I was growing accustomed to single life and starting to enjoy the new found freedoms that came with deciding all things for myself for the first time in many years. I had a chance to define myself instead of being defined by another.
One of the benefits of my job at the time was that I received the entire month of August off as paid vacation. While it was delightful to have that much free time, I didn’t have any extra cash to take any trips or do anything out of the ordinary. Not sure what to do to fill the time I decided to return to the shelter where Light Heart and Golden Heart came from and do some volunteer work. I worked on the cleaning crew, which came twice a day to clean cages, change water and record all eating and litter box activities of each cat. It was meaningful and fulfilling work and the experienced volunteers shared with me a lot of what they knew of cats.
One morning, as I was working my way down a row of cages, cleaning each one, I noticed that one cat had vomited in his cage. I wasn’t really looking forward to cleaning that up, and initially skipped his cage, and moved on to the next, putting off for a few more minutes having to address the situation.
What happened next was interesting. I had a strong feeling that I hurt this cat’s feelings when I passed over cleaning his cage. It was a strong enough feeling that I went back to his cage, apologized for what I had done, and started right away to clean up the mess. Of course, at the time I am sure I convinced myself that it was I who called up those feelings. It was not in my believe system to think this cat could know my intentions and of course I could have no way of knowing what he was feeling.
I still had so much to learn.
After I finished up cleaning his cage I took him out and sat down in a chair with him on my lap. He needed drops put in one of his eyes which had a mature cataract, even though he was believed to be only six months old. An experienced volunteer showed me how to administer the drops and afterwards I held him close, an apology of sorts for putting the drops in his eyes. He was content to stay in my lap and would get up from time to time and shove his face right into mine – literally putting his wet nose up my nostril, not once, but almost any chance he could. I had a wet face in no time.
Eventually I needed to finish my tasks but as I tried to put him back in his cage, he suddenly resisted being separated from me. He literally, just as you would see in a cartoon, spread his legs as far as he could so he would not pass through the cage door. I wrestled him until I finally got him inside and just when I thought I had outsmarted him, he turned and deliberately ran back up my arm and clung to my chest. He would not be separated from me.