Before we rescued her, Allie Cat lived in a cage for 7 months in a no-kill shelter. Being released to a two-story big barn with hay igloos, discarded fur coats for beds, and a variety of store-made cat beds must seem like reaching feline nirvana. We love Allie Cat, but like my husband's one-and-only, Maggie, Allie Cat is all mine. She likes being petted and fussed about by visitors, but only minimally. She knows the hand that feeds her, and anyone else's might just get bitten. We warn our cat-loving friends, but most of them remind me of a classic high school population--it's not going to happen to me. And you couldn't be more wrong.
What I love about Allie Cat is her ability to find grace in small things. Despite the luxury of the big barn, she will opt for a shoe box top on which she nests, balances, and begs for attention. Rub my belly, please. She lives well, eats well, and is a world-class mouser. For people who think keeping a barn cat is not fair to the animal (I used to be one of those years ago), I would tell you that this cat has a better life than most, one that rivals my indoor cats' lifestyles, or perhaps even betters it. Allie Cat can choose outside, but only suns herself and visits occasionally. She loves the life she leads, sleeping on golf carts, grain bins, and whatever her fancy chooses.
On the other hand, we have 2 indoor cats, one of whom escaped to the great outdoors for the first time ever, and she explored no further than the back porch. She loves looking at nature in the sun room, through a screen or a winter large glass window, but that's the extend of her roaming. Her several hour escapade is what prompted this post. I have often wondered about the happiness and well-being of our pets ~ from their point of view ~ do they enjoy their lives. My husband thinks I've gone over the edge; how could they not, he queries rhetorically.
While I type, Maggie Cat is making up to Mickey. She loves Mickey most. She was another rescue, like all our cats, but this one was hand-picked for us by a friend who knew we could handle a special-needs kitten. And we did. The rest is history. Once in your lifetime, if you are very lucky, you find the perfect _____ (fill in the blank with the animal of your choice). I've had the perfect horse, the perfect dog, and now the perfect cat, a perennial kitten who, like Mary Martin's Peter Pan never quite grew up into a full-fledged cat (oxymoron here?). And when it comes right down to it, all 3 cats have the ability for finding grace in small things. What we can learn from our pets....