A few nights ago, Jack starts pushing his nose against us and rubbing our legs with his face as we approach him. As a classic cat declaration of ownership, this behavior is Jack claiming we belong to him.
It’s authoritative. It’s bold. It’s a way of leaving a territorial mark upon us. He never did this when we first took him in.
If you remember his journey, healing came slowly and curiously. With one eye, a broken tail, an infected mouth, and no interest in being his true cat self, he seemed half-alive.
And then, then!, he learned to purr again. He figured out how to meow and finally spoke to us one day in the kitchen. Then, he began caring for another cat. One day, he stood up to our dominant cat. A month later, instead of moping, I found him basking. Sometimes, his wounded eye would leak, and I felt like we were back to square one. He then learned to do things normal cats do that he had forgotten. Then, he bonded with our cat, Snowflake, began napping only with her, and seemed he had found his true love.
And now, he’s rising up and declaring what belongs to him.
As I think about healing processes, I’ve learned some things from Jack:
1. Wounded cats–and people–slowly find their voices.
2. They’ll cry out when they’re ready.
3. Part of healing is caring for others.
4. You have to stand up for yourself and your needs.
5. Begin to worship again. Let yourself experience beauty.
6. You’ll have setbacks.
7. You’ll remember what it feels like to be healthy.
8. You’ll find friends.
9. You’ll let yourself love and be loved again.
10. And finally, you’ll be strong enough to claim who you are and where you belong with a particular type of authority.
I love my little wounded cat.
Have you learned something about yourself from animals?