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Lessons from a Cat

On our walk this morning, my dogs and I encountered an orange tabby cat seated casually on the sidewalk along our usual early morning route. She sat at attention but calm, holding eye contact as intently as her position. As we approached, the fervor of the two puppies increased and I held them back as I verbally encouraged her to move.


We paused some twenty feet back and I fully expected her to run off. She did not. We took a few steps forward, the dogs lunging on their leases, tails wagging and excitement growing. The cat raised up, arching her back, but took no steps away from her preselected spot. I paused, imploring her once again to move aside – she held cat pose, embodying it and her space perfectly.

Recognizing the possibility of walking past without an altercation among the furry trio was minimal, given the immature manners of two five-month old puppies, I decided to turn around and take a different side street. As I did, I muttered to myself, “crazy cat,” and almost as automatically asked myself why what the cat did was in any way crazy.

Why should she yield from her spot? A public sidewalk is just that – publicly available to all, and this may very well be the sidewalk directly associated with her home.

Why should the unpredictability of my dogs require that the cat make accommodation? The cat herself was immaculately composed and was in no way threatening us, though she made it clear she was not fearful of our presence and remained entirely uninterested in the antics being displayed.