Sunday, November 1, 2015

And this Little Kitty Came Home to Stay and What I learned from Her

In early October I was outside completing garden tasks before Fall left us and Winter began. It was a lovely sunny day, as I spied a beautiful Calico cat marching up our neighbor's driveway. She did not have a collar on.

We get a few neighborhood cats passing through our yard, I often call out to them, they stop look at me and then continue on their journey. But this kitty ran right up to me, meowed, allowed me to pet her then pick her up.

I haven't been owned by a cat since I was a kid. I admit I'm a little intimidated by them-will they scratch? Will they hiss and bite and are they carrying some disease? I feel differently about dogs and happily know the names of several in our neighborhood. We have a wonderful, rescued Malti-Poo, so I've been wanting another companion dog for THIS companion dog. But husband said it wasn't in the budget yet. He's right.


Still this kitty's proven to be very bright, she slept in a basket I provided, and came at meal time by jumping on our tall recycle container to peer in our dining room window. It was pitiful. She never did her business in our yard, but quietly visited our neighbors yards to relieve herself. My husband thought that hilarious. But when the first temp dipped low, we brought her in.

I pressed to find her owner, canvassing the neighborhood with flyers, showing pics of her on my iPhone during our daily dog walk and I posted on social media and Craigslist. A very kind vet assistant I met on Facebook offered to find a home for her and furthered sharing a "Found" poster she made of kitty online.

I felt conflicted about kitty, I really wanted a second dog, feeding time is hard to orchestrate between a cat and dog, they eat each others' food, she occasionally hisses at him, he's a wee jealous of her;  and I feared if we took her in, my dreams of adopting another companion dog would never happen. But then I'd secretly think of names for her, "Poppy" because it looked like someone sprinkled poppy seeds on her nose; and "Poor Pitiful Pearl" because it was sad a cat this neat was abandoned. Obviously, we have a tradition of naming our pets with a "P" name.

I approached a few people about adopting. One interested and lovely person visited our house, liked kitty and requested I hold her for a week as she was going on vacation. But the adoption process turned into a negotiation despite the fact kitty was free and spayed-(checked by vet for chip-no chip but was spayed) This was my fault, as being a 'people pleaser', I have a history of agreeing to someone else's terms when my terms are enough and fair. This happens when caught off-guard and I"m caught off-guard because it didn't occur to me someone wouldn't be okay with a fair offer. I offered to pay half for any tests kitty would need at the first balk when asked if kitty was tested for this and that, when I should've stood firm. My husband and I took kitty in for a checkup, he tested her weeping eye, checked her teeth for approximate age and health and finally declared her fine.  But unfortunately, our seasoned vet's opinion didn't meet with approval by the potential adopter who suggested more tests.

So kitty came to represent something profound to me, the reminder to continue to keep my boundaries intact and if I cling too much to a future "gotta have" I may not see the glorious present in front of me. To know that my offer is enough,  I don't have to offer more, she is enough, we don't have to jump through hoops to please when request is unreasonable. And kitty is not a commodity.

 I often watch re-runs of Murder She Wrote as I love the character of Jessica Fletcher. Jessica can very politely stay the course, deflect insults, and stick to her truth effortlessly with thoughtful class. In fact, my college roommate and I watch the show to take pointers and literally share email notes on this.

 So kitty, who is so very happy here, is settled in. And her name is Jessica Fletcher.