than annoying me if for no other reason than they might be invading my bubble of calm. I managed to complete two writing prompts from A Writer’s Book of Days with a nice, long walk in between. The weather was especially nice, and one of the local whales came by to frolic in the waves or perhaps scrape the barnacles off her belly in the shallower water.
Being at the beach left me suddenly calmer, more accepting, and less judgemental. Between the two writing prompts and an hour-long walk, I didn’t leave until 5. Rather than getting stuck in rush hour traffic, I decided to try out a restaurant a friend had recommended. Even though it’s only a few miles, I’ve gotten quite spoiled. I no longer have to make the morning commute or be in someone else’s office during certain hours. I choose which people I’m around, and rarely have to be around anyone whose energy doesn’t mesh with mine.
Working From Home Allows Me Plenty of Cat Breaks
I work or perform my daily tasks with a cat or two on the desk, getting up every so often just to walk around the bed and give everyone a little attention. (anyone who is owned by a cat or three knows their bed is the preferred napping spot those 20 out of 24 hours of the day the little furballs aren’t eating, using the sandbox, or demanding attention.
Perhaps it’s our scent lingering on the linens, or maybe it’s just a warm, soft spot to rest their weary bones. Even with a bed in my guest room, I’m still most likely to find my crew on the one in my room, which leads me to believe scent is a large part of their choice. Even Tiana, the shy former foster chooses to sleep on my bed most of the day, even when I happen to be in it!
I Failed Spectacularly as a Foster Mom
I guess I should explain why Tiana is now a former foster, whereas I’ve been calling Mulan my foster fail for a while now. What I thought was a urinary tract infection turned out to be a serious blockage, and by the time I took Flynn to the vet, it was too late to save him. It hurts in a lot of ways as I feel I failed him, but up until the last couple of weeks, I saw real promise towards being able to take him to adoptions soon. I held off as I didn’t want to take him until Tiana was ready as I felt she’d do better if she was adopted with her brother.
As that is no longer an option, I made the decision to keep her here as she’s had enough trauma in her life already. She’s used to me, or at least tolerates me. Her sister is here, and she’s grown pretty attached to the rest of my brood. In time, I know she’ll learn to trust me more and will even ask for attention now and then. I’ve proven it with the two semi-ferals I adopted for rat control.
Once Feral, Now Spoiled Rotten
Hailey and Cinders have lived in my garage with a door out to the yard for 7 years now. It took them about 2 to start getting friendly, and now, they’re downright demanding. Hailey just loves to meow loudly at my front door, especially on nights when the temperature is well below what I consider comfortable. She even follows instructions, but only when it suits her. If I tell her to go into the garage where it’s a bit warmer, I’ll often find her there by the time I go back into the house and out the garage door, waiting impatiently for the promised attention.
Then there’s Mulan who escaped shortly after she, Flynn, and Tiana came to live here. I wasn’t overly worried as she had Cinders and Hailey to look after her, places to sleep in my garage, and a cat door that leads to the back yard. I’d often see her up in the rafters, and would stop to talk to her. That is, until the weather got cold and rainy. Suddenly, she didn’t want to be outside any more, but didn’t trust me enough to just walk in when I opened the door.
We spent about a week playing cat and mouse. I’d leave the living room door open a crack so she could squeeze in if she wanted to, and often did. But I wasn’t able to lure her far enough inside to be able to get up and close the door. Until the night Munchkin squeezed out and I jumped up suddenly to retrieve my little escape artist. It was just the excuse Mulan needed to stay inside forevermore…and become the spoiled little princess she is today. So I have hope Tiana will settle in too. But like many of us, she has trust issues, and needs to work those out for herself.
Seeing the Similarities in Feline and Human Behavior
I actually learn a lot about people by watching cats. Some, like Dylan are friendly and confident. They’ve never met an unfriendly person. He knows he’s the Alpha cat, and though he chews on his brothers and sisters from time to time to reinforce his sovereignty, most of the time, he’s kind, loving and ready to give or receive some grooming or be part of a cat pile on the bed.
Others are like Tiana, shy, timid, and wary of anyone until she’s completely satisfied they mean her no harm. She follows the premise, guilty until proven innocent, and it takes a lot to convince her of anyone’s innocence.
Most are somewhere in between; selectively trusting, open and friendly in some situations, withdrawn and shy in others. With these, it’s best to be friendly but non-threatening; respect their personal space and make no sudden movements. Let them approach when they feel comfortable doing so, then make them feel welcome.
For Every Rule There’s an Exception
There are always a few contradictions too. They seem aggressive and self-contained but they’re really hiding a shy, easily damaged psyche so they go on the offensive in order to establish their boundaries from the very start. In some ways, I think that’s me, though I like to believe I’ve mellowed over the years. I’ve also learned to pay attention to my instincts when it comes to opening up to people. Most of the time, in true feline fashion, those instincts are spot on and save me a lot of trouble in the long-run.
Whatever you’re nature, I’ve learned the best thing you can do is accept it and listen to those instincts. When we fail to listen, one setback can send us back into our hermit hole where we miss out on a whole lot of life’s wonderful times because we’re too busy trying to protect ourselves from the might-have-beens.
I’ve taken that route enough times to have finally learned it makes more sense to simply listen to your gut when it tells you the person in front of you won’t be considerate with your softer side, so it’s best to limit what you share. There are plenty of others who will treat whatever you share with the gentleness they’d show a newborn kitten. Finding those people is truly worth the stumbles and setbacks it takes to learn to recognize them and allow them to find you.
Starting and Ending My Day With Gratitude
My life is so filled with blessings, it’s hard to choose which ones to share, but as always, I close with 5 gratitudes:
- I am grateful for the opportunity to love the cats who have come into my life as well as those who have left. Each comes with a lesson, and leaves with a piece of my heart.
- I am grateful for friends who trust me enough to share the most delicate parts of themselves.
- I am grateful for rainy nights in my warm, cozy house surrounded by my cats.
- I am grateful for opportunities to learn new things. It keeps my mind sharp and my body young.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, sharing, compassion, beach days, sunshine and rain, the ability to unfollow without unfriending, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.
Love and Light
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author