Spartan has taught me so much. He was completely wild when I noticed him darting into the shadows and corners of the great outdoors. I asked the lady across the road if he was hers as I saw him in her yard often. She said no, he has been around outside ever since they moved in 4 years ago. That is when I made it my mission to care for this abandoned animal, who, based on his deep distrust of humans, had be abused at some point in his life. I think of this unknown author's words:
“It was once said that love is giving someone the ability to destroy you, but trusting them not to."
Of course, having to fend for himself 100% he was hungry. I had put milk out at night on my back deck and noticed it was gone every AM. This continued for a couple weeks. Then he got braver, hunger does that. He began to meow outside my screen door and I would bring him food. Shortly after that he came into the house and wrapped around my leg. Then he began to scout out the house, room by room, going deeper into the house every day before dashing out. Soon after that he moved right in. Suddenly, we had an unexpected pet, and I had a new purpose in life, he took up my time, attention and through giving of myself to him I became a better person.
I would wake up like a new mother when he moved or got off our bed in the middle of the night. I would hear him meow if he wanted inside or out no matter how tired I was or what time it was in the wee morning. I would play with him when he wanted attention and rock him like a baby when he was fussy. I would even sing him lullabies. Now, before you think I am the crazy cat lady, I propose that I am in fact a “cat whisperer”. His indoor behaviour was perfect, which, for a cat that lived outdoors his whole life is amazing. He did not scratch furniture or jump on the counters or beg for food. Everything I saw online about bad behaviour did not apply to him. I think it is because I accommodated him so much, instead of forcing him to be how I thought he should be or how I wanted him to be. Hum, notice life parallels yet?
I quit yelling and swearing in the house because I didn’t want to scare him. My husband has been trying to break those bad habits of mine for years. I no longer have little PMS fits, it might upset the baby. You know your changing for the better when your mother and sister both comment, “you treat that cat better than you do most human beings.” So, that proves I am capable of these actions. And yes, it did rub off onto my human interactions. I am nicer and more patient, I am happy just because he is in my life.
I am less materialistic. I used to guard my possessions with great care. Now, the cat can play with my brand name expensive skirted chairs, he likes to go under them and then attack them and scratch like a bat out of hell. No this is not bad behaviour as I allow it and don’t mind and I had no toys for him when it started so he had no other place to release his scratching instincts. Now I say, “it’s just a thing, he is a living being.” There is nothing in the world that makes me as happy as when my two ‘boys’ are in bed with me for a afternoon nap, or snuggled in for the night, the whole family in one bed. I grin and glow inside, pure happiness flows from the love. It is my richest treasure.
It took me only a month to fall in love with him. I knew it was love because I liked the way he smelled and I missed him when he was gone. I told my husband “I love that cat.” He replied “isn’t love a strong word to use for an animal”? I got quite upset by what he said... I explained that no, it was not, I loved the cat. A few months later he whispered to me one night, “...if you ever repeat this to anyone I will deny it, but I understand now, as I also love that cat.” You know, it is no big thing when a 13 pound little fur ball can bring an alpha male type A personality to admit to having feelings, in the dark of night or not. We now call him our son. He even has personality traits from both of us. It’s quite fun to realize.
I can not explain the joy and love Spartan has brought into our home. I highly recomend rescueing a animal if you can, and then you will know the joy and love I speak of first hand.