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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E /
/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
55
PET
Corner
Inconsistency and the Cat
by Allen and Linda Anderson
For many years we've been
collecting and sharing stories
about the spiritual and amaz-
ingly uplifting experiences and
relationships people have with
animals. It is always delightful
to talk with people who get it
about animals and specifically
about beloved pets.
Trust is built between ani-
mals and people who live to-
gether in the same household.
They each know what to expect
from the other as far as daily
routines go. Given that element
of trust in human-animal rela-
tionships, we have been think-
ing lately about inconsistency.
When A doesn't lead to B, it's
disconcerting. If a person who
always does things a certain
way changes patterns, it catch-
es our attention.
Inconsistencies can be en-
tertaining; they are the stuff
of good comedy that makes
us laugh with the pleasure of
surprise. But they can also up-
set and frighten. The startle re-
sponse might be hilarious or
maddening and every emotion
in-between.
One week, Linda was incon-
sistent with our eighteen-year-
old cat Speedy. He's a big guy
with a long body and a tem-
peramental attitude. Unlike
his lithe and nimble, younger,
black-and-white sister Cuddles,
Speedy's gait is slow. Once he
settles in on a place to lounge,
he's a lump of coal, loathes to
move or be moved.
When Linda eats lunch in
the living room, sitting on the
couch, with her plate on the
coffee table, Cuddles likes to
jump up next to her and try
to paw at her food. Linda has
taken to keeping a small spray
bottle of distilled water by her
side. If she even points it at
Cuddles, who hates water, the
cat scurries away.
Sometimes, though, the
smell of food she especially
likes makes her more persis-
tent. That's when Linda actu-
ally squirts her with a just a
little water to get her to leave
the food and her alone.
One afternoon, it wasn't
Cuddles who had her eyes on
Linda's lunch. Speedy decided
that he wanted to perch next
to her on the couch in hopes
that tasty morsels would fall
his way. Out of habit, Linda
reached for the trusty squirt
bottle and aimed it at Speedy.
When Speedy "doggedly" kept
moving forward with the intent
of springing onto the couch,
she sprayed a tiny stream of
water at him. It was more of a
mist than a spray.
What happened next filled
Linda with remorse. Speedy
backed off. His eyes clouded
over. A pained and shocked
expression spread across his
face. Linda immediately regret-
ted her hasty action. "I'm not
Cuddles!" he seemed to say.
"I'm me. And we have always
treated each other with re-
spect. Now I'm questioning if
you deserve my trust." Speedy
shook his head from side to
side as if to say, "You have dis-
appointed me," and lumbered
out of the room.
Inconsistency. Instead of
honoring the relationship Lin-
da had with Speedy all these
many years, she had acted out
of character and treated him
with a tactic that doesn't phase
Cuddles in the least.
After lunch Linda found
Speedy on the stairs leading to
her second-floor office. He had
gone there to hide, to brood
over how inconsistent humans
are, even his favorite human.
He could have gone anywhere
but obviously wanted Linda to
see him. He succeeded in mak-
ing her feel even guiltier.
Linda sat on the step below
him and apologized. She asked
him to forgive her for getting
him mixed up with someone
else who was only half his
size. He again looked at her
with sadness in his eyes and
an expression that said, "You
have betrayed me. I must con-
sider this."
Off he retreated to another
part of the house where he
keeps his man cave. Linda
didn't see him for the rest of
the afternoon. She went back
to work, feeling even worse
about having treated her old
friend badly.
After the day's work, Linda
came downstairs to watch the
evening news. Speedy walked
along the back of the couch
where she sat. Tentatively he
tiptoed over to have his head
and cheeks rubbed and his
body stroked ever so gently.
"So you have decided to for-
give me?" Linda asked.
Speedy stuck his head un-
der Linda's hand to remind her
not to stop petting him. "Don't
ever let it happen again," he
answered.
KITTy COMMANdS
As writers, we often work
long days and don't spend as
much time with our pets as we
would like, especially when
working a deadline to turn in
a project on time.
Cuddles makes sure that we
know when she thinks we are
working too many hours and
not paying enough attention to
her. She lets us know in differ-
ent ways when she has decided
that it is time to play, rest, or
switch gears. The routine with
our kitty is a simple one that
will be familiar to everyone
who is owned by a cat.
Cuddles sits on the papers
Linda is working on. When
asked politely, Cuddles moves
but then jumps on top of the
computer monitor with her tail
hanging down on the screen
to obliterate the view. Now,
when asked, not so politely,
Cuddles moves again.
This time, she turns onto her
back with her tummy exposed
and an expression that only
cats have. It says, "I am the cut-
est darling to ever to walk this
planet." Of course, Linda has
to stop whatever she is doing
and rub Cuddles' tummy.
But Linda knows Cuddles
well enough to have figured
out how to get ten minutes
of uninterrupted writing time.
She not only gently rubs the
cat's tummy but also picks up
the kitty and kisses all over
her head and back with much
sloppily human affection. This
messes up Cuddles' carefully
licked fur.
Even though Cuddles melts
into the love feast, Linda will
now have an extended period
of time to work without inter-
ruptions while Cuddles has to
clean and lick her fur back in-
to proper shape and restore her
cat dignity.
A little inconsistency goes a
long way toward having a life
of one's own in a home where
the humans are owned by their
pets.
Allen and Linda Anderson are
founders of the Angel Animals Net-
work, Where Pets Are Family and au-
thors of a series of books published
by New World Library about the spiri-
tual connection between people and
animals. dogs and the Women Who
love Them is their new book in the
Angel Animals series. Subscribe to the
free, online newsletter at www.angel
animals.net and participate in the
Angel Animals forum and blog.
Each time a man
stands up for an ideal...
he sends forth a tiny
ripple of hope...
-- Robert F. Kennedy