With our household of critters having expanded to include three cats and a dog, I thought it fitting to join a meme related to pets. After searching around, I came across Awww….. Mondays. The one rule is: “Post a picture that makes you say Awww…. and that’s it.” Every photo seemed to feature a pet and so the meme is a perfect fit!
In my last post, I shared that there’s a little bit of me in all my cats, and talked about the reclusive but social Cinder. Next up is the scared but curious Bootsie. Of all our cats, Bootsie is the one for whom I’ve applied the most behavioral modification techniques. I’ve learned over time that when I want to introduce anything new to her, I should let her approach it first without anyone else around. It doesn’t hurt to add some treats or catnip. After she’s tiptoed up to it, sniffed it, backed away, walked around it, and grabbed a few treats from it, then Bootsie just might accept it as part of her life. But I’m also wise to not let her initially know that I’m aware that she’s checking out the object. Bootsie needs to do everything in her time, and without spectators. Similarly, the more I know ahead of an event, the more likely I am to accept it with grace. People who know me best let me know dates, times, and agendas ahead of an event ahead of time. When they don’t, they might find me a tad bit grumpy. If I’m expect to participate, people might also be wise to provide me with samples. When they do, people often find I can live up to their expectations.
Ironically, given how timid Bootsie is, I also find her perhaps the bravest of all our cats. When we first brought her home, what I most marveled at is how much she’ll push herself out of her comfort zone. Bootsie let us know when she wanted to explore beyond the confines of our computer room, and when she wanted to use the tower right along with the other cats. She also decided when to venture into the kitchen when my husband was cooking, and when to start coming to the door to greet me upon my return. None of those were instant decisions, but what is impressive to me is that she made them. Bootsie has never been to content to let fear stand in her way. Similarly, despite how nervous being in front of groups makes me, I spent several years as a teacher. And although meeting someone new is awkward for me, I have pushed myself as a writer to interview strangers. Of course, the reality is that no matter how much Bootsie wants to be part of everything, she remains insecure. Training her has been less about doing obedience and agility, and more about learning to accept a brush and a crate. But the fact she’s willing to try to venture into the unknown has always been part of her charm. It also gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to clip her nails and groom her teeth. I can always dream, right? As for me, the desire to pursue my passions has always driven me to push past my fears. This can at times get me into uncomfortable situations, but at other times open exciting new worlds. It’ll be interesting to see the places the two of us will go!
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