87: Two Journeys

87: Two Journeys

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Two Journeys

What greater gift than the love of a cat?

~Charles Dickens

“Sammie! What are you doing here?” I couldn’t believe it. My neighbor’s cat was at my back door, gazing at me through the glass. This wouldn’t have been unusual if it weren’t for the fact that Sammie had moved across town with her family the week before.

I immediately called Sammie’s owner, Laura. Laura told me that Sammie had been missing for two days. We came to the only possible conclusion — Sammie had walked the three miles from her new house back to her old neighborhood. Although it’s possible that Sammie remembered me feeding her a few times, Laura and I agreed that there was more to it than that. The cat missed me.

Sammie and I had become friends over the previous few months. I would sit on my front steps every afternoon and call to her. She’d come running over from her house. Then I’d scratch her ears, chin, and lower back. She would purr, and look deep into my eyes, as if to tell me how grateful she was. The feeling was mutual.

Now I had a big decision to make. Should I offer to keep Sammie? It seemed clear that she wanted to stay with me, but I had my reservations.

After my boyfriend’s death a few years earlier, I’d retreated deep within myself. I didn’t see my friends very often, and I tried to limit my commitments. I worked from home and didn’t go out much. Then, when my mother’s cat passed away, a cat I was also very fond of, I’d subconsciously made the decision to not have a pet. I didn’t want any more loss in my life. Although I loved Sammie, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to take on the commitment of caring for her, both physically and emotionally.

However, when I discussed it with Laura the next day, we decided that the best thing for Sammie would be for her to stay with me. We certainly didn’t want to risk her trying to return to me if she went back to her new home. We knew that whatever route she had taken, she would have had to deal with traffic, other animals, and who knows what other dangers. So there it was. I had a pet.

Today, Sammie is thriving. We have multiple “scratchie” times a day, and we both are happy to have each other. She spends a lot of time on the deck, but also comes inside to sit on the couch. Sometimes she walks across my keyboard, inadvertently typing for me.

I have taken on the commitment wholeheartedly, and I know I came to the best decision. I now understand that it is always the right thing to open up to the possibility of love, even with the knowledge that loss often follows.

Sammie made an incredible journey when she walked from her new house back to me. But I made a significant journey, too, when I went from a closed heart to a wide-open one. Sammie seemed to know what I needed more than I did.

~Carol E. Ayer

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