Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Nine Lives of a Cat Lover I Knew

He pretends he is everything he wants to be, but he is, in actuality, everything he says he despises.

I knew a guy who loved cats. Now, I love cats and dogs and animals, in general. I presently have two cats and one dog. But this guy, he especially loved cats.

Cats have always represented to me free-spirited, independent little beings. Whereas dogs, well, I have heard it said that a dog if left alone in the yard would wait, faithfully, until its owner returned home to feed it, while a cat would not wait long before leaving the yard to find food on its own. Now the latter sounds like a smarter choice . . . but maybe just an instinctual, primal one. The former sounds like a ‘not so smart’ choice . . . but maybe that choice is based on loyalty, trust and love.

I have often wondered what was meant by the saying, “a cat has nine lives.” I used to joke that one of my cats (may he rest in catnip heaven) was using his nine lives up one by one because of all the trouble he used to get himself into. I thought maybe that was what the nine lives thing was all about. But, I think I may now have the real answer to that riddle.

Two years ago, and after the second of my two cats (my previous pet generation) died, a new cat, a beautiful one year old Siamese seal point showed up meowing at my door. I began feeding it outside, on my porch, and when it kept coming back to see me and to eat I assumed it to be a stray, probably abandoned because the owner could not have a pet in his or her new place. (There are a lot of new lofts and condos that went up in my area.) So, with the urging of my children, we took the cat into the vet for a checkup and vaccines and then home with us. But all the while, I had a sneaking suspicion that ‘my’ cat was also being fed by a neighbor across the street. My kids and I would jokingly laugh that ‘our’ cat had many houses to go to for food, and he would choose whichever house offered him the better meal at the time. Well, this joke of ours may be how outdoor cats really operate . . . in other words . . . they could be leading nine lives – nine different lives simultaneously.

So, back to my story about the cat lover . . . he was also my lover. And I recently found out that he lived, does live, different lives . . . many lives . . . perhaps nine.

It’s sometime difficult, if not impossible to know if a cat on the street is a feral cat, a stray or somebody’s pet. I have collars on my cats, the safety breakaway kind, so if they get caught in something the collar opens allowing them to break free. So, many times my cats come home wearing no collar at all. It became a joke in my house so I bought them each a few collars with engraved name tags that spell out where they live and to whom they belong: me.

Some men are very similar in that way. They wear ‘break away’ wedding rings and many appear to be strays, even feral, when in fact they do ‘belong’ to another.

I took my ‘stray’ man in a year and a half ago. I fed him and took care of him and loved him. Now, I find out that he, like my seal-point Siamese, was out looking for the best breakfast, lunch and dinner he could find in one day.

Please, I am urging all women if you have the slightest feeling in the pit of your stomach that things are not 'right' - because the signs are always present, but we may chose to either ignore them (go into denial), qualify them with 'reasons.'

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine said, "It only takes one red flag for me anymore." How very wise, time and energy efficient and self-loving. I now have learned to see red flags as blinking red traffic lights at possibly dangerous intersections . . . they mean stop and look all around you before proceeding. Even when they (the warnings) come as a whisper, or a light tug inside the heart, they are REAL signs that something is not right.

Well, I named it to the Universe - my first and most important New Year's resolution: To heal myself into wholeness . . . into oneness. This is a huge step - a giant leap on my new path of relationship (including the relationship I have with myself) enlightenment.

It is no surprise that my old ‘cat-lover’ friend does not let his cat outdoors. He knows what really goes on when cats are ‘trusted’ to roam the streets.


Erik Donald France said...

Seems an awful lot like what used to be called a con artist. In the words of Chris Rock, "What ever happened to crazy?"

Susan Miller said...

Yes, yes, yes...the reason I so love my home and keep my doors locked.

After reading this I installed two more deadbolts!

Stewart Sternberg said...

As a dog lover, I must tell you Bernie, Leo, Matilda and I had some difficulty with this posting. Leo hurfed me...hurfing is a snorting he does in an attempt to clear his nose to get a better sniff. Quite the scent connoisseur my Leo.

I have worked with sociopaths before. A true sociopath is rare, and I try not to use that word casually. However, they are out there, screwing up the lives of everyone they touch. The more dangerous among them have names like Dahlmer and Gasey.

Michelle's Spell said...

I loved this post -- lots of insight into human nature. I read that one out of every twenty five people are sociopaths -- most of them never do horrible crimes, but they have no conscience. Scary huh?! I'm guessing your "friend" was one scary dude when you peeled away the layers.