It’s a funny realisation when you find that one set of pictures can lead to two stories so here is the first.
We took on a rescue cat and named him ‘Altea’ after the Spanish Town that we love and whose name means ‘Good health’.
He’d been living on the streets, not surviving but far better than that. He was a manipulator and had wormed his way into many homes. Yet he didn’t have a proper home. One where he always knew he would have a roof over his head. A home that would look after not just his feeding but his health needs, well who wants to pay vet bills for a stray cat that comes in for a cuddle once a day!
I noticed him on my morning walk to work sitting in the roadside kerb. Waiting for his next victim to manipulate. I didn’t realise it at the time but this was a clever monster in a cute coat.
As the days and weeks went on he started to meet me nearer my home, it took a while till he found my route and eventually where I lived. At first, he would be on the doorstep of a morning as I left for work. A while later he was there to greet me of an evening. I started bathing his wounds from cat fights. He always seemed to come out the loser in any contest. I was manipulated again, as lurking inside was a hidden beast!
After a few months, two girls knocked on my door with a cat basket, wondering if I’d seen the Ginger cat who by now was sunning himself in my lounge of a day and prowling of a night. They wanted to catch him and take him to a rescue centre to stop him from being beaten up by other cats and humans…..Chatting to them I found that ‘Altea’ had originally been their brothers’ cat who when he moved away had left him in the care of a girlfriend. She didn’t care and the cat was soon on the streets at only 6 months old. Two and a half years later they were looking to home him.
I offered to take him in on condition that the girls went to all the houses that they knew Altea visited and told them not to feed him anymore. Within 24 hours the monster knew where his food was and decided to only leave our home if he had too He was not getting what he craved so he moved on…to us.
Six months past and Altea was the ruler of all his domain until a rescue dog called Balu came into our lives. In need of a home and a dog, we had met and loved in the past. Our priority was that Altea should still rule his kingdom and he does! He terrorises Balu to the point of him being stuck in the bathroom shaking one day as Altea barricaded his way out. Poor Balu, his legs had gone he was so scared to even stand up. It took a lot of coaxing and the removal of a hysterical cat being wrapped in a housecoat and locked in another room before Balu would move.
It’s been 3 months since the meetup and it hasn’t been a ‘cute meet’ as in the film The Holiday. It’s been a juggling of separate rooms for the cat and the dog. Boundaries as to who goes where and now we are at the stage that we can feed them in the same room. The terrorist decided on that rule as he wanted to make sure that he was getting as good a meal as Balu!
OK, we can’t read cat and dog minds just as we can’t read human minds and yet we still try.
We love them both dearly and cuddle them both as often as we can. Altea has the sofa, Balu has a comfy bed beside us. When they want attention they come to us and we feel that we are giving them a good, secure life. Altea has upstairs with us of a night and Balu guards the bottom staircase. Yet Altea realises that he can sit on the high step and glare down on Balu making him uncomfortable. I blocked the view with an old coat over the stair gate. Altea realised Balu was the other side so poked him through the coat. Terrorising again or is something else going on here? As I said though, can we really attribute human emotions and feelings to a cat and dog, can we really read their minds?
Balu has started to assert himself a little now. The other day he was in the kitchen and being a dog that loves company he wanted to be near me in the living room. A terrorist was blocking the doorway. One huge bark later the terrorist ran for his life up the stairs and Balu sauntered into the room with me. It might have been only one bark but it was his first step towards assertiveness.
And then to the pictures that took me off into two blogs.
Sometimes it’s not noticeable what you are doing till you are gently poked in the right direction.
I met a lovely friend for lunch and a good old girly chat. At the end of our meeting, she had a gift for me. She also has cats and had bought a big box of food, which she found they did not like. She gave it to me and it was perfect timing as I really did need to go to the shops to stock up on cat food.
A few weeks later I noticed that Altea had put on a lot of weight. I knew he was no longer being fed regularly elsewhere so I looked to myself. I was overfeeding him. Whereas I had been giving him the correct amount of food, suddenly I was giving him double. I was mistaking feeding a 5-kilo cat with feeding a 47-kilo dog! I was thinking it was love I was feeding him, compensating for bringing Balu into his life and I was wrong. Altea was getting the right food, he just needed the right love and to be shown some boundaries.
So now we have separate feeding stations in different rooms in the house. Balu has his comfy bed at the bottom of the stairs as he loves to guard us of a night. Altea is with us in our bedroom to give him quality cuddle time. Balu gets his quality time on long walks and play times in the garden. Life is settling down and both Altea and Balu are being more respectful of each other.
Altea never used the back garden but, as we now have Balu, he has his place on top of the shed from where he can observe life and feel safe.
We can’t always get rid of the terrorists in our lives but we can stop giving them the fuel they need to terrorise us!
I would love your comments on what you found in this story there seem to be lots of themes
‘wolf in sheeps clothing’
‘never give someone else your power’
don’t try to read others minds’
‘love is not always the answer’
and there is another message, I will write that blog soon.