Free At Last

Free at last 2

As much as I was worried about letting Minnie outside today, I felt it was the right thing to do.  I thought of all the things that could happen to her, from getting stuck under my studio to getting pecked by the chickens.

But what I saw when we opened the back door and let Minnie walk out of the house made me realize that no matter what happens, Minnie belongs outside.  I found her morning romp heroic.    My admiration for her grew as I watched her jump off the porch and pull herself up inclines.  She followed her old paths through the barn  and made her way to the pasture, where she sat on a on the old stone foundation and surveyed her hunting ground.  She chewed green plants and covered up her scat.  Then she found her way to a hay covered, dark corner of the barn and plunked down to rest.

How strange, I thought, it must be for Minnie to be indoors.  A cat that’s used to roaming free, doing what she wants when she wants.  She knows the barn and the pasture like only a cat could. What’s important to her when it comes to living outside, is completely different than what’s important to me.  It must be so strange for her, eating only one can of cat food a day.  A diet she’s never had in her whole life.  How strange to be eliminating in the same space where she sleeps, with no dirt to dig in.  How strange not to hunt.

I think of the toys we bought her to try and get her to move around more in the house.  (which she had absolutely no interest in at all) Or how I tried to get her to climb the stairs to teach her how to pull herself up and jump (which she did easily enough but only if I put food at the top of the stairs). Cat Physical Therapy.  When all she really needs is to go outside.  Not all day.  We took her in after a while and brought her back out in the afternoon. We’ll take it slow.  But seeing her, for just that short amount of time, convinced me that the best place for Minnie to figure out how to get back to normal, is for her to be in her own environment. Doing the things she’s used to doing.

Today the Minnie I saw was different from the Minnie I thought I knew.  Today I saw who Minnie really is.  Not the wanna-be house cat laying around and looking for affection all day.  But Minnie the Barn Cat, the hunter,  the queen of her territory. At home with the rest of the farm animals in the pasture, the barn, and the back porch.

 

7 thoughts on “Free At Last

  1. What a wonderful and fascinating description of Minnie’s life and recovery in the house, and her life outdoors that seems to need no recovery or adjustment at all! Annie

  2. Minnie knows her place in the world. How cool is that? The photos of Minnie on her walk and in the barn are wonderful. She will heal more quickly, most likely, now that she is back in her element.

    On another subject – the “Tree After Tree” pillow is beautiful! I’ve got it on my bed and I enjoy looking at it each night before I go to sleep and when I awaken in the morning. It means a great deal to me to have it beside me when I sleep. Roger was so taken with the phrase (“Tree after tree leads me to me…”) that I think he is using it as part of a song lyric. So, the pillow is a gift to him as well. It awakened a new song!

  3. I loved seeing the photos of her outside and reading yours and Jon’s words. She is back to being Minnie and you have done right by her!

  4. I’ve had cats all of my life and they seem happiest when they can choose where they go. Growing up in town, we always had cats, but this was the day before kitty litter and dry chow. Our cats came indoors when they wished and went to the door and “asked” to be let outdoors. I can’t ever remember any of our cats ever having an “accident” indoors. Our old yellow tabby tom would disappear for 2 or 3 days (this was also before neutering was common), and then show up with battle scars and sleep indoors on my parent’s bed for a couple of days. We live in the country and my cats stay pretty much indoors–they especially disdain cold weather, except for the one with the wild streak who loves to go out) but I’m considering getting a pet door (you can close them at night to keep nocturnal creatures from creeping in), cause I think they would thrive best going in and out at will–not sure they will give up the litter box, but I wish!

  5. Maria, Your needlework is so beautiful. An inspiration for expression, even deep unconscious thoughts…& keeping hands & mind busy. So calming & relaxing. I have quilted, embroidered, knitted, painted w/watercolors. The passion is in me. You are giving me the impetus to do all again:) Minnie is still ever-deep in my thoughts & heart. I have had many cats & nursed them back to health. On average, they lived to age 17, with my soul-mate Kitty to age 23. I have always felt Minnie has paid her dues & now deserves to be mainly a house cat. But time would tell. And you are watching & caring for her so closely. It is my feeling she does want to be mainly indoors, & your dogs are “telling,” saying quite a bit. They know she is home, as they watch over her. And it is my feeling Minnie is showing so also. Reading closely all about Minnie, just maybe she knows she cannot do & be safe as before as a barn cat. And maybe she knows the danger as never before. As for Minnie’s “craving affection,” yes, Minnie loves affection. Who doesn’t, animal or human? But Minnie is not so “needy.” She is *giving her love to you all. (Btw, I found it so profound she stayed by an ill chicken!) And she is showing gratitude. Just some thoughts, I hope no offense. Lastly, being an RN & knowing some about animals, Minnie just may be having some “phantom pain.” Feeling her leg is still there. This is common after an amputation. Surgery, takes so much out of the mind & body. The homeostasis, body & mind balance, gets all out of whack. It takes more than 2 weeks to get back to a new, healthy level, that might not ever be the same, but is right for the person or animal. Warm thoughts to you all on your beloved farm.

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