The Cat Was Right

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Every day at work I sit at my desk looking at the computer. I sit until I can’t hold still anymore. I fidget and stretch. I slide down in my chair and back up. I lean forward against my desk and lean back into my chair.

I’ve never been very good at sitting still.

After a while I can’t take it anymore so I walk over to the window in the office and stare outside at the vehicles zipping by on I-391. I’ve watched all the seasons come and go through that glass. The summer green burns into the oranges and yellows of autumn. The leaves fall and the flakes fly. Spring pounds the glass with rain and the leaves timidly come back. I always want to go outside and feel the weather on my skin. I like it best when the weather is just so and we can leave both the heat and the air conditioning off and let the breeze come dancing in through the open window. But those times are few and I get in trouble all summer long for turning off the air conditioner so I can hear the wind and the cars go by outside.

I’m thankful for my job, truly, but I am not cut out for office work, not at all. Like I said, I’m not good at sitting still. I’m always so tired when I get home from work. I feel like all the life has been sucked out of me and I always wonder how a person can get so tired from just sitting in a chair all day. But it wears you out, it wears you down, these four walls.

When we were in Europe, we had family come stay at our house to watch our cat. The cat likes to go outside; he walks around the yard smelling the flowers and chases butterflies. He’s buddies with the cat next door and the two of them run the streets and try to act like tough lions instead of domestic little ginger toms.

I worried about that crazy cat the whole time we were overseas because that’s just how I am. I have no idea how I’ll ever fall asleep when I have children—I’ll worry so much.

We got back from our trip late at night after a very rough flight and lots of delays. We were jet lagged and exhausted. But I didn’t care because we were almost home and I wanted to squeeze that crazy cat that I had spent so much time worrying about.

But we found out on the drive home that the cat had run away a week before and hadn’t been seen since. That tore me up; I love that little guy. We looked all over and couldn’t find him anywhere. We put up missing signs and waited and prayed that he would turn up. I was sick worrying about what might have happened to him. And then, late one night, a neighbor called and said Mr. Katniss was at their house {eating their spare rib dinner, mind you}. I couldn’t believe it; I was afraid to believe it in case they were wrong. Darren jumped in the car and went to bring him home. I can’t explain the joy and relief when he walked in the front door with that little guy in his arms.

For a long time after that we kept the cat inside because we didn’t want to risk anything happening to him.

He hated it inside. He would meow at the door and meow at the windows. He would behave very badly and was ripping the whole house to pieces. He broke all the blinds {okay, I broke a couple of them} and was being a terrible little menace. He would get so mad he would wrap around my legs and chew on my ankles and the two of us were getting very tired of each other. We started calling him Tiny T…short for tiny terrorist. I kept telling him we were just trying to keep him safe and happy, that he belonged inside and we couldn’t bear him running away again. But he wouldn’t listen. He was miserable…and so were we.

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So we decided to try something different; we decided to let him go back outside. It scares us of course, because anything could happen. But you know what? The cat is his happy, healthy self again. He goes outside all day long and comes sauntering back in for dinner every night. I hear his little meow in the kitchen and know he’s decided to come home to us again. He climbs up in my lap on the couch and lets me pet him and love on him and he falls asleep happy instead of terrorizing everybody.

The thing is, he belongs outside. Even though it scares us because we love him and want him safe, we have to do what’s best and that means not locking him up. He’s meant to be wild and free…it’s the only way he can be happy.

I understand how he feels. I understand because I spend a lot of time looking outside through the glass. We work to have money to have things but the work and the money keep me inside away from the things that matter most to me. And watching the cat makes me wonder if I’m making a mistake with myself and the time I’ve been given.

Maybe the cat is right about smelling the flowers and chasing the butterflies, maybe he’s got life all figured out.

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11 thoughts on “The Cat Was Right

  1. I worry about our puppy… I worried the entire time we were celebrating our little man’s birthday… I fear he will escape and get eaten by an alligator… I totally get this post… I understand.. Thanks for sharing it and for the wonderful pictures. DAF

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  2. Yes, yes, yes! The cat does indeed have it right! You come by your desire for the outdoors naturally..I get completely stir crazy if I don’t get for just a little bit each day. And the days that I can take a nice, long, leisurely walk…heavenly.

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