You Rock My World!

It’s laundry day #2, and I’m tackling the bedding in my bedroom.  As usual, my two faithful helpers have been ever-present, inspecting every detail and nuance of the process.  In stripping the pillowcases and sheets, and separating the down comforter from its cover to wash it, I had several typical cat reactions from Toby and Timba. The natives were restless indeed! Toby hopped from spot to spot on the bed to evade the “dangers” of me pulling and wadding sheets. Like a faithful “tree” kitty as opposed to a “bush” kitty, he hopped on the top bookshelf for a “safe” view of the ordeal.  Timba, on the other hand, was fully participative, white whiskers prominently displayed and pink nose at every turn. When I returned to my room from putting the bedding in the washer, Timba was sitting on the bare bed with the most bewildered expression on his face.

At this point I laughed, a good hearty one too, because Timba’s face said it all: You rocked my world!  And how true is it? The most minute changes cannot escape the attention of a cat.  And let’s face it, change is not something any cat is keen on. Environmental change can be intriguing at best and devastating at worst.  From the small things like changing the sheets, opening mail, bringing in groceries or new items in boxes, to the big changes like a trip to the vet and that ominous car ride, or moving apartments or homes altogether. Cats … do … not … like … change. It rocks their world!

But you know what? As much as we can rock the world of a cat in big and small ways alike, they also can rock our world.  Having once lived with a roommate where we peaked at 8 cats together, I have had plenty of time and opportunity to observe “cat nature” at its finest. It’s the little things that amuse me, the little things that delight me: the “eye blink” (or cat “I love you”) for example.  Now that I know that this is how cats communicate affection or acceptance, Timba and I regularly exchange affection in this endearing way. Or Timba’s paw bump to say “hey”, or tapping a paw from my side or behind me to say “gimme some love mom”, or Toby’s odd meow that is more like a prolonged “meh”, or Timba’s “Mike Tyson” high-pitched meow elicited from that big brutish body. From Toby’s sophisticated paw drinking method to Timba’s subtle eye and ear signals that say “you’re pissing me off human” (which I do intentionally quite often because it’s so darn cute and amusing), they rock my world.

The big things do as well, like the fact that I seriously considered getting rid of Toby to spare him from Timba’s early harassment phase.  Or the time that Timba chased a paper wad over the side of the bed facing the wall and suddenly went quiet.  He had gotten stuck upside down. I knew something was wrong, called his name, heard him struggle, and just as I lunged to rescue him he came struggling back up the bed and literally gasped for air for the longest minute or two ever. I can never forget that day, and about tear up just writing this. It was such a scare, rocking my world so bad that even a few months later when he flies over that side of the bed to chase Toby or toys I tense up and listen for signs that he’s moving on elsewhere, despite now keeping the bed a safe distance from the wall.

I love my two cats. I really do – they rock my world and have changed me. Life is better, my perspective is better, my heart is better. I’m so glad I can rock their world too, because the ways in which they react to it rock my world in turn, giving me moments of laughter I will forever cherish.

 

My Two Cats Gets A Face Lift

My Two Cats got a face lift the other day – a little cosmetic improvement courtesy of the new ability to adjust font and colors.  I like the new look I have, but feedback is welcome. If you follow me, you’ll see that I’ll play with the font and color from time to time, perhaps around seasonal times or significant things.  For example, April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, and it is represented by the color orange. I went “orange” on Facebook, but I’ll withhold it here as the month is nearly gone!

Other improvements which I hope are on the horizon include writing and content changes, such as being more relevant and consistent.  I apologize for my slump and gaps between posts.  Unemployment and a long season of financial struggle, whether employed or not, has really “had my number”.  I’ve joined the 2 week WordPress 201 class to learn how to be a better blogger, and I’m hoping that the experience will be a positive outcome for me and readers alike.  I love WordPress and the community feel to it.  I’ve tried other blog sites and they just don’t compare.

I’ve had more success so to speak through WordPress and the two blogs I have here.  I can’t say if it’s the timing, the content, or any number of factors.  However, I can say that the interaction between bloggers, and the support and involvement of WordPress employees definitely plays a role in how My Two Cats (and Coffee With Jesus) are viewed and received. It’s a great place to “hang out”, meet new people of an amazing variety of beliefs and interests, and a great place to share my two wonderful furbabies and life with them.

So I hope the new look is fun and inviting, and I hope that the changes that will unfold in time will come together to make a more enjoyable place for readers to visit and interact. I will also be updating pictures and pages, so be on the lookout for recent pictures of the lovely boys that inspire me and inspired the birth of My Two Cats!

Cheers to face lifts and growth on the inside and out!

Happy Grooming 🙂

Sara

Beyond The Threshold of Fear Is A Better Life

Life with cats is wonderful, from laughter at their quirks and antics, to a tendered blooming heart at their sweetness. But one thing I find odd is the parallels that sometimes occur. It takes some introspective thought to see these sometimes, but maybe I see them more because I’m thoughtful and observant, quite like a cat.

So the most amazing thing happened here in Toby and Timba land. After 5 months of living in our new apartment, fearful Toby ventured out of my bedroom. The night before I decided to take him out and close my bedroom door. I placed the food and water bowls, along with the pop-up tunnel and cube configuration, into the hall area which for 5 months has been the Hall of Doom to Toby. He wasn’t out for long, and he stayed primarily by my door, crouched as low to the ground and as close to the door that he could get. After about 30 minutes I just gave up and opened the door and into the bedroom he fled.

Was it this exercise of forced confrontation, or was it the discouragement that must have seeped off of me when I let him back in to his personal chosen confines? I don’t know, but yesterday evening a loud bang against the bathroom door surely wasn’t just Timba. Lately Toby has come far enough out of my room for a little chase fest with Timba. Usually he scurries right back into the bedroom. But alas, too far from the door to close it, in walked Timba as usual. Why do cats feel the need to be with us in our ‘litter box’?

Suddenly, I see a grey head peep around the door frame, checking anxiously to and fro for danger danger danger, then in walks Toby to inspect the bathroom. Yay for a total breakthrough. Even better: later that evening Toby came out into the living room all on his own, and while crouched low to the ground, lean and long with outstretched neck, he indeed explored the entire area. He has been out of the room now all day today, finally living in the courage that cats are made to live in, and finally comfortable that this whole place is his whole home.

I,too, have been forced to confront my fears of the great unknown. I found out last Friday that my outsourced company is downsizing, so my position will be ending. While I will get one month of severance pay, the great unknown is still scary. There are interviews to be had, following devoted searches, cover letters, and postings of my resume. I have a few leads, and I have surprisingly little of the anxiety that I may typically have had in other seasons of life.

It is the shove that put me where I had previously been wanting to go on my own: into a position with better income and a better workplace culture. I love my 2 fellow outsourced employees, but for many months now we have been on separate floors and I am alone, virtually, on the floor with all of the folks who work and act like family. For some reason, it is just how they are: consciously or subconsciously keeping the outsourced outsider out of the inner loop. The isolation, frankly, has been a daily dying to me. I am sociable by nature – personable, connecting, highly valuing of people and relationships.

So thank God for that little shove. Thank God that Toby responded to his own little shove. Together we each venture out into places more exciting, more spacious and liberal and relationally healthy. I know Toby will thrive more, because his courage, confidence, and sense of ownership will increase as he settles into the Great Beyond. And I am only hoping (hoping and hoping) that my own Great Beyond carries an income that will not only relieve the years of stress and struggle, but allows me to have those few but very essential things for my own relief and happiness. There are cat trees and djembes and steel drums to be bought, there are drum workshops and maybe even guitar lessons to be had. There is the vet fund to be created, and aging parents to be helped. And for once in about 5 years, there is a Christmas in which I might actually be able to buy my friends and family some presents.

Come Out of Hiding

At the start of my blogging journey I wrote on New Beginnings, as I’d recently moved into a transitional arrangement while waiting for my new apartment to become available. Alas the time has come and gone. Moving weekend was this past weekend, and boy what an exhausting endeavor.  I pushed my limited body to limits I may not have experienced since my 20’s. 

After about four hours of moving on Friday, and nine grueling hours on Saturday, I packed up the kitties in their respective crates and took them and the litter boxes last.  This time Toby was the quiet one on the ride over and Timba meowed that deeper sorrowful-sounding meow that only car rides can evoke.

They both were somewhat prepared due to the hustle and bustle that occured over the weekend.  Cats always notice when something in their home is new or out of order, and there was a lot of shifting of items on the weekend.  On Saturday they both hid under the kitchen cabinets as more and more things disappeared, maybe knowing that they somehow would also disappear.

Hardly able to bend anymore after moving, I stooped to get Timba and crated him without trouble. However, I didn’t realize how big he’d gotten since he was last in the crate. Actually it’s a pink bag – perhaps an affront to male kitties, but better for me than the leopard one or the expensive one.  With Timba looking like Shaq stuffed into a Prius, a la Paris Hilton, I turned to stoop for Toby. I had to use his tail to help gather him because he’d lodged himself in the farthest corner of the shelf possible.

He made nary a sound as I stood up  holding him. I had to laugh at his fear-induced submissive posture. Not only was his tail tucked completely under, but his entire body had curled in such a way that no matter how long I held him there he stayed firmly in the shape of a large grey “C”.  Poor poor Tobias.  My scared little guy, fearful of change.

I must remark that he has adapted better to this move than the temporary move a month ago. He actually came out of my bedroom Saturday evening and a little on Sunday. However, Sunday was a bit of a push on my part, as I closed all the doors so he would have to remain in the living room. That may have been premature, because he has since then been in hiding, last seen darting under the couch.

Toby didn’t sleep with me last night even though I kept my bedroom door open. This morning he was nowhere to be found, so I tried coaxing him out with a cheerful “treat, treat!” but to no avail. I was, and still am worried. My darker side and imagination have given me a case of the “what ifs”. Did he run out when no one was looking? Is he sick and unable to move? Will I assume for a few days that he’s under the couch, only to have my heart sink perilously at death’s first odor?

How I wish Toby weren’t hiding again. I was so happy to see him acting normal Saturday night, being himself. My heart delighted in each trip to my bedroom, for there was Toby eager to greet me, jumping on the bed, belting meows, beseeching me for affection. Yet how sad I am since he’s been in hiding. I love my Toby Bear, I miss his precious being, who and how he is. And here is where I began to think and feel deeper, about the topic of hiddenness.

I was once in hiding, on the inside. After 32 years of life and gradual coming out of myself, I exited hiddenness fully when I opened my heart to God. How delighted he was that I was out in the open, out of the dark cabinets, corners and couches of my inner world. He who loves my being – who and how I am – was happy to see me in the open being who I am. Not hiding, but shining, sharing, blooming, and becoming.

I know that I’ve hidden off and on since that experience, and I also know that God cheerfully calls me out just as I called “treat, treat!” for Toby. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Isolation and self-inversion are fear-based, protective behaviors. But when we overcome hiddenness, not only do we experience being known, loved, and enjoyed, but we get to make others happy simply by being who we are.

So if you know what I’m talking about, if you’re maybe in a season of isolation, may I say to you “come out of hiding”. Be who you are out in the open, because you make life better, you are missed by someone who really enjoys the pleasure of your company.

New Beginnings

A song I like ends with the well sung lyrics “Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

I like new beginnings, but I don’t typically like the endings that are necessary for new beginnings. It has to do with change.  I like positive changes for sure, I hate negative changes always, and the process of change? Well, that’s hard either way for me usually.  Perhaps I’m a creature of habit.  A creature of comfort.  This only seems natural given our human origins in a place as warm and sustaining as a womb.  And the trauma of  birth completely sets the tone for human resistance to change. Duh! I am merely obeying the laws of nature.  I am merely acting like … a cat?

Cats are definitely creatures of comfort and habit.  And most of them do not respond well to changes.  Toby and Timba have had a major change recently.  I have moved from one rooming situation to another, and the one that I am in now is only temporary until my new apartment becomes available.  So Toby and Timba have a new human roommate and a completely new apartment, which includes sights and sounds and smells oh my!

Timba, ever the adventurer, has adapted well.  He curiously walks about the apartment, acquainting himself with all surfaces and rubbing his scent on anything worthy of his special marking. He has even laid down beside my new roommate and doesn’t flinch, run, or hide when she initiates interaction.

Toby on the other hand, is a different story. They are as night and day in basic personality, and with regards to changes.  As a Russian Blue, Toby has a special dislike of change, and he has let me know quite plainly that he is in no way happy with my life-altering, world-shattering decision.  He communicates via non-communication.  He is incognito, MIA, under the chair or under the bed.  All day.  Every day.  For 2 days now.  He has come out at night, behind the closed door bedroom, and for a night I thought ‘old Toby’ was back.  He brushed against me, leaned into the petting, sat in my arms, and curled up like he did as a kitten – in the crook of my arm while I lay on my side.

That was Saturday night. Then came Sunday: no Toby all day.  Sunday night was similar to Saturday night, but with a bit of Timba-induced twist.  Timba, who has thusfar been calm and accepting of Toby’s reticence, decided enough is enough. It’s time to quit your sulking and come out and play Tobias! Behind closed doors became the setting of a romper room gone awry.  It is unknown how many times I awoke in the night to hisses and growls and frantic racing over my (thankfully) covered body.

Now Monday has come and nearly gone, and Toby remains under the bed as of 10pm.  He is not a happy camper to say the least.  It took him 2 months or more to get to a mild acceptance of Timba.  I fear that just as he is coming around at this apartment, it will be time to move into the new and permanent apartment.  Poor, poor Tobias.  I wonder what his diary would look like?

Probably a bunch of hiss words, spiteful spraying, the paper shredded just enough to show anger while still making the words legible.

Sleep well little guy. I may see you again in the middle of the night.

P.S. Yes, Timba will be in there with us. Again.