Another busy week. I feel like I say that a lot, but life just kind of gains momentum once March hits and doesn’t slow down until November, as well now having to work on top of everything else adds a huge run-around dimension. But, I think we are settling in. I think things are finally looking up – finally!!! The daffodils are coming up, and change is blowing in on the wind.
While we did do school most days this week, the thing that seemed most interesting to me was Elizabeth’s interactions with the cat. Looking back, I’m not sure what drove me to get a cat. I mean, I know what my reasoning was, but whether it was totally rational, I’m not totally sure. And after getting him, I had moments of wondering if had been the best idea as both Paul and Elizabeth were chasing him or just doing little things that were passive-aggressive towards him. But now, into his fourth month with us, I can see a subtle change shifting, particularly with Elizabeth. For Paul, the novelty has mostly worn off and he doesn’t have blinders on to all but the cat if Percy is around, but for Elizabeth it is definitely deeper.
The shift occurred for Elizabeth, as strange as this seems, after he attacked her face. He was on the table, in his spot near the window and she was just petting him, kind of hugged him at the same time. I think that he felt like he was cornered by the way she was holding him and he turned and kind of grabbed at her face and acted as if to bite.
He did leave marks, and she did cry out of fear and shock, but it must have taught her something about his limits and his likes and dislikes and personal space. Since that situation, she has been much more…inviting to him. Whereas sometimes I think she’s following him around, she may be a little, but she’s also not getting into his space so much, but inviting him to play, and whenever I think I ought to say something, it turns out he is responding back in a playful way. She is also very good at getting him to come to her to pet him, again in situations in which I think she’s probably bothering him, but then she gives him space, rubs her fingers together and calls his name, and he comes rubbing against her.
I like it because that was my intention wasn’t it? To learn how to treat another being different from ourselves? To learn to read his body language. To take care of someone – and she does: she feeds him, washes out his water dish and refills it, and likes to give him treats. I scoop the poop because I deem it a job too old for a 6-year-old. Having a cat has taught her compassion and empathy and selflessness.
But I also like that she obviously finds comfort in him. He’s not a lap cat, but he does like to sit near us while we are reading stories. And while he’s definitely my cat (he follows me from room to room as I am doing things, and if I plop down in front of the computer he comes and rests near me), he’s also her friend. She loves to play with him, especially if I say that I didn’t play with him the night before because I just went to bed. She is tuning into his needs as such and so fills it purposely. She cares about him. She says over and over that he is a good match for us, which was the way that I phrased it when we brought him home. And he is.
Really, I think that he was meant for us. I probably should have waited longer than what I did to get a pet, but something drove me to find one. And then something else drove me to drive out of my way to the shelter I went to with the intention of bringing home Percy’s cage-mate, who ended up all ready being applied for by someone else, and then something made me feel that this lovely little (big, really) tuxedo cat would be a good fit for our family, and here we are. Why? Why did I feel driven to adopt a pet when I did? Percy was only at the shelter for 10 days and as he is such a nice cat it’s a pretty sure thing that he would have been adopted out if we had not happened in. But how did we end up with just what we needed? It’s a mystery, but one I’m glad for.
So, while I’m happy that Sir Percival the Stout and Awesome will be with us many a year to come, I am also glad for the lessons that he has taught all ready. Isn’t that the joy of having a pet? That’s why I think it’s so important – and so wonderful!
Share your thoughts: What lessons have pets taught your children?