I am helping a stray cat. She has been here for three weeks, and she will not go out.
She just stays inside.
Even on a good day, when the sun shines, she will not go out.
‘She will not leave you.
She is afraid she will not get back in again.
She was a stray.
Think of all the times she must have tried to find a home.’
My family offer their thoughts.
So I think,..
is that it?
She is struggling to trust me.
She is afraid I will change my mind, lose interest.
So she stays inside, and just gazes at me.
She sits beside her bowl, and squeaks.
Slowly, we are building a language, a way to talk to one another.
I wake up during the night, and she is snuggled against my legs, probably for warmth.
It is ironic, that I would teach an animal about trust.
That I would try to reassure, coax her to believe I am a friend.
I have not trusted anyone in a long time.
I act the part, no sudden movements, never raise my voice.
All the things you need to do around a new animal.
Routine, do the same thing every day.
Cats love routine.
Only petting her when she allows me, never picking her up without permission.
She is only here for food, for warmth, to escape the cold Spring.
I am pulling from an empty well, but I do it anyway.
“You don’t need trust to live.”
Not my wisdom, something a counsellor said to me once.
And she was right.
I live my life, and I don’t need trust.