The house seemed too empty, so I thought I was catless long enough. Off I went to the humane society to see what was available, of course, with full intent of coming home without anything just to make sure I really wanted to fill the house again.
Oh, but there they were, one all white and one all black, curled up against each other like yin and yang. How could I resist that! So home they came along with the third one that happened to be in the cage with them. (Those smart people at the HS knew number 3 would be harder to place so stuck him in with the easy goers in hope that the 3 would go as a package–sure enough I came along).
The white cat’s name was Mork—not exactly fitting, but we’ll see what he’s like before coming up with a new name. Midnight’s name fit him just fine. Number 3 was named Benny, and that didn’t fit either. He was immediately renamed to B.C. for Brave Cat because he was terrified of being pick up and hid under a bench for the first week. But, I digress, because this story is about The White Cat.
OMG! It was like a hurricane hit the house when those three arrived. They were so glad to be out of their cage they were running full speed from one end of the house to the other. Chasing, playing rough, into everything, and tackling anything that moved. It was then I decided The White Cat, should be renamed “Breezy” in a feeble attempt to tame the tornado he clearly was. His curiosity was insatiable (but, I have to admit, this made for constant entertainment). If not for the destruction that came along with it (like wall paper being torn off the walls) I would have thought it was just fine.
However, it soon became clear that in order to save the house Breezy was going to have to be let outside. I live in a wooded area a thousand feet from a two lane road, so they would have plenty of space and be relatively safe. According to their records, neither had ever been out before (there was no way BC was going out, since now he’d moved from under the bench to under the bed). And so the training began.
It was during this same time I was having a “problem” with my self life coaching in determining just when do you “let” something happen and when do you “make” something happen. I couldn’t seem to get the balance between “get-out-there-and-do-it” and “let-the-universe-guide-you”. I mean, after all, if you’re supposed to “follow your destiny”, or “do God’s will”, or “align with your higher self”, then you need to know what that is, right? Well I didn’t, and it was driving me nuts. I was feeling very fortunate that I had lots of options, at the same time I was feeling unfortunate because I had lots of options and couldn’t figure out which one to take.
Ok, back to training the cats. I bought them both pretty harnesses and leashes—red for Midnight and blue for Breezy. Midnight first! Out we went, excitement in the air, new adventures pending. “Oh, you mean I can go out here with you?” Belly to the ground he ventured out. “Holy cripe! Look at all that’s out here to explore!!”. Chasing small items was Midnights forte, so with the first bug he spotted the rest of the world disappeared and all that was left was this one small bug. Off he went, chasing it under the bushes. Remember, he’s on a leash and I can’t follow him under the bushes (something to do with being an adult human on two legs). So inevitably he got to the end of the line and it tugged on his harness. “What the …” the world came suddenly back into focus for him…”What do you mean I can’t…” at which point he laid down and refused to move. I’m thinking, “hmmph, typical cat”. Subsequent tugging on the leash and standing him up resulting in him making himself as heavy as possible and velcroing himself to the ground. Okay, that was good enough for the first outing.
“Breezy! Your turn.” (He looks so nice in his white fir coat and blue harness).
He slowly creeps up to the open door, checking everything out with all his senses—nostrils flaring, paws stepping carefully, eyes darting. “It looks safe enough”. Then the awesomeness set in. “I can go see all this stuff!!” And boldly into the unknown he went, exploring everything he possibly could. His reaction upon reaching the end of his leash, however, was different than the typical cat. “Oh, I can’t go this way? Oh, well what’s over here then? Oh, did you see that? Lets go there”. And so he went excitedly exploring his world, making a decision to go a certain way, totally unattached to the outcome, reaching the end of that path and joyfully seeking a new one.
I had my answer! Life is so much more fun and carefree when you weigh the options, make a choice, stay unattached to the outcome, and change direction if that choice didn’t work out. How easy is that? I got it! I was attaching to the outcome and therefore sweating over making the right (the RIGHT!) decision. Not the right one? So. There is so much more out there that Midnight clearly was missing out on, and Breezy was taking full advantage of. Midnight’s way—he was miserable. Breezy’s way—he was happy. Thank you, boys.
There were five or six more times of this outdoor training before I was comfortable letting them free of their tethers. Geesh, you’d have thought they’d just been let out of their cage again! Midnight darted as fast as he could go, just for the shear fun of running. Breezy chased everything at lightening speed, delving into the abilities of his cat body. After a few hours of this non-stop action, they were good boys and came when I called.
And there was peace in the house that night. Two tired and happy kitties that were content to sleep all night, and one tired caretaker that didn’t wake up once.
Breezy lived up to his new name, the tornado calmed, and he was content to go out in the morning and come in late afternoons. (Living in the woods presents too many predators at night for an all white cat to be invading the neighborhood.) He proved to be a great hunter, keeping, not only my yard, but the neighbor’s too, free of little gray things with four legs. The occasional bird would find its demise as Breezy’s lunch, and even the ermines were not safe.
During the winter he’d be in on time when I rang the bell to announce food was ready, but each summer he’d travel farther, and come in later. Once he came home covered in swamp muck. I’ll never know what happened, but he clearly got caught in the mud. I cleaned him up and he slept for three days. Whatever happened he struggled hard to get home. In spite of that incident he had great instincts on how to handle himself in the great outdoors. He knew when the owls and hawks were around and would check the sky before going out into an open area, and he knew that a mink was more than he could handle. Skunks also were to be left alone (phew, good cat, Breezy).
At night he was always home joining me in the bed with his back against my calves and, as always, on the watch. More than once he woke me up growling, letting me know there was something amiss. (I didn’t really need to know there was a raccoon in the yard, but what the heck.)
This summer of 2012 was different. Breezy was clearly roaming farther. Twice I had neighbors from farther down the street stop in and exclaim, “I know you!” when they saw the all white ball of fir squinting his smile at them. They said he would sit and look in their windows seemingly just to see what was happening. (Egads.)
We had long ago agreed that if he was going out, he had to keep himself out of harm’s way. He made it very clear then and many times since that he would rather live a short life outside than a long one inside. (I’m sure that’s why he ended up with me after two extended stays at his favorite Lollypop hotel).
He was restless. He was breaking all the rules, staying out late, and a couple of times he stayed out until late the NEXT day. He’d be in for a few minutes then be yowling to go back out again…for hours! He wouldn’t listen when I told him to be quiet (he always had before). He was clearly telling me he wanted something different. He was also clearly telling me that it was not about me and I needed to let go of what I thought should happen and allow him to be what he needed to be. (Lessons I’ve received in the past, but, evidently I didn’t get it and needed to hear it again.)
I was thinking he would find himself another home, say, one with teenage boys that would give him a challenge…silly me. He needed more. Seven years was long enough in a cat body and he had explored all he wanted to for this lifetime. He ended his life by running into a moving car on Labor Day. It broke my heart even though I knew it was to be. His other feline friends and I buried him that night while my tears watered the fresh earth and Midnight wondered, “What now?”
A very telepathically talented friend, Dawn, had a chat with him a few days later. Breezy said, “I don’t like to live for very long, it was time for me to go. What you named me was perfect, because I like to ride along where the wind takes me. I knew how to move on quickly, so you were correct, I did it on purpose, my way. By the way, how’d you like the timing?” He had orchestrated it perfectly. My day had completely rearranged itself so I was there, where he was in the road, right after it happened. I thank you Breezy for your timing. I didn’t have to worry and wonder where you were, I knew it was instant, and I knew it was what you wanted, as it always was, on your terms.
We all miss you. For the paw prints you left in our hearts, thank you, Breezy. (And don’t forget to check in once in awhile as you breeze through your next life!)