Cat’s Eyes

When I was growing up all the dogs and cats were kept outside. I felt like a cat. When I was fairly young I used to pin a tail on my onesie pajamas and crawl around. My mother wasn’t happy – but didn’t do anything about the fact – that my tail had been plucked from her ermine stole which had tails on one end and little feet on the other. Fewer tails after my interest was satisfied.
No animals in the house except for dead ones. I was merely making up for lost fur.
Now there are no dead ones anywhere, not in the closet, not in the house. But there is no shortage of fur. When Ann Landers was alive and writing there would often be someone she wrote to who was complaining about going to someone’s house and being disgusted when their cats climbed on the counters and the dogs licked the plates. ┬áIn my householding experience the plates the dogs lick are still on the table and the cats often share as well – after walking on every surface available. How often have my family had conversations while looking under cats’ bellies!
My point though is that in my identification with cats, dogs and other outsiders, I missed the mark of the middle road. In turning my attention to my parents’ behaviors I lost the choice for my own.
It’s possible that in a balanced world I might have chosen a boundary or two with my companion animals. Perhaps I might have seen that unleashing (!) every behavior and letting them run all over was not any kind of compassionate living. Ask Paula’s sister who keeps herself very quiet and is a very good sport about life at our table and kitchen.
And if I had a crack at an ermine stole these days, I’d probably do the same thing. Including the crawl – I’d have to get the onesie though.

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