A long time ago, probably as a gag Christmas or birthday gift, my older sister got me a little book titled All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat. It was a tongue in cheek reference to my slight obsession with my cat, but frankly, it rang true.
Cats are pretty wise really.
They know that happiness lies in doing what you want, not what you think others want you to be doing.
They know that you should only eat the stuff you really want to eat.
They know when to nap.
They know when to seek human contact, and when to be alone.
They know how to be cautious.
They’re unwaveringly optimistic.
They know when they’re needed.
And they have a wicked sense of humor which manifests itself the instant someone allergic walks into the house.
During this move the cat is proving once again that he’s the wisest of us all. He stayed out of the way of the moving boxes. He hid during the actual move. And once we’d transported him to the new house he spent a full two days hiding under the covers at the foot of our bed, pretending nothing had changed, coming out only to cuddle close to us as we slept.
A week later and he’s slowly widening his safety zone, venturing further and further into the house, checking out cabinets and closets, sleeping with the kids, joining us for meals. As I type he’s lounging on the couch with one lazy eye open, watching the activity in the yard.
Because the yard is the one place he hasn’t really ventured yet. Him, the mostly outdoor cat who only came in to eat at the last house, has barely been outside yet, and has only gone while the kids were nearby.
I’ve been watching him all week and I’m taking notes. The temptation to rush into new situations is strong, but sometimes it’s best to take change slowly, to let yourself adapt bit by bit, until you feel at home and comfortable again. Once your home base is solid, then, and only then, does it makes sense to venture out with all the confidence in the world.
Today Axl is sleeping on the couch, close to me, safely inside. I’m sure that by next week he’ll be outside hunting the squirrels and birds who taunt him through the windows. And he won’t be looking back that the house every two seconds to make sure that it’s still where he left it, to make sure we haven’t shifted his world once again.