top of page
  • Jeanne Christie

Advice from a Cat

Updated: Dec 20, 2020





I was sitting in a darkened room staring at Frodo; an Aussie rescue, and wondering if I had the courage to keep him with us. Up until a month ago he had lived the first two years of his life in a hoarding environment-- outside with 20 dogs and little contact with humans.


‘Don’t expect too much,’ I kept hearing; ’Get him medicated immediately! You don’t know what he’s like. He can’t be trusted.’



After two weeks of gradual improvement, I looked into his gentle, anxious eyes. I worried that learning to get into a car or climb a staircase or even finding joy in inhabiting a house with humans, was beyond his ability. Many of the things ‘normal’ dogs do would ultimately be too much for him. Did I want a dog like that? Should he be returned to the shelter? Maybe there was a better home for him out there; or maybe a string of homes that would not work out either.


As I sat there; Connie Kitty strolled up for attention, touching noses with Frodo like she had the day he arrived. Connie is a little ball of black fluff with round owl eyes and a vacant expression. We’re not sure if she is a genius or a total airhead. But she was, I realized, an expert on a life lived in intolerable conditions.


For the first three years of her life, Connie lived with 90 other cats. She was rescued and lived at a shelter for another year. Then she came to us.



The first week we kept her in a bedroom closed off from the cat and dog already part of our household. She spent it mostly on top of the built-in dresser drawers in the closet. Gradually, we let her see the other animals; finally, we left her door open all the time. She stayed where she was; rarely leaving her high, safe hideaway and never venturing out the bedroom door. I realized it might be a long time before she did.


Her long fur was beginning to matt and snarl so one evening I carried her into the bathroom with a comb and shut the door. I combed; she ran away; I combed; she leapt into the shower; I combed; she fled; over and over; around and around. I didn’t get frustrated; I didn’t try to hold her; I just kept following her. Slowly she paused longer and longer until she settled quietly on a rug calm and relaxed and let me comb her.


When I opened the door, she walked out and never returned to the dresser drawers. She’s been the queen of her domain ever since—bossing around the other animals; demanding attention, and cuddling against my neck at night.


But normally, she doesn’t like strange dogs-- only venturing out when they are gone or (if we are dog sitting) after becoming resigned to their continued presence.


Not so with Frodo; she was nose to nose greeting him shortly after his arrival. And she has followed me to visit with him time after time ever since.



I don’t know why combing her fur gave Connie kitty the courage to embrace her new home. I don’t know why she is fearless and affectionate towards Frodo. Has she decided to become a therapy cat for dogs? Is that even a thing?


Is she a genius or a total airhead?


What I do know that she had the courage and resilience to move on from a miserable start to becoming a happy, ‘normal’ cat; and she seems to be telling me that Frodo can too.


I’ve always believed in listening to experts—no matter how fluffy!



29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page