Looking at what scares you

This is a post about a cat. A senior cat.

Once upon a time, there was a cat who lived a quiet and shy life. A very happy life, nonetheless, but with lots of quiet and lots of opportunity for shyness. She was a senior cat, probably about fourteen or so. She had watched her family grow and change, said goodbyes…not easy for animals, either, as you might know. Mostly, when things were new or strange, she hid.

So this little grey cat suddenly found in her life another human to go along with the one she already had, and a dog…which she had never experienced. She never did want to experience one, either, which she made abundantly clear by disappearing behind furniture all day every day. And what’s more, this little grey cat had to move. That meant a long car ride and a new house AND the new human AND the dog were now in residence also.

Oh, the overwhelming upset of it all. I mean, really. You’ve reached a certain age and a certain stage and you like things the way you like them and then you don’t get a vote. Change happens and you sit behind the chair and dwell on how it’s just awful.

The new human and the new dog really liked cats. And they couldn’t stand the thought of a little grey cat spending all her time hiding when there were so many better things to do. There was a mission, human and canine planned and carried out, to woo the affections of the little grey cat and to make her realize that she really, really needed another human and a dog (of all things!) in her life. There were long sessions of reading aloud in the room where the little grey cat was hiding, so she could get used to the human’s voice and used to the gentle presence of a friendly dog. There were even longer sessions of Reiki for the little grey cat. Eventually, one especially wonderful day, the little grey cat became very, very bold and crept slowly out from behind the chair and actually looked (!!!) at the dog. And from then on, progress was slow but steady. The little grey cat started living what seemed like her normal life.

One day the dog was acting strange and the humans were acting strange and suddenly everything changed again. The humans left with the dog and came back…alone. There was a sadness about the house. The little grey cat would not admit this to anyone, but she missed that dog. And she knew the humans, particularly the female human, missed him also. She decided to do something about that. She began to follow the female human around. She helped with yoga. She looked for lap space, even if there were other things taking up that space. She began to sleep on the bed. That all felt pretty good, and that good feeling suddenly made room for more good feelings.

The little grey cat began to play again. In the morning, the female human would walk sleepily into the kitchen to find the coffee and on the way would encounter various toys from the basket that had previously been untouched. Little bears and mice and fish appeared around the house. The little grey cat grew bolder at night and when she felt that perhaps a bit of cat loving was needed she marched up to the female human’s pillow and patted her face. Me, me, me! Purr. The noise of a cat racing through the house, freezing and jumping and dashing off in another direction, became common. One day the female human had just stretched the freshly washed sheets over the mattress when she was distracted by something and turned away. Hearing a noise, she turned back and discovered the little grey cat on the bed, bouncing and cavorting.

A shy, senior cat became vocal. Now she seeks opportunities for attention, including sitting on the female human’s lap when any Facetime or Skype session with the grandchildren is going on. Too shy to pursue contact in person with the little people…for now…she is always there peeking at them through the computer. And purring.

So this is the story about a little grey cat and how her life completely changed. It was upsetting at first. Change can be like that. But somehow that space behind the chair is rarely occupied now. She’s too busy purring and playing and loving. The little grey senior citizen cat has renewed her inner kitten. Her fear response to change…completely natural…grew into something wonderful. All because she crept out and looked at what scared her.

Fear thrives on finding a good hiding spot. But life beyond the chair is beautiful and filled with more possibilities than we can even imagine. The little grey cat did not go from her hiding spot to bouncing on the bed in one day. She started with just one step.

This is a post about a cat. A shy cat who found enough courage to step out and away from her fear. This could be a post about a human. This could be a post about you.


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