Friday, April 13, 2012
Last night my cat sauntered into my office and began dragging her behind across the carpet. I’ve seen dogs do this but never a cat, and certainly not my prissy baby girl Belle. I was aghast. I picked her up and discovered that an immediate bath was in order. Now, given that most cats loathe water, a bath is not something one attempts even under the best of circumstances. A bath on the spot was foolhardy, but I was in panic mode. I wasn’t about to set this cat down on the carpet again.
I hurried into the kitchen, carrying her outstretched as though I was holding a ticking time bomb, for in a way I was. I grabbed a bath towel and proceeded to run water as fast as I could. Belle writhed in fear and tried to scratch her way out of my grip and the impending immersion. I hastily placed her in the water and washed her, she all the while clawing at me and meowing pitifully, desperate to get out. I toweled her dry and she ran off to sulk under the table. A little while later, attempts to coax her out with FELIDAE Tidnips proved unsuccessful. I felt awful because in hindsight I didn’t handle this well, and I know I frightened her.
I was worried she’d stay mad at me, and that I had damaged our incredibly close and loving relationship. But it was done; I couldn’t unring that bell. Amazingly, when I went to bed a few hours later, Belle came in and curled up next to me by my pillow, as she does every night. And this morning, she came in and crawled up to get her hugs and love, as she does every day. She wasn’t mad anymore, and I hadn’t negatively impacted our relationship. Whew.
I think this happens to every pet owner at some point, because we’re not perfect and we screw up. We do things that our pets have every right to be angry at us for. We do things unintentionally that, if it had been a human, they might never speak to us again, because humans hold grudges and pets do not. Hold a person down and force a pill down their throat or shove them into a sink full of water – how long do you think they would stay mad at you? Longer than an hour or two, for sure.
Animals get over things so quickly. Humans can spend days, months, years…even sometime an entire lifetime fuming at people who have wronged them. Humans will stop speaking to people when they are mad at them, and some will just cut them out of their life completely and never look back. Most people have to work extremely hard to get to a point of forgiveness when they have been treated poorly; animals let it go and live in the moment. On Animal Cops, I’ve watched dogs who were neglected bounce back almost immediately and become the most loving, trusting souls to humans, despite what they went through. We can make that same choice to let things go, and many of us do but it takes great effort, and not all can do it. Some people take their anger to the grave, and sometimes it’s even what kills them.
Animals truly are the most forgiving, loving, trusting souls on earth. I have thought often about what the world would be like if humans were more like animals and had that same capacity to just “let things go” and move on. If a neglected dog could find it in their heart to trust again with no hesitation, why can’t we? If a cat that was unceremoniously shoved into a sink full of water could cuddle up next to the one who did that, mere hours later, why can’t we forgive those who act badly towards us?
Some would say it’s because we humans are so much more evolved than animals. In my heart, I think it’s just the opposite.
Photo by Julia Manzerova
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