Tuesday, December 30, 2008

3 Things I Learned From My Fat Cat

We have two wonderful cats. Fly, older by a year, is the "normal" cat, who tends to sleep most of the time. Cootie, on the other hand, is a handful. He seems to have a personality bigger than his slightly-large cat body, and he has taught me much about life as a result.

1. There is such a thing as a "slow metabolism"
Cootie is decidedly "plump" (AKA "fat"). This is interesting given that we feed our two cats the exact same diet, and Fly is thin ... actually, she is scrawny. I have asked several vets about this phenomenon, and they all answered me matter-of-factly, that "he just has a slower metabolism." Ah-ha! As a child, I was always on the plump side, and as an adult I have to really work to stay within a healthy weight range. I can't tell you how reassuring it has learn that animals (and people) truly do have different metabolisms, and some of us are just naturally a little plumper than others.

2. Strong preferences are a tough burden to bear
Cootie is aggressive in his love of me - he sleeps on my pillow at night and next to my keyboard by day. He follows me around the house and is a very loving (if annoying) cat. However, he doesn't like other people, and the feeling is mutual. He tolerates my husband and daughter, but only barely. In short; he has very poor people skills. As a child, I was taught to treat all people equally and with respect, but Cootie can't learn this lesson. Instead, he sticks to his guns and doesn't pretend to like other people. There have been a few times in my business that I haven't listened to my instincts and have engaged a client that abuses my good nature and desire to help. Although I don't want to be exactly like Cootie, I do hope to develop more discernment about certain people.

3. Try, try, try again (and possibly still fail)
Cootie was rescued from a grim kittenhood. When we received him, he had been abandoned, and had a giant tummy full of worms and little else. As a result of some abuse, he has trouble seeing properly; his pupils don't dialate normally. Thus, he is often unable to do simple "cat" tasks like jumping up on a ledge or between two points the first time he tries. In fact, sometimes it takes him 10-15 tries before he makes the jump he's shooting for. Sometimes he doesn't make it at all. It was his grim determination to succeed even in the face of adversity that attracted us to him in the first place. Thus, I see that sometimes even things that should be "natural" and "inbred" can be challenging for us as individuals, and that it's OK to keep trying, and even to fail completely. In the end, he's still a good cat, even if he can't perch on a precarious ledge like Fly does.

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