Who would have thought that my cat would give me something meaningful to blog about? Don’t get me wrong. I love my cat. I am a cat person. I just never imagined gleaning valuable insight from a cute little ball of fur.
I got Mazzy back in November 2012. She was one of many Humane Society residents and I just couldn’t pass up her cute little face. She warmed up to me quickly and the same to Dave after I brought her home a couple days later. Sure, she was super curious about her new surroundings when I brought her home, but she didn’t run and hide or act especially fearful from day one. She’s my little buddy. Well, until she decided that using our bedroom for a bathroom was ok…
Hence, she was banned from entering our bedroom. That was easy; just shut the door. She had free reign over the other 2200 square feet of our barren residence and she was much okay with that. Then, we prepare to move. I don’t need to go into that much – it’s a pain. Short and simple. During the heart of the move we put her in the laundry room to give her a space of her own and no worries to us that she may dash under someone’s feet or get out of the house. At one point I went into the laundry room to say hi and I couldn’t find her. I started to panic, but low and behold, there she was snoozing away inside the washer where I had put a few dirty clothes. She was so cute. My little buddy.
But that’s not where she taught me something. No. That happened in Georgia. Before the first night we decided she would be restricted to our bedroom. Why you ask? Well, keep in mind we are staying with his folks until our house sells and his mom has a fancy for nick-nacks including a beautiful decorated Christmas tree with all the gold, shiny embellishments cat’s enjoy. Yes. The bedroom would do quiet nicely. With a large adjacent bathroom, walk in closet and myriad of windows, she had plenty of space to explore. (Not to mention the accident on night #1 – we would not tolerate a repeat of said accident throughout the abundantly furnished home of people we love who have never had an indoor pet.) Plus, she has tons of toys. Never had a cat that enjoyed her toys as much as Mazzy does – especially the little ones that look like mice and are filled with catnip…she loves those!
At times I would let Mazzy out – always careful to keep an eye on her and her whereabouts. She enjoys sniffing the tree, chewing on fake plants and perching in the windows. Nothing bad or potentially dangerous for neither cat…nor human. A shake of her treat bag or her dinner food would quickly get her running back to the confines of her room. Yes. At times she meowed like a 5 year old, begging to be let free of her large prison. I could see her shadow on the other side of the door just waiting to dart to freedom once we opened the door. Sometimes she would make off like a sprint racer and slip out the door before we had a chance to close it. We’d let her enjoy her successful escape then, shake, shake: “Want a treat?” Don’t get me wrong. I let her out frequently even if just for a few minutes. I would also take her to my office at times while I worked; although much smaller, it gave her a different space to claim. I didn’t want to be her warden by any means.
Dave’s Mom told me repeatedly to just let her roam. I was terrified. I love these people. I don’t want their love for me stiffled because something got ruined by cat urine or destroyed by the wrath of Mazzy’s jaws. But she hadn’t repeated said accident from night #1 and she was being good when I let her out, so I obliged. I left the door open and let her have free reign over the majority of the house.
And this is where Maz taught me a lesson on life. Keep in mind, she’s only had free reign a handful of times. I just went back into the house a little bit ago and where do you think Mazzy was? Under the dining room table? Perched eloquently on the window sill? Dinign on fake plants? High atop the Christmas tree? No. None of the above. Good ole’ Maz was laying on our bed. She looked up at me as if the say “Oh. Hi.” Then put her head back down and enjoyed her slumber. Door wide open and she chose to relax in what I thought she felt was her prison.
So. Where’s the lesson, you ask? Simple. We often wonder what it’s like on the other side. When we are given restrictions, we want what we can’t have. We may think we’ve been given a small window to escape so we explore and explore and push the limits of our boundaries, but when it comes down to it and we remove what others deem as restrictions, we realize just how comfortable ‘home’ is. The mystery of what lies beyond loses its flare. If we continually tell our kids ‘no’ – they will inevitably want to do it. And when they do it – they will do it with a vengance. Whatever it is. So, we can drive ourselves nuts trying to keep the door closed and wear ourselves out diverting their attempts to escape, but we have to trust at some point. Let them explore, knowing that we’ve made home is a place where they can always find comfort. And if they get stuck in a Christmas tree, well…we politely help them out, give a little lecture and hope they learn from it. It’s hard to learn anything behind closed doors. Shake, shake “Want a treat?”