selective focus photo of cat

The Cat Conundrum

I had a friend who claimed she was clairvoyant. Let’s just say for the sake of this post that she was, because I’m on my way to making a point and you don’t have to have an ability to see the future to know that.

And I’d say from my experience that my friend had a gift of extraordinary perception. She saw things differently than most others, and it was always interesting to hear her take on things. It often led to insight because she was looking at life from a different angle.

But my friend also adopted nine cats in a serial fashion, not at the same time, for her kids. Why did she need nine cats? Because they couldn’t keep them alive. I have a niggling memory that maybe only eight died and one got sent to a farm to live. And I mean like legitimately a farm, not a euphemism for the farm in the sky. It’s possible that there were a couple that were with her when she moved to the city. So, giving her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps six died over ten years.

The cats died for various reasons. Some because they lived next to a greenbelt and didn’t keep the cats indoors so sooner or later a predator of some sort would disappear them. Others because when they weren’t at home, they sometimes took the cats on their boat, which exposed the cats to all sorts of environmental challenges and dangers. In one big eagle’s nest near the British Columbian waterways where they’d adventure, the game warden found 30 collars for small animals. My friend’s husband remarked “Do you know how many cats don’t wear collars?”

In another funny story, one of their cats tried to jump off the boat when they were docked, and aimed for a metal piling. The cat reached the piling, but without the ability to sink her claws into the metal, started slowly sliding down towards the water. Thankfully, that poor cat was rescued by my friend’s husband a foot or two before it hit the water.

Safe to say, my friend was a well-intended person but their family lifestyle wasn’t conducive to keeping the cats they loved alive. At one point, the local pet adoption agency banned them from getting any more cats. So, the next one she got was named Friday. Named for the day my friend found the pet mobile adoption van out and about, and was able to adopt a cat since the van wasn’t connected to the agency records.

All this leads me to my question. How can you be clairvoyant and also serially adopt six or more cats all destined to doom?

Here’s the answer I’ve landed on after pondering this question. We all enter this world with gifts and weaknesses. The weaknesses often show up as inclinations we need to temper. If we don’t temper our inclinations, they will overshadow our gifts.

I’ve posted a companion piece to this one on my personal blog about the elements that make up a story: Telling a Good Story. I also post on Mondays at the Heart of the Matter blog. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter @wynneleon

(featured photo at Pexels)

39 thoughts on “The Cat Conundrum

  1. Love this: “If we don’t temper our inclinations, they will overshadow our gifts.” Oh gosh, yes. I like where you landed…still…I’d side with the pet adoption folks. Wowza. And meowwwww….😉

  2. Interesting question. I think people claiming to be clairvoyant are actually keen observers. Like the guy in mentalist ( tv show) hence the inability to see the future of the cats.

    1. Oh Sadje, I forgot about that show that I really liked. You make such a great point about being keen observers – you’re right, my friend would definitely fall into that category and then the other behavior makes sense. Right!

  3. There you cracked open the secret of the duality of life. Gifts and weaknesses and the pending dance of creating balance.

  4. “If we don’t temper our inclinations, they will overshadow our gifts.” How perceptive, Wynne! As an animal lover myself, I can’t imagine continuing to adopt cats after losing so many.

  5. I had a few psychics and clairvoyants approach me in my life, and from what I understand from conversations with them, their gifts aren’t their abilities per se, but more like a gift from their Spirit guides. Their Guides don’t tell them everything, all the time, only what they think needs to be shared. This explained to me why it seemed strange that a clairvoyant cannot foresee some things.

  6. Your post reminded me — cat wise, not clairvoyant wise — of my years up to second grade living a block from our elementary school in Snohomish. We went through 12 cats, one at a time. My parents believed it was because kids walking from school were picking up our pets. One morning, my brother and I heard our cat meowing loudly. My brother climbed over the neighbor’s fence and found my cat in a wooden trap. Our next door neighbor had been drowning our cats in the river. I wrote a post about this years ago.

    1. Oh, Elizabeth, that’s a terrible thing to discover at any age, much less a kid. I can’t imagine what that neighbor must have been like. Oh dear!

      1. He was a cranky old man and blamed our cats for digging two-foot holes in his garden! Definitely a sick person. We moved to the countryside after that and I had my cat until I went to the UW!

      2. Oh, thank goodness for that. These stories are reminding me tht we had a neighbor when I was growing up in Spokane that put poisoned meat out on his lawn to punish any dog that crossed onto his property. My dog ate it but fortunately we were able to save him. The dog…not the man, that is. 🙂

      3. There really is nothing good to say about someone like this… except words I won’t write here.

      4. Wow! So sad there are people like that!! I have a few more stories about friends and their neighbors and pets. but don’t want to dwell on the evil or negativity.

  7. I’m really not sure that I could have kept silent as cat after cat met its fate. I guess, on the bright side, they weren’t hoarding hundreds of them at one time, but still my nature would have led me to ask the big question- “what the heck is going on?” and strongly suggest they leave pets out of their lives 🙂

    1. It makes me think of the definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I think plenty was said about not getting more cats but with the kids pleading eyes, it was overridden. An unfortunate pattern in many ways!

      1. Yes, perfect way to describe that situation! Sadly a teaching moment for the kids about doing the responsible thing was lost at the expense of the cats 🙁

  8. As a cats lover I felt upset by this story. I had a cat sitter that told me once that pets are like kids, you shall look after them carefully, otherwise let them be. But I like one of the comment before that your friend clairvoyant wanted to see if cats have really nine lives. That’s a good one!

  9. Yes, it is upsetting as animal lovers. And also as responsible humans. It is so hard to watch people act out their urges again and again. But like you, I loved the nine lives comment too. And to be fair – it could be that some just ran away. Thanks, Cristiana!

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