I've learned a lot from Truman the cat. He has been lounging around our lives for about sixteen years and I have watched this guy get exactly what he wants out of life. We house, feed, medicate, and offer Truman unconditional love. He acts like he’s a guest at the Grand Feline Hotel. Truman might eat and sleep here but he offers no detectable services beyond purring and looking cute. (Just so we're clear, purring is not a viable service.)
Our initial intention was to have a stalker cat around the house that would scare the rats and mice out of the yard. This used to be orchard and we have lots of vermin around here. This was a total fail. Truman is not interested in chasing mice, Truman is interested in sleeping in the sun, back scratches, and eating his cat food.
We adopted Truman from the Humane Society. The whole family went together to select our new pet. Truman attacked Larry’s finger when he touched the cage and that was his only stroke of genius. We barely passed the pet owner exit interview that you must complete before adopting a cat. (If not adopted, Truman would be put down, but that doesn't concern those in charge at the humane society.) They frown on families with children (we had four), owners of additional pets (we had a dog and goldfish), and people who work forty hours a week. They want you solely focused on the needs of the cat. When Larry reached the end of his patience he calmly explained, "I plan on keeping this cat half starved, so he becomes a deadly stalker cat, that is motivated to kill the over-sized rats in my yard." The room fell completely silent. I sent Larry on a quest for water, as soon as he was out of the room, I told those people a total fib. I said we plan on pampering this cat every day of his life, which ended up being a true statement, I just didn’t know it at the time. I dashed off a check and grabbed up Truman before Larry came back with my water and screwed the whole deal.
Something else I’ve learned from Truman is how to obscure the truth. Truman is complicit in many defiant acts around the house and then he acts like I’m the problem. This is an incredibly useful skill especially in a marriage. He knocks over my water glass then glares at me for leaving it on the night stand. If I don’t immediately make the bed, he’ll climb up, and sleep on my pillow. When I chase him off he’s annoyed at me for disturbing his nap. If I don’t keep his food bowl filled to an acceptable level, he will meow until I fix the issue, even if it’s 2:00 am. Strangely enough, Larry and Truman have forged a special bond, and I have to believe it is due to their common interests.
We love this old cat, he’s part of the family, and I think that’s the most important lesson I’ve learned from Truman. Your value is not in what you do, your value is immutable, and indelibly imprinted on the hearts of those who love you. You are loved because you breathe, you exist, and that you landed on our doorstep is our good fortune.
Do you have a beloved pet? Leave a comment or two.
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