I decided this year, in 2019, I would no longer try to train my cat.
She is untrainable. I was driving both of us crazy trying to explain and review over and over what the rules were to “Flo” … my cat.
Actually, Flo is not my cat. She is my son, CJ’s cat. Somehow, over time (truthfully, very quickly) I became known as keeper of the animals. We have two animals that live in our home: Flo, the cat and Nugget, the dog. I’m sure both think my only existence is to care for them and their needs. They don’t say it, but actions speak louder than words, barks or meows.
My animals are house pets. That means they are inside animals and they know it. It is this reality that has caused discord within the house with Flo. The problem arose because I was determined to make her a one hundred percent inside cat. I did not want her to have any interaction with the outside world, for what I believed was her own safety. Apparently, Flo and I had a difference of opinion in that regard.
Every time I would let Nugget go out to do his “dog thing,” she would have this wanting look on her face. She would meow differently and look at me as if I did not understand her cat desires. She would then perch herself on the windowsill and watch Nugget enjoying himself outside, as he ran freely around the yard chasing whatever moved or caught his interest.
I gather, over time it was more than she could handle. Flo started running out of the house whenever the door was open. I would run after her, pick her up and safely bring her back into the house. She, in turn, would be meowing while cradled in my arms, her eyes gazing at the spot from where I had just “rescued” he.
Soon, she began running as fast as she could from me and hiding until I would give up trying to coax her inside and decide to leave her outside. After a while, she would find her way back to the door wanting to come in on her own terms. I’d let her in and would often give her a bath. That she did not like. It only tempered her escape attempts, but did not quench her desire for the outside.
This went on longer than I want to admit, then one day I stood by the door, held it open and asked her if she wanted to go out.
Flo looked at me as if I had lost my mind, then sheepishly scampered out. When she realized I wasn’t going to chase her, she gave me this happy look before she sauntered out on the driveway, rolled around on the warm pavement for a while then made her way to the porch and sat, quite content. She followed the movement of the sun until she decided she had enough. Before I knew it, I heard her meows beckoning me to stop my work and let her in. I did. She was happy and I was happy.
I decided that I did not need to bathe her because she had not been anywhere I considered “icky,” nor had she chased or captured a lizard or any other four-legged creature that I do not consider inside pets.
When outside, Flo’s excitement when she sees a fly or other airborne creatures flying in her zone is fascinating to watch. She studies its movements before leaping to catch it. In fact, cats, as a species possess the innate ability to study everything around them. I would go so far to say that cats are extremely smart and equally fun to watch. They don’t need training. They have an ability to quickly assess what rules within a house are going to be enforced by its owners at all times. They follow those rules most of the time and blatantly ignore the “sometimes” rules that change day to day. They don’t have time for them, nor do they go along with them. Cats naturally possess a free spirit.
I acknowledge there are certain freedoms I enjoy and need just because I am human. I too like being out in fresh air. I like the warm sensation of the sun on my skin and the feel of a breeze that I cannot see. It is human nature. My inside animals enjoy the inside, but also need the outside, because they are animals and it is natural for them.
I no longer have reservations or worry when letting the cat out. We both are happy that I no longer have unrealistic standards based strictly on my comfort. She does not need to be trained and has guided me with her natural instincts to understand that.
Should I get concerned, I now send Nugget, the dog out to get his best friend. It’s so funny to see her fussing at him as he does his job and makes her come inside. Better him than me. Yes, I do give him a snack for doing a good job, and he is very happy about that.
So, tell me about your free-spirited cat.
Regina Gale is a singer, poet and speaker. She is the author of “Sometimes He Buys Me Grapes,” a touching and candid perspective of a seasoned heart that will speak to your heart. You can follow her creative work at www.reginagale.com.