It happened when a friend said something about my cat. Now she just happens to live on the other side of the village. At the time, I hadn’t told her about my cat, so how she got to know about her is a mystery, but that’s life in a village. Word gets around. You see, the driver of the car which had stopped happened to be her neighbour, and so the story snuck out. If only that few interesting things happen in small villages and animals are cute. You see, they’d had to stop their car because a cat was sitting in the middle of the road. Being good citizens they got out, moved the cat to the pavement and phoned her owner.
That was me picking up the phone.
I knew that Mina could face down any other cat, and dogs ten times her size. She just sits with an air of authority that is truly regal – now you know why she’s called Wilhelmina, after the Queen of the Netherlands. Mina for short and you can imagine why I chose the name. This regal attitude becomes something of a problem with motorcars: she treats them as she does any other animal.
She sits there and expects them to behave. What’s more, the car duly did.
Three kilos of cat faces down three hundred kilos of car along with its driver and passengers. Not bad, eh? One up to Mina, then.
Only I had not a clue as to why my cat would be sitting in the middle of the road! Was it a death wish? A need to impress her authority on any passing vehicle? What was it?
It was some real brain-strain to reverse engineer this pattern of behaviour. I can tell you, it took me a while.
The point is that I could only make mistakes with my cat – letting her out the door in this instance – and finding out what she’d do. What’s more, a cat’s in no position to help either. From the occasional yowl which means “I’m hungry” to a kind of gruff barking that says “hurry up with my dinner” (am I the only person to have a cat that barks?) to a cat-noise that can mean anything from “put me down” to “pick me up” to “open the bloody door, will you?”.
I had nothing to go by!
Which is the problem we face with animals. One really needs decades of experience, like my sister who owns horses and visits the vet for a second opinion. And this vet corresponds with her when faced with a puzzling case. Having been an accidental cat owner – I was adopted one Saturday afternoon – my being a cat owner was as sudden as it was unexpected. Well, that morning, I knew little about cats and never thought I’d need to know. By that afternoon I was in much the same position save that the need to know was now a more pressing issue!
Looking At This From The Other Direction.
It’s like the way my neighbour expects to be respected even though his dogs poop on the lawns outside my garden. “What can one do?” he says “They’re dogs, and dogs do what dogs do. I’m only human”.
After all, it’s well known that dogs can’t be trained. They are just like cats in this respect. What is it about the kind of person who can’t train a dog? Watch some of them, they tell the dog to sit and it looks at them with an endearing expression. So they smile back because they know this is a sign that it loves them. They ask again and the dog wags its tail and is patted on the head.
Then the owner breaks, they say “sit” and uses their hand to press on the dog’s behind. This forces the animal to sit. Obviously the dog has become used to this, so waits until forced in order to do as it was bid. After all, the owner never made the effort to train their dog to sit on command and the dog doesn’t know any different. After all, it’s not hard to train a dog to sit, but then, there’s that ever convenient excuse that it can always wait for the next dog they own, right? My neighbour’s on his third dog now, and this is by far his worst.
Because you know as well as I do that a dog can be trained. Some breeds of dog are easier to train than others, but that’s a detail. A dog is a dog. But they can only be trained if the person is aware enough to train their dog in the first place. An untrained dog has an untrained owner, as it were. Someone who forces their dog will not have much time for training in any department, including their own.
But then, a dog poops in the street. Humans have an awareness of this part of their lives, even if they daren’t ever speak about such things. This is especially true in our world where people are used to both getting their own way and being praised for doing so. It is a wonderful place to live, where the bunnies live contented lives in cages with lettuce leaves poked through the gaps at regular intervals.
The Comfort Zone
We are human beings, and as such have a responsibility that lies well outside our own immediate comfort zone – even if we don’t mean to. I had no intention that the gossip about my cat would spread like a bushfire. Only I know it is a nice life to be a bunny, to sit and consume the lettuce leaves of Steiner’s lectures that are pushed through the bars that are the days we’re allowed off work. But then, with the cage door closed, one doesn’t hear the gossip, does one.
The Consciousness Soul: Links To Other Parts In This Series.
Part 1 Conversation In Goethe’s Time And Ours.
Part 2 Mina Starts Gossip.
Part 3 Biting Criticism
Part 4 Deliberately Losing An Argument.
Part 5 What Are We Doing When We Act On Our Gut Instincts.
Part 6 Following In King Midas’ Footsteps.