I have always shared my life with cats, yet nothing could have prepared me for the stray cat who found his way into my life, heart and soul. He showed up from nowhere, sitting squarely on my front steps, like a Romanesque statue.
Upon closer examination, he was a disheveled orange tabby cat with a severe case of ear mites, frost bite on his feet bottoms and a left eye cataract, which appeared to emit laser beams. Although he looked rough on the outside, he had an inner radiance and we had an undeniable soul connection.
In time, I named him Teddy – the name meaning “gift from god” – yet, to anyone looking in from the outside, he was anything but a gift. He covered everything in the house with a coarse coat of orange hair and was violent towards my other animals, making it necessary to keep him in a special part of the house. He figured out how to open doors by standing on his hind feet, holding his front paws together over the door knobs, then wriggling them back and forth. I had never seen a cat so adept at breaking rules, but his antics taught me patience and perseverance in ways I never imagined.
Teddy was extremely food motivated, too. One day, as I leaned over the kitchen counter eating my last bite of cheeseburger, it suddenly disappeared. I looked on the counter and floor below me, but it was nowhere to be found. I looked to my left and sitting on the kitchen counter was Teddy with his cheeks bulging out.
In a single moment, Teddy had jumped onto the counter, used one of his long slender paws to swipe my last bite of cheeseburger and scooped it directly into his mouth.
Over time, Teddy’s transformation has inspired my own personal growth and plans to create a holistic animal sanctuary. Once established, it will be the result of a typical barn cat, who in reality is one of my greatest teachers. Some people say those who love animals do not have enough love in their life, but often it is the opposite.
They are the ones who love and are loved the most.