Things settle down a bit when you get older. You enjoy small, quiet pleasures rather than big parties and find that music in bars is simply too loud. And, if you’re like me and my husband, you structure your walks through the neighborhood by the location of cats.
What? Cats? Why, yes!
When the weather is cool enough to take a walk around the neighborhood, we definitely take advantage of that time to get some exercise and see a bit of our area. As we have explored, we have met some of our feline neighbors and made fast friends among them. They provide us with some companionship along our walks and often liven up our days.
First and foremost is “Toby,” a cat who has adopted us as part of his inner circle. We first began seeing him last spring when he would stalk the birds in our yard. He would enjoy the morning sun and then disappear for several days. It has taken several months of patient coaxing to make friends with Toby, but he has finally come to trust us. Lately he will visit in the morning, excitedly squeaking for breakfast and showing his gratitude for our care. Although he appears to have a family, he has certainly begun spending much of his time with us, becoming a part of our family in the process.
A few blocks down from us, we happened across a gorgeous gray cat with medium hair. As we walked by her house, she ran to the curbside and demanded attention. She is a small kitty but big of heart. Each time we see her, she shows us some love, and we have come to look for her each time we go by.
And finally, there is Charlie, a handsome marmalade cat. Our first meeting with him was a little unusual in that we were simply walking down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street when he meowed loudly and crossed the street, running directly for us. He is quite friendly and outgoing and almost always gives us a hearty meow when we pass. He seems to be a local favorite among both adults and kids.
Indeed, our circle of family and friends has grown with our walks through the neighborhood. As we have gotten our exercise, we have had the privilege of meeting some of the most gorgeous, friendly, and independent cats. We have enjoyed our visits and appreciated their willingness to trust us. And our friends certainly make our walks more enjoyable.
“A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” –John Ruskin
A few days ago, I hooked Anakin’s leash onto his harness in preparation for an afternoon walk. As we proceeded past my car, however, Anakin refused to move. I peered under the car, and there two eyes looked back at me. In the sun’s glare, I could see the face of a gray cat but little else. Thinking that the cat was one of our neighborhood cuties, I convinced Anakin to continue on with our jaunt.
The next morning my husband gasped in shock when he opened the door. There on the porch was the same cat, but he was better able to see the cat’s condition. Obviously a stray, the cat was extremely thin with a ragged coat. He or she was also understandably wary of people. My husband shared his experience when he returned inside, and we quickly figured out that it was the same cat. There was a new stray in the neighborhood.
Not knowing what else to do, we put out food and water for the cat. We watched out the window as the cat tentatively approached the bowls, eventually consuming everything that we had provided. Due to the cat’s emaciated body, we provided seconds and thirds that day. Our sleep was troubled that night thinking about our new little friend.
The next morning, I opened the door in order to take Anakin out into the yard. There, sitting calmly on the sidewalk, was the cat. He or she faced the house, seemingly waiting for us to appear. I took care of Anakin’s needs and then provided the stray with more food and water. This pattern has continued since then, with regular appearances of the cat at a watchful, but ever wary, distance.
I suppose that our little acts of kindness towards this one stray cat may pale in comparison to some of the larger charitable acts that I have witnessed. However, it has made two depressed people feel a bit more useful in this world. And most of all, I know that we’ve made a difference in this one cat’s life.
For more information on caring for stray cats, see this page from Alley Cat Allies.
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” –Helen Keller
With a power outage tonight, light was on the minds of most of the residents of our neighborhood. It is easy to move along in our days, expecting everything to always be ok, to always remain the same. At an unexpected moment, though, the light in our lives can suddenly disappear. Then we are forced to see the possibilities of darkness surrounding us.
Before the outage hit our neighborhood, I saw an old friend tonight while on an evening walk with my husband. She has struggled with scleroderma for several years and is seemingly in the last stages of her disease. Tonight she admitted that she has given up on treatment in order to live whatever life she might have left. Not much older than myself, she could have many years left if not faced with this disease, and yet she lives her life with much more faith and light than I.
She is such a sweet person, and still she faces the encroaching darkness daily with a strength not seen in most people, at least not until they are challenged in some way. As with our power outage tonight, she was forced out of the flow of everyday life some time in the past, only to find her faith in the process. She experiences unimaginable pain each day, but I have never heard her complain. She only asks about others and is concerned for their welfare.
The darkness seems to be spreading in our world, but people like my friend can show us an alternative. When I saw her and heard about the progress of her disease, I grew ashamed at my lack of faith or appreciation for my own state of health. My friend’s faith helps her to see the light of this world and live her life to the fullest, loving each moment, along with her friends and family.
I would ask that you join me in prayer for my friend.