When my family found ‘Pixel’, an abandoned cat, in our backyard, I rushed to tell the news; I took her picture and posted it around town. I texted friends for ideas and advice. My daughter posted the cat’s picture on her Facebook page. One of our friends posted on Gainesville Pet Finder for us.
When we found out that Pixel needed surgery, I again rushed to tell the news with pictures, texts, and stories. Messenger texts flew back and forth. I got a phone call from a relative that I didn’t think even knew what the Internet was, let alone have an account on Facebook, asking how the surgery went.When we found out that Pixel had picked up an odd maladaptive behavior, we posted about it and the advice poured in. We were thankful to get ideas, to hear stories of other cats’ successes, and to share pictures. It was as if we found a whole new community online, rallying around a small cat’s misfortune and hope for redemption.
And then… good things started happening.
When a couple of families stopped by to see if they could adopt her… I wrote nothing.
When one of those families gently wrapped her in a blanket and took her home to meet their cat… I wrote nothing.
When, over the next few days, they texted me little victories in the growing relationship between the two cats:
Day 1: “Our big cat is scared to death of her. So far no fighting; they just stare at each other like two teens at a middle school dance.”
Day 2: “He JUST came out of the closet (literally, not figuratively) and started playing with all of her toys while she naps.”
Day 2 (a little later): “He’s decided that her cat bed (which is just like his) is now HIS cat bed. She doesn’t mind. She’s exploring the house.”
Day 3: “Progress.. they will now hang in the same room. I predict an eventual beautiful friendship <3.”
… I wrote nothing.
When two weeks later the family told me that Pixel is getting acupuncture to help with her obsessive self-grooming and muscle weakness, my last residual worries about whether she actually had a home fell away, but still…
…I wrote nothing.
As I now sit down to let people know the (very stale) joyful news, I’m pondering why I didn’t write anything earlier. A part of it was to protect any candidate families from feeling pressured into adopting a cat just because they were willing to come visit her or from being cast as villains if they took Pixel home, only to sadly discover she wasn’t a fit with them.
And then… I got hesitant; I just wanted to be sure, to calm any remaining doubts I might have…
And then… I got busy.
As a result, it’s taken a month until I felt I could write about Pixel’s adoption.
Strange, isn’t it, how bad and uncertain news travels quickly, and good news travels slowly, if at all?
The immediacy of uncertain news is a strong trumpet fanfare. It rings out in our minds with a sudden call to action. The delight of good news, however, is that, though it may simmer slowly, we can savor it for a long time, reminisce about it, and whisper it to our friends. The irony of this, though, is that we have a tendency to see the world as being in worse shape than it is. We hear about the problems, but we often don’t get a chance to celebrate when a solution is found.
How many of us know that we’ve solved the primary issue of global hunger from the 70s and 80s? We now have enough food to feed the world; the major causes of hunger today include political turmoil, human conflict and lack of access.
How many of us know that we are safer than we think?
Celebrating progress does not mitigate the fact that there are still problems. But it does let us know that there is hope. We can and do change the world. Institutions are rife with corruption, but still can do good. We lash out against each other in anger, taking sides against one another, but it is also possible for human beings to gather together to make things better.
We can change things; one global issue at a time. One changed life at a time. And, if you don’t mind the absurd-in-the-extreme comparison, one petite cat at a time.
So here is my whisper to you, my friends: At least one more cat will no longer be starving. At least one more cat will no longer live with chronic, curable pain. At least one more cat has found a family to love and who loves her.
Pixel has a new home.
Listen for the whispers, hear the good news. Rejoice!