Lessons I Learned When I Brought Home A Cat
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Lessons I Learned When I Brought Home A Cat

How a stray cat reminded me how special pets are.

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Lessons I Learned When I  Brought Home A Cat
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I was leaving a gathering at a church one night and there was a beautiful orange and white cat in the parking lot. He was running right towards people, rubbing on their legs and begging to be petted. It was busy in the parking lot so I decided to hang back and keep the cat near me so it wouldn't get hit by a car. I tried to walk to my car and he followed me. Another car drove by so I scooped him up and put him in my car until the other cars left.

He sat on my dash above my steering wheel purring. I sat there and thought about my options. It was getting dark. There were houses around but it was getting dark and I decided that knocking on strangers doors at night by myself wasn't a great idea. The next thing I know I'm driving home with the cat. He get a little upset in the car so I wrapped him in my sweatshirt, put him in my lap and sang to him the whole way home. He fell asleep.

So I did not have a plan. I walked into the house and said to my husband and daughter "Ummm, I may have brought home a cat." My husband looked at me like I was crazy and my sixteen year old daughter told me this was the best night of her life. I did not want my twins who were upstairs to see or hear the cat because they had been recently put down for bed and I knew they would never sleep. So I took the cat out to the garage and got it some water and a blanket.

My sixteen year old came out to play with him and started crying when he kept loving on her and purring. When she was little we had a bunch of cats and dogs. After being sick for a while, I went to the doctor and found out that among many other things, I was allergic to cats. I had three at the time. They slept in my bed. Needless to say, over time we cleared our home of cats. It was never a possibility that we would have a cat after I married my husband because he was allergic too. So never did she think I would bring one home.

Now if you know me at all, you know that I am an animal lover and general rescuer. I cannot let a stray wander, I will stop and grab it and call the number on its collar. I will scoop up injured mice, robins, etc. I spent two hours about a month ago trying to catch a bird who was scared by fireworks and ended up confused at night in my garage. When I was a child I came home with hamsters, stray dogs and cats also. I never got to keep them long but I always felt like a stray animal was like a little gift, meant just for me. I always had this feeling like, "Oh they found me!" and they always followed me. So it had been a while since I had brought an animal home, but not anything out of character for me.

The next day I showed the cat to my twins and they were so excited. The cat immediately took to them purring and rubbing on them. I had informed all of them that the cat was not ours and that we were going to find it's owners or a new home. I had requested to join a lost pet site on Facebook and was waiting to be approved so I could post his picture. But I told them that we could love him and play with him until he had to go.

The garage situation lasted until everyone left for school and he meowed while I was making my coffee. I let him in the house and he stole my heart. We cuddled, played, learned lessons, and set up a litter box. He was a good cat. We eventually found his owner and he left our home. We had had him for four days. Here is what I learned while he was here:

1. You cannot change who you are.

I am an animal person. I love them. I want to be around them and I like to have them in my home. It can be hard and overwhelming to be a pet owner sometimes but I find that the benefits outweigh the cost. I have made a decision not to have a cat or dog at the moment because I am trying to learn self care and boundaries and I needed a break from the responsibility. We have rats but they require minimal care. Also, I'm married and I need to consider my husbands wants and needs when it comes to pets, and he is not ready.

Not having a pet right now does not diminish my love for animals or my true nature as a pet mama. The cat reminded me of my truest self-an animal lady from day one. Ask my mama-I've always been obsessed with animals.

2. Kids benefit greatly from having an animal that they love.

Every day that we had the cat, I watched my kids learn loving, tender, care for the animal. They wanted to make sure it ate, and had a cozy place to sleep, and that it played. They were learning to teach the cat boundaries like not getting on the counter or to play with a toy instead of their legs. The cat was teaching them boundaries like when to hold and cuddle it and when enough was enough. They learned to be patient until the cat decided it wanted to be near them and that a cat cannot be forced.

At different times I watched each of my children put the cat to sleep by gently petting it and acting calmly until he lay his head down. Learning that your state of being can affect another being is a big lesson. Calm produces calm, how many adults have yet to grasp that lesson. It was beautiful to watch.

3. Sometimes your decisions make others uncomfortable, they will get over it.

Many people had thoughts on my decision to bring a stray cat home. Many people had advise on how I could handle finding its owners and how long I should keep him. I also heard that I might be setting my kids up for inevitable loss and heartache. I heard that I was nuts because my husband and I both have allergies to cats. I heard rumblings about how long was that cat going to be here and on and on. I had moments of doubting my decision until I decided that A. I didn't do anything wrong, in fact I was helping an animal by providing it a safe place to stay while I looked for its owners. B. I was showing myself, my husband and my children my truest self. At the core of me is an animal lover, nurturer, and caretaker. It feels good to live your truth. C. At night when I lay my head down on my pillow, the only two people that I have to explain myself to are me and God. We were both good.

4. Animals are present, accepting, and so willing to love.

I forgot how much joy an animal can bring into a home. Like I said, we have rats, and we love them, but they do not roam free in our home. We decide when to interact with them, not the other way around. The cat running free in the house would decide he wanted to snuggle up with you, pick you and shower you with love. I think that my children and I got so much joy out of being chosen by the cat to be followed or laid next to or invited to play. It is a special feeling to be chosen by an animal. The cat was not depressed because he was not in his normal home, he just accepted our home and our love and lived fully present here for four days, seamlessly fitting into our life. What a lesson on the freedom of being fully present.

We were contacted by the owner and we tearfully let the cat go home where he belonged. There have been mentions of the kitty now and then and an occasional request to get a dog or cat. Maybe we will. Maybe we won't but I don't regret my decision to bring kitty home at all. Lessons were learned. Joy was experienced. Love was shared. Reality was accepted. Isn't that all life really is?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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