Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Perfect Cat

13 years ago, I lived in Hawaii. I had only been married for 3 years and my husband’s job had already taken me to Alaska, Las Vegas, and now Hawaii.  I had not seen my family in years and the loneliness and heartbreak from missing them was overwhelming.  Keith was working as a tour helicopter pilot on the island of Maui.  We were grateful for this job, but tours meant that he was required to work holidays.  It is one thing to miss your family during the holidays; it is entirely another thing to be all alone for the holidays.  Newly moved, no job, no friends, no family, and for the day…no husband.  It was the ache of loneliness, mixed with pain and frosted with grief. 
We were living in an apartment that did not allow pets, but I had it in my head that a cat would solve my problems.  After visiting the shelter a number of times just to "pet the kitties," I called my landlord.  She was a very sweet woman and when she heard my lonely heartbroken sobs, she caved.  She gave me permission to get a pet. 
I marched right back to the shelter and within minutes I made my selection, I just had to get my husband on board with my plan.  He finally relented and came with me to the shelter.  My cat of choice was a beautiful three year old tortoise shell colored cat that looked like a Maine Coon.  She was enormous, fluffy, and oh so lovely.  She crawled into our laps, purred, and cuddled – exactly what I had in mind. 
There was paperwork, the approval, the check, and then she was all mine.  We brought her home and within two days, we knew we did not have the same cat we had found at the shelter.  She refused to sit in our laps.  She was skittish, bordering on terrified, and hid under the bed or in the bathroom.  The only way I could get near her was to pet her in the bathroom while she was eating.  Within two days she graced us with a neat trick of urinating right in the middle of our bed.  Needless to say, we were quite disillusioned with our pet choice.  We called Keith’s mom to complain about our bad kitty.   She was very quick to point out that our “wayward wild cat” might be ill.  That had not dawned on us at all.  We took her into the vet only to find out she had a bladder infection.   The treatment plan included an overnight stay with the vet, a prescription and special food.  $150.00 later the vet handed the cat back to my husband with a smirk, “So much for free cats.” 
We loved her through her sickness and she got more comfortable in our home, but she never allowed us to hold her or cuddle her; that trick was performed in the shelter only.  Apparently Maine Coon kitties do not ever allow people to hold them.  They will, however, sit beside you all day but not ever in your lap. Never. Ever. Never, ever! 
My kitten has traveled with me from Hawaii to California and we have taken her with us everywhere we have lived.  She has helped me through so many lonely seasons and times.  She helped me get past that painful loneliness. She was not the cat I envisioned. She did not meet my needs the way I wanted her to. I had an idea in my head about what my cat should do in order for me to feel better. My ideal cat was never realized. However, my needs, in spite of her refusal to follow my program, were in fact, met.  My cat did for me exactly what I needed to be done, just not in the way I had wished and hoped for. 
Isn’t that just the way life works sometimes?  I look to God to fix our current situation and I have an idea and a plan in my head.  My plans have not come to fruition, but my needs are being met nevertheless.  I am looking forward to the day when I can look back on this time in my life and see how fully I have been cared for.  In my mind, I know it is happening even though the eyes of my heart do not always see it right now.   I look to the example of my cat and realize that what I want might not be what I need.  God knew what I needed to soothe the lonely pain I was feeling and He knows what I need right here and right now. 
Living Comopletely Undone ~ Catherine

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