Saying Yes to a Cat's Life

I'm trying to do a Lenten study with this book, 40-Day Journey with Parker Palmer. Today's entry began with the Loren Eiseley story called "The Star Thrower." It seems that Eiseley once spent some time in a seaside town.

Insomnia drove him in the early morning hours to walk along the beach where he saw townspeople killing starfish that had washed up on the shore overnight. They killed them every day for commercial purposes. One morning, he woke up even earlier than usual, and this time as he walked the beach he noticed a solitary figure. This man was gathering starfish as well, but each time he found one alive, he'd pick it up and throw it as far as he could out beyond the breaking surf, back to the ocean where it could live. Eiseley named this man 'the star thrower.' He realized that the star thrower's predawn work contradicted everything Eiseley had been taught about evolution and the survival of the fittest. Here on the beach the strong reached down to save, not crush, the weak. And Eisely wonders: Is there a star thrower at work in the universe, a God who contradicts death, a God whose nature is 'mercy within mercy within mercy?' (to quote Thomas Merton).

The lesson made me think of a couple of things. Carrie Newcomer's song, There's a Mean Kind of Justice Coming Down floated in my mind, especially that part where she sings "There's a goodness on this earth that will not die. It bares all; it's seen it all, and still it survives. I know we have failed, but I've seen that we can fly. There' a goodness on this earth that will not die."

That "goodness on the earth that will not die" is the goodness of saying Yes to life.
Like my friend Seeker Executive who continues to say Yes to life despite having lost her mother and several dear friends in the recent past. Blows, all. People hugely important in her life, and now they're gone. But she's responded by going to meditation and renewing her efforts to live in the present. She says Yes to life every day. I thought of her his morning and gave thanks for her energy on this earth.

And I thought of Hobbes, the cat that came with David when we married. My exact thought was "Hobbes is Life as well, and I should say Yes to that Life."

Lately this cat, who was fixed years ago, has been driving me crazy. After two years of being married to David, and two years of living here in our home, Hobbes started to pee on the carpet. We've tried everything. Locking him up in the laundry room. Making sure his litter box is clean. David finally took him to the vet who pronounced him in good health and gave us some female hormones to give him weekly. Didn't help. He's still peeing on the carpet. Not every day, not even every week, but enough so that it stresses me out. Every time I come home and we let him out, I keep thinking, OK, where is he? is he behaving himself? When I get up in the morning I think, OK, did he pee in the laundry room again? (He likes to pee on the door to the garage, not in his litter box which is inches away.) I don't know. I really don't want to live with this cat anymore, but no one else would take him, and David loves him like a child. Ugh.

I know there are some real cat lovers out there: What is your advice?

I want to say Yes to life, to reach down and say Yes to a life weaker than my own, but this cat is making it difficult for me!!


Paula said…
I love the Star Thrower story. It's so rich and amazing - thank you for sharing it with all of us.

About Hobbes...I don't know much about cats, but maybe he just wants attention. It sounds a little like a child acting out; it doesn't really care if it gets "good" attention or "negative" attention.

I know our cat, Stinger, used to plop himself squarely on anything we'd be reading as if to say "hey, you, I am much more important than what you seem to be staring at!"
Love P. Palmer and I am using the same book for Lent...I am a few days behind in getting started but looking forward to it.

Sorry to hear about Hobbs...inappropriate urination issues are quite frustrating to deal with.
Terri said…
My daughter's cat has done the same thing for years. I have threatened to "put her down" - but that is always out of anger....sigh..

We are learning how to eliminate the opportunities for this cat to pee in inappropriate places...but I am convinced she will find opportunities until she dies. (she likes bath mats in the bathroom and piles of clothes, ie don't leave anything crumpled up on the floor)...

Can you put something over the spot she is peeing on? Can you put her food there? Or something else that will deter her?

And secondly, some cats like having more than one litter pan. Perhaps you could add a second pan next to the existing one, or in another part of the house, maybe that will help?
Jan said…
I wouldn't know how to eliminate cat urinating. Our old cocker has peeing problems and we give her a daily pill to "dry" her up. Don't think that would work for a cat though. Every so often our cat puts soft poop on the bathroom rugs, as the bathroom is her "bedroom." Yuck.

I really like Parker Palmer.

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