Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Cat Wrangling"

You've seen feral cats before. You know what it's like, you want to bring them in and care for them but they won't just walk up to you. Sometimes it's because they've been mistreated and just don't trust people. I can't say that I blame them, people can suck. 
I saw a white cat once with a gray spot just on its forehead. Beautiful cat. Even her meow sounded sweet. I wanted to take this thing home and make sure it was fed and taken care of. Basically show her that humans can be kind and loving. Rumor had it that someone had owned her once but was mean to her. 

I sat in a field for hours at a time for a week to just get her to get within ten feet of me. I was like a human Buddha statue. From that point I started bringing cans of tuna and leaving them about 6 feet away from me. For about 2 days she would get near the food but just watch me. She wouldn't eat it while I was that close but when I went back to my car she would. I was happy when she finally ate in my presence. It took another couple days to move the food within 3 feet. Slow and methodically I had to earn her trust. 

I'd been at this for about 3 weeks when I put the tuna on a saucer within easy reach. Every day coming to visit at about the same time. I'd learned that consistent was good. And every night I'd go home and remove ticks and treat bug bites but I was pretty proud of the progress I'd made. 
There I was with this timid feline within reach. She was tentatively eating and I could hear her purr. So I thought I'd test the waters a little. As my hand made contact she stiffened up for a second, stopped eating and turned to look at me like "easy, Trigger. I'm still not so sure about you." Then she resumed her fishy meal. I poured a little saucer of milk as a reward for her tolerance of me. 

There we were, the two of us slowly becoming friends. Every day I'd drive out to this field at 6 in the evening. It got to where Ghost, which was my non-to-clever name for her, would come running when she heard the exhaust on my rickety old car. She would already be purring most days. For all I knew, that daily tuna treat was the highlight of her existence at the time. That's the way it continued for roughly 2 months. I'd sit down, prepare her little picnic and she would purr her approval. 
Finally, after months of dedication I'd earned enough of her trust she fell asleep in my lap. Three days straight she did this. "Aha! Success!" And I tried to pick her up. Testing the waters again. Oops. It was like trying to give a manicure to a wolverine on meth. Bad, bad idea. 
So I went home and dressed my wounds unsure if stitches may be in order. The next day I went back out and hoped I hadn't screwed up catastrophically. Fortunately, when she was busy being a slinky made of razors I hadn't yelled or anything so I guess I'd passed a minor test because she seemed forgiving. 

Slowly but surely I got her to let me pick her up. And each day I sat a little closer to the car. A little over a week later she hopped into the car to sleep in my lap. She slept there all the way home. Of course, getting her into the house resulted in more scratches and a bite. But we finally made it inside. 

Over the course of a weekend I showed her where the litter box was, she showed me where I needed to move it to and we sealed our friendship with several cans of tuna which gradually became Friskies in a can. Fortunately, she liked that too. 

It took a total of 7 months before I could put a collar on her. It was a cute little pink one with sparkly stuff and I think she liked it. Eventually. At first you'd have thought I'd put a noose on her. She bucked like she was in a little cat rodeo. 
Sometimes I'd wake up with her laying on my chest and I knew I'd finally shown her that people ARE capable of love and compassion. Then, periodically, she would shit on the sofa just to show me that she would never be completely tamed. I hated the mess but I loved her regardless. 

I had that cat for 8 years until she died of old age. I could never take her to the vet for checkups because trying to get her in a cat carrier was like trying to wrestle a giant squid with scalpels for tentacles. However, I could leave the door wide open and she never left. She trusted me to take care of her because I'd proven myself. 

Here's the thing. I've said before that cats are obviously reincarnated women. I still say this must be true. I also say that sometimes you have to have the same patience. I understand that all women are different. Just like all people, some trusted and had that trust abused. Or they've been treated in ways they shouldn't have. As a result they don't trust as easily as before. One has to earn their trust and be worthy of it. 
I sometimes get frustrated but that frustration is with the people that have wronged them. Or with myself for "testing the waters" too soon and risking getting the claws or making her feel the need to withdraw. 
I felt that same frustration with the people that had made Ghost so untrusting. 

Guys, this woman is someone's daughter. She's given you her trust and her heart. When you mistreat that or take advantage you're breaking something vital in a person. How would you feel if someone were to do to your kids what you've done to this person? 
This same thing goes for both genders. You may find a true, beautiful gem but give up because it's "too much work" or walk away when the going gets tough. If you want her to earn your trust you've gotta earn hers. And when you get there, remember that she trusts you for a reason. 

You can't just win over the feral cat then take it home and abuse it. You've gotta show every day that trusting and loving you was the right decision. Too often I've seen people get into relationships then cheat. Or simply walk away when things get tough. 
If everyone respected their partners and relationships there'd be less divorce. It's a simple formula: treat one another with the love and respect you want to be treated with. Communicate. If you're unhappy then tell your partner why you're unhappy. Don't just go out and look for that "better deal". Don't lie. And part of communication is listening. Talking TO one another, not AT one another. 

If you're having a conversation with someone you wouldn't have in front of your significant other, it's a safe bet you wouldn't want them doing the same thing. If you're having to erase messages for fear your partner will see them, you're not far removed from cheating. She trusts you, man, if you don't realize how precious THAT commodity is you probably shouldn't be in a relationship. 

Value what you have, people. Look at your actions from your partner's perspective. Be good, do good and good will be returned to you. Namaste and shit. 

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