Where we used to live there was a man who used to walk his cat. This fascinated me, I would see him strolling at a snail's pace down the sidewalk with his black and white short hair on the end of a red leash and I would think to myself, "There is an unbelievable feat!"
I've had cats all my life, they are obstinate, fickle creatures with high self-regard and survival-level tolerance for human beings. In the great who's smarter debate; dogs or cats? I take the feline position understanding that it takes superior intelligence to not be trained. Dogs win in the emotional strength category. Cat smarts is probably the reason for my awe every time I saw this man walking his cat. Either A) his cat had a dog level IQ or B) he had uncovered some amazing secret to keeping a cat on the end of a leash.
At some point in my pinball parenting I told my kids about this neighbour who used to walk his cat around the block. We all make rookie mistakes, a mistake like telling your kids a cat can be walked, is one regretted before the punctuation is formed on the end of your sentence. 'why, why, why did I say something so stupid?' *mom smacks head against wall* This is what I think every time one of my kids says "I want to take the cat for a walk." The conversation plays out like this...
Kid #1 or #3 (#2 knows cats don't walk) "Where is the leash? I want to take the cat for a walk"
Me: "The leash is only for tying the cat out, cats don't walk."
Kid: "I want to try."
Me: "You can not walk a cat, they are not like dogs."
Kid: "But you said one time we had a neighbour that used to walk his cat."
Me: "Yes, but..."
Kid: "I want to try."
*sigh* I know this will end with frustration. Once it ended with a call home..."I got the cat this far and I can't get him back, will you come get us? I tried to pick him up but he keeps scratching me. pleaaaaase!"
Me: "No, walk the dog."
Kid: "Well, how come that man at our old house could walk his cat if you can't walk a cat? How?"
Me: "I don't know."
Kid: "But if that man walked his cat, you must be able to."
Me: "Go to bed."
Really the story of the man walking his cat is just a catalyst for ceaseless Q & A. I have low tolerance for that mind-numbing lunacy.
There is usually a time span between "Cat-walk sessions" unless of course, like now when the air is fresh and the sun is shining, the cat is itching to get out of the house and the kids are looking to escape chores. Then I get inundated.
Part of the frustration is because I really wish I knew how the guy managed to walk that darned cat. It would be cool to take the cat and the dog for a walk.
Tonight the topic came up again. After so many attempts to explain the mentality of cats to my kids and why they are untrainable and un-walkable. I threw my hands into the air and spat out...
"He could walk the cat because he wasn't in a hurry, he was a retired guy who had no time frame on getting the cat around the block!"
Boom... discussion done, never to be had again. In one explosive blurt of frustration I solved two nagging issues. 1st, I halted the conversation forever because #2 I figured it out, by not trying to figure it out.
He could walk the cat because he wasn't in a hurry. He knew he would get home all he had to do was let the cat set the pace.
Ahhhhhh...that exact moment was like finding out the Caramilk Secret, for a split second my life was complete.
Gratitude today for the sudden gob-smacked understanding that people who achieve great feats do it in their own time at a pace of least resistance, always moving in the direction of their destination.
Here's to a great weekends, clarity and the anticipation of a great week ahead!