Pages

Friday, February 14, 2014

Leaning Compassion From My Cat

One thing that I have struggled with all my life is compassion. It's not that I am too compassionate; rather I am not compassionate enough. I don't know why. I don't know if it was my upbringing, or my personality. Maybe something happened when I was a child, something that I don't remember, that has caused me to push my compassion to the background. I just don't know.

The woman I married is the opposite. She is very compassionate. That makes her an excellent role model for me from whom to learn compassion. She feels it, and shows it freely. Since one of the roles of the spouse in a Catholic family is to make saints of their partners, I could not have chosen a better spouse.

However, even with this wonderful woman as a role model, compassion has not come easy for me. So, God, in his inimitable way, has constantly been guiding me to be the person he created me to be. I know, sometimes I've taken the long scenic route instead of the shortcut. But, God never gives up. This has been the case with compassion.

By now I'm sure you are asking 'where does his cat come into this story?' Now I will explain. My wife and I have had cats for about 26 years now. The first cats that we got have already died. Both died of cancer. And, even though I felt bad about both cats, and cried when they were put to sleep, they didn't really need any extraordinary care. Sure one of the cats was blind when she was put to sleep, but she really only needed minimal extra effort to make her comfortable.

As with most pet owners, when these two died, we went out and got more cats. Three more, to be exact. And everything was going fine (considering we had three cats who had their regular territorial cat fights) until about three years ago, when one of the cats developed diabetes. Diabetes is very different from cancer. The diabetic cat requires insulin shots, twice a day. His blood sugar has to be monitored, to be sure it stays in a safe range. He requires special food, and we have to be sure that he eats (to avoid insulin shock). We monitor how much water he drinks, and how much comes out as urine. 

He has neuropathy in his legs, resulting in a reduction in his ability to walk or jump easily. So, we have be sure that he can access his food and water without difficulty. And, we help him up when he wants to reach places that are too high for him to jump.

By now I'm sure you are getting the point. With the diabetic cat, care is basically continuous. However, that's okay. Oh, sure, sometimes getting up early for the morning insulin shot isn't easy. But the appreciation that the cat shows is worth the effort ten times over. I think this bout with diabetes has brought all of us, the cat and my wife and I, closer together. 

As I said, God works in mysterious ways, and is slowly helping me to learn and show compassion. Now, if I could only find that shortcut....