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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Act as if ye had faith

Since my toddler days I have always preferred dogs to cats. Except for one summer when I kept a cat of a friend when he went overseas, I had never lived with a cat. Alas, I "married into" cats and have lived with at least one cat continuously since 1983.

In 1997 Eric was given a kitten by a neighbor. Eric and the kitten bonded quickly. Unfortunately Eric developed an alleric reaction, so the kitten was moved into our bedroom where it has abided ever since behind a closed door. As it grew, the cat became very skittish and hid under the bed almost constantly. It came out only to eat or to do its business -- usually after we had left the bedroom -- or at night when we were asleep.

About four years ago I undertook an experiment to see if I could socialize this cat. We've all heard of the cat circuses in Russia, right? With patience and persistence, and using food as an initial tool, I began to coax this cat into relationship.

It worked. The cat hasn't become entirely normal by any means, but it does freely socialize with me -- and not much with anyone else. In the process I lost my dislike for cats, although I still strongly prefer dogs.

If I were a preacher, there would be at least two sermons in this anecdote:
  • Opportunities for healing and redemption are endless.
  • "Act as if ye had faith, and faith will be given to you." (Not biblical, but from David Mamet's screenplay of The Verdict, a superb movie from 1982 starring Paul Newman.)