The cat who showed how love can heal.
To begin this new year, I would like to share a story that I wrote in the form of a fable to illustrate the power of love. Whether between humans, between creatures or between humans and creatures, it truly is an amazing force, one that heals. Wishing you much love of all varieties in 2020.
Many years ago, a strong and sturdy black and white cat lived with an elderly couple in a worn and crowded New York City apartment. He would roam the house, settling by the radiator in the winter, looking out the window at the street scene below him in the summer. But, no matter what the season, most of his day, every day, was spent with the man, contentedly lounging on his lap or draped around his neck. The cat and the man would often simply sit together, providing a deep appreciation and affection for each other.
As the husband became frail and lost the capability to care for the cat, the wife would take over. She would spend copious amounts of time with him, petting him, providing tasty treats. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and years, and the couple became more and more aged. One sad day, the husband passed away, and the cat and the woman became each other’s solace.
But she was not the same. She was odd and weird, and often neglected to feed the cat. Where the woman once lovingly doted on her beloved pet, she would now forget about him or chase after him in an aggressive way. The poor woman was descending into her own dementia. With the lack of affection, the sturdy feline began to fail.
He would hide under the bed for days, refusing to appear. Eventually, in his grief and loss, he curled up in the closet and decided to die. He was mourning the loss of his family.
When the couple’s daughter went looking for the cat, she discovered him in his secret place. She picked him up and was astonished to find the formerly brawny cat was now limp, his paws loosely dangling over her arms, his head hanging down. Completely uninterested in eating or drinking, he was clearly giving up on life.
The daughter felt it was her duty to take him in. In deference to her parents, and the love they had for the cat, she brought him, now thin and straggly, into her home. She didn’t want him or the responsibility, but she knew she had to do it.
The cat spent the next two weeks in his new home, disoriented and scared. He hid for days. The daughter begrudgingly did all the things one does for a cat but was resentful that she had this new feline responsibility. But then a funny thing happened. The daughter and the cat started to look for each other. She would call out to him and he would slowly emerge from his hiding place. Many weeks later, he jumped on the bed when she was sleeping. He would rub up against her. The daughter would pet him. His coat became shiny and full. He began gaining weight and started to purr again. The cat and the daughter began to rely upon each other. Soon they became inseparable, reveling in their own special relationship. Today, they spend every night sitting together, happily content, sharing the greatest emotion that life has to offer.