I think the most powerful words in any language are thank you. These words can change the most difficult and trying situation. They can bring us more than desire ever could. Several years ago our neighbors began feeding a mother cat and her four kittens. These cats had wandered into the neighborhood from who knows where. They were not domesticated and ran from human contact. Soon more cats came and at one time there were at least a dozen feeding in the back yard next door. I was not happy about this situation. Often the cats would go without food and their only source of water was our bird bath – which I kept full for them. The neighbors did provide a shelter and had the original five spayed and neutered, but I worried about them a lot. My inside cats live like royalty in comparison. Almost ten years ago, our neighbors moved. I think they tried to round up the cats and move them to a friend’s farm, but two could not be caught. They were left without anyone to feed them. I was furious that anyone would take on the responsibility of an animal and walk away when it became inconvenient. (Don’t get me started.) I did not want the expense and responsibility of feeding and taking care of outside cats, but very quickly the two cats were begging at our back door. They were a bonded pair of siblings. We could not bear to call a shelter and risk their separation. So now years later our outside kitties are still with us. The two sisters, still walking tails entwined down the driveway and a third who doesn’t live here full time but enjoys our cuisine. I fought this, I resented being left with it, I grieved over their plight, I worried myself crazy on cold winter nights even though we installed heating pads in their house. But something changed me. Our third outside cat, Buster we call him, always waits a safe distance when we pour food into his bowl. As we pass by to let him eat, he makes a sound – two syllables which do not resemble a meow at all. He looks into our eyes (a rarity for a feral cat) and says what sounds like “thank you”. I still worry about them. I still wish that all cats everywhere were safe and warm in loving homes. But for Buster, Miss Kitty, and Whitey what we give is all they need and their appreciation melted my resistance. I feel privileged to be helping them.
Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”