My wife and I adopted some stray “cats”.
We don’t own them. They own us, by moseying up to our back porch to beg for love with soulful eyes. Once we’re hooked, they train us to feed them, change their water dish, and on special occasions, allow us pet them. They do not stroll though our home and we don’t sleep with their warm and furry bodies wherever they bed down for the night.
It’s a symbiotic relationship where they “teach lessons” for food.
Yep, it’s a job passed down from generation to generation. And over the twenty-five years my wife and I have lived near Cat Land, at least sixty “kitties” have visited our back door to guide our evolution. Most have been, and are, an adorable breed with fluffy ringed tails, black masks and tiny hands that grab our fingers.
Now I’m a sucker for a pretty face, and also cute kids. And these funny looking “cats”, well, they figured that out the moment we met. So years ago, that first mommy “cat” brought her babies. The babies grew up and had litters of their own. Those litters grew up to become new mommies, who brought their new babies to start the cycle again. This has been going on for many years.
And during that time, I discovered that deals are cut in back rooms as to which mommies bring the new babies to our back porch.
Why? Because the mommies figured out that the food supply won’t feed more than one family at a time.
Supply and demand – they got it. And they won’t stress the system. Sometimes though, they test it.
Once in a while, a mommy and her babies will be casually dining under pale moon light when another mommy and her “kitties” wander up to the kitchen. Vicious sounding growls get thrown back and forth. Even a fighting charge from Mommy #1 might occur. And then I wait for sprays of blood and flying fur.
Plenty of noise, but the confrontation is all about getting the point across in no uncertain terms. Mommy #1 to Mommy #2 is saying, “Don’t do it. I mean it.” Beyond that, no harm is inflicted anywhere. It’s about communication. Not mutilation.
What can I learn from this display of faux rage? How about: “If you want something. Say it.”
And that’s what my backyard buddies do. They part ways when the dispute cannot be solved.
Then sometimes, I mess with their little white, black and brown heads. When two families are fighting over kibble, I throw out more. A lot more. So much more, there is no way both families can eat it all. Bingo! Issue resolved!
What was that war about again?
So what’s the lesson here? How about: “With enough of everything, people just might get along.”
Scarcity makes wars. Abundance makes friends. And the secret is, sharing makes friends too. And usually produces ways of making more of everything.
Here’s some more lessons:
My masked “kitties” were here first. And they let me know it by never going away.
Lesson: “Learn to accept WHAT IS, and then compromise.”
You can’t push something away that is supposed to be here.
These masked “cats” will change their behaviors to get what they want, like doing dog tricks for food. (That’s right. I trained a few.)
Lesson: “If you can’t beat’em, join’em.”
If you want something from someone else, try entertaining her. Or responding to his needs.
A mommy masked “cat” will always hit the food dish before her young.
Lesson: “In case of depressurization, parents should put on their own oxygen masks before placing it on their children.”
Or… Keep yourself healthy. Your kids need you.
More confident kitties will approach the food bowl before the shy ones.
Lesson: “Those who risk more, gain more. Those who trust more, learn more.”
You can pet the babies as long as they are eating. And the Mommies won’t care, as long as they are eating too. They are trading affection for food.
Lesson: “Sometimes you have to give of yourself to get the things you need.”
Once in a while my little masked friends get a visit from those other “cat” breeds with big wide tails and a white stripe down their backs. Everyone eats from the same bowl though, and then goes their separate ways.
Lesson: “If there’s one big thing you need, and your enemy wants it as well, you can either go to war and risk a stink bomb, or you can share the pie and live to eat another day.”
After dining, my cute masked “cats” stick around to lounge and play. That’s when the love starts.
Lesson: “Maybe snatching the big prize, like money, isn’t all what life is about.”
Maybe there’s much to be gained by getting to know the person paying you, or supporting you, or even the people you are supporting. Because it’s all one world, and we’re sharing it, even with our differences.
Then again, how different are we?