Indulge me, I need a good redemption story this week.
When I see cats walking along a road, I see hunters. The truth is, I
am probably also seeing the homeless. It would be easy to say these
cats could never be a house cat, that they are feral. It would be easy,
Maybe it is my greatest conceit that I believe a cat with access to
our house is better off that outside. Then I remind myself of the cat I found
frozen to death in our garden a few years ago, or the skinny little
thing that lived in the roots of a tree one winter and drank more
half and half than a church full of coffee drinkers. Cats belong
indoors, or at least need the option.
Laine started out life as “L-a-n-e.” We thought she was a little tom
cat and named her accordingly however changed the moniker to a shortened
version of “Elaine” soon after she birthed kittens. We could never get
close to ‘Laine until after her kittens had left home, I think she got
lonely-more likely she was interested in our tom cats.
We had fed Laine but always in absentia. We began to join Laine for
her meals, whether she liked it or not. It was a surprise the first
time we petted Laine and she began to accept our presence. We moved her dish just
inside the front door in a sort of forced offering of hospitality.
She would step-in, eat and then head for the door. I stood guard as
doorman the first couple of months to assist in her egress so she did
not feel trapped.
The next step was coaxing her into the house without the temptation
of food. Lisa and I would wiggle our fingers and “meow” at Laine until
she finally stepped inside, took stock of things and eventually left.
The amount of time invested in this simple act was incredible but the
eventual reward was longer visits and eventual overnights.
Laine is now the princess of the house (Lisa is the Queen, on good
days I am “scribe,” while other times am simply “jester.”) She fights
for position with her brothers on the couch and plays like the wild cat she was
once. She is lovely, happy and at home.
I thought about Laine’s history; I once believed there was
little we could do to change her life. Hard work and reaching out to
her made the difference. It is a good reminder that redemption in
life is often a two-way street that depends on the offer of help and
the sincere acceptance of help. It reminded me of the people who’ve
helped me get where I am and how we’ve helped others. It is a reward
to both sides.
This week I have redemption and its inherent reward for you; courtesy
the princess, Laine Nelson.