When Matt moved in a few months ago he brought in tow three animals. His giant black Great Dane, Titan; his black and white tuxedo kitty, Milk Face; and his eight year old gray cat with Bipolar Disorder name Tex. The first month was a huge adjustment period, not just for the animals but for the humans. My daughter was in heaven with all these additions. Tex on the other hand was not a happy camper. She was vicious. I couldn’t even look at her without feeling the venom in her eyes. I am ashamed to say that I began to loathe this animal for a few reasons but mainly because I could not get her to like me. But, here are a few things I’ve learned from this cat and the remarkable transformation in a household:
1. We eventually comply and conform to our surroundings. Seeing as I was not going to be moving, Tex has found a way to get through to me. As I write this, the little squirmy animal sits on my lap. She purrs at me every time I stop petting her. Mind you, I was deathly afraid of touching her because she would bite and scratch me before I could remove my hands. We are creatures of habit. Tex has decided to give me a chance. She has seen that being mean hasn’t worked to her favor (and vice versa). I just ignored her while giving the other animals unconditional love, including my cat, Mystic. Eventually the surroundings became familiar and Tex made peace with my presence.
2. Winter is not a time to play Mean Bitch. Who wants to go through this cold without cuddles and warmth? Let’s get serious here. I hate winter. I hate the bundling up and extra clothing. I hate the dampness of my house but these furry friends know how to get me in a good mood. Matt arrived with extra baggage. I knew this and expected a period of transition. I also never thought that Tex and I would be friends. These gray clammy days call for staying indoors. My sinuses and allergies have had to adjust to the climate and the animals. With each sneeze I’ve had to come to terms that this is my life now. Loving this man means winter, spring, summer and fall. It isn’t a good time for me to be a predatory female. Tex and I had to put down our indifference and play nice.
3. Anything and everyone deserves one on one. Even as I am multi-tasking right now, petting and typing I am listening to joy echoing from my lap. Tex is confirming to me that love has no boundaries. She was never a lover of anyone other than Matt. I knew this from the beginning. But, what I am learning is that with tenacity and allowance there is a mutual respect. The whole time I disliked her, she could feel my emotions by hissing at me when I passed by at times. It has taken her months to come out from hiding. The moment I let the resentment disappear Tex showed me that love is invincible. Good vibrations and happy thoughts equal a serene home.
4. You can’t judge a cat by its facial expressions. Tex has this look of utter shock all the time. I have described it as a woman with too much Botox. She always looks surprised or frightened or plain judgmental. Her giant green eyes look at everything with such spooked dismay. I am a stubborn woman but this cat has proven stubbornness is a trait closer to persistence and tenacity. I like the way she performs with caution. I watch her move around the house, carefully exploring and testing boundaries.
5. It isn’t easy being gray. Life isn’t black and white…there are some gray areas in there as well. I say this in the most loving way. This weather and season bring out a sadness and grayness in me. As I watch this cat I realize it is all a matter of perspective. She’s had to adjust to a smaller space and not be able to sleep with Matt. I have intruded in her life and she is that guest that will never leave. I can see the gray area now. Being the one with the nice furniture, the rugs, and the lovely fragrant spaces I am now teaching these little creatures to co-exist with me. It is taking the concept of “moving beyond the gray areas” to a whole new level of discipline. It is still a work in progress. These gray areas are mostly in me at this point. They are being animals. I was used to my indoor-outdoor cat that knows her place here. These days we are all learning to go with the flow. Relationships do not discriminate between people, places and animals.
I never imagined I would be able to befriend this feline. I am in awe that she climbs on my lap and meows as if wanting my undivided attention. How did it happen? I don’t know. I see so much of me in her behavior minus the unfriendliness with others. She just wants one on one time. And, if that’s all I get from this baby then who am I not to provide? You just never know who can teach you some invaluable lessons along the way. Empathy wins over apathy every time. There is nothing heavier than compassion and Tex is showing me how to have it.