**Readers Advisory: If you are (a) sick of hearing about my cats, (b) a jerk who doesn’t like cats, or (c) going to comment with anything that involves the words “crazy” “cat” “lady” or any combination thereof, STOP!!!! Click the little X in the corner and go find your soul. **
This is the story about how one little cat has saved my life over and over…and gone on to save hundreds of others.
Once upon a time (August 12th, 2009 to be exact)…
There was a little brown house on a street with no street lamps. And inside that house was a girl who’d never had much success seeing meteors during a meteor shower (just ask my sister Kelly about that one). But with a glass of wine in hand, I went to sit in my little overgrown courtyard to give seeing some meteors a half-hearted attempt.
As I sat out in the warm New Mexican night I heard a kitten crying. I looked around the house a bit trying to locate the sound but couldn’t quite pin point it and since it was well after midnight, I figured I couldn’t go looking in the neighbors fences yards and windows. My immediate assumption was that someone had gotten a kitten and left it at home alone when it was too young. After a while I went to bed, and though I could still hear the kitten crying, I eventually went to sleep, feeling sorry for the little guy. The next morning as I sat in my home office working I continued to hear the kitten. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and went out into the hot day to see if I could find it. As I stepped out into my back yard the kitten, seeing me, started crying even harder. The little yowls getting rougher and rougher as he wore out his little voice. I finally spotted him, high in the branches of the neighbors tree that hung over our shared fence. At the bottom of the tree sat the neighbors dog, patiently waiting for a snack.
I climbed a ladder, rescued a little orange ball of cuteness, and put him on the ground. As I turned to walk back into the house, he followed me. Trotting right into the office with me. I put him back outside as I had no intention of having a pet. But he patiently waited at the back door and windows for me to let him in. His cuteness finally won and I let him in.
He stayed, named himself Malcolm, and has saved my life and the lives of hundreds.
Oh wait…did you say something?
I think I just heard you say “Wait! It sounds like YOU did the rescuing. So how did he rescue you?”
I’m so very glad you asked! Let’s see…
- Before Malcolm came to live with me I was working at a job I hated and on the road about 60 to 70% of the time. I had stopped dating, stopped eating right, was gaining back all the weight I’d lost, and was just unhappy. Malcolm made it easy for me to say no to trips I didn’t want to go on and to make better choices about which trips I would say yes too. He also made it easy for me to start making better choices because I suddenly took very seriously the notion that someone else was relying on me…even if it was a ball of fur anyone could love. He didn’t want a different mama and I didn’t want him to have one. (Still don’t by the way!)
- Within less than a year of getting Malcolm I lost that job I hated and dropped right into one of the scariest seasons of my life. Nine months without a job and a fast approaching bankruptcy. During that time Malcolm became my reminder that life was going to work out. He reminded me daily that it all had to work out because the sun came up, the Fancy Feast cans needed my thumbs to open them and put food in the bowl, and I was the only one who could get the toys out from under the couch. When I thought my world was ending, Malcolm just flopped over near my feet with a face that said “You know what would distract you? Rubbing my belly!” And I’d laughed. And when you can laugh…you can find hope.
- Malcolm, Rose, and I moved to Seattle last summer. This has not been an easy transition for me. When the days got short in the winter and the sun stopped shining, I felt old waves of fear, doubt, and depression sneaking up on me. I wasn’t happy with the job, I was lonely, and the days were too damn dark and dreary for me to find relief. I came home from work on a particularly hard day, sat down in my favorite chair, and said to the air “What the hell am I doing in Seattle?” At just that moment, Mal jumped into my lap and sat facing me. I said “Why did I bring us here?” He said nothing (he is after all A CAT…just in case you got caught up in the story and forgot!). He then proceeded to climb into my hoodie (something he’s done since he was a tiny kitten), wrap himself around my body, look up at me sleepily through the zipper, and go fast asleep. All I could do was smile. He’d done it again. He’d reminded me to stop thinking about what happens next, find a comfy spot, and wait it out. While I was caught up in wondering what I’d done wrong and what the future held, Mal was totally warm and cozy in the place that he feels the safest and most loved. Duh! That’s when I did what I do in times of great anxiety…I turned inward…where I feel the safest…and waited out the long days quietly. And they did indeed pass…Spring came…and I’d managed, with the help of my furry friend to keep depression at bay.
What’s that you say?
Oh…I forgot to tell you how Mal saved hundreds of other lives.
Well…here’s the thing. About two years ago I decided to give up meat, dairy, eggs, etc. for Lent. During that time I started having weird dreams…well…one dream. The dream was slightly different each time. In it, Mal was still Mal but he was never a cat. Sometimes Mal was a duck. Or a Frog. Once he was a cow. He was always Mal. I always loved him and he always loved me.
When Lent was over, I didn’t go back to eating meat and animal products. When asked why I share lots of different reasons…health, the environment, my migraines being cured, etc. But if I’m totally honest, the bottom line is that I realized through that dream that I could no longer eat animals because I love Mal. Mal is no different than a duck. Just because as a society we’ve ascribed value to Mal because he’s a cat (one of our domesticated pets of choice), doesn’t actually make him more valuable. Don’t get me wrong. Mal is extremely valuable…because God made him, he has a desire to live, and a personality. Just like cows, frogs, and ducks.
So every year, 198 animals keep on living because of Mal.
Sometimes a kitten saves lives.