Cats On A Leash

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Image Source: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times.

BY: PRIYA ALI

I was listening to one of my personal mentors the other day tell a story from when she was traveling on vacation. She was on a road trip and stopped at a bed and breakfast with her husband. She noticed that the owners of the bed and breakfast owned a cat and she was indeed a cat lover.  She also noticed, much to her dismay that the cat was on a leash.

The sight of this tore her heart apart.  She couldn’t understand how this seemingly kind couple could be so inhumane as to leash a cat. She thought of a plan in her mind to free the poor feline at night when everyone was asleep. She would see to it that the cat was free at last, the way it should be. She sat on the porch of the house watching the grave travesty.

She sat drinking her ice tea, watching the cat run excitedly as far as the leash would allow and then halted by the restraint. She couldn’t help but think, how desperately the cat must want to just bust free from the collar and roam free. She thought to herself, how happy the cat would be once she set him free later that night.

As she continued to watch the cat, she began to notice that the cat was not heavily disturbed by his limitations. In fact, he wasn’t bothered at all.  Was it because he was content, was it because he was unaware and uneducated, was it because he had given up? How could he not want to go beyond the boundaries imposed upon him? How could he not be outraged and determined to experience greater and beyond?

Suddenly, she began to see a different perspective about her plans for creating the great escape for the cat. He may not know how to survive if he was set out on his own, he may be unhappy if he wandered off.  The owner’s who seemed to love him so much may be leashing him to protect him or to keep him safe, even if it was more for them than him.  They would be devastated if he left or was harmed.  She began to see that if she herself were in the same situation as the owner or even as the cat, she would have very different feelings, very different thoughts and would and react extremely differently.

Often times in our life, people we love or care about seem as though they are not recognizing their potential for more, for more opportunity, for growth, to experience beyond where they are. We couldn’t stand it if we were consistently repetitive, but for some people, they are perfectly content there and that’s perfectly ok.  Respecting and accepting the choices others make for themselves does not require us to want to choose the same or even understand them. By honoring their choices you become closer to unconditional love and happy cats.

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