Nothing about this blog post is what it “should” be.
It “should” have been posted on Thursday.
It “should” have continued my thread of writing about how the principles of “Good to Great” related to entrepreneurship.
It “should” have skipped a week on the “Good to Great” thread and focused on the ideas raised in the latest issue of Psychology Today, with a dream cover story titled “Revenge of the Introvert.” (I was even quoted in a companion piece to the story – yippie!)
Instead, I’m writing about what I really “should” be writing about today, and that’s cats.
Today is the five-month anniversary of saying goodbye to my precious Fiona, whom I wrote about back in October of last year. She appeared in my dream last night (this happens to me, where cats I have loved come back in my dreams on the anniversary of their passing, without me actively being aware that an anniversary is happening). I felt her presence in my sleep.
[pullquote]Cats come and go without ever leaving. ~Martha Curtis[/pullquote]And this morning, walking with a friend, we encountered a cat who had been hit by a car. It was lying in the road, and cars were swerving around it. I picked up the beautiful medium haired tabby and carried it to the side; he was gone, but only recently so. My friend called the number on the tag on his collar and the vet gave us the owner’s address. We walked two blocks to the house and gave the sad news to the owner. We walked back to the cat with him. We watched Robert carry Thomas back home in a box.
As soon as I got home, I found Lucy in a chair and Tommy on a futon and loved on both of them for a few minutes. I hugged my husband. I spent some time sitting with Fiona’s ashes, then put her on the window sill, a favorite spot.
Just like objects are deemed masculine and feminine in non-English languages, I think animals have qualities of introversion or extroversion. My theory is that cats are introverted by nature. They generally are more solitary than social. They are reserved, curious and their love and trust is not a given. They form deep bonds with one or two people; unless they’re really social, they can take or leave anyone else. They are quiet, unobtrusive and good listeners. They are loving friends.
[pullquote]If cats could talk, they wouldn’t. ~Nan Porter[/pullquote]
I think that’s why I feel a profound connection to cats. They are introvert in animal form, and they are completely and blissfully comfortable in their own skin (good modeling for all of us!). Further evidence comes from a popular quip: Dogs come when called, cats take a message and get back to you. The very social, comfortable-with-anyone dog is much more extroverted and johnny-on-the-spot. Cats are more introverted… they hear you, think about it and then decide what to do (unless what they hear is a can opening!!).
Hug everyone you love today – introverted or extroverted, furry and four-legged, or tall and two-legged. Life is precious, and every one of us is a gift.
In memory of Fiona, in memory of Thomas, and in honor of our introverted feline friends… this blog post is for you.
(Cat Collage features, starting upper left and going clockwise: Fiona & Tommy; Lucy; Chessie; Tommy & Fiona; me & Fiona on her last day; Tommy)
Judy Dunn says
I’m right there with you, Beth. And those anniversaries can be so hard. Nov. 4 will round out the first full year without our Nuz.
Hadn’t thought about cats being introverts, but I think I agree. Maybe that’s why I get along with them so well.
You took the time to honor your girl Fiona with this post. That’s very nice.
P.S. We have a sign in our office that reads: “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.”
Deborah Drake says
The cats that have been part of my family in all my years since childhood have taught me so much as well.
Beautiful post. By beautiful you.
You are so skilled at causing a person to really stop and ponder the larger implications of how best to live life and operate in the world.
I sit here in tears after reading your beautiful words. I too, have those visits from those passed, 4-legged & 2-legged. It is 4 months since my Cougar left, but he still visits.
Thank you Beth.
Ah, Beth — you never cease to inspire me! Thank you for the beautiful post.
Beth, your post touched my heart. Your observation is interesting. I have a couple of friends that I often lovingly describe as labrador retrievers, and I've described myself as a cat in comparison. 🙂
I'm coming up on my 1 year anniversary with my first cat after having dogs most of my life. He's had to teach me a lot, but he seems to like his job.
Beth Buelow, ACC says
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words, everyone.
Judy – Peace to you and Bob as Nuz's anniversary draws near. I know how deeply you love (yes, purposely present tense) Nuz, and I still appreciate the blog post you wrote about your loss. And indeed, we are owned by our kitties!
Deborah – cats do teach us so much… Find the sunny spot. Be curious. Play. Nap. Purr often, meow sparingly. I see the cat in you, my friend! 🙂
Carolyn – it does not surprise me that you get visits from your furry friends… you have a close connection with the sacred. I hope Cougar comes back to you many, many times over.
Carrie – thank you! It would be nice to connect with you again soon. Hope Jasper Lonestar is happy and healthy 🙂
Donna – Ha! It sounds like you are owned by a special kitty… I hope you're enjoying your first cat and that there are more in your future!