Friday, November 29, 2013

It's raining cats and dogs!

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
-Robert A. Heinlein

In moving back home I brought both Hydra and Nixie, my two calico kitten sisters. My sisters dog who my mom adopted and renamed, Scrappy, already lives here. Introducing the 3 of them has been and continues to be quite the process but a joy to watch nonetheless. My girls were born with and raised by a dog. Their own mother Luna, was a kitten herself who really couldn't be bothered with her motherly duties aside from feeding them which even then, at times we had to lay her down and pet her so she'd stay still long enough for them to nurse. Ani, their doggie mom, would herd them when they were old enough to walk, constantly counting to make sure none had wandered too far. She groomed them and played with them long after Luna disappeared by jumping out a window. Scrappy too, as a young pup was raised with a cat, Bebe. She was his best friend and the two would spend hours playing together wrestling, tagging each other, stalking and hunting. Yet for Scrappy, that was now almost 4 years ago so his reactions and the way he attempts to play confuses and at times scares my girls and vice versa as he has become accustomed to solely playing with other dogs.

All parts of life reflect or parallel other parts of life, it's just the way the world works if one pays attention. In watching these animals get to know one another: understanding the others movements, vocalizations and boundaries, I can't help but think once again about the shadow side of human beings. Appropriately, anima and animus. Animals operate on instinct and while human beings are animals, our instinct, our collective consciousness for whatever reason has been shoved down deep in the dark and exists as our collective subconsciousness mostly. And so when our animal side peeks its head up from the dark wanting to play, we often have two things working against us. If our animal side hasn't come out to play in a while, we may startle ourselves causing a sense of anxiety because we swear we know ourselves. Simultaneously we may startle others as we haven't shown that side in quite some time. While nothing delights me more than observing animals at play, I have found that just like my kittens and resident dog, it can be a bit of a process.

Most of my life I've been an observer and was deemed shy as a child. In an unfamiliar environment, I am the cat in the shadows inhaling the scents and watching the movements of those around me. My tail does the talking for me. I study their strut, make note of their various play tactics and watch to see where their eyes land. Entering any social gathering really is much like visiting a watering hole deep in the jungle as there are a plethora of species at any given one who all come out to satisfy their thirst and lay in the sun. Once I understand and can identify who's around me I then and only then will drink and play and chase and pounce. There are other animals, much like Scrappy our resident dog who, just as curious as any cat, are namely ruled by their nose and delight themselves in getting closer, quicker, to breathe a little more deeply and understand the scent invading their nostrils a bit better. They are vocal and express themselves through sound howling and barking and whining, tail flip flopping like a metronome.

Both are curious. Both desire to let loose and just play with one another. But for now, in order for that to happen, the cats continue to perch out of reach, study his movements to make sure he won't hurt them, tail talking all the while and he continues to vocalize and smell as best as he can in the distance they've given him. Animals. You've gotta love 'em.

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