Animals are therapeutic. Most of us would agree with this statement, and as a therapist I always advise my clients that a pet can be a great help in steadying the self and cleaving negative feelings. Except in cases where I believe the client may cause, usually through negligence, the death of the animal.
I have certain misgivings though, about a particular pet choice my clients often make. I refer, as some may have guessed, to the American house cat.
Cats are adorable. I don’t deny this. When we pet them, and they purr, and slink here and there, we feel pleasure. However, can any of us honestly say we have a found a cat to be reliable? “I can always count on my cat when I get home.” Some people might feel this way, but they’re wrong. This is a false belief. Cats are hit or miss. They tend to emerge when they want something. Food, typically.
I have worked with many men of middle age who found themselves unable to connect with a partner in a meaningful way. These clients tended to flee relationships when trouble arose, but equally as often when they merely found themselves beginning to feel attached or reliant to the other person. Many times, these people bemoan their own loneliness and express the want for something lasting, but they are unable to overcome their natural inclination otherwise. This is what I see, when I look to the behavior of cats. Cats are natural commitment-phobes. So, what to do with them?
I would never advise anyone drown their cat. Unless supernatural forces are involved. So we will need another solution.
Thus, to the cat world, I submit the following offer:
Dear cats, we enjoy your company and the touch of your soft fur. We care about you and want you to be happy. But neither of us are going to live forever. Right, cats? Life is short. Especially yours. So, all cats, in the world, I challenge you. I challenge you to take a step you are afraid of. Come near to us, and not just for meat byproducts and back-scratching. Don’t run away from your feelings, or ours. I want this to be a spiritual journey for all of you, and hold your paw as we take risks together. Please understand though, this offer isn’t forever. It’s now or never, and we, the people of earth, won’t hold our breath.
If you can’t meet us halfway, we will have to move on, and you will have to return to the wild where you’ll live only by your wits and ability to compete with other animals.
And we will drown at least some of you.
So, think about it. The choice is yours. We’re opening our hearts to you, and want nothing more than to welcome you inside of us. We do love you, cats.
I want to love cats, but I need to protect my heart too. I am strong enough to make the right choice.