When I adopted my cat from a crazy cat lady she made me sign a document where I agreed to never let Coco out of the house. She tried to scare me into believing this was the right thing. I signed because I wanted this cat. I kept her inside for a few months, but when I was in Uganda last summer, the house sitter thought Coco wanted to go outside, and she did os out she went. That’s when she became an indoor outdoor cat. When we moved away from Katy I hoped that meant the contract with the crazy cat lady was void.
As I watch Coco stalk squirrels, climb trees, hide out in the ornamental grass, and slink off into the woods I know for sure keeping her inside would be a cruelty to this animal. She needs her independence and her freedom. She chooses to return to me, and when it’s time for bed, no matter what her adventures were for the day, she hops up onto our bed and settles in at my ankles.
Other neighborhood cats haven’t been kind in welcoming her, or even allowing her the right to her own territory. My unfriendly neighbor has a cat that comes to pee on my very good patio furniture to let Coco know it’s not her territory. I secretly hope Coco gives that cat a good bite. I do hear the awful sounds of a cat squabble occasionally and I cheer for Coco. Craig runs out and hollers til they quit.
Occasionally, like yesterday morning, I get special gifts from Coco. Actually I think they are for me, but Coco really loves Craig the most, so the little “sleeping” blue bird at our back door was for the former cat hater now converted Coco lover. Coco stayed by the door all day, meowing to let me know she had given me a gift. I praised her and stroked her so she would know she was a very good cat.
She thinks we are stupid humans who cannot hunt for our own food, so she was helping us out, showing us how it is to be done. Do I want a dead bird at my door? No. Especially not the sweet blue birds. I rather she kill mice for sure and leave their carcass in the woods. But I accept the way she shows me her love. I celebrate that she’s a cat and we’ve allowed her the freedom to be one. And what is more interesting than seeing the intricate details of how God created the wild nature in domestic animals?
Watching her is captivating. Observing her helps me become a better observer of my five children, a better parent. Rather than boss them, push them, and mold them into my idea of who they should be, isn’t it better to occasionally step back, quietly observe, and seek the wild nature that God created in the domestic person? Won’t it be easier that way for me to recognize their “gifts”? I might not always like their gifts, but they are looking to me to praise them for who they are, how they were uniquely created and what they have to offer.
Wouldn’t it be horrible if I scolded Coco for hunting, and told her to go be a dog? Would she seek my warm bed and press against my ankles at night? I don’t think so. I draw her into me without words by letting her know I understand her. We can do the same thing for our children. They aren’t all supposed to be professional athletes, principal dancers, film stars, presidents,valedictorians, CEOs, surgeons or entrepreneurs. Isn’t who they are and how they are uniquely created just right? I think so.