I am grateful for my dear cat Finnegan. A cat is a home’s visible soul, said Jean Cocteau. If that is the case my home’s soul is visibly in need of vacuuming. I have moments when I am sweeping up pet hair from my floors and from my furniture for the fourth time on any given day, moments while I am sifting through waste-laden odour-filled kitty litter, moments while I look at the thread-bare arms of my now pathetic living room furniture and during such moments I make disparaging comments about my pets and I sometimes pause to count the years until I may be free of my so-called pet burden. Well, remember when your grandmother warned you to be careful of what you wish for? She was right.
Finnegan, my ginger-coloured feline pal, had a run-in with my neighbour’s vehicle a few days ago and Finnegan ran off into the woods to presumably greet death. I am away from home and daughter Laurie is in charge and she is an animal lover of the extraordinary variety and she is also a new mom. Her plate was full before she scooped up Abby and, with umbrella in hand, went into the woods to find poor injured, or worse, Finnegan.
Upon hearing the news of Finnegan’s traffic incident, I immediately felt regret for my regular and frequent complaints regarding cat hair and claw sharpening and litter boxes while all the kitty perfection that is Finnegan rushed to the surface.
Finnegan is not aloof nor does he behave as though he is chairman of the board. He is subtle in his behaviour. I have been chastised for allowing him to run free outdoors, but he loves being a jungle cat. He embraces the wild and though that may shorten his life, such freedom gives his life greater purpose than being confined indoors to answer my needs. When he arrives home from his adventures he likes to be welcomed into the house with a touch of ceremony. One can open the door for him but he actually needs a verbal greeting and a pat on the head before he commits himself to enter. Then, of course, he likes to have a meal ready to go, but he isn’t offensively demanding. After he has filled his tummy he likes to find a place to use his contortionist skills to fall asleep. On days when he is feeling quiet and pensive, he prefers the back of my closet behind some long prom dress that one of my daughters wore. He sleeps there until he feels restored and then he comes out and likes to interact with a small dose of affection, nothing too effusive. If I am on my bed reading he likes to lie beside and if I am at my desk he likes to snuggle behind my back on my office chair. After he feels restored it is time to return to the great outdoors, rain or shine. He’s not much for winter adventures though and is very happy to see the snow recede and his freedom restored.
When I was sure I would never see Finnegan again, I was longing for his snuggles and I convinced myself that he doesn’t shed that much and I didn’t like my sofa anyway in that it is the colour of a sickly bowl of pea soup so what harm did his scratching do in the long run. But mostly I knew my life would be incomplete without his meow at the door that said, “Here I am. I’m home.”
Finnegan used up one of his lives and seems to have come through the truck battle with only minor injuries. He and Laurie visited the vet and without fuss Finnegan allowed those in the veterinary profession to check him out. He is home and awaiting my return and I look forward to snuggling him and telling him I am so glad that he is okay and to assure him we are still in this thing together. Perhaps you could remind me of this when I next complain about the mountain of cat hair on everything. If you wouldn’t mind.