If you have been following this blog, you know that Persimmon is a stray cat who we have befriended over the past year. He comes by to eat, sleep and get rubbed within an inch of his life…then he moves on.  In the last week we experienced below freezing weather, snow and were REALLY cold for the Atlanta area. We were all concerned that we has cold. We had below freezing temps for four days…no Persimmon. Then I saw his tracks in the snow…so I followed the tracks. 

He went down our long driveway, across the street and wound his way back into some old abandoned chicken coops. There is little cover from the wind, but there is a roof. I lost his tracks as he maneuvered himself into the brush under the empty coops. I knew he had to be cold and hungry, and I was greatly concerned that he would suffer in the bad weather. 

The next morning I opened the front door to find him sitting on the door mat and he meoweed at me loud and clear, so I opened the door and let him come inside. He trotted into our kitchen – because now he knows the way – and he began eating the cat food for our three felines. I did what I usually do and scooped up food for him, he followed me out and gladly ate out of ‘his’ bowl on the front porch. When he finished I opened the door and he walked inside again. He walked around the first floor very hesitantly and then headed back to the front door. He had no desire to stay inside. Strange. We found him the next day hanging around my parent’s house – they live next door. He pulled the same routine, but after he ate a little at their house he took a nap under a piece of furniture. He was there for several hours then got antsy to get back outside. No matter how we tried, he did not want to be inside and warm. 

I realized that I thought I knew what was best for him – a warm place to be inside with plenty of food and water. We were prepared to accomodate him during the cold, but he would have none of it. I called him. I picked him up and brought him inside. I fed him more than usual and wanted him to stay inside at night so he would be warm. He would have none of it. Yesterday and today I found him on our front porch sleeping in a chair I covered with a towel. He has been there like a dead man…sleeping soundly and apparently warm enough. It was still cold out, and he wanted to be outside. 

Persimmon is a stray, outdoor cat who uses us when he needs food, water and affection. Other than that he needs very little. He knows himself and what he wants and what he doesn’t. Yes he may want to be warm BUT not for long. He would rather be outdoors in the cold sleeping on a towel. What he really wants from us is companionship, and a safe place to sleep when he is tired. Just sit with him for a while and pet him, then let him be. I do not understand, but let’s face it I don’t need to understand. As long as he is happy then we’re good. 

All too often we think we know what is best for people and push and prod and poke them to confirm to our idea of ‘best’. Sometimes we use guilt to get our way. Sometimes we use manipulation. Sometimes we employ every trick we know to get our way. We KNOW what is best, and they just don’t understand. We know how to make their lives better. If they would just do what we want they would be better off…or would they? How arrogant of us to assume that what we think is best is best for someone else. What they have is what they want, they know that and are content. In this situation we become the annoyance in their life not the thing in their life we are trying to fix. 

Let it go. Let people be and stop trying to fix or force or make people conform. Give them the freedom to be themselves and they will come back when they need you. If you let them free they will come back freely. If you try to force them to live your way they may never come back. Which way do you want it? 

Thanks for another lesson Percy…come back anytime!