Everybody needs dreams.
Maybe your dream is to captain a barge. Maybe you dream of having a pet yak. Maybe what stokes your fire is the dream of writing the world’s finest sonnet about cauliflower.
But if you’re Bonnie, it may seem that your dream can never be.
Poor Bonnie. She came to Tabby’s Place many moons ago and was adopted, only to have her human pass away. Getting on in years and now touched by early renal disease, Bonnie was returned to us.
But here’s the saddest part: Bonnie is now stuck here, in a cage-free sanctuary. The big-eyed tabby with the most serious face wants just one thing: to live in a cage-rich sanctuary.
Suite B, with its wide open spaces, its sunny solarium, its cozy nooks and nestly crannies, is simply too much world for Bonnie. She’s like a Manhattanite suddenly hurled into South Dakota: perfectly content in a matchbook-sized apartment, the girl doesn’t know what to do with 800 acres.
So she stages a daily peaceful protest.
What’s the best way to protest Tabby’s Place being a cage-free sanctuary? Holing yourself up in a cage.
Wait a minute, the more avid among you are thinking. There are cages in a cage-free sanctuary? What are you tryin’ to hide, Angela? And where were you on the night of January the 19th?
I hide nothing: There are, indeed, cages at Tabby’s Place. (And I was watching cat videos and eating cauliflower in my matchbook-sized apartment.)
Each of our suites has a small bank of wall cages. When a cat first transitions from Quarantine to the suite, she spends a few days in a cage: all the better to see and smell her neighbors before having to face them. (With heinie-kicking neighbors like Jackie and Maggie, that’s much to her advantage.) By the time those intro days are over, most newcomers are happy to leave the cage behind.
But not Her Bonnitude.
Bonnie’s resistance to cage-free life is so severe that we mere humans have essentially given up. (I believe this brings the ongoing score to Cats 80,739; Humans 0.) Each day, faithful volunteers set up Bonnie’s apartment with blankets and a litterbox, food and toys and…well, everything she’d find if she stepped outside her comfort zone into the suite, only in miniature.
But here’s the thing:* maybe our bonnie lass is onto something. Much as we try to woo and cajole her out into the great wide open, she knows what she likes, and she suffers no angst whatsoever in sticking to her opinion. Quirky, cuddly Bonnie does not toss and turn at night wondering if she’s missing out on adventure. She does not suffer pangs of “what if?” when she sees quotations on Pinterest about the need to leave one’s comfort zone.
She’s fully alive right now, right here, in her comfort zone. Comfort zones get a bad rap from humans, but maybe – once again – the cats are onto something deep and true. We silly human beans worry that we’re missing out, and so we’re never able to settle securely into where we are in the moment. But cats have no such pretensions to “more.” Contentment is theirs to gain. By throwing their whole being into a small world, they make it their own and taste all its richness. Our wanderings miss the glory of fully committing to this place, this time.
Not Bonnie. She tastes the flavor of each kibble. She sees the candy-colored beauty of each blankie. She feels the warmth in each human hand. She’s very much here – and that makes her small world infinitely large.
When your dream is to fully flourish right where you’re planted, you’re guaranteed the glory. And when Bonnie finds her new world, her forever world, she’s sure to plumb its riches. Even if it is truly cage-free.
*I’m as guilty as anyone of using that expression. But I shall point out the fact that it’s utterly asinine. “Here’s the thing”? No, that’s not the thing. This is The Thing.
**The gorgeous top two photos are by Mark and Jess, in that order. I suspect they got her to pose so prettily because they did have bacon.