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June 6, 2017

What my Cat Taught me about Love.

I used to tell my ex-wife, “Loving me is like loving a feral cat.” 

I didn’t trust anyone and I didn’t want to let people get too close to me. Most of the time, I preferred solitude. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to love—it was that I didn’t always know how to love well.

Sometimes, I would love too much and put my partner’s needs above my own. At other timesI didn’t connect with the person I was trying to date, but I would continue to date her until I was constantly angry. My relationships were typically extreme, and they usually ended in me crying on the floor apologizing to the person I was with before I finally ended the dead relationship.

Sadly, I have had many toxic relationships with ill-fitting partners.

It was time for my life to change—I felt it in my bones. My relationship patterns were wilting me spiritually, but I was clueless about how to change. I needed a friend but I was having a lot of trouble with trusting others and making new friends in a big city.

I moved to Chicago the month prior for a relationship that ended as fast as it began. My heart was a mess. There were many days I didn’t want to get out of bed.

I decided to adopt a cat—it seemed like the most logical choice.

When I brought my adopted cat, Magic, home, she hid under the bed for almost two weeks. I was worried that I might have made the wrong choice.

“What if she never comes out,” I thought. They warned me when I adopted her that she was very shy. Slowly, she finally started to creep into the same room. I bribed her with cat treats to hang out; eventually, it worked.

When she started to come into the bed she would get very excited and scratch and bite my hand. I knew that she wanted to play, to be pet, and loved, but Magic didn’t know how to love and be loved yet. She was found on the street with her kitten, according to her adoption papers. Her origins are unknown, but I could tell by her behaviors and adoption notes that she had a rough start.

I saw parts of myself in her. I needed to learn to be loved, also. Little by little, we learned to trust each other.

Over time she started to calm down and she would fall asleep in my arms. She now likes to be held like an infant, or to curl up in my lap while I am writing. She is still somewhat skittish with strangers, but she is friendly and full of personality once she gets to know people. She rarely scratches and bites now except when she is very excited. She comes to me every morning to say hello and snuggle. She is my loyal cat. We bond more each day. I wasn’t a cat person until her; she converted me. I am now a proud cat lady.

We are both still a little bit feral at times, but we are learning how to love well each day—both to each other and to others.

There is a quote by Veronica Roth from the book Allegiant that says, “Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”

~

Author: Jennifer Money 
Image: Milada Vigerova/Unsplash
Editor: Leah Sugerman

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