The Tao of Joey

When I first brought him home from the Connecticut shelter, the tiny kitten was a snarling, spitting ball of shaggy grey fur and tiny (albeit sharp) Chiclet teeth.

It took a few weeks for the rescue kitten to warm up to me. After several failed attempts to bond (I had to wear oven mitts just to pick him up) I finally ignored him while working in my office, hoping against hope he would settle down and not be the psycho I feared he might be. Then one magical day, he jumped into my lap, and the love affair began.

Some of you may recall a post I wrote about Joey when he was on the lam for five long weeks a couple of summers ago (yes, I DID hire a bloodhound – a useless animal that did not help one bit).

Now safely transplanted to Virginia, Joey alternates between terrorizing my older cat Gemma, and sitting in the window watching Bird TV. A few weeks ago I purchased (online, of course) a small plexiglass bird feeder that anchors to the window with suction cups. It took a full two weeks before birds started showing up, but now small finches and red breasted birds of some variety dip their beaks into the plentiful feed and flutter away.

Joey has infinite patience. He will sit on the tussock below the window and wait hours for a landing. Once a bird comes along, he begins that cat chattering thing. I’ve read that feature could be frustration at not being able to get at their prey. I prefer to think of it as a way of talking “bird talk” to lure the winged creatures into a false sense of security.

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

When not on the beat, Joey sleeps below the feeder likely dreaming of conquests that will never occur in his waking life. I admire his tenacity. I admire his patience. This self-quarantine we are enduring has not adversely impacted our pets. If anything they benefit from extra attention, walks and (in the case of my cats) more trips to the treat jar.

I think we can take a page from Joey’s coloring book. And from all pets, for that matter. They love unconditionally (cats…well…). With infinite patience they make the most of a simple day of eating, sleeping and harmless activities. They do (I am convinced) dream of more. Perhaps of chasing butterflies through golden fields? In Joey’s case, surely not of being chased by bloodhounds.

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