I’ve been putting off attaching a name to my cat.
Oh yeah, I got a cat.
He’s three. I got him from the SPCA during moving season, the time in the city where tons of leases expire and upwards of 50 pets a day are left abandoned in shelters. I’ve been thinking about getting a cat for a while now. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity.
They gave me a special travelling box to bring him home in and loaded me up with the gear I needed—special litter garbage as a free gift? I’ll take it.
He was terrified on the metro ride home. I felt the hard cardboard walls expand and almost give way as he scurried around inside to find shelter from the noise, from the unknown. I tried to provide it for him.
I got him home and made a special hiding place for him before opening him up and letting him out.
He found his own place, even further into the closet than I had thought of. Figures.
I didn’t see him in the daylight for another couple of days. He would hide under my futon and come out only at night.
He was getting used to his new space. The new walls of this apartment that now bind him in.
Because it’s the boundaries that give us a canvas to create our freedom.
He would come out only with the bedroom door closed, and proceed to purr all over me. It took him a few more days to wander out into the rest of the house.
He’s getting comfortable now, but I still haven’t been able to regularly call him by a name.
I didn’t like the one he had. I figure cats will respond to the quality of my voice if they’re in the mood and that a name is kind of superfluous for an independent feline.
I’ve settled on one now, but I’m still hesitant to use it.
I’m hesitant to accept the boundary that calling something by a name creates, the walls and structure put into place. I’m scared.
We have that in common.
A name means that there’s something there, something existing between us. Part of me wonders if I’m ready for this.
Days ago we sat together. I brushed his endlessly shedding fur and watched his smiling face. I could feel my heart expanding, encouraged by the rumbling vibrations of his purrs. I could feel him making a place for himself inside of it.
The boundaries of this heart have been firmly shut lately. This sudden opening brought a gust of air scattering dust that’s been settled for months. The forceful whirling hurt, revealing pain of healing scars.
That’s what love does.
My heart can open for this precious fur-being and clear away stubborn holding pain. Both can’t exist in the same place, they each transform each other.
His name is Eustace now. Fruitful.
He is my new companion that I will venture onward with.
Together we’ll define and redefine the boundaries of our hearts. And we’ll expand them, too, with every whistling breeze that blows the old ones down.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: via author